Voter Turnout: New Story

Natalia reads her latest topical speculative fiction: Voter Turnout. Listen and download for free. Vapes! Drones! Tattoos! This story has it all.

Flash Fiction (2) – A Poetry Book & Podcast

As 2013 draws to a close, I’m pleased to announce my participation in the Yellow Bird Project’s “Selected Poems by Indie Rock Stars.”

While I’d hardly call myself a “star,” much less self-identify as an “indie rocker,” the inclusion of a mysterious piece I wrote called “Flash Fiction (2)” is tons of fun. You can sign up to receive a poem a week leading up to the release of the poetry book in January. And if you scroll down and look through the “A Taster” section, you can both read AND listen to my reading of the piece. Anyhow, I’ll keep this short and sweet. It’s an honour to be included.

Here’s a very weird illustrated portrait of moi taken from the book:

Screen shot 2013-12-21 at 12.34.20 PM

I hope everyone out there has a great holidays and happy new year. All my love to you, Natalia.

Better Late Than Never

I promised a new story last week — a deadline I completely failed to meet. I hope you will forgive me.

This story, entitled “After All,” was written with a very moderate audience in mind. I had initially written it for a CBC writing competition, so I challenged myself to write a “tame” story. Here’s the description:

Robots are the main companions for the elderly in this heartwarming portrait of two unlikely friends. 

I promise I won’t wait a year before releasing another story. The next one will be a lot darker and give you something to sink your teeth into. For now, some springtime fluff to help get you through your daily commute, or however you use things like this. Enjoy!

Listen on Bandcamp or Soundcloud. Read the story below, or on Scribd.

The First Short Story

Last night I published a short story called Final Fridays <– read it by clicking on the link. It's very short, and also there is a podcast of me reading the story that Murray helped me record. It's my first one (both publicly released fiction and podcast) so there are some kinks to work out on the technical/distribution side. Eentually I'd like to have the podcast be a regular thing everyone could get the RSS feed to, or download through iTunes, etc. I suppose for that, it would be more useful to have more than one "episode."

Because I care, I just now decided to email YOU the link to the podcast if you write to me at: JUST BECAUSE I CARE. I appreciate the fact that you're reading my blog. (Update: I will NOT spam you.)

And if you still are thirsting for MORE, read the interview I did about this writing project. Although, I was slightly misquoted. Indie-rock sci-fi is supposed to be a “Pitchfork-near-future-DYstopia” not “utopia.” That made the joke not-funny. But that’s not what I’m writing about: I roll my eyes a full 360° at the triteness of the idea.

More to come….now the pressure is on to write!

Have you Subscribed yet?

Tuesday 17 May: The pressure is on to produce something enthralling, tantalizing, a teaser that will leave you wanting more. What am I talking about? The great science fiction writing project, of course! Ok, ok. Not that great. But on Wednesday 1 June I will post (via Scribd) my first piece of publicly available fiction! And if you subscribe to my Scribd page you will be rewarded with a free download of the podcast of ME! reading the story. Let it be known, that it is pretty short, and could be described as “The Office” meets “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” But I’m just sayin’.

So my excuse for not writing here is that I’m writing somewhere else. Also, I was just asked to basically create art for a super cool camera company (details to follow) and since I’m not a visual artist, this makes May the month of reinvention!

Underground Sounds

On Monday, August 23rd I’ll be returning to my old stomping ground: CKUT. I spent about 4 years co-hosting Underground Sounds on CKUT with Agata De Santis. Now Agata is leaving the show – after 15 years of holding down the fort. On Monday the dream team reunites as I join Agata as co-host of Underground Sounds.

Underground Sounds has been a show on CKUT since, well, forever. The show mandate is to promote local and independent music, with an overall emphasis on Canadian bands and artists. I learned a lot doing that show, and really liked the rock’n’roll boot camp afforded by volunteering at the station. In addition to hosting the show I was given a weekly stack of promo CDs to listen to and categorise for the station’s music library. I can’t imagine, nearly ten years since I left the station, how they’ve managed to maintain an ever-growing library that was already bursting at the seams, like a mini musical archive, walls lined with vintage vinyl on bowing shelves.

Anything I wanted to hear was there, anything I’d heard about or read about, I could listen to and I felt really lucky to have that privilege…just by being a volunteer. I suppose that these days this isn’t such an exclusive thing – everything is digitised now and can be previewed usually for free on the internet. I was at CKUT between 1996-2000, in the years before the internet broke and the term “MP3” was in its infancy.

