( Thursday, August 28, 2008 )


After many long, sad, lonely months of going without, Relevant Magazine has finally re-launched their famed Relevant TV.

It's music videos.
It's a lot of music videos.
It's free music.
It's rad.

Do it. I know you want to.

( Sunday, August 24, 2008 )


There have been some ideas brewing and percolating and simmering (time for a coffee, methinks) in my gut for a while now, each deserving time and thought and care before being spewed out into the tangible universe. Two of those ideas are on the subjects of wonder and love, respectively, and both were inspired by movies, music, books, and something I heard someone say.

While I try to punch out my thoughts on the 104 or so keys of my keyboard -- letters, dashes and dots and digits, backspaces and word spaces -- I have some homework for you:

For the first topic, Wonder,
1. Watch In The Shadow of the Moon;
2. Read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly;
3. Listen to Sigur Rós' "Sæglópur".

( Friday, August 22, 2008 )

If we knew each other's secrets, what comforts we should find.

(John Churton Collins)

( Friday, August 08, 2008 )

Q & A: Video Store Edition

Question: What is the most commonly used phrase in a video store?

Answer: "It's supposed to be pretty good."

Next time you happen upon a video store, go inside, casually pretend to browse, and pay attention to the couples or the parents and their kids or the little old ladies searching earnestly for a movie they'll agree on. I guarantee* 7 out of 10 times you will hear that phrase, or one of its variants.

Some examples of similar commonly used phrases in video stores around the globe:
  • "I've heard a lot of good things about it."
  • "I think it got pretty good reviews."
  • "It's won some awards, too, I think."
  • "It looks good."
Of course, the movie being referred to is, usually, none of the above: it's not good, most people who've seen it agree it's not good, the reviews were mediocre at best, the award in question was from a local Low Budget Low Concept Sci-Fi and Gore Convention that 3 people attended (2 of whom actually made the movie), and the over-the-top-ultra-photoshoped cover is not only the best thing about the movie, it's also a knock-off of a much more expensive and marginally better Hollywood blockbuster.

Case in point: last week I was at the video store and I overheard a discussion that a guy and his girlfriend were having about the movie they were looking at, a discussion in which several of the aforementioned phrases were used verbatim. The movie being considered? Awake.

Between my deep, gut-wrenching sobs and the sackloth and ash ritual I had begun to perform on behalf of humanity and those poor souls--like me--who had subjected themselves to such a magnificently bad "movie", I let out a little laugh, loud enough for them to hear and look my way. I offered them a pained smile and shook my head. They looked at me, looked at each other, looked at the movie . . . and proceeded to take it to the counter, avoiding eye contact with me as they passed. I wept myself to sleep that night, empathizing with those strangers and the painful, heartbreaking, eye-gauging experience they were no doubt sharing.

Please, do me a favour: if you ever hear someone say "It's supposed to be good," and, curious, you look over to see Hayden Christenson or Paul Walker or another actor in their caliber of awfulness on the cover, I beg you, violently swipe every copy onto the floor and scream at the top of your lungs, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they watch!"
(Adding a few tears would work in your favour, I expect. FYI.)

(*There are no guarantees in life, son.)

( Monday, August 04, 2008 )

Walt Whitman, Ransom Notes, and a 3 Pound Brain

I'm sitting on an uncomfortably small, black chair, staring at an empty, beige wall, trying to think of some interesting, colourful thing to say. Forsaking both interest and colour in favour of quantity, however, has allowed me to share the following six thoughts.

(Those two sentences took me over 24 hours to write. Not a good sign. I originally started writing about how bothersome an ingrown hair can be, but after some careful consideration and a good nights sleep, I decided against it.)

Thought # One: The idea popped into my head a few weeks ago (literally, popped. The guy in line behind me at the grocery store even heard it. He said he was a doctor and that sound in my head wasn't a good thing. We'll see, old man. We shall see.) to combine a whole bunch of bits of lyrics that have stood out to me, from songs that have graced my ear canals at some point or another, to create a mosaic of my thoughts. Has that ever been done before? You know, a collage of words? I guess the idea is similar to one of those ransom notes, where the words are taken from various magazines and newspapers and the like, and arranged in some creative and threatening fashion. Except I wouldn't be demanding money, or have someone important tied up in my basement, or actually be physically cutting and pasting anything anywhere and having it sent to the head of the Hostage Negotiation Team or to the important person's relatives. But I think it could be interesting. In a non-life threatening or extended prison term sort of way, I mean.

Thought #Two: Our lives aren't linear. Not really, anyway. Sure, we're all destined to follow a specific order of things: ie. time -- birth, the creamy-middle-part-that-is-life, and death. But during that creamy middle part, nothing happens in a neat, step by step sort of way. It's pretty messy. It's kind of like a can of silly string. Birth is when someone hits the dispenser, life is the string flying and sticking everywhere and upsetting unsuspecting passerby's, and death is when the can is empty.

Thought # One + # Two = # Three: I was thinking about this, and thinking about my lyrical collage idea, because I noticed how in 10 different songs over the span of an hour I could pull out 100 personally meaningful thoughts that affect different aspects of my life or current situations I'm facing. And I thought, wow, there is never just one thing happening to me, never one emotion or one decision or one plan or one temptation or one mistake or one idea. (It reminds of Walt Whitman's poem Song of Myself, where he said, "I am large, I contain multitudes.")

There's always a lot going on in our tiny, 3 lb. brains. Most of it we don't even realize until something reminds us of it -- like music. But it amazes me how our minds are constantly in motion, always processing, always connecting thoughts, always sorting and sifting and working through the cluttered mess we fill it with.

Thought # One + # Two + # Three = # Six: In an unexpected turn of events, and fully contradicting what I just wrote, I have confused myself and forgotten the entire point of what I was originally going to say. This reminds me of the previous couple lines of Walt Whitman's poem: "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

C'est la vie.