Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Wait

Have you ever pondered the amount of time you spend waiting? Waiting for something to happen -- for the bus / train / plane to arrive, waiting in the supermarket check-out line (especially annoying when you're in the 10 Items Or Less line and everyone in front of you has twelve items and all you have is a bag of kitty litter), waiting at the dentist's office when your appointment is for 2:30 and you're now watching three o'clock approach. One of my particular favourites is going to the beer store at Christmas time and being in a line of people who've (a) never been in a beer store before and have no idea what they want and / or (b) don't really grasp the concept of the debit card.

It's a substantial waste of valuable time. Speaking of waiting, though (and here's a leap) what about waitressing? Oh, ah, right, they're not called waitresses any more, are they, they're called "servers." I can't get behind that, though, because to me a server is a computer or program that supplies data or resources to other machines on a network. So, to all of my friends in the hospitality industry who work as waitresses, i will take all of your slings and arrows.

But have you ever watched really good waitresses doing their thing? I was at my favourite pub the other day. It was the middle of the afternoon, usually a very quiet time, when they became busy unexpectedly: a party of thirty showed up (without a reservation). I won't say anything about how arrogant that is:  30 people? No problem! At McDonald's. But not everywhere is Micky Dee's.

Now, i won't mention the name of the pub (although you can find them on Twitter at @STFDKelseys) but i watched those girls go to work and it was like watching a well-executed football play. It was a delight to see such professionalism. (I think about the waitresses at the restaurant where i work -- they'd be wandering around, slack-jawed, wondering what to do next and crying for help; what a contrast.)

Anyway, thumbs up Jen, Catherine, April & Brittany: your tips that day were undoubtedly insufficient to compensate you for your work, and your art.

Oh, and here's the next bunch of CD covers -- we're in to the Tori Amos section:

And the playlist:

Yes - Going For The One
The Electric Prunes - Mass In F Minor
Kensington Market - Avenue Road
Thin Lizzy - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon
Colin James - Twentyfive Live
Al di Meola - Casino
10 c.c. -- Live In Santa Monica

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

CD Collection 9

Quotation Of The Day ~ Samuel Johnson: The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

Nothing but my CD collection today, dear reader:

Oh, and a playlist:

Ofra Haza - KolHaneshamah
Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity - Open
Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
June Tabor - Quercus
Bill Nelson - Electricity Made Us Angels
U.K - Live At The Riviera Theater
The Beatles - Beatles For Sale
Bill Nelson - Deep Dream Decoder
Dire Straits - Live At Leeds Polytechnic
Ravi Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan - Ragas
Santana - Milagro
Various Artists - Celtic Aura
Big Sugar - Revolution Per Minute
Runrig - Heartland 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Boston Marathon, 2013

Sorry, eveyone, but all i have for you today is a quotation, from Patton Oswalt -- and i don't have any idea who he is.

"Boston. Fucking horrible.

"I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, 'Well, I've had it with humanity.'

"But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem -- one human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

"But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

"But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

"So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'"

Monday, 15 April 2013

CD Collection 8 + Welcome to Canada

Quotation of the day ~ Robert Byrne: Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours.” 

Okay, here it is, April 15th, and i think, maybe, Spring has sprung, it's lovely & mild today, but we had an ice storm on Thursday and here's what my town looked like on Friday morning:

Yes, what a delight it was, walking to work across a sheet of ice, with big chunks of the stuff falling from the trees onto my head along the way.

But that wasn't the worst of it by any means. A large part of the town lost power.

(I didn't -- my only outage was for a few seconds on Friday morning, it was just out for long enough that i had to reset all of my digital clocks.)

Even now, as i write four days later, power is still out in some quarters.

Now i, as i've written, make my living (such as it is) as a cook. This is my penance for the sins of a previous life. I accept it, my punishment. But this weekend was above and beyond....

Half of the population without power, they still have to eat. I imagine that every hospitality industry worker here is now suffering from hypertension. So many people to feed, so many of them cold and grumpy.... I am knackered.

So here are some more CD covers:

And of course, the playlist:

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory
Van der Graaf Generator - Godbluff
Terje Rypdal - Waves
The Tragically Hip - Up To Here
Jethro Tull - Nightcap
Various Artists - On The Road Again: An Anthology Of Chicago Blues 1947-1954
The Beatles - Revolver
Argent - All Together Now
John Lennon - Power To The People
Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg
Paul Simon - Live In New York City
Jethro Tull - Benefit
Colin James - Twentyfive Live
Ian Anderson - Ian Anderson Plays The Orchestral Jethro Tull
Thunder - Back Street Symphony
Buckwheat Zydeco - The Buckwheat Zydeco Story: A Twenty Year Party

Saturday, 13 April 2013

CD Collection 7

Quotation Of The Day ~Tom Sharpe: There's nothing worse than an introspective drunk. 

Gad what a week. An ice storm, a hockey tournament, soaking wet feet every day....

I don't ever buy lottery tickets, they're a mug's game, but if i ever decide to start, it will be in order to win enough money to move to Tahiti.

And i'm still not half-way through the letter "A".... Sigh.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

CD Collection 6

Quotation Of The Day #2 ~ Julian Barnes: Women were brought up to believe that men were the answer. They weren't. They weren't even one of the questions.

