No my head hardly hurt at all when i woke up this morning. Mind you, when i woke up at 1:30 to go to the toilet i thought i was gonna die, but this morning i was fine....
And i didn't watch any of my usual Christmas films last night. I was going to watch "The Adventures Of Robin Hood" (the Errol Flynn / Olivia de Havilland version) but when i dug out the DVD i realised that i had never seen any of the special features on disc 2... And so i watched a one-hour documentary on the history of Technicolor as i ate my turkey, peas, smashed potatoes, and cherry crumble with ice cream....
I shall explore more of disc 2 tonight....
Today: i was planning to hit the massive Boxing Day sale at Staples this morning, but there was a heavy weather warning in effect. Well, it's still in effect but so far nothing's happened, and i took the risk and wandered up there. I am now the proud owner of a brand-new DVD burner.
Too bad DVD burners weren't on sale. I also bought a 2 GB thumb drive and finally have backed up all of my photos of Carmela (that's her there -- cute, eh?) (not as cute as Jill 'n' Jen, obviously).... $150 later
For one thing, i have watched no seasonal films at all this year apart from the Father Ted Christmas Special ("A Christmassy Ted."). No, not even "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which i love.
The last film i watched was "Threads" -- a devastating BBC docudrama, hardly festive.
Today, Christmas Day, began normally, with the rum/eggnog/cashews for breakfast but for the first time in umpteen years i did not listen to Handel's "Messiah."
Of course i did listen to "A Christmas Present From The Albion Band" -- the greatest Christmas album ever, IMFFHO, and to The Goons' "A Christmas Carol," and am at this very moment listening to Jethro Tull's Christmas album (called, oddly, "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album").
But, for years i have watched a film every afternoon on this day. Not today -- i'm updating my blog and listening to music instead.
Happy Christmas, dear reader. Now, where's that bottle opener....
Quote of the day: Dick Cavett -- Do you enjoy it as much as I do when a moralistic figure of the religious right is caught with descended trousers?
Stop the presses! Google has just announced that it wants to take over Spriggsblog! Negotiations are underway. Their initial offer was $13.48, but i'm holding out for $15.72 -- which will cover two pints at Kelsey's plus tip.
I've been trying to come up with some "best of" lists for 2009, and i was planning to start on a musical note, but the fact is, i really haven't heard a load of great new music this year.
Far and away, though, my favourite two songs of the year have been "Oh Yeah" by Chickenfoot, and "Wheels," by The Foo Fighters. I really enjoyed the new CDs by Colin James and Collective Soul and Chantal Kreviazuk, too
When surfing for porn, avoid websites which feature midgets.
You know it makes sense!
Watched this last night. It's a classic for sure. What i didn't know is that it was designed to be the first part of a trilogy. Part two was the subsequent "The Two Jakes." Part three was originally intended to be called "Cloverleaf," but the plan was scrapped ... although large bits of it were incorporated into "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" No, really!
Quote du jour of the day: Arthur C. Clarke: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Yes, well, this is Canada, a bilingual country. We don't have Stop signs here, we have Stop Arret signs. Nor do we have No Smoking signs, instead we have No Smoking Defense De Fumer signs. So i can have a quote du jour of the day.
Has it really been two weeks since i wrote on this blog? What have i been doing?
Well (as you asked) i've been getting depressed ('tis the season to be grumpy, fa-la-la), drinking too much, hating my job more and more by the day to the point where i have made my first New Year's Resolution for 2010: to paraphrase The Animals, i gotta get out of that place.
In fact i just updated my resume, and even that was depressing: i haven't accomplished anything (career-wise and self-actualisation-wise) in over a year, not since i took my First Aid / CPU refresher course. (Although i am trying to learn HTML, as i may have mentioned.... But finding it rather difficult, like trying to learn Mandarin.)
