Totally Looks Like

Around these parts, we’ve been taking heavy doses of Battlestar Galactica. We quickly (and correctly) deduced the actor playing Colonel Saul Tigh was Canadian, due to his crazy Can-con accent. After that we kind of couldn’t take him as seriously because…ahem:

COL. TIGH…

TOTALLY LOOKS LIKE MR. LAHEY.

From Trailer Park Boys. Inspired by one of my new favourite places to go for a laff, TotallyLooksLike.com. OK. Gonna go watch me some more Battlestar Galactica, as a reward for finally finishing an EPIC grant completion.

Philosophy of Hallow’een

The philosophy of Hallow’een frustrates me: it is a 100% #firstworldproblem. It is a consumer’s holiday, an event which promotes nothing but shopping. Even the notion of generosity is overlooked: we buy candy to give away to kids, but can you imagine how better spent that money could be? Say a normal family spends $20 on candy, $35 on a costume and another $20 on decorations. What if they instead gave $10 of that $95 to a charity? Like the Food Bank or Dans La Rue, to feed street kids real food? Maybe its because when I was growing up, I always wore those orange cardboard UNICEF collection boxes. That was a great idea, great marketing, but it disappeared.

Maybe I was set off by watching a show last night that took you inside people’s over-the-top Hallow’een homes. Or perhaps because I saw costumes at the big box store, and was grossed out by how cheaply they were made and by how flammable they looked: a fairy costume for kids ran $35 before tax. Don’t even get me started on adults who dress up. Mind: blown.

So I do appreciate the moms that recycle costumes, or DIY them (a friend is making a paper mach horse for her son’s cowboy costume). I’m into that: keeping it imaginative, fulfilling and fun. Not expensive and competitive, which I think some people get carried away by. It’s more fun to be ghetto that to be the best.

Speaking of which, I’ll post some progress pics of the Squidward costume tomorrow.

Squidward Costume Anxiety

For Halloween this year, my 4-year-old has told me she wants to dress up as Squidward Tentacles from Spongebob. I’ve been to the big box stores, and there are no Spongebob character costumes, which leaves me one option: DIY.

This is a fine line: I don’t want the costume to be unidentifiable, or ghetto, or not fun to wear. Also it’s getting cold outside so it also has to be toasty. This is not going to be easy. Maybe I can woo her with a frilly princess dress…

This mask would be a quick fix, only it is overpriced and probably adult-sized:

This looks uncomfortable. And too literal:

Quaint. Not my style:

The fun-ness would be in active legs: the extra pair of legs attached to her real legs so each pair of legs (one real, one fake) moved in tandem. Also was thinking of adding the Krabby Patty hat. Need to get to Value Village to source a white trucker’s hat.

OK. So today I have some work to do. I need to find:
1) Kids plain brown polo shirt.
2) Grey long-sleeved shirt + 2 pair matching leggings/pants.
3) 6 pairs grey sport socks to go over her hands & shoes. And stuffed one to be extra feet.
4) White trucker hat (possibly with blue bill).
5) Try to make a Squidward mask. Maybe some sort of mask/hood stuffed into the shape of his bulbous head and nose? And paint on a frown with makeup? I need grey face paint.

Seriously, I am into this costume over the standard fairy or princess. But it has to be fun. I’ll update developments as they come. You must be at the edge of your seat in anticipation!!!

Update: Check how the Squiward costume came out!

SAVIOUR + EOHBS is 10

There are two things happening Murray and I wanted to share with you.

1) We’ve made lots of videos, and have never worked with a more PRO dude than director Christohper Mills. I think we get each other, so we’ll let him do the talking:

“We had 12 hours to shoot one video, and ended up shooting 2 videos in 10 hours. It was a near perfect day.

Everyone in the band was plugged in and slathered in baby oil, and a giant fan blew dust all over the room. Everyone was on point, we had our shit together, and got a ton of great performance in the can.

Then, as an afterthought, I pitched the idea of laying SAVIOUR down to tape – just because we could, and because it was my favourite song on the record.

MURRAY and THE DEARS very generously obliged, and, as always, MURRAY consumed himself with the song, and delivered what for me, was one of the most honest, most real music video performances I’ve been lucky enough to shoot in my 12+ years of making videos.

AUX.TV has been generous enough to pony up to help us get the very simple, post work done on this little nugget. I hope this song is as transformative for you as it has been for me.

Love, Christopher.”

Following SAVIOUR is DISCLAIMER or “the best video that nobody saw.” The “short film” premiers at 7PM ET on AUX.TV.

