Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Irie Christmas

Toasty the Snowman stolen from here

Huzzah! I'm on holiday!! Yes, the work year is now behind me and for the next ten days I shan't have a single fiddle with my Blackberry. And you know what else? I found Natty Christmas - on emusic, no less.

There still is much to do on the Christmas front. But you know what? I've decided that I'm going to do it chill. No stress, no drama, just mindful calm. Or total irie.

Yes, that's it. Dearest Friends, I wish you all a most irie Christmas.

Jacob Miller & Ray I - We Wish You A Happy Christmas / Amharic Temple (buy here or e-here)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stocking Stuffers

See that picture above? Well, Dearest Friends, that's what it's been like around here of late, all swirly and rapido and pixilated and pixelated. December has been relentless on the work and home fronts, to the extent that once again Christmas is in danger of becoming Just Another Task to Accomplish. Shit, it's almost here and I can hear the pile of unfinished Seasons Greetings cards taunting me from downstairs. Ever since one horrible, horrible Christmas Eve several years ago spent frantically shopping amongst hordes on an infernal Oxford Street, I've ensured that my shopping gets done well in advance. But this year the wrapping, which I detest, has yet to be done...

I fear that while swimming in this seasonal maelstrom I've not been as attentive a blogmeister as I would have liked. On top of not maintaining this allotment in cyberspace, I've neglected of late to visit many of the splendid gardens that flourish in the blogosphere. Sigh. And I have stories left untold, screeds lying unvented, thoughts left unexplored. Sigh again.

But let me share with you a few knicks & knacks that have been building up...

Last Thursday I spent a doubly enjoyable evening out on the town. First source of enjoyment was seeing the mighty Shonen Knife for the first time in about fifteen years. They are one of those bands whose capacity to make me not worry and be happy I frequently forget. They put on a splendid show (despite atrocious sound mixing) full of horn throwing, one-choo-free-foah Ramones worship, cuteness, poptasticalia, big cats, and anime. Guitarist/singer Naoko is a rock goddess, and I just wanted to wrap the whole band up and take them home for the holidays. Want to see how it all went down? Have a look here . You want sound? This is how they kicked the whole thing off:

Shonen Knife - Konnichiwa (buy here)

And the second source of enjoyment that evening? I met up with Dearest JaG at the show. I'm pleased to report (as if you needed confirmation) that she is indeed as lovely and fun and smart as she comes across over at Angsty. We chatted up a storm about life in BC, shoes, sailing, traveling, and, of course, blogging. Yes, we spoke about you. And you. And you, and you, and you. But don't worry, we agreed that our lives have been made immensely richer through knowing you lot. And we decided that we must get Andre McFarlane to come visit us here in Vancouver.

If that was a knack, then onto a knick: as some of you commented, it was indeed my birthday a few days ago. However, that was completely independent of the Yuletide debauchery described in my previous post. That was Santa FiL allowing himself, once off-duty, to be led astray and soaked in, of all things, dreadful amounts of Alizé. I just wish it had been a more respectable tipple. Yes, there are incriminating photos involving adult toys. No, I shan't be posting them.

Onto more serious matters. You will recall that Cousin Soldier was ordered to deploy earlier this month for a second tour in Iraq, despite still being in recovery from serious shoulder surgery. Well, chalk one up for military stupidity, and at the same time one for silver linings. You see, while his unit was preparing to move north from Kuwait, he buggered his shoulder again. How? By trying to lift his pack. Cousin Soldier was so unfit for duty that merely shifting his standard issue gear reinjured him. But at least the Colonel is able to say that he deployed his unit at strength, as ordered, though one of his troops did get wounded in a combat zone right off the bat. And the silver lining? Well, Cousin Soldier's unit shipped north into Iraq earlier this week, but Cousin Soldier was left behind in Kuwait, hoping for a trip back to the US, bureaucracy permitting. What a roundabout, cockamamie story, eh Readers??

And finally, some more Christmas music. When I was a callow radio deejay back in college, the station held an annual Reggae Christmas Party in honour of Jacob Miller's Natty Christmas. So, with these memories dancing around my addled brain, I offer to you a punky reggae Christmas selection. Please note that The Revolvers track is the best EVAH cover of Wham's Last Christmas. Which should not be confused with the awesome Last White Christmas by the groundbreaking, Don Letts initiated, post-punks Basement 5.

Aggrovators - Santa Claus Dub (buy here)
Basement 5 - Last White Christmas (buy here)
Didjits - Christmas Fish (buy here or e-here)
Lord Nelson - Party For Santa Claus (buy here)
Vandals - Oi To The World (buy here or e-here)
Revolvers - Last Christmas (buy here)
Yellowman - We Wish You A Reggae Christmas (buy here)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas in the Garage

Nanduloc! I said Nanduloc!!

