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Awful Quiz

July 31, 2009

You all (hah.) know that I hate these things. But this amused me a lot, I wanted to see if I could pull it off with my favourite of favourite bands.

The challenge being to answer all of the questions using only track names from a single selected artist.

Pick your Artist:
W/IFS

Are you a male or female?
Your Younger Man

Describe yourself:
Addicted To Bad Ideas

How do you feel:
With a Good Criminal Heart

Describe where you currently live:
…and Embarked on a Life of Poverty and Freedom…

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
The Devil’s Ball

Your favorite form of transportation:
The Evil Dance of Nosliw Pilf

Your best friend is:
Sweetwater Interlude

You and your best friends are:
Glamour Ghouls

What’s the weather like:
Incendiarism

Favorite time of day:
A Night In The Woods

What is life to you:
Zen and the Art of Breaking Everything in This Room

Your last relationship:
The Naughty Little Rat Makes New Friends

Your fear:
The Models and the Mannequins

What is the best advice you have to give:
Tattoos Fade

Thought for the Day:
All of California and Everyone Who Lives There Stinks

How I would like to die:
Me V. The Angry Mob

My soul’s present condition:
Just the Best Party

My motto:
Stay on the Charming Side of Drunk

I was very amused by this. I think “describe your last relationship” couldn’t have worked out better if I’d selected the band just for an answer to that question alone. The only one that’s a real stretch is “What’s The Weather Like,” and I’m willing to argue that one given our current heat wave (34˚? Holy fuck.), though “Form Of Transportation” is a little shaky as well. I’d totally do it if I could, though.

Also, I feel it’s very important to remind you all that this is not a meme.

Awful Things

June 14, 2009

After World/Inferno, Keto and I got a call from the bloke we were supposed to be meeting at the W/IFS show.

“Lets get really drunk, guys, just had the worst night of my life!”

Seems he’d been in holding at a psych eval clinic for the past seven hours – one of the hardcore ones where signing up for the assessment is the same as signing a statement saying “until proven otherwise, I’m too crazy to be sufficiently mentally fit to sign myself out”. As in they have security who’ll sedate you if you try and peace, apparently. Regardless, we met up with him at his room and he cheerfully told us he’d just been diagnosed as one of the varieties of schizophrenic. Despite likely being a very bad idea, we decided that getting very drunk was definitely the best temporary solution.

He certainly joined Keto & I’s ambition of causing mayhem with a gusto, and we set out to explore U of T campus.

We started off at a funny little set of benches next to a path, overlooking a large hill.  There were still pathmaking supplies lying about, and we decided those were much better suited to being at the bottom of the hill rather than the top, and helped them along that way.  We figured that the large manhole cover at near the bottom of the hill would be a perfect target.  Keto and I couldn’t hit shit, but Crazy had uncanny aim with a brick.  The manhole made some pretty amusing “bong” noises whenever he hit it.

We then explored a local construction site and rearranged tools and lumber in more aesthetically pleasing arrangements – “can we make these odds and ends look like a cock?” being the guiding design ethos of the evening.  We succeeded, but against photos for fear that the flash would give us away.

From there, we moved into the Works Yard, where Crazy nearly made Keto and I shit ourselves by climbing into a Bobcat and then playing with the horn; we thought he’d set off the alarm, and Keto and I had made it halfway down the driveway out before the horn stopped and Crazy nigh on fell out of the cab laughing hysterically.

Strolling hence from there, we were immediately entranced by the Athletics Arena at UofT.  We hopped the fence and explored the groups, prowling all over the track and well up the bleachers.   We tried to talk Crazy into shitting on the track but he was having none of it.  We tried to get into the pressure-inflated dome in the middle, bailing out in a panic when we saw through the window in our door, upon trying the handle, all the LEDs on all the other doors around the dome turned from green to red.

We decided the best place to hide – obviously – was the adjacent construction site.  We climbed up onto the under-construction roof and chilled there for a while, drinking more, cracking jokes, and trying to play javelins with the tools left up there onto the lawn four stories below.  (Note: shovels fly well, rakes do not.)  In time we decided security weren’t approaching immenantly, and crept hence from the building.  Crazy played around in some more construction equipment while Keto and I stole him a “DANGER Due To ________” sign.  Crazy caught up, swiped himself one as well, and we kept wandering.  We spent some time tossing odd objects over a fence, Keto and I tag-teaming to get large shit over; and Crazy took off ahead, pilfering one of those silver bowls used as the ashtray top to rubbish bins.

