Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the times they are a-changin'

One step closer to a DRM free world.

"Apple's iTunes begins selling unlocked songs"

Have I mentioned that I love Apple?

...in the sky with diamonds...

I work next door to the Royal Ontario Museum. We are really very lucky to have such a fantastic museum. If ever in Toronto, it's a must visit destination.

The museum is a gorgeous stone building dating from the early 1910's that was expanded in the 1920's and 30's. In the past few years, the ROM has been undergoing a major expansion with the addition of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. I have watched this thing being constructed from day one and since that day, I have been torn as to how I feel about it. That's why this article from the CBC caught my eye. I am all for modern architecture but I also believe in the preservation of history. I understand why the ROM needed to expand. I just don't get why they choose such a contradictory and intrusive design to accompany the stately original building. I have spent the last few years walking by this construction site several times a day and waffling about how I feel about the new addition. With the building almost complete I can honestly say, I don't like it. Honestly, I find it offensive. Call me a traditionalist, I don't care. I still love the ROM, but I don't have to like the crystal.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

whatever you do, don't do that

But wait. There's more.

Yet another Canadian songstress thought it wise to cover this classic rock anthem.



I must admit, that this one isn't nearly as horrible as the Celine Dion version, mostly because the backing band, Alison Krauss and Union Station, are fantastic musicians. But as much as I love cover songs (and believe me, I'm a cover song junkie) there are some tunes that should be left alone. So people, please, for the love of God, stop covering this song!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

what am I doing here?, part 2

Since I was on a roll, I also got up the nerve to ask Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy to indulge me. They kindly obliged.


And yes, the band did perform. My memories a bit blurry at the moment, but I know they started with "What Am I Doing Here"and ended with "Hasn't Hit Me Yet". Two of my favourites!!!. I think I remember "5 Days in May" and "Head Over Heels", but at this point, I'm so high on the night that I honestly can't remember. Whatever they did freakin' rocked!

I'm not sure that I will actually sleep tonight. I'm such a geek!

what am I doing here?, part 1

OMG!!!

It's just after midnight and Steve and I just got home from a fundraising gala for the Royal Conservatory of Music. I must admit that attending this event was a bit tough, given the fact that I work for Toronto's competeing music school, the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. But my Canadian music geekness won out when I found out that one of my favourite bands, Blue Rodeo would be recieving an Honourary Fellowship to the RCM at this event.

So we arrived at the posh Windsor Arms Hotel. From the moment we walked up to the front doors it was clear that this was a big freakin' deal. Glass water falls lined the red carpet entrance and a violinist in a strapless white dress adorened with faux monarch butterflies greeted the guests. (Ironcially, the violinist was a graduate of U of T, who is currently finishing up her studies at the Conservatory's Glenn Gould Professional School.) The inside was decorated with white candles and orchids. Very classy. After mingling and enjoying some fabulous hors d'ouvers, we entered the main room for the dinner and presentation. The room was absolutely elegant. Dimly lit, huge candelabras, more orchids, just gorgeous. As people started filtering in, I recognized some important and famous Canadians (in addition to the guests of honour, Blue Rodeo): former Ontario premier Bob Rae, the man who made City TV Moses Znaimer, Canadian music legend Murray McLauchlan, and one of my personal heroes, Denise Donlon. She joined MuchMusic in 1985 as a host and producer, moved to Director of Music Programming in 1992 and was Vice President and General Manager from 1997 - 2000. She WAS MuchMusic. Since her departure, it's become crap. After leaving MuchMusic, she was President of Sony Music Canada until 2004. Currently she sits on the Board of Directors for one of Canada's biggest media companies, CHUM Limited. For a long time, I wanted to be Denise Donlon. To me she was the ultimate Canadian woman. Just being in the same room with her was overwhelming. After a couple of glasses of wine, I found the courage to ask for a picture with her and her awesome husband, Murray McLauchlan. She said yes, because she and I were the only people in the room that knew all the words to Blue Rodeo's songs. She was sitting at the next table and obviously saw me enjoying the performance and singing along. (I do get a little enthusiastic at concerts that I enjoy, much to the embarrasment of my friends.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

let 'em fly

Today I accompanied my friends Christine and Stewart and their beautiful 2 (almost 3) year old daughter Mackenzie to the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls.

