Monday, January 31, 2005

I had a strange conversation with a guy in a photo shop recently when I dropped off some film to be developed. He got chatty and decided to ask me what I do. When I told him that I am a librarian, he said, "no you're not, you're an archivist." People don't often argue with me about what my title is. I assume that they will accept my word for it: not this guy.

Oddly, he pronounced archivist incorrectly. He said the word archive, followed by ist, if you know what I mean. I guess I had a perplexed look on my face, for he repeated what he had told me: I am not a librarian, I am an archivist (pronounced incorrectly).

I may never be able to go back to that place again.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005


I started writing this three days ago, and then I got sidetracked.

As a kid, I was hassled a lot for admiring Led Zeppelin. Partly, it had to do with the fact that I once wore a Led Zeppelin t-shirt on school picture day. Somehow, I completely forgot about the pictures. If you have a class picture with a kid in a Zeppelin t-shirt, that might be me. My brother, almost ten years older than me, had some influence on my music choices. And so, I was well-armed to deal with the disco invasion. When my other brother, just 1 & a half years older, put on Gloria Gaynor or the Bee Gees and others, I turned up Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Today, I can say that I still enjoy Led Zeppelin, more so than other bands of that era. I think the music has aged well. The Rolling Stones are boring, save for a few songs scattered here and there. I never liked The Who very much. I like LZ for several reasons. It has fantastic rhythm and some really excellent drumming. It's music to have sex to, seriously.

A few friends wonder how I can reconcile liking Led Zeppelin with the more avant-garde selections in my collection, like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. For some reason, I have appreciated this band even as I passed through various musical phases, like punk, New Wave, the Neo ska revival, post-rock, minimalism, etc.

But, I have to add that Stairway to Heaven sucks. Sorry to those who like this song, but it really awful. Oh, and I hate heavy metal, and I don't think it's fair to blame Zeppelin for that blight, as some people do.

The Office

The Office is coming to the USA in the form of a re-make. It is clear that the US networks have run out of ideas. I don't really mind the fact that it is being re-made; it just bugs me that many people will never see the original, which, no doubt, will be far superior.


Speaking of being out of ideas, I wonder how many people noticed that they borrowed heavily from a Kurt Vonnegut novel in the last episode?

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Thursday, January 20, 2005


I was on a "retreat" yesterday. In my humble opinion, a retreat implies that one must retreat from one's place of employment. The last retreat was about 50 metres away. This one was maybe two kilometres. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not a retreat. There was no retreating. We didn't retreat. We just moved ourselves a small distance away. That was an all-day meeting. If you are really going on a retreat, I feel that you need the following:

a chalet or lodge
skis, snowshoes, etc.
hot apple cider
large screen television
an open bar
hot tubs/sauna/swimming pool
billiards table/dart boards, etc.
and a place far enough away that you can't arrive via the TTC!

Needless to day, it was a bit brutal. Long meetings are always brutal. What's worse is that there are more to come.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Last night, we watched Rabbit-Proof Fence. This is one of those stories I just can't believe is true. Up until 1970, the Australian government had an evil program to remove "half-caste" children from their families and put them in some sort of boarding school with nuns in order to civilize them. In other words, they produced a new social class of domestic servants. It is shocking.

The soundtrack, by Peter Gabriel (which has been in my collection for a while) is very good. I have managed to amass a collection of over 1100 CDs. The challenge, then, is to find time to listen to them. Every once in a while, I dig up something that has fallen out of rotation or I had just forgotten about. Sometimes, I even stop listening to whole artists. I remember being a huge Bob Mould fan. I collected all of his music, saw him in concert, and then stopped listening for a while. I have added old Sugar albums to my MP3 player, and have been walking around with Beaster playing, featuring some fine aggressive guitar noise by Bob. I think Sugar were better than Husker Du. I am going to add Workbook to my player tonight, if my computer doesn't crash yet again.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

At the risk of portraying myself as some sort of TV addict, which I am not --we don't even have cable and get only a handful of snowy channels -- I'll mention a few things about stuff I have watched recently. But first, I just have to say that there are too many awards shows. The only one I ever watch is the Academy Awards, and I am certain that the Academy rarely honors the best in film. I mean, Angelina Jolie won an Oscar! She might deserve an Oscar for looking good, but not for acting. And so, I flipped past the so-called People's Choice Awards. If it is really People's Choice, shouldn't the people get a chance to vote on all shows, and not just the nominees? How is it that there were only three nominees for each category?

And so, on to Alias, a show I have watched religiously since it came on the air. I hate the new title sequence because it tries to sell the show on one aspect, that being the costume changes of the Sid. If I saw that opening, and didn't know what the show was about, I would keep on flipping. But, it's all a ratings move anyway, which is why the American network moved it to Wednesdays after Lost, but, for some incomprehensible reason, CTV is showing it at 4:00 pm on Sunday. Surely that is a ratings hole.


I have been scanning like mad. Photos, that is. I got a ton of old photos from my mother and I have been scanning, identifying, and organizing. It's a big job. It turns out that there is only one baby photo of me, and it is blurry. I was the fourth kid, so I guess my parents gave up. Photos of me start showing up again when I am 3 years old. This is not good, but there is nothing I can do about it now. I was a damn cute three year old, but for some reason, I look sad in almost all of the photos. I think I was a sad kid.


