30 June 2006

I Daniel Gallagher of sound mind and body .... for now

So the long weekend approaches and it's a bit of the best of both worlds situation for me. Our boss in his infinite kindness has decided that Monday is also off for us so I will be enjoying a lovely four day weekend. Apart from the move down here and the week I took off before moving here I haven't taken any time off since the cottage last August. Now things have been going well so I hadn't noticed but it is still much needed.

Interesting office humour for today was Bobby in his great patriotism decided to wish everyone a happy Fourth of July. This of course included the Marshal financial team which is located in London. Imagine wishing the Germans a happy D-Day. It really is funny and has got most of us laughing.

Speaking of the fourth we have some interesting plans. To be honest it won't be much different from a regular weekend for me as it will be spent largely at the beach. Saturday I am going to get up bright and early to watch the England vs. Portugal game. I find that the longer this tournament wears on the less I care about games that don't directly affect me. Granted at this stage I will watch just about anything because the level of play is so high. After the game is over I have a hair appointment which of course means the return of the faux hawk. No one has one down here so it isn't as played out as it is at home. Then later in the evening we are off to celebrate Canada Day with the large contingent of Canadians that live in So Cal.

The rest of the weekend should be some sort of mix of drinking and partying at the beach. I will have to hit up Pacific Beach at some point with the guys from the office. Both Adam and Jim live there and Bobby isn't too far off in Claremont so I will have to eventually go there and have some beers with the boys.

The rest of my time is pretty open as I don't have much to do. I will probably hang out with Erin and Tony a bit because they are just a load of fun. Erin is great and reminds a lot of my sister, you know except this Erin and I hang out together. Tony is, well, hmm, Tony is Tony and he's a lot of fun.

I forgot to post the pictures of my hike last weekend. Last Saturday I decided to go for a little bit of a hike around the valley across the street. So here are some of the pictures.

-Google maps and ms paint makes for some fun times

-The climb begins

-Halfway up and all of a sudden I can see the office parks

-My complex from the other side of the valley

-The complex from down the street

Now it's time for links of the week

Badger Badger Badger, England football editions. If any of you remember that annoying Badger, Badger, Badger, oh a snake website, well this is it modified for the English run at the World Cup.

Italian instructional video on how to dive for cards. Yes that dirty little secret that comes around every world cup, diving. Well the Italians have always made it into an art, there is nothing like someone sneezing in Toti's direction to cause him to go into a full half gainer and finish it with a swan dive. Yes the beautiful game indeed.

Google search results for 'Engurland'. Humoursly enough yours truly comes up in the rankings for this. See I knew my chronic mistypes would make me famous.

27 June 2006

Canadian US relations

In an effort to better educate my American friends and coworkers I have decieded to enlighten them to certain facts that aren't really obvious to them. The first one is that Canada was the US' largest supplier of oil and natural gas. This got a lot of surprised looks. Secondly I decided to show them 'Talking to Americans'. Who would have thought that I would become that smug bastard Canadian.

Defend your iPod

So a friend who reads this blog fairly regularly was asking me what was on my iPod. So I am indulging her. Here is how this works, I hit shuffle on my iPod and explain the first ten songs that come up.

1) Kylie Minogue - On a Night like this
OK so it was bound to happen, 6500 songs on my iPod and the first one that pops up is an embarassing one. Alright so I like Kylie Minogue what of it. I mean I love 'Wild Rose' her voice with Nick Cave's is pretty amazing

2) Marvin Gaye - Stubborn Kinda Fellow
Show me someone who doesn't love Marvin Gaye and I will show you someone without a soul. He was just a harmonic genius and an amazing writer.

3)Black Sabbath - FX
So I loaded my iPod with some old Black Sabbath because from time to time you need to reconnect with the music you loved as a child. Plus compared to todays stuff it really doesn't sound metal at all

4)Goldie - Angel
Not a bad dj and producer for a geezer with gold teeth. Although he is a terrible actor and not even Bowie could have salvaged that movie.

5)Wolfshiem - Find You're Gone
Probably the best of the synth pop crop these days. Saw them in Detroit a few years back, well worth the drive.

6)Peter Tosh - Stepping Razor
I was never much of a Bob Marley fan but Peter Tosh seems to blend that reggae sound with a much more angry almost punk sensibility lyrically. This song is probably some of his best writing.

