Monday, June 30, 2008

Tin and rubber

Ten years ago today, Graham and I got together with some friends to record our very first song, "Edible Rubber". This group -- Graham, Jesse, me, and whoever else was at Jesse's house at the time -- was a nascent version of the unfortunately named Pirkinweed, our band.

About eight "members" came and went before we wrote our third song. About ten songs later I was almost ousted by everyone in the band who wasn't Graham, which I turned around by booting one of them. About ten more songs and we got Eric to play bass for us; about a year passed before my attempted ouster was avenged: our drummer was booted, and Eric became the drummer.

We changed our name to The Asbestos Concern. We thought we were good. We couldn't hold down a bass player. We never played a show. About twenty more songs got written; probably a third of them got recorded before the band bit the dust.

Yet for all those changes, "Edible Rubber" changed remarkably little from its original form, beyond Graham learning how to play guitar on all six strings instead of the top 3 he had been using (in hindsight, the lower three would have been a lot more useful). It was perfect already.

To celebrate the tin anniversary of our band, here's a video of a cat eating rubber:

We still think we were good.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New for 2008: the Fender Classic Player GASmaster

Ohh yeah... come to papa. Your little sister can come too.

Current Music: My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Murphy's Jaw

Here's a snippet I caught in the National Post on the plane to Paris with quotes from Chris Murphy of Sloan. He really does seem to come off as a huge asshole if you just read the quotes, but I imagine that they just seem that way out of context; if you've seen his interviews, it's easy to imagine him just tossing these lines off without any malice.

Chris Murphy is one of my heroes. Just look at how he rocks those double-bridged glasses -- it's intense. Sadly it's looking more and more like I won't end up being his west-coast counterpart, for lack of media savvy and musical success. At least I have two of his autographs now.

As for Sloan's new album, it's good. Sometimes really good (Jay), sometimes not so much (Andrew). What it is not is 2.5 stars, which is what Spin gave it in the very same issue that they give the new Coldplay 4.5 stars. Now, I'm not even through the new Coldplay yet, and I think it's pretty good, even, but let's just say I disagree with the assessment.

Current Music: Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends

Friday, June 27, 2008


(I originally intended to write this post yesterday in the terminal at YYZ, but the signs proclaiming "wireless internet everywhere in the terminal" failed to mention "for $5.50/hr".)

Yesterday I flew back to Berkeley from Paris, where I spent a great two and a half weeks visiting my sister, along with a three-day excursion to London. On my way back home, I passed through Toronto Pearson airport and used what may have been the very same moveators used by Feist in her My Moon My Man video -- I never miss a moveator opportunity. I considered jumping up and sitting on the handrail the whole way down, but I just didn't see myself doing it without also falling off the other side headfirst.

I love Toronto and almost wish I had scheduled a couple days there on my way home. That's part of why the waiting area after the US customs and security check is always my least favourite part of the airport because it's like you're already kind of in the US. Well, I don't want to be in the US right now, I want to be in Toronto, thank you. There was at least a Tim Hortons near my gate, but they didn't take debit and there were no cash machines around that provided Canadian cash. At least now I can pay for things with USD and not feel completely screwed on the exchange.

I also find it a little funny that Toronto Pearson, probably the single most important airport in Canada, got saddled with the callsign YYZ, almost the very last callsign in the book. I had thought it's because it's relatively new amongst Canadian airports, but a visit to Wikipedia says that's not the case, having existed in some form or another since 1939. Even Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ) has a better callsign, and you need a frickin' ferry to get there. Montreal-Trudeau (YUL) doesn't make much sense either, but at least there's an L in Montreal (and, I suppose, a U in Trudeau).

Finally, I considered including a Rush joke in here, but I just can't find the appetite to listen to the song now that Wikipedia has told me that it's an instrumental. From what I know about Rush, this means it's bound to be like 9 minutes long.

Current Music: Sloan - Parallel Play

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Foux da fa fa

Bonjour from Paris, where I have been since Tuesday. I'm staying with my sister and her family and have been playing lots with Thomas. My limited French is getting me through; I can at least communicate with most boulangerie workers, so I'm assured that I won't starve.

The thing I enjoy the most is the architecture. I've never seen anything like the old stone buildings here, like Notre Dame. I guess that's the beauty of such an old culture. What really amazes me, though, is that every church is just gorgeous. I'll get lost and sit down in a park to get my bearings, and there'll be another church, not a famous one or anything, and it's really incredible to look at. I still haven't seen an ugly church since I've been here. When I find one I'll take pictures.

Tomorrow I head off to London and I'll be there until Wednesday. Good times.

Current Music: Flight of the Conchords - Foux Da Fa Fa