Things That Waste My Time

American Idol.

Bad produce which must be sorted through to find the one good asian pear.

Snow that has the audacity to fall on roads on which I choose to drive.

Cyclists, though I've been over this already.


Okay, for real this time

When was the last post?
September 24th.

Fucking weak.

I haven't sat my ass down and done this in four months. A third of a year. 1/81st of my life has gone by since I assumed you're all somehow interested, and I just let it slip through my fingers like a million bad similes.
Do I tell you what I'm doing these days? No. I'm doing much the same things I was before. Do I ask what you're doing? Will you tell me? Possible, but unlikely.
So we move to the third option: Retract a previous post, then turn around and unretract it, claiming to have been right all along.
If you were to scroll down, you'd see-- no, don't scroll down now, it'll fuck up my chi-- fine, do it; I'll wait. Okay. So the last post is me bitching about jazz. Bitching about how it's often overinflated, self-righteous, masturbatory horseshit and that fully ninety-five percent of it is a flagrant waste of recording media that could go to use pressing some perfectly good Winger records. Or maybe Dokken. Night Ranger, perhaps. Bitching about the majority of the people who play and promote it; skinny sweater-vested twats who are not quite retro enough to be cool and camouflage themselves among other sweater-vested twats in the vain hope that one day a girl will think it's one of those magic eye pictures, and look at them. If all jazz-affiliated people were one person, that person's little fingernail would contain the sum total of all its talent and usefulness.
And so it is irony which leads me to the meat of this post:
La-Nai Gabriel has more awesome in her little fingernail than most of us will ever see, the rest of our lives. I just saw her final recital at Humber, and I'm sure she was holding back. Every so often she'd cut a tiny bit loose, and you got the feeling that if she ever did bust it all the way out, they'd be sending a hundred burly orderlies into the auditorium after the show, to pick up a hundred comatose audience members, struck blind and sung senseless by that goddamn show. It was a near thing. Have you ever been to a show that was so good that after a tune you sat there and forgot to applaud because it was still fucking with your head a little bit? And then you clap, but you look around hoping no one else saw it and thinks you're a dick?
So put it this way: If we have to have all those millions of miles of shitty jazz tape recordings, and billions of pounds of shitty jazz CDs and LPs, and petabytes of shitty jazz mp3s, just so we can listen to the three or four people like La-Nai we're lucky enough to bump into, well, that's cool by me.
And if you read this, my dear, I think your shit is fucking tight.
So G'night.


Whither Go Thou, Jazz?


Toronto's all fucked up. We just had this thunderstorm come through that had no real rain. I mean, we had like fifteen minutes of little spitty rain, but before that it looked like one of those crazy-ass wish-you-were-at-home-with-hot-chocolate-looking-out-the-window storms. The wind was amazing. On Dixon road, the leaves blowing down the street were passing the cars. It was windy enough to blow my fifteen-ton bus all over the goddamn place. And the best part?

It's Garbage Eve downtown.

Which means that all of Chinatown looks like New Year's Day in Times Square, except for the lack of vomit and the fact that all the signs are in Chinese. Still smells, though.

So, on to the post:

Why is it that a lot of music played on jazz radio stations really blows?
Now, before we really get into this, I'd like everyone to know that I have two really close friends who studied at the most prestigious music colleges in Canada, both with a definite jazz performance bent to their programs. I'd like their input, in fact. I want everybody's input, but I'm curious to see what they have to say. Meaning Andrew and Joel. So pony up, bitches.

Don't get me wrong; there's so much music that's fantastic, from artists we all know about to artists we've never heard of, but my question is this: If there are sixty-five million recorded jazz tunes in the world (and there are way more than that), and twenty thousand of them are good (and that's being generous), then why, on the radio, do they not filter out the shit? I don't need to hear the musical growth of some douchebag.

In rock music, you play clubs and release self-published EPs until you're good enough to do a full-length record, if that ever happens. In jazz music, you can run into two other musicians at Wendy's and leave with a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and a double live recording of a club show. I've heard good indie jazz recordings. Andrew gave me one he did; it's in my car stereo right now. I don't hate everyone; I just hate shit.

Apart from the terrible DJs on jazz stations (it takes them so long to tell you what time it is that by the time they're done telling you, it's not that time any more), it'd be nice to be able to turn on the radio and hear a good tune. Not a good tune by somebody awesome that's been converted to samba and played by a tabla ensemble. Not a pretentious fifteen-minute pointless self-serving wankfest where they mic'd the crowd to get the applause between solos. If I wanted to hear the piano and the drums trading fours for a minute and a fucking half, I'd set my ears on fire and spend the afternoon falling down escalators, because that's what anyone who wants to hear that deserves.

Somebody please tell me how these dipshits get on the radio. They're not pushing any boundaries here; they played the same goddamn song as before, only it had a different title. Again, don't get me wrong, here. Of course every song is different; that's kind of the hallmark of jazz music. There's a basic chord and melody structure and over that is a basically improvised... everything. A great jazz performance is great because of the interaction between the players; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I've just been amazed at the colossal amount of shit that there is, as compared to the relatively rare nuggets of inspiration. It just blows my mind that in so many cases, a style of music that's almost the EXCLUSIVE province of educated musicians can be so trite and lame and... is it a sin to say boring? Is there something I'm missing? Have I not yet learned enough to like good music? I liked the Beatles when I was four years old. I've heard they're good.