7)Dr Dre - Still D.R.E.
I won't lie The Chronic is still probably one of the best hip hop albums of all time and now that I'm on the west coast you knew I had to give love to Dre for that big bass sound.

8)The Stone Roses - Your Star Will Shine
I have decided that if listened to on its' own The Second Coming is a fairly solid album and a bit of a grower. The problem for the roses was that they had to follow the best album in Brittish music history with an average offering. '10 Story Love Song' is still an excellent cut.

9)Oasis - Wonderwall
My love for Oasis is well documented.

10)Ani Difranco - Both Hands
I still love Ani I just can't listen to her with the same frequency I did 5 years ago. Stil a fantastic live performer even if her preachign does get a little tired.

25 June 2006

I'm a lad and thats that

Youtube has been a fantastic source of distraction. I have quite enjoyed looking for obscure Oasis interviews and performances. The best of course being their shot at Blur at the Brit Awards in 96. This is what the Grammys need, free liquor during the events

23 June 2006

Musical Journeys are always less direct

I have been thinking a lot lately about music and how it has the power to define moments in your life. I was also thinking about my life in the stages in which I liked certain types of music and certain genres. I have always had a fairly eclectic taste in music and I think that has a lot to do with how I was raised. My first conscious memories of music or ‘adult music’ are very vivid and clear to me even though I was young at the time.

My first conscious memory of music happened sometime around kindergarten. I was driving with my aunt and uncle in their Colt (yep it was that long ago) along the North Service road in Oakville just past Oakville place. My Uncle Bruce had put on a tape of new romantics music. I distinctly remember this is what he called it. The first song I remember hearing was ‘Modern Love’ by David Bowie. It was an epiphany to me; I had never heard anything like this before.

I suppose a lot of my early taste in music can be traced to Kathleen and Bruce in that way. They had always been more than generous to me as a child and a lot of my most cherished memories of childhood were spent with them. I can recall seeing a lot of movies with them and trips to Centre Island and other places. This was the advantage of being the first nephew, everyone wanted to spend time with me and in this way I was culturally spoiled. Kathleen and Bruce used to take me to the Toronto International Film Festival when I was in the fourth grade. It really did leave its mark. On future car trips with them I was introduced to the Eurythmics and Madonna. Strangely enough the Eurythmics sort of six degrees of separation back into this later.

Through high school I suppose I could have been defined as a Goth. Yep I admit my mistake and to atone for my sins I have destroyed any pictorial evidence of this. Don’t get me wrong a lot of the most fun high school experiences involved sneaking in to Toronto to go dancing at the Catacombs. Granted at the time I was a die hard REM fan and Justin used to joke with some regularity that there was no way I could explain my love for a band who wrote ‘Shiny Happy People’ to the side of me that wore all black and sang along to Bauhaus.

In the end my little Goth phase ended although it had nothing to do with my all abiding love for REM. Matthew you and I still talk about it because it was one of the more defining moments of our early years. April 5, 1999 at the Guvernment in Toronto is a date I’ll most likely never remember. If you’ve never been passionate about music it seems very stupid for one concert to be life altering but it was. Matthew and I went to see the Love and Rockets, which includes all the members of Bauhaus except Peter Murphy. I hadn’t to that point heard much of their music apart from ‘Sweet F A’ so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

They were touring in support of their last album ‘Lift’ which as the concert went on we found to be a mix of trance and dance floor pounding deep grooves. This was our first real introduction to techno. Of course being Goths meant we had listened to a fair amount of Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM so the synth wasn’t a new sound to me. I suppose there was just something about that show and the fates aligned and it was everything in the world to me.

This is the point where Matthew and I joke about leaving the Goth ‘scene’. Something about this show made me intensely interested in techno and electronica, and Matthew got interested in synth pop and industrial. These were the days when The Edge was playing a techno and trance heavy diet for their live to air shows. Crystal Method, The Chemical Brothers, Sneaker Pimps, Prodigy and Underworld were the order of the day.

I was instantly fascinated and began to gravitate towards Underworld. Like everyone else I had heard ‘Born Slippy Nuxx’ in Trainspotting and loved it. I began buying albums in quick succession starting with ‘Beaucoup Fish’ and then ‘dubnobasswithmyheadman’. I just couldn’t get enough.