Golly, two posts in one day. Look out, Perez Hilton!

But this is just going to be a quickie, another installment in my CD collection, illustrated.

Gad i've been doing this for a month or more now and i'm not even half way through the letter A yet....

Pippi Longstocking

Quotation of the day: Astrid Lindgren: We’re living in a free country, aren’t we? Aren’t you allowed to walk any way you like?

I've just finished reading Astrid Lindgren's 1950 book "Pippi Longstocking." And i adored it, such fun!

 A children's classic, i'm told, but i'd never read it before. Well, why would i have? When i was a child in England my parents weren't inclined to corrupt me with such foreign rubbish. It was all A.A. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Kenneth Grahame and Lewis Carroll for me. (Oh, and Dr Johnson, too, but that's a different kettle of fish 'n' chips.)

Now, i don't need to tell you why i read it now, at my advanced age, do i? Or do i?

As my regular reader will know, i am quite haunted by the woman Stieg Larsson created for his Millenium trilogy, Lisbeth Salander -- one of the most compelling characters in all of modern literature. One day, as i was browsing around on Stieg Larsson's website (http://www.stieglarsson.com/) i came across this:

"Pippi Longstocking as a source of inspiration.

"Kenneth Ahlborn, a former colleague of Stieg's at TT, says in an interview with Veckans Affärer that Stieg got the idea for the character Lisbeth Salander after a discussion during a break from work. They were talking about how different characters from children's books would manage and behave if they were alive and grown up. Stieg especially liked the idea about a grown up Pippi Longstocking, a dysfunctional girl, probably with attention deficit disorder who would have had a hard time finding a regular place in the 'normal society', and he used part those characteristics when he created Lisbeth Salander."

Now, as anyone with O.C.D. will understand, this meant that i had to at least investigate Pippi's personality, and so i ordered the book from Stratford's best bookshop, Fanfare Books, and, thanks to their invariably efficient service, had it in my hot little hands a week later. (5% discount okay, Bob?) And i devoured it. What a delightful discovery. I have now ordered the other two Pippi novels and Fanfare Books, brilliant as ever (maybe i should hold out for 10%?) tells me i should have them later this week.

Now, the question. Did i see Pippi in Lisbeth? Well, not specifically: Pippi was, let's face it, a motormouth, which Lisbeth decidedly wasn't. Pippi was happy-go-lucky, Lisbeth was far from it. But in broad terms, yes, absolutely, i do. They're both socially inept, strong-willed, and fiercely independent. I'm looking forward to the next two volumes.

(N.B., it seems i made an error in a previous post on this subject ( http://spriggsblog.blogspot.ca/2013/03/my-cd-collection-3.html). I wrote that Mikael Blomqvist in the Millennium series was nicknamed "Kalle" Blomqvist after a character in the Pippi series. Right writer, wrong series: Kalle Blomqvist was the boy detective in Astrid Lindgren's Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist books.)

(Oh, and thanks to Catherine, one of my favourite servers at my local pub, for inspiring me to write this post. In fact, she threatened to whack me over the head with a bar stool if i didn't write it.) (No wonder i keep going back....)

And here's my most  recent playlist, because i know you care:

Steve Hackett - The Voyage Of The Acolyte
Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin
Junior Wells - Live Around The World
Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief
Yes - Yessongs
Richard Thompson - The Songs Pour Down Like Silver
Marillion - Somewhere Else
Walter Trout - Full Circle
Saga - 10,000 Days
Rory Gallagher - Blueprint
Various Artists - Marr And Friends
Foreigner - The Very Best Of Foreigner
Fairport Convention - A Fairport History
King Crimson - Beat
Various Artists - I Am Sam

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Day Off Ramblings

Quotation of the day ~ Ian McEwan: However, withered, I still feel myself to be exactly the same person I've always been. Hard to explain that to the young. We may look truly reptilian, but we're not a separate tribe.

Finally getting around to reading Ian McEwan's latest novel, "Sweet Tooth," which i bought over a month ago, but hadn't managed to open until just recently. My, that man can write! The prose flows. (The above is a quotation from what is probably his best book, "Atonement." )

Yes, it's my day off, at last, and i'm quite knackered after a very stressful week at the beanery.  The Easter weekend is traditionally a very slow one in the restaurant biz (where, as penance for the sins of a previous life, i am employed). Well, in brief, tradition was blown all to smithereens this weekend: we got (to use an industry term) smoked every day of it. I mean, i like to be busy -- it means i get paid every week -- but it can get ridiculous at times.

So, i spent the morning listening to the radio online (www.boom973.com to be precise), scrubbed dear Catieboo's litterbox, did minimal housework, went out for breakfast -- to A & W, for two sausage 'n' eggers, probably the only thing on their entire menu that i like -- sat with my butt parked in front of the computer for a while, and then ate lunch (a roast beef samwidge on a kaiser) and watched this DVD:

Errmmm.... I didn't like it that much. Meg Ryan was magnificent but it was a pretty sordid tale and rather a mess, really. I should stick to sci-fi/fantasy/action/adventure. I'm too old to have to try to cope with sexual politics...

And here's the latest from my CD collection:

And that's all for today, boys and girls