He cut arouna corner while Keto and I launched into a discussion of what our “panic code” was should we run into an ugly situation, settling on “Cheese It” as the best bet while heaving a large metal garbage bin over the fence to an immensely satisfying “BONNGGGGG” noise as it landed.  We ducked around the corner to catch up to Crazy only to find a bloke who was definately not Crazy holding the ashtray dish and the sign, talking into a radio…

“So… I need security to building [XYZ], we got three guys here, fuckin’ around.  Hey you guys – quit fuckin’ around!”

From me, “Sure thing, chief” and from Keto “CHEESE IT!”

World/Inferno Friendship Society

June 13, 2009

These guys have been my favourite or one of my favourite bands for the past two years or so, occationally replaced by a seasonal favourite, but never dethroned overall. I’ve been wanting to see them pretty much since I first looked up their wikipedia page, which went above and beyond the current iteration in it’s praise of their live shows to the point of stating that outside of their “home turf” of New Jersey / New York, the band has a hard time getting bookings because their shows are so over the top that few bars are willing to invite them back.

I figured that’s a ringing endrosement if anything ever was.

Beyond that, they were the last band on my Big List of bands to see live that I’d not seen. (Kaiser Chiefs, Gogol Bordello, and Ghostland Observatory were the other contenders.)

I spent a good two years or so checking their website devoutly in the hopes they were coming to somewhere near me, but no luck. They didn’t seem to ever leave the US, even. When I saw that they had a show booked in Toronto a few months back, I flipped shit. I tried to talk everyone that I knew might be interested into coming, Jaertes hummed and hawed and ended up doing fuck-all to include himself, Jethe was keen but had run out of money … etc. In the end, I enlisted Keto and the two of us devised a plan. Or more specifically, a lack of plan.

Our plan was, literally, “Jump on a bus to Toronto, go to the W/IFS, get drunk after the show and do terrible things in the city.” We decided any more concrete plans than that would destroy the experience of going to this particular show, and might impact our ability to really enjoy ourselves adequitely afterwards. On the busride down, we started lining up one of Keto’s friends as a place to crash, but never got a hold of him ’till much later, and ended up talking his roommate in res into letting us drop our crap in his room before booting it to the show.

Keto and I hit the bar just as the opener was starting, and decided right off the bat that they weren’t worth our time.  Thus, our time would be better spent at the bar, lubricating ourselves for the evening.  After chasing a gaggle of scene kids away from two unoccupied stools (they were loitering, we pushed in and just sat down, then started the most objectionable conversation we could think of) we sat down for a few and continued speculating wildly about the sexual habits of certain friends of ours.

Then … the show started.  Holy crap, what a show.  Leading in with their old classic “Tattoos Fade”, the band did a spectacular set composed of an excellent mix of old stuff and material from their newest album.  They played their full lineup of real classics (Peter Lorre, Devils Ball, Paul Robeson, I Wouldn’t Want To Live In A World Without Grudges, etc) and the crowd was fantastic.  It was a small crowd – between 40 and 50 people, but we were all die hard fans, and other than the midget-y guy who kept crowd surfing and the fucktard who wanted Jack to wear a Leafs scarf, everyone was just there to have an awesome punk dance party.

Danced my way to the front row for a while, partied there, shook Jack’s hand; danced with the bassist after she tried to crowd surf, moshed for a bit, and danced with some sweet folks in the crowd.  I’ve never been to a show that was that cheerfully rowdy, everyone was going nuts, but no one was causing trouble or picking fights.

Both Keto and I met really nice people in the crowd, including one gal that Keto danced with who it turned out had partied in Victory Manor before the lads and I moved in.  By far, up there among the best shows I’ve been to.  Gogol Bordello and Ghostland Observatory have them trumped in terms of raw crowd being nuts value, but W/IFS take it for crowd environment, capacity for interaction between performers/audience, and overall showmanship.  It may not soundly beat any of the other great concerts I’ve been to, but it’s certainly the most fun I’ve had at a show this year.

Ahhh, Espresso

June 11, 2009

So, I now have near-perfect espresso available in my kitchen pretty much at whim.

