Poor Canada!

From the CBC:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper snubbed U2 singer and activist Bono at
the G8 summit, saying he is too busy to discuss the African AIDS crisis
with him.

Wow. Stephen Harper is really hardcore. He is definitely not a people’s Prime Minister. This reaction clearly shows his dedication to Canada’s rich, conservative elite. He has only one thing on his mind: Money, and how to help rich people keep it. I’m not saying the grass was greener with the Liberals; that government is equally loosey-goosey. And the ADQ/Bloc/Parti Quebecois or whoever is in charge now…it’s a mess over there. NDP have a better mandate but money won’t vote in virtue. And Jack Layton has got to get rid of the ‘stache.

I hate money. I hate the gross cycles money forces us into. As we get older it creeps in and tries to take over, pounding the message: “if you don’t have money then your life sucks.” And its bullshit. What if we learned to actually enjoy our lives? What if we didn’t spend half our time coveting what someone else has? What’s the point of comparing your life to someone else’s? It’s a wasteful, selfish obsession. Why not learn to love and appreciate your reality? We are dealt the cards at the hand of fate, luck and some sort of karmic energy. But I believe that if you believe, I mean truly believe in yourself and in love and compassion, it will be returned to you.

Bottom line? Stephen Harper is rolling furiously along the highway to Hell. We can commend his hard work ethic but seriously could he be more unlikeable? Just suck it up and shake hands with Bono, pretend for a second you are a regular person with feelings. Oh well. Oh Canada.

Canada’s Next Top Model

Ohmigod. I didn’t even know there was a Canada’s Next Top Model. I am ashamed and fascinated. This is so Canadian that I don’t even think it airs in Montreal. Anyway, I have I mentioned before that I love America’s Next Top Model? Tyra Banks is totally nuts, but she’s not even the best part. The infatuation comes with the presentation of the whole thing, the farcical, forced, scripted spontaneity. It’s almost so predictable and crappy that it’s like watching a car crash: potentially horrific, but you have to look. And the girls are really and truly stereotypical bubbily waifs, and the ones who have an ounce of brains make the show a dramatic endeavour. I was watching FT and they have a show that was literally a recap of the last season of Britain’s Next Top Model. It is really amazing how you can see a nation’s identity from the people in reality shows, from the situations the producers create to entertain people like me, the lowest common denominator.

Weekend in Toronto, ON (The ‘Ront)

1) We listened to DNTO on the drive down to Toronto. It was timed perfectly: Neptune fell asleep and Sook-Yin took us all the way to Kingston. At any rate, the CBC loves to play it’s Canadian indie-folk-rock, and I realised just how much musicians from Ontario love their banjo. Its a staple, part of Ontario’s identity, I suppose. Listen for it…

2) Because we are obsessed, we did a mini Restaurant Makeover tour. Basically anytime I saw a place in Toronto that’s been on the show I would point it out to Murray and we would get all excited, as if we’d just seen some big celebrity. It was pretty pathetic, really. We only saw two (Grappa and Saigon Flower), and the designers kind of homogonise/sterilise the look of the restaurants anyway. But it is 100% entertaining, so I call that a success.

3) It is confirmed, the world is crumbling and its not just us. I was reading a Toronto Star review of the Monterey Pop 40 year anniversary CD (which I can’t find online…sorry!). While the review of the tracks was moderately favourable, the writer touched on an interesting idea. He drew parallels between the socio-cultural climate then (1967) and now (2007): a war nobody cares about (Vietnam/Iraq), general malaise about the human condition, the crumbling environment, uncertainy about the future, and a shift in the recording industry (vinyls replaced by tapes or 8-tracks & our digital downloading era). Also the writer touched on the calibre of music created in uncertain times: is this a human reflex, to connect with better music when our society is fractured? How does a society reconcile these things that are bigger than us, things that are overwhelming for any individual to take on? Sometimes my heart is so heavy with the terrible and idiotic state of the world. Canadians, North Americans are all confused, lost and misguided in their own way. But we are slowly realising that it is time to take control of our lives, to walk the fine line between a money-driven life and one driven by Love. But its not just us: friends in different cities and of varying ages, are feeling the same and sensing the pressure it puts on their daily lives, on getting their shit together, on realising who they are. It was strange to randomly have similar conversations with different people: Maggie, Amanda, Kevin B., all saying the same thing about their lives. Amanda described the crossover as “rhizomal.” She also had the idea totally conceptualised, which would be a whole other thing to get into.

