Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Best of 2003 - CD's

After going through my cd's which I purchased in 2003, below, in no particular order, are the ones which I enjoyed the most. [Note: I haven't actually bought that many more CD's released in 2003 than what are listed below; However, I have bought tonnes of other CD's(new and used) which were released before 2003.]

Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Lost in translation

The Strokes
Room On Fire
mp3 (courtesy of http://listen.artistdirect.com)

Shine A Light
mp3 (courtesy of Sub Pop Records)

Puffy Amiyumi

Sam Roberts
We Were Born In A Flame

Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?

The Dears
No Cities Left
mp3, mp3 (courtesy of UmbrellaMusic.com)

The Remote Part

The Super Friendz
Love Energy


The Aislers Set
How I Learned To Write Backwards
mp3 (courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records)
mp3 mp3 (courtesy of Slumberland Records)

The Arcade Fire
The Arcade Fire
mp3 mp3 mp3 mp3

Yo La Tengo
Summer Sun
mp3 mp3


ps. please forgive the layout above; this was as much an exercise in my HTML skills than anything else; I do hope to improve though ;-)

Monday, December 29, 2003

Concerts I went to in 2003

I was thinking of the concerts I went to this year and I didn't realize how many I actually had gone to. There were several concerts that I'm really disappointed that I didn't see(Mojave 3, Spiritualized, Metric, Belle and Sebastian, Broken Social Scene). Here are the ones(that I could think of) that I made it to:

... In retrospect, my favourite concert experiences were the Pernice Brothers, The Dears, Yo La Tengo, Shonen Knife, Howie Gelb, Guided By Voices and the POP Montreal festival.

... Within the next day or two, I'll probably post a list of the best cd's released in 2003 that I purchased, so stay tuned.

Friday, December 26, 2003

and we can now all breathe a sigh of relief...

Christmas Day:

- Went to the traditional Christmas Day mass.

- Opened presents with my family [parents, brother, sisters, nephews, sister's fiance]

- Had a really tasty Christmas lunch[glazed ham(yummy!), salad, rice, grilled veggies, chicken]

- Took a nap(a good meal does it to you everytime).

- Watched part of a television movie tear-jerker about a family's newborn baby being abducted but eventually being reunited on Christmas Day. (sniff, sniff)

- Went to my aunt's house with my family for Christmas Dinner and stuffed myself further.

- When I finally got home, I ended up falling asleep in front of the tv, then waking up and dragging myself up to my bed to go back to sleep.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Thinks to look forward to today!
... Christmas Day meal leftovers!
... Boxing Day shopping (I'd like to get a digital camera.)
... (and as the kids say) chill

ps. I've been seeing the television ad for the new movie adaptation of "Peter Pan" and there is something very magical about hearing Coldplay's "Clocks" against the backdrop of the movie.[apparently I am not the first person to comment on this.] I hope the movie is just as good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry X'mas to all and to all a good night

I hope everyone out there has a safe and happy holiday season.

I came across this mp3 on the 'Net today which is Coldplay doing a live rendition of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". [This is not the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2002 version; I'm not sure where or when Coldplay performed this song.]


Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Down to the wire

I'm cutting it close but I have one more present to purchase, and possibly some wrapping paper. Then x'mas shopping is done! The news story recently that men leave their x'mas shopping to the last minute is exactly true. If I weren't working tomorrow, I would have possibly done most of my shopping tomorrow. However, I only have one more present to buy so I'll try to go on my lunch or something.

I finally completed my Christmas mix CD. I've given it the title "Cool X'mas Tunes 2003"[I cringe everytime I read that title but I already print out the CD insert and I'm too lazy to do it over ;-) ]. The tracklisting is as follows:

1. Coldplay- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (live on KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas 2002)*
2. U2 - Merry Christmas(Baby Please Come Home) *
3. Mary Margaret O'Hara- Blue Christmas*
4. The Ventures - Sleigh Ride*
5. Sixpence None the Richer - Christmas Time Is Here*
6. Belle and Sebastian - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel*
7. Goldfinger - White Christmas* -> streaming
8. Fiona Apple - Frosty The Snowman*
9. FabFour - The Christmas Song*
10. Rubber Band- Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
11. The Swing Cats - Jingle Bell Rock* -> info
12. The Bomboras - Little Drummer Boy*
13. Brian Setzer Orchestra - Jingle Bells*
14. Grandaddy - Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland*
15. Luscious Jackson - Let It Snow*
16. Grenadine - J.I.N.G.L.E. Bells
17. PAS/CAL- Jingle Bell Rock* -> mp3
18. Man...Or Astroman- Frosty The Snowman*
19. Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time*
20. Jimmy Eat World- Last Christmas* -> streaming
21. Yo La Tengo - It's Christmas Time* -> link
22. The Wedding Present - Step Into Christmas
23. R.E.M. - Silver Bells*
24. No Doubt - Oi to the World*
25. The Mopeds - Silent Night / The Battle of the Latin Worlds*
26. The Ramones - Merry Christmas(I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)*
27. Tori Amos - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas*