Dearest Friends, you may recall from a post or so ago that of late I've been doing battle with rats in our garage. Yes, to date three big, grey rodents have fallen prey to The Trap, thanks to their fondness for peanut butter. So you can guess what I surmised when tonight I heard much banging and clattering in the building out back. Armed with a big stick, I gingerly opened the door...

But this time no rodentia scurried or scarpered, for the sounds came from none other than Wild Billy Childish's latest garage group extraordinaire, The Musicians of the British Empire. Indeed, they were belting out numbers from their latest Yuletide el-pee, Christmas 1979. Billy, Nurse Julie, and Wolf even donned elfin costume at one point and did a little winter jig. You don't believe me? Here, have a look! If that weren't gift enough, Childish cohorts Holly Golightly and Thee Headcoatees showed up to add a few carols to the proceedings. Finally, we all had some mulled wine and mince pies before they took their leave and I went to bed, with visions of sugarplum fairies rocking out in my head.

Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians of the British Empire - Mistletoe (buy here or e-here)
Holly Golightly - Christmas Tree on Fire (buy here or e-here)
Thee Headcoatees - Santa Claus (buy here or e-here)

And I suppose if you've downloaded Santa Claus, you'll also be wanting this:

Thee Headcoatees - Davey Crockett (buy here or e-here)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Too Much Chrimbo Cheer

FiL went to a Christmas party last night.

FiL dressed up as Santa Claus.

FiL got stinking drunk.

FiL had to be helped home.

Dearest Mrs Claus is not speaking to FiL.

But FiL feels no remorse...

The Dwarves - Drinking Up Christmas (buy e-here)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fuck Off, I'm Full

Go on, watch the video clip - it's wafer-thin...

Oh, Dearest Friends, I'm only joking - please don't fuck off. You see, I was only alluding to this week's Contrast Podcast (belch), which celebrates yet another Deadly Sin - that of gluttony. Yes, on offer is a truly diverse, heaving buffet of musical foie gras, lyrical suckling pig, and a melodic Knickerbocker glory for dessert. So get your noses straight into the trough over here and gorge until you can listen no more. Don't forget to leave the Maitre D' your comments over here. So, to the menu:


(00:00) Intro from Mr G. Letch & Mr A. Thrub

(02:55) The Oompa Loompas - Oompa Loompa Doompa-De-Do
Tim from The face of today

(03:51) Turbonegro - Everybody loves a chubby dude
Ross from Just gimme indie rock

(07:32) Steve Westfield & The Burnouts - Smoked a little too much monkey brain last night
Linda from Speed of dark

(14:04) The Grandsons - Last meal
Brad from Brad’s Blog

(18:20) Queens of the Stone Age - Feel good hit of the summer
Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(21:49) Charles Mingus - Eat that chicken
Chris from

(26:48) The Detroit Cobras - Hot Dog (watch me eat)
Dirk from Sacred Loser

(31:14) Alien Sex Fiend - Stuff the turkey
FiL from Pogoagogo

(35:00) Godley & Creme - Snack attack
Shaun from Cold Citrus

(39:11) Pinkie Maclure and The Puritans - Gluttony
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(44:45) Babybird - 45 & fat
Mèden O. Zephyr from Old fridges can kill

(49:35) INXS - The one thing
Thom from Better in the Dark
Watch the video that Thom mentions on Youtube.

(53:23) The Presidents of the USA - Candy
James from Jamesisadork

(57:23) Ben E. King - Stand by me
Natalie from Mini-obs

(01:01:04) Morrissey - You’re the one for me fatty (live)
Jim from Quick before it melts

(01:05:01) The Descendants - I like food
SiD from Too Much Rock

I must admit I had a hard time picking a song for this week, as the larder appeared to be quite bare. Indeed, all it seemed to have in it were donuts and sugary snacks:

The Lunachicks - Mmm, Donuts (buy here or e-here)
The Go-Nuts - Snik Snak Skaduliak (buy here)

But just when I feared I might go hungry, a pasty-faced, Alien Sex Fiend slipped into the kitchen and started gibbering madly while stuffing a turkey. It was the perfect dish, and oh-so-timely in a Christmas stylee. So while I usually don't post my submissions, I'll make an exception this week in a gluttonous, holiday spirit.

Alien Sex Fiend - Stuff The Turkey (buy here or e-here)

Actually, I must admit that the holiday season is a time of tribulation for me. I find it hard to resist the slew of delicacies on offer, and as a result every year I overindulge. Yes, I know it is a salubrious lesson on the nature of change, illustrating how something so appealing can become off-putting. But I've had that class several times and you'd think I'd learn by now.

Nervous Eaters - Get Stuffed (buy here )

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Is Upon Us

I know I didn't ask, but thank you hydromedusa...