Anyway, here's a picture of Kate Bush -- brightens up my day even if it does nothing for you
It's November 29th. Two days ago the satellite muzak thing -- monstrosity, horror, whatever -- at my work, started playing Christmas music, er, oops, sorry, muzak.
I love Christmas (no, really) and i love Christmas music -- in the second week of December, maybe. In November? Nope, i tend to swear (under my breath, of course!) and curse the lot.
OK, here's the experimental part.
I am trying to learn HTML. It's difficult -- especially as the 13-year old down the hall already knows more about it than i do (grrr). But i suppose it's like learning any new language, you're not going to get anywhere until you start to think in it.
Earlier today, i uploaded to Sendspace, "Los Endos" by Patrick Moraz and Ronnie Ciago. Let's see if i can link it HERE
Quote of the day: “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.” – Oscar Wilde
Bought this DVD yesterday. I haven’t watched it yet but of course I’ve seen the film many times. (Steve at the DVD shop said “they don’t make them like that anymore.” Too right.) Basil Rathbone will always be the best Sherlock Holmes in my eyes – he’s the one I grew up with, and back in the days when I smoked pot, whilst my friends were getting high and listening to Hendrix or Pink Floyd, I was watching Basil as Sherlock. I was a weird kid.
That’s the link for a really rather tasty version of “Who’s That Comin’” from Rory’s Cowtown bootleg.
I just came in from my (very occasional) part-time job as a janitor. I generally only do it once or twice a month – three hours’ worth of sweeping and mopping. I’d love to do it more often, though: I enjoy it (mostly), it’s a lot easier than my “other” job – and much better paid, too.
That's the link for "Going To My Hometown" by Rory, from the Cowtown bootleg -- but you only have six days, instead of your usual seven, because i couldn't post yesterday. My computer probs continue....
Everything seemed ok, so maybe this is a new problem? I dunno, but Windows Explorer keeps crashing and the only way to solve it has been to reboot. It's apparently my DivX player that's been causing the crashes, so i have just uninstalled it (although an online forum i looked at suggested that i might have a trojan). (I tried to run Ad-Aware last night but it stalled.)
My next computer will run Linux, this Windows nonsense is giving me (even more) grey hair.
Watched "Burn After Reading" last night (for the 3rd or 4th time). Love that film!
Quote of the day: “Dinner at the Huntercombes possessed only two dramatic features: the wine was a farce and the food a tragedy” -- Anthony Powell.
Here's the link to Rory's "Pistol Slapper Blues" from Cowtown: https://download.yousendit.com/ZW9DQ3Q5OW4rV3pIRGc9PQ
I think i finally have all my computer problems -- or, at least, the one i mentioned in my last post -- sorted out. I ran System Restore and the file associations returned to normal. Unfortunately, it also disabled my anti-virus program (grr, grr) and i had to uninstall and re-install it, which took up a good part of my leisure time on Monday afternoon. Frustrating, but it's done, and now i can try to get caught up on reading all my spam.
At least i had time to watch a film last night, for the first time in weeks. It wasn't bad
Spike Milligan quote of the day: It was a perfect marriage. She didn't want to and he couldn't.
Here's the link to today's Rorysong, "Too Much Alcohol" from the Cowtown bootleg: https://download.yousendit.com/YkxMa3NTeFU3N0FLSkE9PQ
What a miserable day. No, weather-wise it's a beautiful day, warm, sunny, no snow, no meteorological horrors of any kind; no, 'twas cybernautically miserable.
My CD burning software (Nero) would no longer burn CDs. I spent the morning troubleshooting, uninstalling, re-installing, un-re-installing, cleaning up the registry to get rid of leftovers and then downloading some new software (which i haven't tried yet). All time lost that could have been better spent surfing for music and porn.
And then i went to the pub for a three-course liquid breakfast, so you'll get no more sense out of me today
Here's the link for Rory Gallagher's "Handy Man" : https://download.yousendit.com/YkxMUWVoSU9OMUNGa1E9PQ
We had the first snow of the season two days ago, very light, it melted as soon as it landed. It snowed again last night -- still very light, but i awoke this morning to a fine dusting and some of it still remains. God, i hate winter.