2) In the Fall of 1999, Murray, Roberto, John Tod and I holed up in Andy from The Nul Set’s house in Westmount. We drank all his parent’s booze (even the peppermint schnapps), moved their dining room table into the kitchen and put mattresses up against their century-old windows. Then we made an album: End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story. We made an album and had no idea what we were going to do with it. No label wanted to release it because, at the time, it was too out there. Now Magazine described it simply: “Expect riots.”

So to celebrate our first album’s tenth birthday, we’ve decided to give the album to you; no remix or remaster, no extra tracks or a tacky badge. If you haven’t heard it, then you should: it’s the original hot mess.

Visit our online store and get a free, high quality digital download of End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story with any t-shirt order.

OK, OK. Enough of the sales pitch.

Just a huge thank you to you, for your support over the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds. However long it’s been. We’ll always love you back.

Natalia

P.S. Murray pledges that The Dears will deliver the greatest rock album ever made, sometime next year.

GOSSIP GIRL TONIGHT!

Um, yeah so I’ve never seen this show before but apparently on tonight’s episode of Gossip Girl (March 30th) you can hear one of our tracks from “Missiles” while full on-screen teen drama ensues. Which song? Watch to find out.

Guilty Pleasures

Sometimes when I do interviews, the questions is asked: “What is your guilty pleasure?” Lately I’ve been answering with America’s Next Top Model. I thought there could not be a show more empty, more shallow and without substance that this: and that’s what draws me in. No thinking required, and the occasional: “Wow, I can’t believe these are real people.” Which is why, last night, I got sucked into a Paris Hilton’s My New BFF marathon that was playing on Star TV. This show has even less substance that Top Model…in fact it has no substance at all. At least in Top Model the girls had a goal in life, a dream to live out, a destination in mind. This BFF show has none of that. The girls on the show are made to seem that they have no intention in life, no reason to work hard or be challenged on TV (or in reality) other than to hang out with a stranger who is really famous and really rich. It’s genius. Pure evil genius. And I watched three hour-long episodes in a row, mostly just to confirm that my mind was being boggled for the right reasons, that this show is nothing more than an infommercial for the Paris Hilton brand. Luckily for me the marketing had the opposite effect and after seeing what was apparently the gaudy interior of Ms. Hilton’s house, I vowed never to even go into a store that carried Paris Hilton merchandise.

Watching a train wreck happen before your eyes is definitely what makes reality TV so addictive and popular. Also it eliminates the need for full-time writers to be hired on a production. But even worse than American reality TV is Canadian reality TV. Namely our latest, guiltiest pleasure: Disband on MuchMusic. Based firmly in Toronto, this show has Greig Nori from Treble Charger following and coaching a new band along the seamy edges of the music biz, culminating with the band performing on TV and an ultimate decision by a panel of “experts” on whether or not the band in question should continue to exist or…DISBAND! It’s awesome. And brutal. Sometimes we see people we know on the show (not in the bands but industry types), which makes it all the more painful and dark.

Other than that, the only good shows on TV are Chef Abroad with Michael Smith, and of course Top Chef which are both guiltless pleasures. And Entourage. But until the next season of Lost starts in 2009, I’ll just be wallowing in rubbish reality TV.

Doppelgangers

I had written another post this morning but it was too dark so I’m putting it aside for, literally, a rainy day. It would just be more appropriate. Here’s something fluffy instead.

I was watching kid’s shows with Neptune today and this program called Yo Gabba Gabba was on. Everytime I see the host I’m just like: this guy is stealing Dev from Lightspeed Champion’s thing. You decide.

D.J. Lance Rock from Yo Gabba Gabba:

Dev from Lightspeed Champion

Three key elements are there: 1) Black guy; 2) Horn-rimmed glasses; 3) Crazy hair/hat. Other than that, they really are not alike at all. It’s like that time I got compared to Marvel Comic’s Silver Sable. But minus the enormous boobs. Anyway, this whole post is getting annoying so I’ll stop now.

Celebrity Blogging = Neo-Tastemaking

I don’t know how this happened, but I’ve become dangerously addicted to Perez Hilton‘s celebrity blog. I’m not sure I condone what he’s doing (though I am thoroughly entertained), but from what I’m learning about paparazzi culture, most celebrities tell the paps via their publicists or representatives when and where they are going to be. So essentially they brought that shiz upon themselves. I’m not sure, however, that the rabid swarmings that Britney, Brangelina or TomKat receive are entirely necessary.