Now I had always been aware of Underworld on some level. I can recall rumours about Michael Stipe singing on an Underworld track for the Batman and Robin soundtrack. I had obviously heard ‘Born Slippy’ and ‘Push Upstairs’ on different live to air broadcasts.

Underworld opened up a new world for me. I was listening to dj’s like Richie Hawtin, Plastikman, Sven Vath, and Carl Cox etc etc. I was listening to bands like Portishead, Delerium, The Crystal Method, Euphoria, Skindive, Royksopp, Lamb etc etc. It was all a very exciting time for me.

Behind all of this though was Underworld. I began getting interested in new styles of creative design as pioneered by their creative design firm tomato. They did the opening and end credits for Trainspotting as well as a host of new media design. In my estimation they brought about the new era of typography. This was all so new and fascinating. I also became very involved with the dirty list an Underworld mailing list run by dirty.org. As opposed to some of the other fan sites and message boards I had been to this one was very different. The people back then just seemed interested in getting the word out; they were artists and designers as well as dj’s. What really impressed me was that most of them were living the dream and doing what they loved rather than talking about the dream and working at a McDonalds like I had seen rather often on other sites. These people were pretty amazing.

Underworld slowly became the soundtrack to large chunks of my life. I mean even Matthew will tell you it’s not a night of clubbing if it doesn’t end with ‘Dirty Epic/Cowgirl’. I can remember being at Darkrave and hearing ‘Cowgirl’ so Matthew and I went sprinting to grab our mates from the top level to bring them down for it.

I have only seen Underworld once live but even then it was head splittingly amazing. October 16, 2002 at the Kool Haus (which is consequently right next door to the Guvernment where I saw Love and Rockets) I finally had my chance, sure Darren Emerson had left the group but it didn’t matter. The show was amazing the band were electric. If you ever get a chance to see Underworld it is worth it for the visuals alone. Tomato are very slick when it comes to this as witnessed by the display video for Cowgirl.

I’m not sure if there is much point to all of this beyond explaining to my dear readers, both of you, what my musical education was like.

20 June 2006

Vampires might be a bit strong but

It’s all I can do to keep focused today between the June gloom which has returned and the England football match. My general malaise towards life is more or less extending this week. I’m not entirely sure what it is these past few days but I can’t commit to focusing on anything. My mind is just putting everything on trying to focus on work and I’m finally starting to feel worn down for the first time since I moved here. I suppose the adrenaline has finally washed away and I have now settled into a routine, one that involves a 6 am wake up call, but a routine none the less. Life has returned to the medium tedium that one expects it to once you’ve planted your feet for long enough.

All this aside I have been thinking a lot about where I want to be in five years and all of that. Once I am done my first major project we will be able to work from where ever we want provided it has an internet connection. So this gives me the ability to travel and move around quite a bit. As it stands I am considering moving back to Toronto at some point, not sure exactly when but I am certain it will happen. Now it is all down to disciplining myself and saving the money for a down payment on a house. Realistically it would take me two years to bank the 45k or so needed for a down payment on a place I want so that’s not happening but we shall see where we get with this.

Ultimately I would love to move back and buy a place in Yorkville but on my own that’s a little out of the budget right now. I figure something in the 275 to 350k is more reasonable for a starter condo. This more or less what I can afford plus condo fees, taxes, and increasing interest rates. I never realized what a sweet deal condos were in Toronto until I moved here.

Now make no mistake about it I love it out here, the weather is amazing and the scenery is gorgeous. However, I don’t think I would ever want to raise a family here. I have noticed since I arrived here that there is a wave of ignorance and racism that permeates everything. Now I’m not calling Americans ignorant or racist, almost every American I have met is actually no different than any other race of people I have met in the world. What I mean by this is that the mechanism in America is generally one of racist exclusionism and one needs to look no further than the current immigration woes. Now even my coworker Bobby who is the most sincerely patriotic American I have ever met here is kept out of the dark on a lot of world news and it’s not for his lack of trying. The problem is that living in America has a very insular feeling to it. The world outside only matters when something violent happens. For example Bobby was giving me a hard time about Canada not joining the war in Iraq. When I explained to him that we had most of our troupes in Afghanistan and were picking up the international slack caused by the war in Iraq he was shocked. No one had ever informed him of this, all he knew was what Bill O’Rielly and these other right wing pseudo fascists had told him.

