Saturday, January 29, 2005

Debacle unsuckified

And no thanks to the store whose prescience is vastly overrated.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More like Antiquated Shoppe!

I believe it was the modern day sage, George W. Bush, that said, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, i'fool me can't get fooled again." Over the last two days, Future Shop here in Vancouver has sought to make that clear to me. For I am a sad child on Christmas morning, without his Tickle-me-Bright Eyes.

The item I speak of is the new album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. First, the store downtown tells me that they haven't unpacked it from the boxes (on the day of the release) and they can't do it until "the warehouse guys" have checked it first. Upon attempting again just a few hours later, all six copies have sold out. I was upset, of course, but this was somewhat assuaged by a subsequent all-you-can-eat sushi stop. (You'd never hurt me, California maki roll.)

Fast forward to today. I phone another Future Shop store to make sure the album is in. "Oh yeah, we have plenty." This is where the videophones promised to us in so many episodes of 24 would come in handy. With such a device, I would clearly see the smoke from this man's flaming pants. For when I get to the store, I'm told with eerie portent that the store has never stocked Bright Eyes CDs, and the woman I seek has been dead ten years. Ok I made that last part up.

On top of that, my efforts to find a way to his Seattle show next month have been thwarted. This whole debacle sucks. I must admit that my anger is not being denied a chance to listen to the album. I've had the album in digital form long before its release date, but wanted to own it as a testament to its utter greatness. For those who like to flout copyright laws (I'm no lawyer yet), check out "Lua" or "Landlocked Blues" to see this evidenced.

Oh, and speaking of 24, way to go Behrooz! Grab hold of your destiny and run with it! You show your father he has no right to order your death!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Call me Ishmael. I have 293 middle names.

I make a point of not transcribing the stuff we read in law school on this blog. Sure there are passages of cases I've read that irk me, or that would baffle even the casual reader of law (are there any?) but above all I know this stuff is pretty boring. But what I read tonight (and should have read last week, sorry Professor, I'll be ready next time) fits in that quality of entertainment that is "so bad it's good." Or in this case, "so mind-numbingly long it's unbelievable."

Now, there are many genres of literature that are prone to milking the muse's teat for too long. Victorians are renowned for their long-windedness, writers of the Restoration have asides piled on asides. Poetry is no exception. Take Milton: you can go and have a bite and Paradise will still be Lost.

But dead gentlemen, the bar has been raised. Witness this excerpt from a contracts case. (Notice the use of ONE period.) Your move:

"Clause 13, the 'due diligence' clause, which exempts the shipowners from responsibility for delay or loss or damage to goods on board due to unseaworthiness unless such delay or loss or damage has been caused by want of due diligence of the owners in making the vessel seaworthy and fitted for the voyage, is in itself sufficient to show that the mere occurrence of the events that the vessel was in some respect unseaworthy when tendered or that such unseaworthiness had caused some delay in performance of the charterparty would not deprive the charterer of the whole benefit which it was the intention of the parties he should obtain from the performance of his obligations under the contract - for he undertakes to continue to perform his obligations notwithstanding the occurrence of such events if they fall short of frustration of the contract and even deprives himself of any remedy in damages unless usuch events are the consequence of want of due diligence on the part of the shipowner."

Sweet fancy moses, I've read Moby Dick and not even Herman "here's everything I know about boats" Melville comes close to that!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Shepherd #3's performance was so phoned-in

Sigh of relief. The other day came the fruition of a many-month plan to surprise my housemate with a visit by her best friend from across the country. Being notoriously bad with keeping secrets, this was a huge weight off my shoulders. (Again, sorry B for ruining your Christmas surprise a few years ago, but the bobsledding was still awesome and I do believe "Team Momentum" had a winning speed of 97 km/h.)

On other fronts, still writing for this comedy show which goes on in less than a month. I've got several sketches in the works, and I think they could be very funny. I'm learning some basic rules along the way: British accents make everything funnier. When you're not working with seasoned actors, keep slapstick to a minimum, as the results will likely not be pretty. If all else fails, make sure you keep a very long cane as a prop.

I'm really looking forward to this, though. It should be my first performance since my acting debut in the grade 2 Christmas pageant. If ever Shepherd #4 gave a more stunning performance, I have yet to see it.

Oh, and I also finally, successfully learned to play the Shins' "New Slang" on my acoustic, which is a great song, Natalie Portman's props notwithstanding. Next on the must-learn list are Bob Dylan's fingerpicking masterpiece "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and Modest Mouse's manic "Paper Thin Walls."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Now I just need a Cosby sweater

I'm not a fan of the "repeat" function when it comes to music. Songs usually sound best in their proper context, and it only works to ruin a song's effect when you listen to it over and over. I think this mostly has to due with a bad experience I had with a neighbour in undergrad residence on the eve of my final math exam. As much as I like the band, I can never listen to the Tragically Hip's "Fireworks" ever. again.