WOW!

The first few minutes were completely overwhelming. You are immediately hit by humid air and the smell of thick vegetation and what must be thousands of butterflies flying around you. Every time I turned, they seemed to be flying straight toward me. Once I got my bearings, I was able to slowly walk through and admire these beautiful, delicate creatures. I was very happy to be taking my new camera for a test drive. (I love you 12 times optical zoom!) Here are a couple of samples. More are available for your viewing pleasure on my Flickr stream.

you wear it so well

Generally, I don't agree with making fun of people who have passed away. But I must confess that when I saw this, I laughed my ass off.

Available in t-shirt form here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

on the radio

Earlier this week, CBC Radio announced it's summer programming. They are focusing heavily on the environment and health care, which makes sense as these are two of the big issues in Canada these days. But what I'm really excited about is that Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies will be hosting a show titled All The Rage. Here's the description from the CBC blog.

"All the Rage - Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies) takes an entertaining look at fads and trends through the ages…and uncovers the surprising ways they connect to our lives today."

Steven Page is the perfect choice for this type of a show. I can't wait to hear it! According to the BNL blog, it begins on June 26 and will air on CBC Radio One on Tuesdays at 7:30pm and on Saturdays at 11am. I'm crossing my fingers for a podcast version as well. For those of you not in Canada, you can listen online.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

play that funky music...

I first saw Greg Pattillo on You Tube a while back, but my friend Leanne just reminded me of his existence. If I had thought of this back when I was in university, I might still be playing the flute!

Check this out! You gotta love how he works in Axel F in the middle.

And it that's not enough, try this!

wish I were a camera

Introducing my newest technological obsession!


I picked up my brand new Panasonic Lumix DMCFZ8 on Sunday. I've been itching for a new digital camera for a while. My old Canon Powershot has been excellent, but I craved more megapixels and greater zoom. This new camera is overwhelming! The amount of features and settings are blowing my mind!!!

Seriously, I've always been interested in photography. I would love to learn how to really take a picture. Maybe this new whizzy camera will be the first step...

I hope to take the camera on a serious test drive this coming weekend. Just a warning...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

i'm goin' down to alphabet street

Today's meme is brought to you by the letter...

Alphabet Soup

A - AVAILABLE:
nope, very happily married

B - BIRTHDAY:
september 4

C - CRUSHING:
the boys of CSI (Vegas)
George Clooney
Panasonic Lumix DMCFZ8K Digital Camera...oh yes, you will be mine

D - DRINK YOU LAST HAD:
Banrock Station Cabarnet Sauvignon

E - EASIEST PERSON TO TALK TO:
the imaginary people in my head

F - FAVOURITE BAND:
Barenaked Ladies among many others

G - GUMMY BEARS OR GUMMY WORMS:
jujubes, the sour ones

H - HOMETOWN:
Winnipeg

I - INSTRUMENT:
in my past life, flute and piano
currently, MacBook, knitting needles, boxing gloves

J - JUGGLE:
sure. work, home, family, friends

K - KILLED SOMEONE:
never. couldn't even imagine it.

L - LONGEST CAR RIDE:
Kingston, Ontario to Dunedin, Florida

M - MILKSHAKE FLAVOUR:
vanilla

N - NUMBER OF SIBLINGS:
one

O - ONE WISH:
peace & equality (I guess that's two)

P- PERSON WHO CALLED YOU LAST:
Mia

Q- QUICKIE:
meals. I really need to eat slower

R-REASON TO SMILE:
every new day

S - SONG YOU LAST HEARD:
cover of Seals & Crofts' Summer Breeze

T- TIME YOU WOKE UP:
6:02am

U - UNDERWEAR:
under there

V - VEGETABLE YOU HATE:
broccoli...vile weed

W - WORST HABIT:
procrastination

X - X-RAYS YOU'VE HAD:
teeth, neck, hand

Y - YOUR NUMBER OF FRIENDS ON myspace:
do people still use myspace?

Z- ZODIAC SIGN:
Virgo...pure and innocent ;)

Elizabeth, Pel...consider yourselves tagged.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

how can I leave her behind?