And i'm including this photograph for no other reason than the fact that i love it.
As some of my regular readers will know, I – for my sins – make my living as a cook. And if I say so myself, I’m pretty good at it: I have the touch. But I was thinking a while ago about the restaurant biz, and trying to determine, from the kitchen’s viewpoint, what is the best time of day to go to restaurant?
Right at opening time is no good: the kitchen is usually scrambling to get everything ready, and it’s impossible to give your meal the attention it deserves. Believe me, in every kitchen in the world, the diner who shows up right at opening time is resented.
Lunch-time is out, the kitchen is too busy to give your meal the attention it deserves.
After lunch? Well … no. The kitchen is busy cleaning up after lunch and trying to get ready for supper.
The supper rush? Don’t be silly, the kitchen is ‘way too busy.
After supper? Well, no, clean-up is well underway and the intrusion of customers into the scenario is actively resented.
So that, you might think, pretty much leaves closing time. Forget it. Everyone’s tired, they all want to go home (or to hit the bars) and, in every kitchen in the world, the customer who shows up right at closing time is resented.
Stay home, cook your own food, it’s probably healthier anyway, and … send me all your money because if this catches on I’ll be out of work!
Here’s the link for today’s Rorysong, “Laundromat” from the Cowtown bootleg: https://download.yousendit.com/YkxKZFhtcWYwZ2wzZUE9PQ.. Remember, the link is only valid for seven days.
And here, at the request of my beautiful girl Cate, is the video for The Cure’s “The Love Cats.”
Today's Robertson Davies quotation: "Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons."
I meant to post the link for Rory's "Hands Off" yesterday but my Internet connection was playing silly buggers. It's here: https://download.yousendit.com/YkxMa3ZKMHc3bUNGa1E9PQ but now you only have six days to grab it. Better act fast!
Robertson Davies Quote Of The Day: "He came of a generation to which any girl, before she is married, is a kind of unexploded bomb." (Tempest-Tost, 1951)
Anyway, i just bought Chantal's new CD, "Plain Jane." (I'd much rather buy an actual physical CD than download, but so much of the stuff i want is unobtainable through my friendly local dealer.)* I do like her music. I love her voice, she has a gift for melody and she's been around for long enough that professionalism shines through. This is delicious stuff.
------------- * I've probably told the story of my attempt to buy Jack Bruce's CD "Spirit" via my FLD: he said he could get it, i ordered it, 4 months later it still hadn't arrived and so i reluctantly downloaded it. The next week it arrived at my FLD's. This sort of nonsense must be as frustrating for him as it is for me and it goes a long way towards explaining why the record labels are in such trouble.
Grocery bags? Well, don't ask me how i come up with these great titles -- it's a gift, what can i say?
But, where i live, we are now being charged five cents per bag. Allegedly, this is to encourage people to use re-usable bags and thus save the planet from choking on plastic ones.
I think that this is a crock. (No, really, i do.) It has nothing to do with saving the planet, it has all to do with increasing the profits of the plastic bag manufacturers. Plastic bags are, after all, one of the most re-used items around. We put our garbage in them, we put our kitty litter in them, we use them everywhere.
So, all of the people who are now using re-usable cloth bags to drag their groceries home, are now having to buy ... oh, guess what? Plastic bags for their garbage, kitty litter, whatever, duh!
Don't believe anything they say, keep your mind open, and think!
I tried to go out to have my hair cut today, but the wind and the freezing rain in my face at 60 kilometres an hour defeated me. Fortunately Kelsey's pub was on the way and i was able to take shelter there.
I've been a fan of Rod Stewart's forever -- or, at least since the late 60's. I have loved his work with Jeff Beck, with The Faces, and solo, and thus i am saddened to report that his most recent album, "Soulbook," stinks.