I don’t blame Americans for their world views because as I said America is a very insular country, the world just lives in a bubble and September 11 did very little to change that. It’s not that people are willfully ignorant of geopolitics and the world around them it’s just that it’s not reported here. The mechanism of the media here is slanted worse than I have ever seen, the sort of Republic toadying jargon that gets passed off as news here is little more than a thinly veiled political advertisement for the ruling right. When all of your options are CNN, Fox News and MSNBC you are left with very little to no choice as to your media consumption. Ultimately there is something engrained in all of us that keeps us watching the 6 o’clock news. The problem is here there are no viable options, no real outlets for people to hear news and not constant editiorialising. I don’t see this changing and in this environment of jargon and jingoism I can’t see raising a family here.

Wow that was a long micro rant. I promise I am done I will not talk politics for at least 3 entries.

19 June 2006

Jumping the shark on Monday

It’s Monday and the weekend is over, but I can’t help the feeling that I’ve jumped the shark in all aspects of life. So as to not sound like a miserable bastard here is what the weekend was like for me.

Saturday was a scorcher so instead of trying to squeeze in that tennis match Michael and I have been talking about all week we decided to hit the beach instead. I’m still not tired of Torrey Pines or the whole beach experience. Granted I still have a damned farmer’s tan which is apparently worse than death out here. It doesn’t really matter how much the salt water stings I just love going out and swimming around in the surf. Michael and I are also on the hunt for used surf boards, I mean if we’re living out here we might as well learn to surf. I’m looking at long boards first because they are much forgiving to learn on. The rule of thumb is the more surface area on the board the easier it is to catch a wave. I’m looking at about an 8’ board which means I could surf a ripple in a pond.

Convocation in the US seems to be a much bigger deal then I ever remember it being for any of my friends. Now granted I’m a drop out and never quite made it to my graduation. I went to Erin’s graduation party yesterday. Erin is Mike and Jenn’s room mate and just generally a lot of fun. Erin and I quickly slipped into a sort of brother sister relationship where we rag on each other pretty hard and constantly. It’s funny because that kid can give the insults pretty well.

Anyways yesterday was the day for her convocation. Mike and Jenn (mostly Jenn) decorated the house while everyone was away at the ceremony. Once everyone arrived there were a good 18 people over. There were gifts galore and the usual sort of things. Then for dinner we went to this Italian place whose name I can’t remember, there was a Boca in there somewhere.

The restaurant itself was actually a lot like Old Ed’s in Toronto back in the day. We actually sat in what can only be called the papal room as we were surrounded on all sides by various pictures of various popes. This included a bust of a miscellaneous Pontiff (he looked sort of like a generic pontificate) in the center of the table under glass. This was actually really creepy. The meal though was very good and Erin’s family was a lot of fun. I was talking with her father about how they would never dream of holding it on Mothers day. Very nice man I can see where Erin gets her ambition from. Dr Healey is a gp with a few offices, and Erin will be office to medical school in a year.

I’m also in the process of restarting some semblance of a fitness regime. I have been doing a lot more swimming lately and now that I realized that through Mike I can have access to the Qualcomm lap pool I will be swimming laps much more frequently. Walking absolutely everywhere lately has also been a huge advantage in my general state of fitness.

15 June 2006


Pre match prediction 2-0 for England. If I were a betting man I'd lump some more money on Beckhams right leg.

13 June 2006

Yes well I hate José Mourinho too but ....

I have been noticing a trend so far this World Cup and it looks like I'm not alone. Of all the players playing out of their skin this World Cup so far they all seem to be from Chelsea. Don't get me wrong I hate Mourinho and Chelski as much as any other self respecting Spurs fan but I suppose credit is due here. Players like Drogba, Crespo, Robben and Essien are all playing with amazing skill. Much as I don't like the man and his style he seems to be doing something right. It sure beats Sir Alex in Manchester playing the role of a worried mother about all of his stars off to play in the World Cup.