The waves are not abating, nor are the waters getting any shallower. Nothing left for it but to pull on the wetsuit (mmmm, tight neoprene), strap on an oxygen tank, and swim like a fish. And since Christmas is coming (and the octopus is getting fat), it's utterly appropriate to slip on a Santa cozzie as well.

Yes, Chrimbo is ratcheting up chez nous, Dearest Friends. We went out en famille this weekend and chose our tree from the nice man with a chainsaw who sets up every year in the vacant lot around the corner. We had a small domestic discussion as to whether a fake tree would be more eco-friendly, but we convinced ourselves that the oxygen spewed forth by our cultivated lodge pole pine in it's 7-year life would not have been spewed had it not been for the Xmas market. Moreover, Vancouver has an excellent recycling programme, so it'll end up as mulch for other greeny-growy things. I trust that if my logic is flawed, you will point it out to me.

Having brought tree home, I had to spar with a rather fearless and cheeky rat in our garage while extracting the tree-holder from storage. But neither man nor rodent nor squabbling children could prevent Dearest Father-in-Law and me from raising the tree. Huzzah! And so in celebration, I offer you a selection of classic (at least for me) Chrimbo tuneage. For those of you grumping that I posted all of these last year, rest assured, there will be more to follow. But in the meantime, de-Scrooge and get yerself a bit of mistletoe.

The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping (buy here)
Sardonic and sentimental at the same time, and nooo-wave to boot!

The Kinks - Father Christmas (buy here)
One I remember playing on the raydee-aydee-aydee-oh from whippersnapperhood.

Bullette - Blue Christmas (get some more e-here)
Wonderful, loping, countryesque interpretation of this old standby by Philly's lovely Monica Bullette.

And What Will Be Left Of Them
- Have Yourself A Filthy Little Christmas (buy their latest here)
Oh, and I mean that from the bottom of my sordid little heart!!!

Shonen Knife - Space Christmas (buy here)

Speaking of Shonen Knife, I have an early prezzie if anyone wants it. You see, I have two tickets to see those groovy garage girls at Vancouver's Richards on Richards this Thursday, 13 December. However, I have no-one to go with. A friend bailed, and Dearest Wife can't get excited about them. I'm definitely going, but if anyone wants to join me, I have that extra ticket. Don't worry about the cost, just buy me a lime & soda (I'll be driving) and we'll call it quits.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Drowning Not Waving

Rows , columns, Christmas shopping, cells, data fields, soccer matches, interest rates, loan-to-values, ballet lessons, agreements, contracts, cooking twice a week, legal opinions, guarantees, blogging, indemnities, swap curves, seasonal parties, bond yields, secure FTP uploads, tax returns, program manuals, allocation requests, wardrobe culling, true sale approvals, accounting guidelines, Christmas cards, pricing models, liquidity projections, homework help, prepayment terms, $500 million dollars, washing cars, insurance fees, Beacon scores, basic hygeine, board presentations, reporting deadlines, minimal sleep. Drowning, not waving, and finding it difficult to see the shore for all the swell and froth.

Armitage Shanks
- Drowning Not Waving (buy here or e-here)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Cheap Holiday In Other People's Misery

Those of you who have been dropping by here for some time may recall that one of my Dearest Wife's cousins is a Humvee gunner in the US Army. Last November he returned from a tour in Iraq, during which he saw one of his best friends killed when a roadside bomb hit their convoy. His deployment also drained him of his idealism; he had signed up to do what he thought was his patriotic duty , but ended up sorely disillusioned both with the Iraqi adventure and the armed forces.

Max Romeo - War Ina Babylon (buy here )

We all breathed a sigh of relief when he returned free of (bodily) harm, though he managed to badly bugger his shoulder in a snowboarding accident shortly after returning. However, we saw a bright, silver lining to this mishap, as we were certain that recovery from the subsequent reconstructive surgery would spare him further trips to The Sandbox/The Sandpit/Tatooine (circle preferred military euphemism). We were wrong.

Today Cousin Soldier ships out for another tour in Iraq, despite the fact that his shoulder is still so incapacitated that he can't even put on his ballistic armour, much less man a .50-cal machine gun atop a vehicle. However, his unit commander apparently needs "bodies on the ground," regardless of their effectiveness, so he will be continuing his rehab in-theatre. Hopefully this means he will be kept out of harm's way, but the mind still boggles.

Tiger Lillies - Glory in Battle (buy here or e-here)

Technically Cousin Soldier has less than two month of his enlistment left to serve. However, given Uncle Sam's current "stop-loss" policy, we're all wondering whether he'll get a service extension in his Christmas stocking to go with his holiday with a gun. Bah fucking humbug, indeed.

The Vandals - A Gun for Christmas (buy here or e-here)