But lo, from across the internet the brand new Beck album has materialized, and I could not help myself. Ever since I saw Michel Gondry's video for "Deadweight" (from the A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack, a fave flick of mine) I've been hooked.

So anyway, this song "Brazilica" has completely monopolized my headphones. I'm not sure what it is about that song, mixing (High Fidelity rant ensuing) the breeziness of "Tropicalia" with the emotional power and strings of "Paper Tiger." Good stuff in any case.

Anyway, this is just a short post to say what a damn good song that is. Check out "Guero" too.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Expect an appearance from The Falconer

It's "callback" day amongst law firms, where they release the sword of Damacles and let you know if, indeed, you are firm material for the summer. I've been home most of the day, and so far, the phone has not rung. This can mean one of three things:

1) I didn't get the job. This is not the end of the world however, as it is still first year, and the chances of landing such a job are pretty slim. I can feel confident knowing that I got to a second round of interviews and made good contacts.

2) I got the job, they just haven't called and the above statement is BS.

3) Our phone company has finally realized they have not sent us a bill nor received payment in quite a while, and the silence of the telephone has less to do with the challenges of career moves and more to do with telecommunicative revenge.

Of course, the day has not been a complete loss. I've been madly scribbling down some material for the upcoming Law Revue. I've got a couple sketches in the works, and I figure the more you've got to work with the funnier things can be. Saturday Night Live usually bats a .500 when it comes to being really funny (add points for Will Forte or Fred Armisen's appearances, subtract many points for any hint of Jimmy Fallon).

In any case, it's great experience doing some more comedy writing. My script is looking awfully forlorn over there in the corner, so I must tend to it soon.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Far From the Madden Crowd

So on the advice of a few of you blogophiles and (though it is widely not recommended) on the spartan allure of the book's B&W cover, I have begun my Johnathan Strange book. Maybe due to its size, the time period (Napoleonic England), or its penchant for unnecessary, pompous, long-winded exhortations on minutiae common to British writers (and this last clause), but it reminded me of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones. This is odd, because a) it's hardly one of my favorites and b) it's hardly a book that defined a style. (Or maybe it did, but as far as I know it was all about a guy who thought he slept with his mother, only to be relieved and then screw around some more.) I suppose it's because Fielding's book (at 1200+ sex-filled pages) took up so much of my Restoration English Lit class a few years ago that it lingers in my mind.

Not that this style is a bad thing. I think recently I've been accustomed to really glib, cynical writing that is all too present on the internet. Ahem, Pitchfork. Even Dave Eggers, who I do admire, could drive you insane if you weren't in the mood. Anyway, enough book talk.

Today was, as expected post-memo, a slow day. I flipped on some football for that commentary I love so much (see far, far below. Wow I blog a lot.) Among the nuggets of wisdom I got from CBS' "expert" commentators was this one:

"Well, although the Jets didn't get any points on that drive, it was spectacular."

This reminded me a lot of three years previous, watching the Superbowl with some good buddies of mine and hearing John Madden deliver this utterly mystifying critique:

"That receiver did his best, trying to turn something... into something new."

Then I spent some hours of the day trying to write material for a comedy show put on by the law school each year. It'll be my first time writing such stuff, and I might (gasp) even get to act in some of it. I have no doubt much of this whole spectacle will be a crash and burn. But, I figure, if you do such things right, you might just create a dazzling fireball that people will talk about for some time. Cheers to that!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Crackle, hands down

Howdy. I've been away from this baby for some time, leaving many of you faithful readers in the lurch, I'm sure. Yet, despite the presence of some pretty annoying law work, (the Rasputin-like open memo, just die will you!) and snow that won't melt (joke's over, ok?), it has been an exceptional week.

In other news, I finished my Bob Dylan book, which was great. It really reads like one long blog, jumping from place to place. He'll go from waking up to breakfast cooking in 1961 to having dinner with Bono (consisting of a case of Guiness) in 1987. It's interesting to hear the voice inside his head, which is about as straight-shootin' as you'd expect from the man. Although I am concerned that he harbours such a bitter resentment to Wilco for recording his idol's songs before he got the chance. I guess this rules out the possibility of any amazing Dylan-Tweedy collaborations.