And fuck off with the drum solos. There is no need for more than onedrum solo per show; even that is pushing it. If I go see a seventies rock band, I want a goddamn drum solo. Otherwise, feel free to surprise me with one, but keep it short, and interesting. Guy from Thornley threw down a brilliant one when we saw them at Bala. Maybe three minutes, probably not even that much, and he made me want to slit my wrists in pure, vicious jealousy.

I guess I just have a problem with music for music's sake. Music should not be made for music. Music should be made for people. Music should be fun and entertaining on some level, to the player AND to the listener. If you want to sit in your basement and have your little nerd jamfest, that's cool, but don't put it on the radio.

And I know, probably a lot of people like all the stuff I'm bitching about, but if I have a choice between the (insert someone's full name) Quintet and the Spin Doctors?

I got a pocketful of kryptonite.


Pluse de Beer, mes amis, Plus de Beer!

Hey all,
'Nother one at beer.com right here.

God, I kick ass.



The Gitbox Case, Installment Two.

Hey. More shit on my case.

Thanks to Mr. Scott Stoneman, for bringing to my attention the symbol used on Mandalore armor: the skull of the Mythosaur. While it's kind of a fruity name, it's a cool pic. I can't find a picture of a mythosaur anywhere, except for a city built out of mythosaur bones.

Anyway, this next one was suggested by Rob, but it's all about Joel here. Not done yet; it needs a little cleanup, but it'll be cool, I think.

And then, of course, I had to put on the Boyscout You know, the Last Son of Krypton, the Man of Tomorrow. Big Blue. The Man of Steel, The Metropolis Marvel. This guy. Unfinished, of course. The yellow's going on now.


Just a little bizarre.

So I'm driving home tonight, one-thirtyish, coming home from work. Late relief shift on 76, which means 5pm to 1:14am on Royal York South.I think I mentioned something about the RYS earlier. Anyway, I'm on the way home, listening to Foo Fighters' There Is Nothing Left To Lose.

That is one fucking fantastic record. A couple of solid FM hits and several prominent movie songs make this a fairly comfortable album for non-Foo afficionadoes, but this album is so cohesive and... right. You know when you have a record and you could never, ever hit 'shuffle'? This is one of those. Every song is a perfect apertif for the next and a sublime dessert for the last. This is the third record, and the first where Dave Grohl handed the drumsticks to a scrappy fella named Taylor Hawkins. There were three singles released: Learn to Fly, which everybody knows, Breakout, which was a movie track from Me, Myself and Irene, and Next Year, which is a cool strummy acoustic-esque song with awesome Taylor Hawkins drums. But the real gems here, I feel, are album tracks like Stacked Actors (dirtiest guitar since Big Sugar covered Dear Mr. Fantasy), Generator and MIA. I could listen to this thing all damn day.

So where was I?

Oh yeah. Driving home. I don't know if anybody who reads this lives in a city. Joel kind of did for a while, but after a while in Toronto, you kind of start to navigate not so much by signs, but by the skyline, if you're approaching the city from the outlying areas. I know this sounds dumb, but T.O. has a very distinctive profile (you can imagine why), and you kind of triangulate with it subconsciously to get your location. It works downtown, too. If you can see the tower and anything else (building, intersection, whatever) you know where you are and what direction you're facing.
So as I come home, eastbound on the Gardiner, I don't look at signs, I just make turns until everything's the right distance apart and then I'm at Spadina (the road on which I live; rhymes with certain naughty bits). But tonight was weird.

We've had one of those not-quite-rainy-but-black-thunderheady-humidish kind of days, and for some reason, we have a lot of very low-lying cloud cover over the downtown core. It was patchy, but VERY VERY THICK. So as I was coming into town, i felt a vague unease, and began to think I had missed my exit. I hadn't, of course; I'm not retarded (shut up, Joel, I'm not.). I tried to think why, and then I noticed that the CN Tower did not exist. When it gets like this, you can still generally see the tower but it's blurry and misty, but tonight it was just fucking gone. But First Canadian Place, the second-tallest thing in the city, was lit up and clear as a bell. For that matter, most of the rest of the city was clear and fog-free. There was this localized cloud cover right over the SkyDome (I refuse to call it the Rogers Centre) and the tower; Even up close (and I drive past it at a distance of about 300 yards), I could only see the barest outline of the bottom of the tower, and nothing at all of the upper three quarters.

So, having satisified myself that the Tower hadn't been kidnapped the day after its 30th birthday (true), I turned up the Foos and went home.



ps: Rob, that little asshat, fell into backstage passes for 54-40 at the Harb tomorrow night. Bastard. He had to call me up and ask me what songs they did.


Beer is a Wonderful Thing.

It's given a name to a website that will publish my bullshit.
Publish it here.