All of this “radio talk” has got me to thinking: podcast? The idea’s been floating around in my mind for a few weeks now, but I was always troubled by the idea of what I would fill a podcast with. I’m totally stoked to be going back to CKUT, even if it’s just for one night because it’s got the ideas flowing…maybe I should go back on a more regular basis? And who are the new kids hanging out at the station? What’s the vibe over there? CKUT continues to have some really great music programming: if you haven’t already, consider listening to shows like The Lion’s Den, New Shit, Roots Rock Reggae, Positive Vibes, and the quintessential 90’s Montreal rock show, Aack! Check the programming grid for downloads of all these shows. Consider it a lesson in what makes this city tick.

Radio has certainly changed a lot, since the fall of the “analog” or “physcial” music industry. Everything is digital now, and local radio is less about who is listening locally and more about the city that informs it’s programming. The popularity and portable-ness of online media has pretty much allowed radio to remain relevant. Stations like WFMU in Jersey City really set the bar: local freeform radio without commercial constraints, supported by a far-reaching community of dedicated listeners. Music “culture” has become so sadly diluted by corporate incentives, marketing bravado, hidden subtexts and carbon-copy, cookie cutter bands. And all that totally drains the soul out of art.

CKUT has remained pretty much un-compromised, with music shows curated by music lovers for music lovers. Take a listen, volunteer for an afternoon, support your local station.

Underground Sounds: Tune in and listen: Monday August 23rd from 8-10PM EST on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal and online at I’ll also post a link to the show/podcast once it is archived. Call us while we’re on the air on Monday: 514.448.4013.

Use the comments below to let me know if you think I should make a second go of this radio thing. Would you download/listen to my podcast?

Memories of the Futurecast

I’m writing this on an aeroplane. We finally got out of Montreal, after two rounds of de-icing amid the city’s first insane snowstorm of the year. I also just discovered that I can use this WordPress app on my Blackberry, offline. This will seriously change travel blogging for me. Game changer for sure.

Murray is in the seat next to me, totally passed out, in a deep catch-up (and neck-breaking) slumber. He stayed up all night working on music. We’re en route to Los Angeles, for meetings, and to see Morrissey.

As I prepared for this trip, I anticipated delays, missed connections, weather problems, mechanical failure and, bottom line, lots of waiting. I loaded my iPod Nano (courtesy of Apple Canada) with suitably brain numbing material, including the latest Hype Machine podcast, the movie “Step Brothers” and a few episodes of Wil Wheaton’s “Memories of the Futurecast.”

I know, you’re like: “Who the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is Wil Wheaton?” He’s Wesley Crusher, from TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’ll admit this here and now (if I haven’t already): I was a huge TNG fan. I actually went to a Star Trek convention in Toronto with my dad when I was like 16. We had to drive to some once glorious hotel out by the airport; the whole experience was a little overwhelming, with full-makeup klingons and every second person in a Starfleet Academy uniform of some sort. An engineer by trade, my dad is big into sci-fi. As a kid, if I wanted to watch TV on our single TV in the evenings, I would have to submit to his choices which I remember as: Dr. Who, Star Trek (original series), Star Trek: TNG, X-Files, and that new Twilight Zone show.

I haven’t seen an episode of TNG in a while and when I do, it breaks with my romantic recollections of the show: there’s something a little cheap about TNG (maybe that was just the 90’s aesthetic), and definitely cheesy. Dare I say, schmultzy. Wil Wheaton’s character was probably my least favourite. Even though we were (and still are) around the same age, and he was set up to be a tween sci-fi heart throb, I thought of him as, well, sort of the Jar Jar Binks (sorry, Wil) of the show.

In Memories of the Futurecast, Wil basically talks about this: he speaks endearingly about his character, his experiences as a teenaged geek-turned-actor, and the total dramz of the show. It’s very casual and candid; the way I would talk like to about TNG among friends….if I had any friends that took the show that seriously. Murray’s an original series guy, and I don’t have any friends who I talk to on this kind of precise, nerdy-fan level (and its probably better that way). Anyhow, now I have Wil in my online life: my new, nerdy, arm’s length, digital friend. Friend may be too strong a word: maybe just a follower. Or fan? This all sounds creepy and a little sad. Thus is my life.

At any rate, while I’m enjoying it, be warned: Memories of the Futurecast is very, very geeky and for hardcores only. Find it on Wil Wheaton’s blog.

New Look, No Reason

You may not have even noticed, but I changed the look of my blog today. There was no particular reason: changing of the seasons, boredom, procrastination. Any of these could apply. I’ve recently written a bunch of blog entries that I just don’t want to post. They are either too revealing, too spicy, too personal. So I just save them and do other things like re-skinning my blog.

Speaking of spicy, revealing and personal, Murray did an interview recently with a local bloggers on Square Quotes. I was listening to the podcast yesterday and it’s pretty real. Murray also does an intimate acoustic performance of “Money Babies.” It is also very Montreal, attitude-wise: so catch a glimpse of what makes this city tick. Please don’t hold it against us.