There is actually a very good synopsis of this by John Nicholson on football 365. A few years back my friend Jarlath tipped me to his columns and I have been reading them religiously ever since. The man is clearly very northern and if you must know a bit of a Geordie but he has a wit about him that most people miss with football commentary, especially the English. He takes the mickey out of the English footballing obsession and to his credit makes some fairly valid points about football. Plus he has some hysterical column titles such as 'Thierry Henry Is Like My Ex Carly...' and the ever popular 'Stand Up...If You Don't Want Piles'

It's the little things I miss about the World Cup tradition. First and foremost having a large group of mates to discuss the matches with. Secondly is the total and outright lack of decent pub culture. Toronto has an English or Irish pub on every corner and you can at any time of night or day find yourself a place to watch whatever obscure team or country you follow play in the presence of like minded nutters. There is nothing so reassuring as huddling together with fellow fans at 10 am to raise a pint and toast your teams performance. I will most definately miss watching the games at Scallywags with the rest of the Toronto Spurs Supporters. I am also a little bit sad I just found out the spurs supporters will be having a match against the toronto scum arsenal supporters and I won't be there to twist a few scum ankles.

The other thing I will miss about Toronto during world cup is the impromptu block parties that are held. Because of the multicultural nature of Toronto you are gaurenteed to find a neighbourhood celebrating if their team wins. That was the best part of it, there was always a party. I was reading The Star online yesterday and saw the pictures of the Portugese celebrating their win on College street. Oh Toronto in the summer I really miss you, but you're all alone come winter time.

I had an amazing Sunday. I was up at 6 am to catch all of the matches of the day. Then it was off to Ocean Beach with Mike and Jenn for a little surfing and laying out. Not a great fan of OB, it’s basically a hippy party beach. Granted Mikes’ coworker does have a sweet apartment. He is essential 5 feet from the beach. Also playing against OB is the fact that there is a kelp forest in the area so the water is covered in kelp and it feels disgusting. I think Torrey Pines and Del Mar beach are the place for me.

So back to the world cup, you didn’t really think you were going to get a post from me that didn’t involve it right? I was watching a clip on my ipod of Robbie Keanes best goals and it included the goal in the World Cup against Germany. I think that was the most intensely happy I have ever been, just watching him slot that shot home past the invincible Oliver Kahn. I remember running yelling with joy in the office when that happened. Sure I looked like a loon but it didn’t matter.

1-Denial - The ref blew the call - if only we had put in such and such - if the ball went into the net instead of off the cross bar it would have been a completely different game - who knows maybe we can beat Germany - The brazilians aren't that tough I mean they've lost a game in the past three world cups and that was to the french - the azzuri are the best in the world - michael owen will eventually show up at a world cup match

2-Anger - that bastard ref - that idiot coach - it's a conspiracy against us - just give me five minutes alone with the opposing team and we'll see whose boss

3-Bargaining- OK so if we beat this team by 4 goals we can make it through - All we really need is for every other team to lose by 5 or more goals - All we really need is for Kasey Keller to be a better goalie

4-Depression-overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss of person as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal. And thats just waking up in the morning to find you're an England supporter

5-Acceptance-there is a difference between resignation and acceptance. We;ll get them in South Africa and so begins the cycle every four years.

Don't sweat it unless you're Brazillian chances are your team is going to lose more times than it wins so sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

11 June 2006

Updated list of things I miss. I have realised that the food here is awfull, and this has been agreed upon by everyone i know from the east coast as well as the mid west. So I have started to remedy these things by buying them off eBay.

Red Rose Orange Pekoe Tea - MM delicious proper orange pekoe tea just like granny makes it.

HP Sauce - I miss brown sauce with such a passion

Aero Bars - The chocolate bubble bar mmm damn.

I suppose you forget all the little advantages you get whilst being part of the commonwealth. A few touches of home and I'm set

I can't wait until the American team is elliminated in the first round so the announcers will stop talking about the team at every opportunity. I think that Americans should not be allowed to discuss football because they live up to the ugly idiot American stereotype everytime. They talk with a confidence and arrogance that is completely undeserved.