* mp3
[all other songs are from CD's I own]

This was a fun mix to put together. I don't think the flow of the CD was quite right but I was in a hurry to burn the CD because I wanted to have a chance to listen to the songs before Christmas. For the most part, the songs are familiar and hence Christmas-y sounding. There are exceptions to that rule such as the No Doubt, The Ramones and The Wedding Present songs which don't sound Christmas-y at all but at least the lyrics are sung clearly enough that you know the song is related to Christmas; also those songs kick some major ass! I've chose to bookend the CD with renditions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" done by Coldplay and Tori Amos respectively: I never realized how beautiful this song really was until I heard these versions!

As I expressed above: one more present to purchase and I'm done.

Happy Eve before Christmas Eve!

ps. Only tomorrow is separating me from 11 days of pure and total relaxation, because I'd return to work on January 5, 2004! I hope I'm able to leave early tomorrow, as our managers usually only leave a skeletal staff to work until closing. [Stupid me had to volunteer to stay late on Christmas Eve; I hope I can get someone to switch with me.(usually if you work late on Christmas Eve, you are allowed to leave work earlier on a day in the future)]

Monday, December 22, 2003

Morning Glory

So after what seemed like a month, the lovely Melissa Lee returned to Morning Call. I think she was on vacation for a week or so. It's nice to see her back! There's a whole other reason to get up early in the morning!

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Christmas kicks into high gear

- 4 more shopping days(including today) till Christmas!

- I'm working on a Christmas mix CD with some really cool versions of Christmas songs! I'll post the final track listing when I finish it.

- So while I should have been x'mas shopping yesterday, I scored some interesting finds at the flea market:

1) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie and New Wave - I bought this book for $12 CDN. I know this book is currently out of print so I was really glad to find it. It briefly gives an overview of indie and alternative bands dating back to I believe the late 70's. I find the entries a bit brief compared to the superior Trouser Press Record Guide and The Trouser Press Record Guide to '90s Rock. However the V.E.I.N.W does contain entries for artists that the Trouser Press guides don't have.

2) Found a vinyl copy of The Searchers “Loves Melody”. I don't know much about them other than they being a band from the sixties. I first discovered the band after purchasing the CD D.I.Y.: Starry Eyes: UK Pop, Vol. 2, a collection of UK new wave-pop hits from the late 70's, early 80's. The Searchers “Loves Melody” was released by Sire Records in the early 80's, and the band had hoped to draw a more new wave audience(rather than get stuck on the oldies circuit). The band even covers Big Star's "September Gurls"!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Spreading some Christmas joy ;)

Over the last couple of weeks, I've slowly become the resident CD 'bootlegger' at my office. Some people in the office have been playing Christmas music during lunch constantly over the last couple of weeks or so; in particular it's Christmas music done West Indian-style; soca, calypso, what have you; these aren't my personal preferences but whatever. As a favour to some people at work, I've agreed to make copies of some of these CD's for them. One CD burned here, a couple CD's burned there; all of a sudden, I'm hit for a request to burn 8 copies of a Christmas CD that a bunch of people want. IF THE AUTHORITIES ARE READING THIS: PLEASE BE ADVISED, I AM NOT PROFITING FROM THIS. [and most of all it's Christmas] :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

We're all human; we all do it; taking pleasure in the unfortunate news of others. I actually found it funny[I know, shame on me] that American Idol Justin Guarini was dropped from his record label RCA, due to poor sales of his self-titled debut album. I'm not particularly impressed with any of the American Idols but I could almost smell the stench of the awfulness of his music even before his CD was released; honestly, I haven't heard a single note of his CD but I think I'll take everyone's word and avoid it like the plague. And man I wish he'd shave that RIDICULOUS 'sideshow-bob' looking hairstyle of his.

ps. What I find more surprising is that I don't totally dislike the direction of American Idol Kelly Clarkson's music. IMO, she mis-stepped with her song "A Moment Like This"(we don't need another Celine Dion); however her song "Miss Independent" didn't totally suck(I won't be running out to buy the CD but at least it didn't make my ears bleed). :)

Monday, December 15, 2003

Some Christmas observations.......My Christmas shopping is moving along at a snail's pace but at least it's moving; I purchased a couple of presents over the weekend. And yesterday, here in my neck of woods ie Greater Toronto, Ontario region, we had our first major snowfall, although most of it is already melting. I happened to come across A Charlie Brown Christmas on television; I didn't watch it today, although I've watched it every year, and it is my favourite of all the television Christmas specials! [The soundtrack is so cool also!]