I am thinking of sending a memo to Microsoft with a very simple request. I want to ask if they can create a patch that will stop Windows from crashing! It's driving me crazy. I plug in my MP3 player to my USB port, and it crashes. I scan photos, and it crashes (thankfully, not all of the time). I try to copy music files to my hard drive and it crashes. This is a brand new computer with a gig of RAM and a 120 Gig hard drive. It is a top-of-the-line Dell. Maybe they are too busy writing security patches to make time for something as simple as this.

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

We watched Medium, the new show with Patricia Arquette. Maybe it's my recent purchase of Millennium on DVD, but I think this show is sort of a rip off. Even the title font looks the same: Medium is rendered as MediuM (at least it did on the pilot), just as MillenniuM had a final larger M. Medium even commenced (at least the pilot did) with a loud drum note, just like Millennium. This is not to mention the other obvious similarities. But enough of television. It's a black hole and it sucks up too much free time.

What's up with Jacob Richler? I read his anti-green box rant in yesterday's National Post. What a spoiled brat. But, I guess I should expect that kind of attitude from the right wing.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Self Portrait #1

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Well, I have been back to work for four days (almost) and I have accomplished very little. I have a serious lack of motivation, and I can't really say why that is. I should have taken a whole month off for a psychological recharge.

New music:

Fly Pan Am - Sédatifs en Fréquences et Sillons

I would describe this music as instrumental splendor.

Rufus Wainwright - Want Two

This album is simply quite excellent and it has a bonus live DVD, which I have not yet watched.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I forgot to mention Whale Rider. We saw it too. It was ok, but I didn't love it. I do think that Keisha Castle-Hughes is really quite good in that film.

Today is the day that Season Two of Millennium comes out on DVD. I have been re-watching Season One on DVD, and can report that it is just as good the second time around. It is a tragedy that Fox cancelled this show. It is, in my opinion, the best dramatic show of the 1990s. It is dark and creepy and brilliant. I have come to the conclusion that Fox really has no idea what it is doing. After all, they cancelled The Family Guy only to bring it back once they realized that they goofed. They cancelled The Lone Gunmen and Harsh Realm without even giving them a chance. Then there's Firefly and Futurama. It's a miracle that the X-Files was kept on air in the early years when few people were watching it. Let's hope that Arrested Development stays on the air.

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Ever since I found out that Santa Claus doesn't exist, Christmas has been somewhat anti-climactic. I still remember the day my sister led me to my parents' bedroom closet and showed me all of the gifts piled up on a shelf. It was the end of the innocence.

This year, once again, I ended up in rural Ontario, where my family is from. It's so unlike the city: it is snowier and much more conservative. It's like taking a step backwards in time. I have learned to keep some opinions to myself, or risk arguments. It's a strange land out there. Some of my relatives actually said that they are afraid of going to Toronto.

I saw some films during the break.

Meet the Parents really really stinks. Who likes this kind of adolescent humour? I wanted to turn it off, but decided to stick it out until the last ridiculous minutes. If you think the name Gaylord M. Focker is funny, this film is for you.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a really excellent film. It stars Humphrey Bogart and is directed by John Houston. If you haven't seen it, you should. And, I learned something about prospecting-not enough to make me rich or become the centre of attention at a cocktail party, but something.

Woody Allen's Zelig is quite ingenious and terribly funny. It's a classic mockumetary. How is it that I missed it when it came out?

Spider (not Spiderman) is excellent. Ralph Fiennes has, perhaps, the fewest lines ever in a leading role. He just mumbles. It has a plot twist that you might figure out early, but even if you do, it doesn't ruin the film. It is depressing, but quite interesting.

I really enjoyed The Decline of the American Empire, even though I had to take my suspension of disbelief to a much higher level. How is it that Remy, an obese and unattractive man, managed to have seduced so many women? It makes no sense.

The last movie I saw was televised. It was the bizarrely popular My Big Fat Greek Wedding, or, as I like to call it My Big Fat Obnoxious Unfunny Movie. Whoever said that this was a comedy? Not only is it not funny, it is boring, badly written, badly acted, and badly directed. I can't even believe that is had a theatrical release. It looks so made-for-tv. There is zero chemistry between the lead characters. I mean absolutely zero. It just looked so contrived. Not to mention that the guy (John Corbett, I think) was so miscast. He is a reasonably attractive man, but the woman just did not fit with him. I mean, she is almost cross-eyed. OK, so I am being a little harsh here. The final word is, I can't believe I wasted two hours of my life on such crap.

And, what's with the advertisements? Every ten minutes on CBC, we get a barrage of ads at a volume significantly higher than the movie. It makes me mute. If they really want me to see the ads, then they should balance the volume levels for me. On CITY TV, they do something equally hideous. At first, the movies have long breaks, just to get you hooked. Towards the end, one has to endure ad breaks every 7 or 8 minutes. It really sucks. Oh, and I think I will have to boycott Canadian Tire because of their obnoxious jingle, "I'll start with you." Yuck.

Happy New Year to you.

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