The Stonemason boys opened for a cd release party tonight for local band Slabdrab. As it turns out, this is Slabdrab's third such recording. I'd heard of them and a couple of their songs, but never seen them live before.
The venue: a small blues bar about six blocks from where I live. The kind of place with high tables and stools where you throw peanut shells on the floor. The mullet rate was about 2% (unless you are just counting men, in which case it would be about 4%). They usually have blues bands, but last night's show was straight-up rock.
Stonemason had a decent set. I was in a much better state (read: more sober) than last weekend, so I got more of a chance to enjoy the music this time.
Slabdrab had an extensive bunch of 80's covers, mostly from female artists (Slabdrab consists of four guys, but the backup vocals are used a lot so they get a lot of harmonies going), including: Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now, Joan Jett's I Love Rock 'n Roll, The Bangles' Manic Monday, and Madonna's Material Girl. They even played the more obscure My Name Is Luka by Suzanne Vega. The tiny dance floor was packed for the last couple of hours of the show. I'm glad they played several of their original songs earlier in the night, though, because that was what I was more interested in hearing. Sadly, the scene here is not big enough to suport bands that just play their own music.
Today's dilemma: what to do when Ski School and Ski School 2 are on two different channels at the same time . . .
My mind has been blown!
After nearly a week of -30C (-40C with wind chill!) weather, my poor Jetta did not make it through the night and could not start this morning. I made it through last winter without using the block heater, but it appears I will have to start plugging it in if I want to get anywhere (alternatively, I could walk and subject any exposed skin to fast-acting frostbite).
To all of you in warmer climates, I would suggest that you stay there; I am on my way.
The people I was housesitting for went to the Dominican Republic. Apparently it is quite the classy tourist destination, particularly for Europeans as the Mediterranean is getting prety crowded.
Compensation for my services included a copy of Cyptonomicon, which has been an interesting, if somewhat geeky (like that's stopped me before), read.
Also included: a bottle of Barcelo 151 proof rum. Rum is good and cheap down there (this litre was about USD$5). I forgot the bottle in my car for the last couple of nights, meaning some time spent in -20C temperatures, but don't worry, it didn't freeze on account of it being 75.5% alcohol. I am currently tendering suggestions for what to do with the stuff.
I didn't give much in the way of holiday updates, and unless you have been following the scarcely documented story that is my life for the past several years, you will not have heard a farm story.
My parents run an emu farm. If my brother ever starts an antiflux log, he might tell some of the more disturbing tales. But I should mention this ramp we built over the holidays.
Emus need shelter. On Vancouver Island, the weather is nice enough that they don't need fully enclosed barns or heating or anything like that. But they are provided with some sort of roof in case they notice they are milling about in the rain.
One such shelter is a converted semi-trailer container, which in this case has a door in the side and doors in the back. A floor has been built in the front two-thirds of the structure, which gives it a second level about four feet off the ground. Possessing no real ability to climb, the emus would be unable to reach the second floor of these deluxe accomodations. So we built a ramp.
The work crew consisted of myself, Brian and Dad. Or the three, I am the least skilled at (among other such handy things) carpentry. My job mostly involves carrying things to the site and holding fence while nails and screws attach it to the ramp.
The result was a ramp that will last for generations. The boards used are about fifteen feet long, two inches thick and the total width is about three feet (comfortable for emu and emu farmer alike). Fencing lines either side in case of slips or panic (emus panic sometimes). "These fucking emus live better than I do," Brian exclaimed at one point. We only hope the emus use and enjoy the ramp.
Tonight's activities involved a trip to the local liquor store. As it turns out, every liquor store (they are government-run here in Saskatchewan) assesses its stock at the end of the calendar year. Then, a week later, they sell of their extras, discontinued products in particular, for low, low prices. I would recommend that anyone who lives near a government-owned liquor store in, say, BC checks this out as a possibility.
Since the music category has gone unused for a while, I figured I'd mention the new offering from Queens of the Stone Age called Songs for the Deaf. A present from the young bricode for Christmas (thanks, big guy), this cd has been getting a lot of play in my car of late (more, of course, than I can say for myself . . .).
Some of you may have heard the first single, No One Knows, with its accompanying cool video where a deer beats up the band. The rest of the album is great, with some of the songs each having a little flavour of other bands that I like, those that come to mind being Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney and Screaming Trees (Mark Lanegan does guest vocals). Or maybe that's just me. For those of you that like the Foo Fighters, and I know you do, you'll want to check this one out.
Also, I don't know if the story about how the other guys in the band goaded Dave Grohl into playing for them is true, but I like it anyway.
It snowed here a week ago. About 8" worth all in one day. I am currently housesitting, so I had shoveling obligations at that house. But my roommates were still away for the holidays at that point, so I also had shoveling to do at the other house. My rough estimate (I had time to think about it, obviously) is that I moved about 600 cubic feet of snow that afternoon. Whew.
No need to worry, though; it hasn't really snowed here since. Instead, we've had a nice sprinkle of rain during the day for the last couple of days, which leads to scary, scary ice after when the temperature drops below freezing after dark.
Sometimes I wonder what daily life might be like when you don't have to plug in your car (to keep the engine warm enough to start) at night or scrape off the windows every time you want to go anywhere. Next winter, I plan to find out. I will miss the fun of sliding around corners, though, which makes a trip to the store seem like some sort of rally car race.
Happy New Year everyone. I suppose I'm a little late on that, but I'm sure you've been managing just fine.
Today, as some of you know, was the World Junior hockey semifinal game between Canada and the USA. I watched it at home with some friends, completing the experience with a Bubba of beer (see below). The plucky (and thuggy) Canadian kids managed to pull off a 3-2 win in a close game. Good stuff. And we all got to feel that particular glee that Canadians derive from a hockey victory over the Americans.
As any Canadian knows by now (thanks to an exhaustive marketing campaign), the Bubba is a 5L mini-keg of Molson Canadian beer. I'm not really a fan of the stuff, but I guess I am a fan of their promotional campaigns. That Bubba commercial has a certain charm (and even includes a guy taking a ball hockey ball to the crotch), and I've had an "I am Canadian" t-shirt for years. Gifts from this Christmas added a pair of boxers to my collection. Now if only I could stomach a reasonable quantity of their beer . . .
Speaking of which, we followed up the game with a trip to one of the local pubs that has a bunch of imported beer. Tonight's selection for me included a big Scottish beer named Lia Fair, the Jamaican Red Stripe, and some Super Bock concoction from Portugal. I am now several beer closer to sampling the whole menu (though I'm probably only at about 20 out of 50 or so beers).