I have seen interviews with the team talking about how they can beat anyone. Now this is either amazingly stupid or or just dimwited. The American team as I explained to Bobby has a moronically high ranking. They have yet to so much play another team in the top 10 outside Mexico. Not a single friendly against a top 20 ranked team beyond Mexico, how can you say with any confidence that you are any good if you havent played any top flight teams. Secondly none of your players have any signifigant European experience, and the MLS is not nearly the same as the English Premiership, the German Bundesliga or the Spanish La Liga.

I say this because I care, I say this because better football in North America is good for everyone but the second these idiots open their mouths and spout off I start hoping that the American team gets spanked by every team they face and crash out winless. I want Americans to see that Landon Donovan is not a world class striker, and that Keller didn't make it in the premiership for a reason. Arrogance in football is something reserved almost exclusively for the losing team.

I am going to make a suggestion to all american players, watch some tape of the Brazilian team speak in interviews, they are humble and forthright. They never once claim to be the titans they so clearly are. This is Brazil the prohibitive favourite of every world cup, who has won it 5 times 3 times more than any other team. This is not some arrogant up start of a footballing nation that has never made it to a semi finals.

So in shrot America it was nice to have you in the world cup but next time bring the humility the sport demands and stop acting like a bunch of drunken college frat boys on a european vacation.

10 June 2006

Match Day Musings

Beckhams right foot is still deadly even if the rest of his team is not. Anyone who was surprised by England playing off their heels after getting ahead in a game they knew they were going to win. Roney wasn't in and you knew they weren't giving it their all.

Sweden is in trouble based on how they played, but it may have been a fluke. Sweden always plays to the level of their competition. We saw this in qualifiers.

Argentina are going to get spanked if they play like they did today against the Nehterlands. The Ivory Coast really impressed me and just got some bad bounces. Drogba looked amazing

So I had heard about how terrible American soccer announcers were but I did not believe it until I heard it. They treat it like its a bloody basketball game, talking about size and athleticism like this is some sort of sport where muscle memory is all that counts. These people have no concept of the beautiful game and how it should be announced. Would it kill them to listen to a few Brit announced game. It is really bloody amatuer, and I mean high school.

Here is a list of the stupid mistakes they have made since the start of the England game;

1. Steven Gerrard - His last is pronounced Jair-ard not jur=ard. Watching a few matches of Premiership football would have alerted you to this fairly cursory fact.

2. Paul Robinson - plays his club soccer for Tottenham Hotspur not Chelsea.

3. England - are in fact the men in the white shirts and not Germany, he has made this mistake 3 times so far. Now this is just cursory and shows the level of amateur they have announcing the match

4. Through balls - Not every touch of the ball is a cross there are occasionally what we call through balls.

5. Seating Capacity - Please do not announce the fact that the stadium is at capacity, this is the world cup it is assumed that the event is sold out.

6. Colour Commentary - Stop for the love of God stop, no one cares about what Ashley Cole wanted to do professionally if he didn't play football. More to the point it doesn't matter this is the beautifull game there is enough on the pitch to talk about.

These announcers are amazingly amatuer and generally terrible. Just because you played on the American national team in 94 does not mean you are qualified to announce. Please for the love of God this is the World Cup and it is not acceptable to take your MLS announcers and port them over.

I just heard the following exchange between the announcers:

-it's hotter here today than it was yesterday how does that effect the play?
-well when it's hotter you sweat more and are exhausted easier

HOLY FUCK! In all of my years of watching the sport it had never occured to me that the hotter the temperature got the more exhausted one becomes easily. I'm watching this with the sound off for the rest of the game.

Wow that didn't take long they mentioned the war and managed to show Hitler. I am getting a satelite so I can watch the Canadian coverage

09 June 2006

Less than half an hour

Ok so don't expect the updates to be very concise for the next month or even very interesting. They will mostly be random, racist and generally agitated. Anyone who has ever seen me during international football knows what I'm talking about.

When Britain first, at heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main,
Arose, arose, arose from out the a-azure main,
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:

Rule Britania!
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves

08 June 2006

Tonight I am off to see the last surviving Madchester band, The Charlatans. Well the band isn’t technically from Manchester but close enough. The Charlatans are early 90’s baggy in the same sort of way that The Happy Mondays and James were. The sound is sort of a deeply psychedelic throw back with a bit more funk. Sadly I have completely missed the Charlatans every other time they have toured, including tours with The Stereophonics and JJ72 as openers.