This shouldn't really surprise me -- most of his recent albums have been utterly boring, but i have a certain loyalty, and every album with the possible exception of "Still The Same" from a coupla years ago have had at least one redeeming tune which reminded me why i loved the guy in the first place -- yes, even the atrocious 4 volume "Great American Songbook" series.
I hate to be cynical (no i don't! i relish cynicism!) but isn't it also odd how his albums always come out just before Christmas?
I know you're all anxious to know what i did today. C'mon, admit it. You're ravenous for news.
Well, i sent Astrid a birthday card.
Then i was planning to go into town but the weather defeated me. ("When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads, they might as well be dead, when the rain comes.")
And so instead i stuck with the local stuff.
Staples: 20 blank CD-Rs, $23 + tax Goodwill: a CD rack & a DVD rack, $3.99 The neighbourhood tobacconist: carton of cigarettes (koff!) $54 Food Basics: loaf of bread (cracked wheat if you must know) $1.99 Kelsey's pub for a two-course liquid lunch: $13.78 + tip.
And then, when i returned home, i downloaded the new Rod Stewart album and OMFG it stinks. It is a major yawn. More on this later....
And above is the view from Kelsey's smoking section today ....
And what, i hear you ask, have i been listening to today?
"Karta" by Terje Rypdal.
"Live At The Royal Albert Hall" by Joe Bonamassa (an audio rip from the DVD courtesy my friend Zinhof) (http://zinhof.blog.hr/)
A bunch of Tom Waits and Julie Driscoll MP3s, but to hell with those, let's talk about Joe Bonamassa.
I have been a fan of his for a long time and i've always loved his stuff but i realise that, since the release of his first album, he has grown and grown and ... listening to "LATRAH" i realise i am in the presence of genius.
Over the next couple of weeks, i intend to upload, track by track, what is possibly the best Rory bootleg ever, the concert from the Cowtown Ballroom, Kansas City, 1974, and above is the link for track 1, "Messin' With The Kid."
I've been collecting Rory boots for years and this one is a legend, but i have only just found it. (The cover says it's the "Cotown" Ballroom, but it's "Cowtown."
Oh boyoboyoboy, having a Monday off is such a treat!
This afternoon's playlist has been "A Curious Feeling" by Tony Banks, "Another Side Of Bob Dylan," and ... a buncha MP3s by Tom Waits, which were of extraordinarily variable quality. Most, were in fact, awful, but a few were extremely beautiful.
Tom Traubert's Blues, for example.
(It may be sacrilege to say this: touching as Tom's original is i think i prefer Rod Stewart's version....)
Right, well, holidays, day 3, and it's nearly lunchtime and so far i have managed to do last night's dishes. Whew! I'm worn out. Time for a drink.
Today's playlist (thus far): listened to Craig & Rita on my favourite radio station this morning (www.therock.fm) and then, a few odds 'n' sods MP3s, watched the new Foo Fighters video (here: http://www.jonkmusic.com/2009/10/foo-fighters.html), then listened to a Jethro Tull bootleg ("Live At Hammersmith"), followed by Saga's self-titled debut album ((from 1978).
Well, here i am, on holidays. A much needed week off -- maybe the rash on my feet (which comes from standing around in wet socks for most of the day) will clear up.
So far, though, it doesn't feel like anything other than a normal copula, coupla daisies days off.
I did something i shouldn't have yesterday. (Not for the first time!)
I've written about Jill and Astrid before: Astrid is THE love of my life (and is older than i am) but lives 1000 miles away. Jill works at the local Kelsey's pub (that's her in the middle of this pic, along with Steve and Jen) and is young enough to be my daughter but she is such a nice person that merely being in the same room gives me great pleasure.