Poland Blog

What is up with Poland? I mean, I love the country dearly. It is where my family is from, and is a frigging strong nation having been through the crap it’s dealt with over the past century. Poland is definitely more hardcore than Canada in a historical sense. But seriously, they are really rocking the Eastern Bloc chic. I started to rock it for a while. My tribute was paid in the form of accessorizing with several thin, gold charm necklaces, one with a charm depicting a swooping, golden eagle. That, and my patent leather heels. Sometimes I go into H&M and I’m like: “Wow, this shit is so ugly,” and I know it was designed by and for Eastern Europeans. The Dears were supposed to go to St. Petersburg to play a show a few years ago. It fell through, which made me sad because I’ve never been further East in Europe than Germany, which is pathetic.

One point for Poland: Poles aim for mass guitar record
This shows their savvy; this is the way to get your country back on the cultural landscape. And of course, the song selection of “Hey, Joe” by Hendrix (wicked) is priceless.

One point against Poland:
Poland targets ‘gay’ Teletubbies
How many years behind the times are they over there? Do they have a news embargo in effect or something? They must have the internet by now! This is so eight years ago. If you’re gonna bandwagon then bandwagon properly, don’t hop on the bandwagon after its been retired and pulled off the road.

May Two-Four (Long Weekend Blog)

The weekend has been fun. Although I don’t have a 9-to-5 grind to escape from, there’s still a grind that I like to forget. I’ve been pretty lazy; gone to the park with Neptune a bunch of times, walked to the market, planted flowers, got frustrated with Garage Band, you know. Lazy stuff. When the weather gets nice (which feels like its never going to actually happen) everybody comes out and brings it into the streets. Its fun because there are a lot of kids that play in the laneway behind the house. Neptune has thrown rocks down into the sewer with the two little girls next door on a few occasions. I had a full-out Park-Ex day on Saturday. The weather was perfect and the Exxers were out in full force.

I was in the laneway with Neptune. She was going nuts, just laughing and running around with other kids. She actually ran up to a little girl she’d never met and they gave each other a big hug! It was really cute. But anyway, we were there and suddenly an older woman came up to me and held her hand out to me. I was like: “What?” She was saying something to me in another language, nodding, holding out her hand and just like: “Yes. Give it to me. I know you have it. Money.” I was very surprised because she didn’t look poor or homeless or desperate at all. I gave her all the change I had and she was still asking for more. I think she wanted some bills. Anyway I said that was it, and she just walked away.

Our backyard is far from luxurious. It is fully paved with cement, is adorned with crusty chairs, old bricks, lumber scraps and some Greek shipping barrels that have been converted into planters. One of the girls from next door asked me first if we had a backyard, then if we had a sandbox in our backyard, and then if we bought that sand. I told her Neptune’s grandfather got it for her, but it was a serious interrogation. Where was she going with that?

We also have degenerates living across the street. I saw them chasing a new little puppy, down the street. It wasn’t wearing a collar, and so the guy grabbed the dog aggressively by the tail or whatever he could get his hands on, causing the dog to yelp painfully. I was just like: “Irresponsible dog owner. One loser of thousands.” But then later on that same day I was going to the store and saw the same dog in the streets, through the intersection, people stopping and staring at this cute floppy puppy running free, following random people, trying to get on the bus. And no owner in sight. He was probably sitting on his balcony, yelling with his girlfriend, screaming into the phone about money and things like “Don’t worry about it I’ll get it for you.”