I have a deep love for the Manchester music scene I would easily compare it against any other cities. I mean a town that spawned Oasis, New Order, Joy Division, The Smiths, Morrissey, The Charlatans, The Happy Mondays, and the best of the bunch The Stone Roses. This is the town that invented the rave so there is a lot of history there.

I also have my full predictions for the world cup first round.

Group A
1. Germany
2. Poland

Group B
1. Sweden
2. England

Group C
1. Holand
2. Argentina

Group D
1. Portugal
2. Mexico

Group E
1. Czech Republic
2. USA
* a huge risk predicting that Italy will go out in the first round

Group F
1. Brazil
2. Japan

Group G
1. France
2. Swtzerland

Group H
1. Spain
2. Ukraine

07 June 2006

So I had my first taste of California politics, or I suppose it would be more accurate to call it California voter apathy. Granted I have yet to figure out the intricacies of the American governmental system, but I get the sinking feeling very few people would ever be able to explain this to me. Although I have the feeling that more than anywhere else the electorate here have more to be apathetic about than anyone else. If the 2000 election showed us anything it was that your vote doesn’t count, now sure that’s a little snide and this has basically been covered but in general no one candidate seems to be interested in engaging the electorate. The attack ads were so vile and off putting I couldn’t imagine wanting to vote for either candidate regardless of political affiliation.

I am still working out in my mind what it means to be a Democrat or Republican. Sure I have a general sense of what it means but there is such a great polarization I have seen since I arrived here. Is there such a thing as a moderate centrist Republican, well other than John McCain? What happened to the days of the Liberal Republican movement and leaders like FDR? Scanning a few of the news stations here and the odd talk radio station I hear I have found that Liberalism has been considered the scourge of the modern world by every right leaning personality I have heard. In the decade plus that Canada was Liberal our economy out performed and we prospered so I have no complaints.

I begin to wonder what it will take to force the groundswell that is desperately needed in America. The future is changing quickly and the road America is on is narrowing and there seems to be absolutely no concern for it. The American dollar is weakening, oil prices are increasing, the auto industry is suffering in the wake of better made imports and the country is running a record deficit. Now this is not Bush bashing, make no mistake about it I strongly dislike the man but this is more a series of questions regarding the general nature of America these days. Can the course be changed or is it just inevitable that all great empires must fall under their own weight. I am quite enjoying my time down here but make no mistake about it I’m not about to stick around on a sinking ship for the sake of nobility. The second the market starts to sour here I’ll be gone.

Granted all of my opinions could be based on the fact I am simultaneously reading John Ralston Saul’s ‘The Unconscious Civilization’ and Heath and Potters The Rebel Sell: How the Counterculture Became Consumer Culture. I like this time I am having not worrying about politics or even thinking about it but thinking about ideas and concepts of social societies. I think once I am done this I am going to take a crack at reread John Nashs’ Essays on game theory

06 June 2006

The housing situation

Alright so I am sure a few of you, mostly mother, would be interested in seeing what the neighbourhood looks like. I currently share a house with two other people, Alex who is a software developer for one of my competitors (I have been very quiet on this fact), and Andrea who is finishing up her legal clerk certificate. When I moved in the place was a mess and I have spent the last week and a bit cleaning it up. Also the landlord who used to live in the house left his furniture and effects at the house. Lets just say he didn’t have the greatest flare for interior decorating.

So for now here are some pictures of the neighbourhood. Granted none of these pictures were actually taken by me but rather found in a google search of the arear.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Ok so this holds absolutely no meaning to me, I mean ultimately why would I be afraid of the Emperor Nero. Granted it is fun to watch the superstitious around here twist a little bit. I mean it's silly to get excited over a day that no one is precisely sure how it came about. There is as good a chance that 616 is actually the number as it was stated in the early bible first. No I will not be seeing the Omen tonight, not because of some fear but largely because horror films bore me. It takes a lot to really scare me or put me on edge so we shall see.

"Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the
beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short...
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the
beast for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and
sixty six."

There is an interesting article on the BBC explaining the phenomenon. It is also a really good way to find out how stupid your average satanist is.

05 June 2006

Oh My God I Can't Believe it I've Never Been This Far Away from Home!