I have a good choice to make before I tackle the next book. It's either my Roddy Doyle dysfunctional Irish-American immigrant novel, Jared Diamond's 500 page history of the world, (Guns, Germs & Steel) or this anchor of a British book Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which if I've heard correctly, is like Harry Potter for adults. Hell, I like H.Po anyway, so it should be quite "corking."

I've also been confronted with the fact that three bands I love are playing shows in Seattle soon. Choosing between the Kings of Leon, Interpol and Bright Eyes is like asking a five year old kid who he likes best amongst Snap, Crackle and Pop. But I have to give the edge to Mr. Oberst of Bright Eyes. I've been listening to his 2 new albums endlessly recently, and I think he'd just be too good to pass up. I'll make sure to grab some great concert photos if I go. Who am I kidding, I'll return with stupid tourist photos where it looks like I've just impaled myself on the Space Needle.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Those Marvin Monroe tapes work wonders

If memory serves correctly, there was a mass cull of chickens in this province many months past due to fears of avian flu (the flu du jour at the time). I'm not sure how many they slaughtered in those fateful abattoirs, all I know is they missed one little chicken, for certainly, the sky is falling!

The city woke up to a few centimeters of snow this morning, and panic hit the streets. (Unfortunately, it was not due to rage-infected zombies as would have been cool.) I have never seen such a quick transition from snowflake #1 to talk of a snow day. I admit, I was surprised to see snow in this famously green city, but I couldn't help but think that Albertans would be laughing and telling the snow to "come back when you've got something interesting to tell me." Snow, being a solidified form of water and unable to construct speech, would fail to make a witty response.

Anyway, I do hope tomorrow is a snow day. The first week back after holidays are always pretty tough. One can't just step up unprepared to the foosball table. On top of that, we are getting exam marks back and surveying the damage. The prognosis is stable, so far, but that could all change with a subject known as Criminal Law.

They tell us there is no wrong answer in law school. But clearly, when you are given a fact pattern and asked to either acquit or convict a woman, and every single person except you acquits her, the maxim must fail. If I were to be right, and this were a real case, news bureaus would be busy trying to come up with a new graphic for their latest headline: a Grand Miscarriage of Justice.

But hey, maybe things will be alright. Stranger things have happened. Snow has fallen in Vancouver. (Someday zombies, someday).

Monday, January 03, 2005

For the last time, the frequency is 147 MHz!

Well, it's back to the books tomorrow. Actually, not so much books, but unbound, overpriced stacks of photocopied paper that bear no semblance to plot-driven prose whatsoever. But we go to school with the books we have, not the books we want. Any more questions?

Tomorrow also marks a special day. On January 4th, some decades ago, a certain man was born. In his youth, this man was well respected by his peers and teachers, who knew he held a special talent. He persevered and worked towards his goal, and this very day he is doing what he loves. Each day, he goes to work and with a honeyed voice, captivates a world of listeners.

This man's name is Michael Stipe and he plays in REM. (I lost you at the respect part, didn't I?)

Coincidentally I share his birthday. (And, for those who own the band's 1983 debut album "Murmur" and look in the liner notes, we also share an exact likeness. I'm not kidding, it's scary. And here's the proof:

But it does bode well should I ever go bald. That Mr. Stipe gives a good name to baldness.)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A: When Gollum jumps the shark

This is the last post from Cowtown on the first day of the new year. It was great to see the fam once again, sample some nog, and do my best to restrain what would inevitable be boring "law talk." I think I held up pretty well. Though I do find it funny when people ask me, "did you learn any good lawyer jokes?" Why would I tell lawyer jokes?

On to the new year. I rarely make any resolutions, they end up as only half-hearted attempts. But, there are many things I'd like to do in the next while, so here's a few "aught-five ought-to's:"

There is a Bright Eyes show in Seattle next month I ought to catch. I made the grave mistake of never getting to lovely Montreal while I was in "quaint" Kingston, so this would be making up for it somewhat.

I ought to answer a burning question: at what point during a twelve hour marathon viewing of the extended Lord of the Rings DVDs does one make the transition from film connoisseur to just plain dork?

My screenplay witnessed little progress over the break, so I ought to put pen to paper as it were and finish the damn - yet hilarious! - thing off. I'm still not sure how this whole "law" gig pays in the long run, but I'm certain there is a long-term financial security in Hollywood. What's that Mr. Affleck?

I ought to get my fledgling (viz. hitherto non-existent) magazine off the ground and start accepting literary submissions from aspiring writers. Still left to do: design a website, write up a mission statement, plan publication dates, etc. However, I have the gmail account so I'm halfway there!

Of course, if I were to be more serious, I ought to blog less, jog more, watch TV less, read more, spend less, save more, create dichotomous opposites less, use big words less, and lastly, be less serious.