Sometimes I feel like I go outside and everyone looks at me and thinks: “Oh, she watches Scrubs.” Anyway, who cares. I get my sunglasses at the DollarTheque and my shorts at Garage just like everyone else. It’s fricking Canada. That’s just how it is.


Thursday in the Garden

I have taken on an adversary larger than myself. It looks unassuming now, a short, yellow cornflower-like weed. A fluffy line of them, cute against the stone of the house. But its been growing unchecked for years now. Its growing underneath rocks, hugging the foundation, hiding in the armpits of other plants. I don’t even know its name, but it is shameless. In a few weeks it will sprout with tiny leaves, which will grow and grow into 4-inch, pubescent webbed leaves. It will then spend the summer growing and growing into an undefined, front-garden’s worth of boring leaves. My baby cedar trees standing over it, rolling their eyes and how lame their feet look. So when the lovely weather kicked in on Thursday, after our ridiculous, post-Easter snowstorm (sooo Montreal), I tackled it. I thought about buying a hand tiller (I thought the spiky wheels would eat through the roots like a carnivore), but, as any good vegetarian would, decided to try first with the following tools: pitchfork, hand rake, gardening trowel, hand claw thing and work gloves. Unfortunately for me, I was the most useful tool, alongside work of a back-breaking calibre. Two words describe the menace: tap roots. An unrelenting underground network of soft, thin arteries, linked to other plants, the next clump of flowers, woven into the soil by tiny veins, adored by worms. I must have chopped a dozen worms in half while hacking at uprooted clumps to shake off the soil. But cut worms just grow back into two new worms, (right?) so I was doing everyone a favour. After an hour of investigative extractions, they appeared to be all gone. I’ll give it a few days and see what’s left, wether or not they stay down or try to make a comeback. We will see wether or not more drastic measures are required. For now my garden is a block of overturned dirt, three little cedar trees and a handful of struggling crocuses.

Coldest Day

Quote from a Tim Horton’s: “Why’re you mopping the floor? Its just gonna go back dirty.” Hot damn, its good to be back in Canada. Its great. The weather is shit and I cleaned garbage from the front of the house and was loving it. How do those kinds of things get all tangled in the weeds anyhow? Coffee cups, lottery tickets, plastic bags, candy wrappers, scraps of wood, soda cans. Anyway, that’s what I look forward to. Now it’s all just messed up under the snow. I’ll get back to it in the spring…which won’t happen here until May.

With Love, From Calgary

Is the darkness eroding our spirit? If we were touring some uplifting, four on the floor, George Benson schnitz, would we be happier, more pleased, wanting to dance always? Is that how the Scissor Sisters would feel after a four month tour? While in Glasgow for our last show, I was in a cafe where I actually heard the theme from the show Taxi. Does anyone remember that funky yet sad little ditty? I guess that’s what we would play: melancholic hold music. Maybe its the cold, or the snow, or the continued absence of the sun, or the fact that of all places in Canada, it is the coldest where we are right now. Maybe the darkness is following us? Time to retreat to video games, I think.

One of the painfully normal things I enjoy about being at home

Can you imagine the number of burnouts reality TV is producing? My new favourite is Rockstar: Supernova. The amazing thing is the “contestants” can barely sing; they are all preoccupied with looking the part and having the right moves and accessories. Its amazing entertainment, seeing these people so embarassingly caught up in themselves. Krief saw the show last night and recognised the Toronto guy: “No way! I had beers with that guy a few months ago. He actually went up to sing on the open mike night at the bar.” See now that’s dark. That guy (Lukas something) is a burnout in waiting. Imagine all the instances in our futures, at the pub, chatting with some ding dong who’s proclaimed that the highlight of his life was being on so-and-so reality show. Its so widespread that our paths will cross sooner or later….just a matter of time.