OK, i'm a dirty old man, but i assure you i am never going to "come on" to Jilly. Yesterday, though, i told her (yes i did!) that she made me wish i were twenty years younger. And she replied that that was the nicest thing that anyone had ever said to her. (An exaggeration, surely?)
Isabelle commented that i should be shot, and she's probably right. But, but, but.... I don't really think of myself as being old: i just am. I feel the same as i did at eighteen; the difference is that the rest of the world now treats one differently ....
I am now officially "on holiday" -- for nine whole days. Woo hoo, etc.
I'm actually entitled to five weeks a year but i rarely take more than two or three: a week in the spring, another in the autumn (like now) (and it is autumn, not "fall", goddamit!) and then a few days at Christmas.
It would be different if i could afford to go away anywhere....
And it's not like i need a rest from work. Heck, i've been doing the same thing for twenty years, it's not work at all, i can do it in my sleep (yawn).
What i do need a rest from, though, is the negative vibrations exuded by some of my colleagues. The most difficult part of my job is the absence of professionalism on the part of the nincompoops i have to put up with daily. No, really. Their negativity (i hesitate to call it malignancy) sucks the life out of me.
And no, i'm not going to say where i work: i've heard too many stories about bloggers being fired for posting comments that didn't paint their workplaces as ergonomic heavens.
Yesterday's post wasn't terribly informative, i know. I've watched a few other films, all repeat viewings. The only one that really disappointed was "Flight Plan" -- once a dog, always a dog (which is unfortunate as i have been impressed by Jodie Foster's acting at times). Anyway, here are the posters.
How can i explain, to my devoted reader, why i haven't posted in nearly a month? Blame it on the mad social whirl -- Astrid was here, Julian & Andrea were here....
Astrid and i went to the theatre twice, saw "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (an extraordinary version, featuring the amazing Tom Rooney as Puck) (pictured) and "The Importance Of Being Earnest" which was pretty good, too.
And then i bought the DVD of the first series of one of my favourite television series of the 70's, Van der Valk (Dutch policeman, created by Nicolas Freeling).
And then my rent cheque bounced, but that's another story....
It was cool, wet and windy this morning, but i had to make a trek downtown. I waited until the rain ended, and decided to take the scenic route, through the park. (Unfathomably, there is no public transit here on Sundays 'n' holidays.) Took a few pics -- it was scenes like these that i had hoped to photograph when i was there a fortnight ago (see previous post) -- this stuff looks even better on a sunny day!
Such a gorgeous spot.
And then the rain began again and i was not exactly drenched, but, say, 50% drenched. The rest of me was just wet.
The Allman Brothers Band -- Eat A Peach (deluxe edition) (1972) Gary Burton -- Throb (1969) Van der Graaf Generator -- Still Life (1976) Jane Siberry -- The Speckless Sky (1985) Mott The Hoople -- Mott (1973)
Listened to Procol Harum's very first album (from -- what? 1066?) (No, i mean 1966). Then a couple of bootlegged Beatles songs i'd never heard before, and then a Sam Cooke "Greatest Hits" compilation i just downloaded yesterday.
No suggestion whatever that i am living in the past!
One of my favourite parts of town is the vast Queen's Park, with the gorgeous Avon River and Lake Victoria and its swans, and last Sunday (it was a beautiful, hot day) i took a stroll down there with the intention of trying to photograph some of the more exotic birds that inhabit the area.
Well, i didn't.
There was an open-air concert in progress and the music was both painfully loud and gruesome.
I only took a few pictures (and then fled to somewhere quieter).
Here are the best two.
I get so frustrated with my camera, though: i like to think that i have a good eye, but i am sorely lacking in technical skills. I just bought Digital Photography For Dummies -- now if only i can find the time to read it!
That's the download link for the song "Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig's Tune)" from Joni Mitchell's great but under-rated 1972 album "For The Roses." ("Under-rated," presumably means that there were no hit singles or something, i dunno.)
The link will only remain valid for seven days, so you have til next Saturday. Enjoy!