I have started writing again, I suppose the travel and no solid sense of home has triggered a flood of artistic thought in me. It has been great, I have been putting my brand new macbook through its’ paces and so far it has come out alright. Granted I may still install windows on it yet.

There are a lot of differences I have noticed since moving here. They also become much more pronounced since with the World Cup looming. All of the marketing for the World Cup here has been aimed squarely at the Mexicans and South Americans living here. Granted I have seen a few adverts for the coverage on ESPN but by and large not a whole lot. That was the nice thing about the little ethnic enclaves that make up Toronto. Regardless of what teams remained in the World Cup back home you could always find no shortage of people willing to take to the streets and celebrate.

Here is my small list of grievances with Southern California so far;

1) No HP Sauce. I really miss HP Sauce, I have been searching high a low for it.
2) English Pubs. Southern California is bordering on completely devoid of English pubs. I like the relaxed atmosphere and the decent beer
3) Bad Driving. No one in Southern California knows how to drive, this is a fact that I have had verified by the Boston boys. Maybe it’s just the lack of snow that causes them to drive like idiot whenever someone sprays the road with their lawn sprinkler.
4) Illogical Chip Flavours. Seriously no dill pickle what the hell is that.
5) Spelling. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again speak the Queens English. Here is a fast run down of the correct spelling of the following words cheque, favour, neighbour, colour, humour, flavour, recognise, and patronise.
6) Decent Beer. If Sam Adams is all you people have it’s time to quit trying and except that American beer is as Monty Python put it ‘American beer is like making love in a canoe. It's fucking near water’

That said I really love the weather the beaches and the attitude out here. Granted I am sure at some point I am going to really miss proper culture and have to move somewhere that has it.

01 June 2006

World Cup 2006 Germany

Well it's that time again when my thoughts drift to the world cup. I was really disheartened when Ireland didn't qualify and I have yet to forgive the French for that (yea call up everyone and their mother to play against Ireland and barely win). So I have to throw my support behind England.

New Order - World In Motion

Sure the song is a bit tacky and dated but what can you do I still love that song. So I will be trading my 'come on you boys in green' cheers for the decidedly more gutteral 'Engurland' and 'Rule Britannia' chants. So I'm not as dillusional as your average limey so I don't expect them to actually win the world cup but placing would be good. Actually I like the Dutch, the clock work orange are due one of these days.

The Office. I thought this may be a good opportunity to enlighten everyone as to what my work conditions are like here in Encinitas. I am trying to get the back story out of the way so we can dive straight in.

I suppose everyone’s office is meant to feel like a bit of a sitcom or it has always been that way for me in the past. This one is absolutely no different except the accents are different. The side of the office I sit on does not host one native Californian of the five of us. The office breakdown works like this;

Stuart, Owner/CEO – New Zealand
Bobby D, Sales Rep – Boston
Adam, Sales Rep – Boston
Jim, Sales Rep – New Hampshire
Steve, Sales Manager – Boston

There are advantages to working with a bunch of chowds, the main ones being that my accent seems slight by comparison. Granted I still hear about it every time I say ‘out, about or house’ which I suppose is to be expected. The team is actually a lot of fun to work with and we get along like a house on fire. It has also been really great to watch my Jays smoke the Sox so far this season. I think the best moment in all of this was when Bobby and I were in Vegas. We were walking next to each other down the corridors at the Mandalay Bay, him in his Sox hat carrying a Budweiser and me in my Jays hat carrying a Moosehead. To steal a phrase from the chowds ‘they’re a wicked smart bunch of guys.’

The other main perk of working here is just generally the level of respect I get treated with. In one of our first lunches Stuart called it ‘coming off the plantation’ and he wasn’t far from the truth. Here my opinions are listened to and taken into consideration which is a nice change. I also have my own office with a window, imagine that. My first major project will be to roll everyone in the company over to a work from home situation. We will be closing down the Encinitas office and moving into a smaller one in La Jolla. Most of the sales reps will work from home as well as the tech teams. This is a huge amount of work for me to do on my own but I’m up for the challenge. Granted the time line has been accelerated from October to the middle of July, so challenges abound.

So here are some office pictures.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

'the beatings will stop when morale improves'. You can see on the map how far I am from home, a 7 hour flight is a bit deceiving.