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)