Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I took Bruce Robinson's Paranoia in the Launderette on the bus with me today. I read it twice; it's only a wee book. The climactic scene contains one of the classic lines of all time: "I'm not in here to hurt anyone. I'm a professional writer."

What makes me paranoid in the launderette is the extractor—that rattling aluminum centrifuge. I don't trust it. Right when it reaches maximum RPMs, I'm afraid it's going to fly apart and pierce me with shrapnel. How well is it maintained? Will that kill switch really work? Does the 50 cents I feed it save me more than 50 cents of drying time, and is that worth the apparent danger?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I had to look up "Fiji Mermaid" for a story on Mastodon I'm editing this morning. Here's one. Hott!

I think I'll go get the new Mastodon album today. The release date isn't for a few days, but I saw it in stores last weekend.

NP: Melvins – Stag

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I witnessed a colossal car crash at Commercial and Broadway last Friday. I heard it first. I was on the bus, waiting for the light to cross Commercial. Everyone on the bus stood up and gasped. One guy even put down his cell phone in mid-conversation. I looked over in time to see a minivan roll over onto its side after being t-boned by a sporty sedan that (I think) had run the red light. Someone inside the minivan stuck his arm out the window as it came down to meet the pavement, like they thought they could hold the vehicle upright.

The sound of the crash really struck me. It wasn't just one huge "crash," it was two sounds. The initial impact made a loud popping noise, which was followed by a quick swishing sound of shattered glass hitting the road. POP-swish.

I hope everyone was okay. My bus waited for a minute at the intersection, then started on its route up Broadway. Near Fraser, we passed the ambulance heading to the scene.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Movies are an excellent way to feed your head when you've been cooped up too long. Fancylady and I went to Tinseltown Saturday afternoon to see Napoleon Dynamite, then decided to make it a “revenge-of-the-teenage-nerds” movie weekend by renting Elephant that night. We chose well; they’re both great movies. Napoleon fuses the underdog comedy of Freaks and Geeks with the Nowheresville, USA freakshow elements of Gummo and somehow gets everything right, with humour that isn’t crass or precious, just consistently, painfully hilarious. I’ll never grate cheese the same way again.

Elephant was completely different and just as good. It’s one of the most beautiful horror movies I’ve ever seen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

That was scary.

Almost as soon as I got fancylady home from Sage Hill, she landed in a pile of female trouble. I'd just logged on at work Friday when I heard that Mel was taking her to emergency. I shut down and went over to VGH. Jenn was laid out in an emergency room, where she stayed for the next nine hours while every doctor and student doctor in the place stopped by to ask her the same questions. They added morphine to her drip at regular intervals, but it wasn't doing the job. At 1:00 AM she went for an exploratory, where the surgeon found something really bad and cut it out.

Despite the aftereffects of surgery and enough morphine to knock out Keith Richards, she was back to her old self on Saturday. God, it was such a huge relief not to see her in pain anymore. The scariest events on Saturday were (for me) phoning fancy's mom, whose reaction was predictible ("This is the last thing I need"), and (for fancy) when her IV vein collapsed and her hand went all puffy. We can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible.

I brought her back to our place on Sunday. She's mobile over short distances and eating lots of frozen yoghurt. Thanks to Mel for being a good, decisive friend, to Adam and Erin for also being so great, to Jimmy Pattison for his Pavilion, and nurses Trish and Lindsay for not being afraid to open the medicine cabinet and for taking such good care of the belter.

I've tuned my guitar down to B for my new gore-grind number, "Ovarian Torsion and Necrosis."

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

With Fancylady writing like mad in Sage Hill for ten days, I figured I might as well fly somewhere and do something creative too. So I WestJetted to Edmonton last Wednesday night to visit my friend Greg and the rest of the Pohl-Deneka clan. We had five days' worth of jamming and recording in Greg's garage studio, along with our Dead City Radio bandmate Adam. We got a lot done—overdubbing songs we'd recorded the previous two years and writing a half dozen new things. I think we've got enough material now for about three decent-length releases, including the highly anticipated Burgess Shale project due sometime in 2005.

Hanging out with the Pohl-Denekas is always fun. Their place is somewhere in the woods outside Sherwood Park. I lose all sense of direction when I'm out there. The road's out front and the trees are in the back; that's all I know. It's quieter and far more rural than Mayne Island. There, we get deer tiptoeing through the arbutus leaves, whereas Barb and Greg have moose plowing through their back forty, leaving piles of golfball-sized poops behind. We went for a walk through the backyard trails one afternoon, which is when I got most of my bug bites. The mosquitoes are vicious this year, swarming and aggressive, frantically injecting anticoagulants the second they land on you.

Back to the fun. You'd have a hard time finding a cooler family than the Pohl-Denekas. I could almost be persuaded that breeding in the 21st Century is a good idea based on the example they set. Greg and Barb's kids, Amelia (7) and Colin (4) are at a really enjoyable age. Amelia walks around with a habitual giggle that sounds like she's enjoying one of a large stash of private jokes. Colin's into performing whisper-to-a-scream versions of "This Old Man" daily, strumming the open strings of a guitar and stopping when the numbers get too high or he runs out of rhymes ("This old man, he played seven, he played knick-knack on his...Oh no."). They're both good, happy kids, and like their folks, there's nothing about the natural world that they don't know. Thanks to Amelia, I'll never mistake a damselfly for a dragonfly ever again.

So it goes without saying that the parenting is top-notch, but Greg and Barb are both maintaining their own scenes (and, ergo, their sanity)—Barb with her yoga training and Greg with the music. When the adult interests and the child-rearing clash, it's usually pretty funny, such as an incident last week when Greg had to pick a clump of Silly Putty off his reunion tour Pixies hoodie.

Yeah, everything's pretty harmonious out there in the woods, except for the noise we make out in the garage.