Pure Comic Genius. (For the extended version, click here). Thanks to Derek at penmachine.com for posting it on his blog.

Spinal Tap will reunite for this summer's Live Earth concerts. This preview captures the brilliance of this fictional band.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

for every light that shines, a shadow falls

I don't read nearly as much as I would like to, partly due to my current online addictions, blogging & Facebook. So if someone is going to read to me, I'm all for it.

I'm really into podcasts because content wise, they are far more interesting to me than what is available on mainstream radio and television. One of the most prolific podcasters out there is Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff. He produces a number of different and excellent programs from the crass Pacific Coast Hellway to his hysterical account of Hollywood from the assistant's prospective Where's My F*cking Latte (also available in the traditional format, known as a book). His work is both provocative and entertaining.

His literary brilliance is especially evident in Shadow Falls. I'm not sure exactly what genre this book would fall into but I would describe it as suspense-mystery-fiction, if that makes any sense. What's interesting for me is that if I saw this story in book form at a store I wouldn't give it a second glance. I usually go for light, funny, fluff books. Yes, I am a chick lit nut. Forgive me. Let's just call it a guilty pleasure and move past it. Unless everyone I know has told be to read it (eg. The DiVinci Code) it's not likely that I will pick it up. But I'm completely addicted to Shadow Falls. I find myself cursing at my iPod when the episode is over because I can't wait for the next chapter. I'm completely hooked. This story is really freakin' good!

I guess the point is that podcasting has exposed me to a host of interesting things that I never would have heard about otherwise. It's also given people like Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff the opportunity to get his stuff out to the public, make a living off it and retain ownership of his work. His copyrights are his own. He has full control of how is work is used. He doesn't have to answer to "the man." He's free to be as creative as possible. Isn't that what being an artist is all about?

send in the clowns...

I know I'm behind the times on this one, put holy crap this is funny!

Thanks heavens for Will Ferrell!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

sometimes you kick...

My friend Elizabeth has been taking a cardio kickboxing class for over a year now. A couple of months ago, she sent out an email, inviting us to join her. I decided to give it a try. Even attempting this was a pretty huge deal for me for a number of reasons.

First, I am overweight. Technically, I am obese although few people actually believe that. (Maybe they're just being polite.) Any sort of exercise has been difficult and embarrassing for me due to my weight and insecurity.

Second, I have some serious neck and back issues as a result of a car accident in 1990. I've lived with chronic pain since then. Yes, that's 17 years of chronic pain. We're talking half of my life. I've seen a number of doctors, physios, massage therapists, chiropractors and "specialists" over this time. Some have been incredibly helpful, some, not so much. Just over a year ago, I started seeing a chiropractor who uses Active Release Techniques as well as a unique form of muscle testing to diagnose and treat his patients. The improvement has been remarkable. My mobility has increased, my pain has decreased and my overall health has improved dramatically. This improvement is a huge part of what has allowed me to become active.

Third, I hate exercise. I have been the proud owner of a number of gym memberships. You know the kind where you pay the monthly fee but you don't actually go? Yes that's me. I belong to a gym. I just never go. I hate the machines. I hate weights. I hate the skinny people. I hate spandex. I hate sweating. I hate pain. I HATE THE GYM!!!

But for some reason, I LOVE KICKBOXING!!! I totally suck at it. My technique is awful and I can barely keep up with the class but I love it. During the class, I find myself thinking about how good I will be if I keep up with it. Normally, all I can think about is giving up because I suck so bad. I am in total pain during and after but I keep going back. I think I finally get the adrenaline rush thing that fit people talk about getting from working out. I might drag my sorry ass to class but afterwards, no matter how sore my muscles are, I feel fantastic! And even though it's only been just over a month I can actually feel the changes in my body. I seem to have muscles where only flab existed before. I don't get completely out of breath when walking up to the third floor at work. My weight, according to the dreaded bathroom scale, hasn't dropped, but people are constantly asking me if I've lost weight. So it's working. I'm feeling better, looking better and really enjoying it. I honestly never thought I would get to this stage.

Thanks Elizabeth!