Actually, tonight I watched an episode of MTV Duets on Muchmusic. I think this may have been the first time they showed this program in Canada. Interesting idea: a fan gets to perform a song with their favourite artist. Today a fan performed with Blink 182. The fan was a drummer himself and Travis of Blink 182 sat down with the guy and showed him some drum part ideas which they would play for the song. Travis is really an awesome drummer and he bangs the heck out of his drums! The song that Blink 182 and the fan performed was "Stay Together For The Kids" which is my favourite song of theirs; I really only know Blink 182's singles by the way. "Stay Together For The Kids" is more emo than punk-pop and I really hope that Blink 182 go more in that direction; although I heard that Blink 182-offshoot Box Car Racer was sort of an avenue for Travis and Mark's emo influences so maybe I'll check them out. The "DUETS" version of "Stay Together For The Kids" rocked and I can't wait till they post the download on MTV.COM.!!!

Listened to today: Mean Red Spiders "Stars And Sons", Guided By Voices "Alien Lanes" , Afghan Whigs "What Jail is Like 2 [ep]" ......also been listening to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless ever since seeing Lost In Translation last week.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Well the big news today was that Saddam Hussein was captured by the U.S. today. I found out around 11:30 am EST. I think his capture was somewhat anti-climatic as most people thought that he would have never been taken alive. It's funny; this is a historically significant event in my lifetime and I'm almost blaise about the whole thing. I guess, living in Canada, I'm so far removed from the Iraqi's situation. It's sort of like when, the big blackout of 2003 occurred during the summer, and the North American press went nuts over the story, but then an Iraqi commented about the blackout and basically said, what's the big deal, because the Iraqi people lived with electrical shortages/blackouts practically every day. ....Seeing the jubilation in the faces of the Iraqi people, I hope that this is the start of a better life for them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


So today, I've been pondering about the film Lost In Translation which I saw yesterday and which I thought was so excellent. My final analysis of the film is that it is about uncertainty: the uncertainty of life, love, careers, marriage, etc....

On one hand is Bill Murray's character, Bob Harris, who is an actor[apparently an actor after his prime, about in his 50's] who is in Japan to shoot a series of commericals for a brand of whisky. On the other hand is Scarlett Johansson's character, Charlotte, a young woman in her early 20's who made the trek to Japan with her husband who is there for work as a fashion photographer.

Both are in a foreign country, do not know the language and for different reasons are isolated from what goes on around themselves. Bob, other than the times he is surrounded by an entourage of Japanese movie industry types or hotel staff, remains fairly solitary when not filming his tv commericals and chooses to pass much of his time in the bar of the hotel where he is staying. Charlotte, although married seems to have a certain detachment from her husband who seems to be constantly on the go with his photography jobs. Charlotte and her husband are staying in the same hotel as Bob. And one day Bob catches a glimpse of Charlotte in the elevator and through a series of bumping in to each other in the hotel bar or the hotel swimming pool, they become acquainted with each other gradually. Their meetings also happen to occur many times during the middle of the night as they both are insomniacs.

So herein lies the film's motto "everyone wants to be found": Bob and Charlotte find each other, whether it be natural selection[ie Bob and Charlotte are Americans in a sea of Japanese citizens] or fate, because they need someone desperately to understand them, to listen. We find out that Charlotte, who's been married two years, is having doubts about her marriage and what she'd like to do with her life. Bob has been married 25 years but reveals that he doesn't feel like his wife needs him(for example his phone conversations with his wife lack any sort of emotion from his wife and she never once says 'I love you').

So Bob and Charlotte spend much of their time together, exploring the city, socializing with some of Charlotte's Japanese friends, going to a party, eating at restaurants, singing karaoke, and back at the hotel, talking.

In the short time that Bob and Charlotte get to know each other they grow closer but always with a certain distance between them; the relationship never gets sexual, although at one point, a couple of awkward half-on-the-lips-half-on-the-cheek kisses seem to point that they had at least considered a romantic relationship. In the end they never cross that boundary. I do feel that they genuinely respected each other and the fact that each other was married. But I also think that aside from each other's marriage, they loved each other on a different level; maybe not a romantic love in the conventional sense, but a deeper almost spiritual love. Their parting initially is quite sudden and there is no long goodbye between Bob and Charlotte. As Bob rides in the taxi, he spots Charlotte walking; Bob catches up with Charlotte and embraces her prolongingly, not in a romantic way but in a comforting, protective way; in my opinion telling her non-verbally that she had a profound effect on him, and vice versa I feel she felt the same way about him. They are better persons for having known each other and the uncertainties in life hopefully will not be as scary.