Anyhow, I have to stop…my addiction lures me back several times a day. The passive voyeurism I’m always on about is starting to skew my perception of reality: between Perez and TMZ I’m starting to think that the general public’s lives are informed by these kinds of shows. Actually, I’m not so far off. After his party at SXSW, music industry types were grumbling that Perez’s opinion was more relevant than some old-world media. The quote is quite good: “There were some at SXSW who grumbled about the fact that a gossip maven has decision-making power in the industry.” It’s called a tastemaker, bitches.

The industry is changing rapidly; not just in the phasing out of the CD, and the rise of digital music, but also in the traditional “set-up” of an album. Obviously with our new album nearly completed, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Will Soundscan and first week sales cease to be a measure of success? For a band like The Dears, those things have never been something that redeem us: sadly, it often informs labels and how they work a record. But it’s refreshing to see bands like Raconteurs eschewing the norm, by suddenly announcing the release of their record for one week later. In the “News” section of their painfully ironic PET website, March 17th entry, they proclaim:

“We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one had an upper hand on anyone else regarding it’s availability, reception or perception.”

Let’s face it: albums only get leaked by the irresponsible use of promo copies. The 6-8 week lead up time is dead, and the tables are turning to return the power to the people. YOU decide, not the exclusive clubs created by media or industry. Bloggers call it…but Perez Hilton owns it.

Suddenly All Growed Up

Do you remember when it happened to you? Those years when you suddenly stopped being a child? It’s hard to recognise it when it’s actually happening: you only see it when you’ve fully grown and start to feel somehow redeemed as an adult human. My moment – triggered by the responsibility of a ‘zine – would mark the beginning of the end of innocence: no more Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Street Cents (back when it was hosted by Jonathan Torrens) after school. Then I would retreat to my room to listen to Vauxhaull and I, The White Album or Dark Side of the Moon on headphones. I would draw in ink and markers, urging out my teenage frustrations onto paper.

So what? Do I even know what I’m talking about? That is, am I that “redeemed adult human” I claim to be? Probably not. I mean, I fill empty hours playing video games and visiting perezhilton.com. I contemplated us adults, the grupsters, if you will: in following Wired.com coverage of the SXSW Interactive conference, I’ve realised how pervasive nerdiness is in our generation. We are attached by the hip to our gadgets and laptops, and we are suddenly crippled without WiFi or at least some kind of internet connection. I mean, during the last snowstorm here in Montreal, I considered the risk of a power outage, and that I’d might as well throw my iBook in the garbage should our wireless network go down. What am I going to do…organise my photos or edit a document? Actually, I wouldn’t be able to even do that since I started using Google Docs instead of shelling out for some bogus Microsoft software.

And the kids of today are just getting deeper into it. We joke about how Neptune will mock us when we mention cassette tapes: her music will just get downloaded directly into her brain or something like that. Preteens have mobile phones and have figured out BitTorrent. Neptune is surprisingly quick at learning how our gadgetry works: she can play games on my DS, un-hold and use the iPod, scroll through photos on my BlackBerry, put DVDs into and turn on the PS3, and click my laptop’s trackpad to start playback of funny cat videos on YouTube. And she’s only been here for 30 months.

This blog post doesn’t really have a thesis or point, so I will end my ramblings here. Maybe that’s what adulthood grants: long, rambling, roundabout thoughts in lieu of a youthful stroboscopic bombardment of media.

“Lost” and I

Being home (and not on tour) has allowed us to fall into some fairly pedestrian routines. Usually centered around some television event, Thursday nights have become Lost night. Previous domestic lock downs have included Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, and originated with earlier seasons of Amazing Race (now it sucks).

The thing that doesn’t work very well about Lost night is that I’ve only seen a few episodes from various seasons. It’s the sort of show that has so many meandering plots and twists and sub-plots that when I watch it with Murray I’m compelled to ask a bunch of questions during the commercial breaks: “Who’s Sawyer?” and “I thought that guy was dead?” and then more queries about the Dharma Initiative, The Others and The Oceanic 6. Even I think it’s annoying.

But I’m afraid to catch up because it would mean an incredible investment in TV time. Lost is already in its fourth season, meaning hours of watching. Once on tour I tried to start from the beginning. I was in my dark bunk on the tour bus, watching the first episode on my laptop. It made me really tense: my teeth were clenched the whole time and I had trouble falling asleep. Needless to say I didn’t invest much more time in Lost. I prefer to sleep.

Lost all started on the bus. Krief introduced the first season on DVD and immediately Murray and him were cracktastically addicted. They still call each other just to talk about it and the possible “theories.” I guess this is why the show is such a success, because it is so complex and multi-dimensional. And kind of scary.

Thursday nights are still fun, despite of my naïvieté.