I’ve long been a de-facto coffee geek, and recruited a number of my friends to share my passion for good coffee (most notable among them being Rachel, who has worked in cafes as near as long as I have, and beat me to the punch with home espresso, both getting a home machine first, and getting a better machine in the long run.)  But I’m on my way to getting my own back.

I talked Mother into buying a Gaggia “Espresso Pure” – effectively a low-end model from one of the top companies in domestic espresso (Achille Gaggia being the inventor of the modern espresso machine, before his “steamless coffee maker” the crema so prized by espresso conesseurs didn’t exist).  We did good things with it, but as good as it was, the coffee tended towards thin, with decent but weak and short-lived crema.  I’ve been figuring much of the blame sat at the machine, simply the limitations of a small boiler and a small machine: simply unable to match the precise tempterature and high pressure (9 bars, please) of a industrial machine.

But, just the other day I found myself at the Coffee Geek Yard Sale in vancouver here, and picked up a proper milled aluminum tamp and Baratza Virtuoso grinder – for $65.  As in, a $300+ grinder for less than 1/3 of it’s intended price, simply because it needed minor service and was missing it’s cap.

The difference that using a proper tamp made was astounding, I initially made little change, but as I got more confident with tamping pressure (my Krups can’t take tamped espresso, or the resistance of the espresso is greater than the seal around the portafilter and I just get hot water spraying everywhere) the product improved dramatically; and the end difference the tamp made was startling.

Off sick today, (Congested, can’t talk for shit.  I can still do stuff, but working a phone while talking like a cartoon character and losing my voice just wasn’t working for me.)  I repaired the grinder and put it through it’s paces, and on it’s “0” and “1” grind settings, the two finest, I get nice light & fluffy espresso.   that I can run through the Gaggia for absolutely brilliant espresso – deep, fluffy crema, the ideal caramel colour.  The espresso, while slightly on the bitter for my taste, was thick and syrupy in consistancy and with far more of the nuanced flavours than the thinner brew we were producing earlier.

All in all, I’m now making something close to what I’d serve at a cafe, and better than some I’ve had elsewhere.  I’m pretty excited to see what I can put out with further practice and tweaking.

Dear Counterstaff

May 30, 2009

You’re not entitled to tips, please stop thinking so.

It doesn’t really get much simpler than that, but as ever I’ll elaborate regardless.

I feel compelled to point out in advance that I’ve worked service.  I know what it’s like, and understand the ins and outs.  Been there.  Done it, had fun and made great money.  I even have the t-shirts.

It’s bollocks to feel entitled to anything more than the wage one has accepted for the job.  Speaking directly to the service folks: you accepted the job knowing it had low proportional pay (in Canada, at minimum wage, in the US, below it) wagering that you could pull in more because of tips.  Most people aren’t servers out of passion, it’s out of a need for the money, and an understanding that tips can be more lucrative than any wage, especially in a swanky restaurant.  I know servers that pull in $300/night, for instance.  These same people, making far more than in any other job of the same skill level, complain bitterly when someone stiffs them on a tip.

The thing is – you aren’t entitled to gifts.  No one is.  It’s a server’s job to earn tips, and part of the package is that some people will stiff a server on tips, no matter how hardworking or charming the server was.  It’s part of the gamble made when accepting a job as a server.

As for being understanding, or “everyone has bad days” and other such BS – grow the fuck up.  Everyone has shitty days, and they are expected to keep it together and not let it effect their work.  You too, servers.  Your job is to be charming, if your pissy mood affects your ability to do your job, it’ll affect your bottom line, too.  Suck it up.

I tip anywhere up to 30%, roughly 10 – 15 on average, but I expect the server to bust balls just as hard as I did to earn it.  I’ve no sympathy or compassion for a server being shitty on an ugly night, or worse still, shitty on a normal night – I don’t care how rough it is, either tough through it or find a different job.  A server being decent on an awful night, though, they’re at least trying to tough through.  I tip them extra-well.

Niagra Falls

May 30, 2009

Is definately not in BC.  Sorry, but no.  Our call center in South New England just transferred a very confused woman to me because she was “in my area.”  Except she’s hanging out in Niagra falls.

Y’know, ’cause according to the States, all of Canada is within 100K of all the rest of it.

Heh, Names.

May 23, 2009

Today I recieved a call from a Miss Whalley.

Who shamfully admitted that she’d not been given any sort of family name, but had instead been named after the place in Surrey.

It amused me both that that was the actual progeny of her name, and that she told people.