It's almost 2 o'clock in the morning and I just finished burning some X'mas cd's for some people at work[mind you, there not my cd's but someone's at work]. So briefly I have to state for the record that, the "pardon" came through.....ok, as I was saying below on December 5, 2003, I was "suppose" to have been going back to my old office, but for whatever reasons[and I won't ask why, nor do I care], my manager called me and said that she's able to offer me to continue in my present position at least until the end of December. Woohoo! I might possibly still have to leave by the end of the month, but anything can happen.....originally when I came to my office in March 2003, I was only suppose to be staying for 3 weeks....9 months later I am still there, and I really would hate to leave.....although, if I don't end up leaving anytime soon, I'll feel really silly about all the attention(the cake, the lunches, the gift) that I got when I told people I was leaving.

Tonight, my buddy and I saw Lost in Translation finally!!! My friend thought it was a little slow but I really liked it. I couldn't possibly get into a critique of the film now but possibly in the future. But definitely thumbs up for me!

Monday, December 08, 2003

"LET THE GAMES BEGIN!"....And so ends the first week of December 2003. The east coast of the U.S. was hit by some doozies of winter storms. Suckas! [Up here, in Ontario[near Toronto] we've been lucky, but sure enough we'll probably get dumped on by a blizzard eventually.] I attended a family Christmas party yesterday, thrown by my younger cousin Michelle and there was a tonne of food. This week, I think my office will probably be having their office Christmas lunch. And I even bought ONE present over the weekend. "It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas!" I think I'll pull out my Christmas music today since I'm off from work, and maybe I'll try to get some shopping done.

I bought The Supremes "Christmas Collection" over the weekend for a couple of bucks[it was used and was missing the CD cover/inserts] and there's some great 60's motown sounding versions of Christmas classics.

Oh, if anyone is watching, this is my Amazon.ca wishlist! ;-)

Also picked up the "Lost In Translation" soundtrack featuring several songs by Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine fame. He can do no wrong! The soundtrack is rounded off by tracks from artists such as Air, Jesus and Mary Chain, Death In Vegas, and others. I haven't seen the film yet [although I'm really psyched about seeing it!], but listening to the soundtrack gives me a feeling of "floating" and seeing the clips of the movie, my impression is that the soundtrack would fit quite nicely the scenes of Bill Murray wandering a foreign country without a sense of purpose. I sort of get the same feeling that the LIT soundtrack gives me when I listen to a dreamy album such as My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" or Mojave 3's "Excuses For Travellers" when I ride the subway, watching people board and leave the subway and watching the changing scenery.

Friday, December 05, 2003

'Goodbye'[or is that 'I love you'? ;-) ] is the hardest thing to say.... My last day at my office was yesterday after being there for 9 months. I got to know a bunch of the people who are great, and vice versa most people got to know me. I've established some great working relationships and it will be a shame to break those ties. Also, some of them were jokers and it's always hard to accept that you won't see those people everyday anymore. As discreetly as I wanted to keep my leaving, a bunch of people took me out for lunch a couple of times, a bunch of them bought a cake, and they even bought a small present. My Employer has some really sucky rules about permanent and temporary staffing. I am permanent but in a lower[base] position and I was in a acting position for a higher position, which I have been doing[save for a few months here and there] since November 2000. However, someone apparently is taking over my position just because they are being converted to permanent after doing the job for a 'consecutive' 18 months. I don't blame them, mind you, just the system.

So I'm going back to my old office to my base position[think clerical, filing, administrative]. Seriously, the money will almost be the same but after doing customer service for so long, I think I'll be bored in my old position.

And the final straw, is that after a couple of weeks of slowly letting people know I'm leaving, my manager tells me YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, that they might be able to keep me on at least until the end of the month. Man I wish they could've told me sooner, preferably before all those goodbyes.....I feel like a freakin' puppet! Won't people be surprised if I walk in to work next week.

On another note, Christmas is coming, and I don't feel very Christmas-y.....I haven't even started shopping. Although I've been downloading[although not burning onto CD's] alot of interesting Christmas music. I think I'll try to post some of the more interesting titles in a future post.

played this week:

  • Bettie Serveert "Dust Bunnies" - I can't believe I have had this CD for several years and never played it that much till this week. It is such a good CD! The female vocalist has one of the best voices in rock music today...her voice is not overly feminine[although I love that type of voice too....listen to the Blake Babies & Juliana Hatfield] but has a rough-hewn quality. In a way, the vocalist for Bettie Serveert sounds like a female version of Stephen Malkmus. The music is muscular enough but never wanky and the melodies are really good.

  • Blake Babies "God Bless The Blake Babies" - I've been listening to this CD this week but all because I had been listening to this CD about a month or two ago and discovered it is really good pop music. Evan Dando guests on it and on one song sings a duet with Juliana Hatfield [just like the good ole days!]. The members of the Blake Babies take vocal turns, basically on the songs they themselves wrote. I still like Juliana's songs the best. And Juliana on vocals doing a cover of the Madder Rose song "Baby Gets So High" was simply awesome. I can't remember a bad song in the bunch.