24 October 2006

Having a Lost in Translation moment

If I had to sum up my entire time in California so far I think I could do it with one quote from Slapshot.

Denis Lemieux: Fuck. I lose my blouse.
Jim Ahern: Shirt... shirt.

I think it means you're Canadian if you understand that.

12 October 2006

Shoot the runner fuck this town ... Kasabian in San Diego

Kasabian in San Diego, well I suppose I need to write about this. Since I picked up their debut album after hearing 'ID' I was hooked. To my mind they are the best of the new Britpop crop (with the arctic monkeys coming a respectable second) and their new album 'Empire' while not as instantly infectious as their debut is a real grower in the truest sense of the word. Cuts like 'Shoot the runner', 'empire', 'doberman' and 'seek and destroy' are all brilliant in the same way 'club foot', 'processed beats' and 'reason is treason' were. Now that you're familiar with the back story I am sure you could all go for a bit of narative thrust here.

I have only seen Kasabian once in concert and that was at the KoolHaus back in Toronto, after they sold out their show at the Pheonix so fast it had to be bumped up to another venue to meet the demand. They were brilliant live putting down a blistering and energetic set. The crowd was well into it in Toronto and sang along with every song including an amazing response during 'Processed Beats'. Now let me say for the record I have no faith in San Diego music fans, since my time here they have been proven to be absolutely useless. This town is completely devoid of any sort of real musical movement or scene. I didn't expect much after what I had seen at Esthero, Arctic Monkeys or Massive Attack. So I wasn't at all surprised when I showed up to the house of blues (see George Carlins comments about this chain for an acurate articulation of what should happen to these places) to find that not only was the venue roughly the size of a postage stamp but it was also at best half full. That even got worse after the musical abomination that was the opening act Blue October left stage and took a sizeable chunk of the crowd with them. Not the worst thing in the world as it seemed to be mostly teenaged girls who left.

So I and my date put back a few drinks up on the balcony and just generally tried to to get trampled upon. The crowd was really surprising as I was the lone noticable eurotrash there. Not one mod, not a single britpoper or eurotrash to be spied in the whole crowd. Quite a bit of khakis and golf shirts though. After a short break the band took stage and I headed towards the front of the stage.

They opened with the explosive 'Shoot the Runner' which although not quite as good as 'ID' was a great way to get the show moving. The band was in rare form ripping through new and older material. I really can't complain although I think Tom had a bit too much fun saying San Diego. I would have liked to hear 'Butcher Blues' 'ID' and 'U Boat' but thats just me. The band was once again amazing but the crowd sucked. Then again I can't say why I would ever expect more from a show out here. San Diego continues to prove to be a cultural wasteland

10 October 2006

Dante's Circles of Housemate hell ... or 'I have met the enemy and her name is Andrea'

I have always heard horror stories about roommates from hell and I always found them to be a bit over drawn and hard to believe. That is of course until I moved in with Andrea the mid 30’s, unemployed paralegal from Dante’s third circle of hell. After the relatively short period of time I have been staying here (4 months) she has driven me to spend as little time at home or in contact with her as humanly possible.

Andrea is a dumpy looking thirty something who one can only visually describe as having the dress sense of a liberated Mennonite. She reminds me a bit of one of my grade school French teachers who gave off airs of being a spinster in that sort of fashion that she wore clothes that one might find for retiree’s in their early 70’s at JC Penny. Now this is not entirely true of Andrea, she does have a boyfriend, a creepy specter of a man who to borrow a phrase from Hemingway ‘had the look of an unsuccessful rapist’ although he is much more tolerable than her.

Andrea is the type of passive aggressive annoyance that makes my blood boil. She has taken up every available inch of storage space in the house with her tacky nick knacks and text books. It’s bloody infuriating, and it took my using the entire section of the counter in order for her to give me a second cupboard in the kitchen. She leaves a clothes drying rack in the kitchen I am convinced mostly to annoy me and make me feel like I am sharing a home with a group of early 1930’s American immigrants from ‘the old country’.

All of her available time seems to be devoted to getting caught up on every episode of The Cosby Show, Mad About You and Friends that have ever aired. She sits in front of the television all day and night at a rather infuriating interval. She manages to also use it when anyone else wants to watch it, not that Alex and I ever venture out of our rooms to watch it lest we have to endure a conversation with her or worse still smell her cooking. This woman has about all of the gastronomic sense of a decaying garbage heap. I have at 9 AM smelt her burning onions and on occasion cooking curry. Now make no mistake about it I love curry like few others who share my skin tone but before 9 AM is a disgusting abomination. But this should come as no surprise from a woman who finds Easy Mac with tuna and peas a delicious if not designer meal choice.

Now let us move on to the subject of cleanliness and other matters as presently that is what is annoying me. Andrea has always been suggesting I clean more but in her own passive aggressive sort of way. This is a strange fact as I am the only one who has seen fit to vacuum or mop a floor since I moved in. The fact remains they didn’t have a mop or broom when I moved in. Now this is no fault of Alex’s he keeps his things impeccable and never causes a mess. Andrea on the other hand is a walking disaster leaving piles of dishes next to the sink for days rather than putting them in the dishwasher.

Now Andrea has been unemployed for some time a fact that I doubt likely to change given that she spends every hour God sends watching terrible TV reruns, seriously people I am waiting to walk down the stairs and hear the Keatons any day now. So she came to me and told me she had planned out every day of her life for the next year and created cards and ordered them. So I looked and sure enough she had, hey whatever fine I mean for the sake of her parents I hope finding a job is on a couple of those cards. Anyways she then said ‘Now all I have to do is find a way for you and Alex to do some of these chores’. I walked away in disgust at this point having next to no interest in further discussing this matter with her. Firstly she called them chores and then had the nerve to talk down to me.

You can imagine my surprise when I walked downstairs this morning to get my morning cereal to find she had printed out a list of chores and tacked them onto the fridge with a date and sign off sheet as well as how often they should be performed. All of this smacked me a bit too much of a bathroom in a fucking Denny’s. Now I haven’t said anything but this is just the last straw. Should she mention anything to me I will drop the polite veneer I have been employing for the past few months and tell her straight up what I think of her and her list. I mean its bad enough I have to pretend to be on the phone every time I come in and out of the house so I don’t have to talk to her but this is too far way too far. I am going to start writing a sitcom soon it’s getting that bad, well maybe more of a murder mystery, well less mystery and more obvious case of who did it. I assure you Sherlock Holmes himself would be impressed at the thoughts I am having.

05 October 2006

I am Canadian

In the nearly 6 months I have been in California I can safely say I have done what I swore I never would, I have become more Canadian, well except for how I pronounce house and about. I suppose I have realised how much I miss Canada and specifically Toronto. I guess it was bound to happen I came here looking for a future and realised that it was back in Toronto, I suppose the grass is always greener.

It’s funny the things I have noticed about myself since moving here, I continually rip Americans about their pronunciation of the letter z (it’s pronounced zed), or why the Queens English was good enough for the founding fathers but not them (sad to say American English doesn’t exist, it doesn’t even qualify as a dialect). I have also bought and worn a Maple Leafs jersey in public which is something I never did while living in Canada, not one day in my life. I have also discovered that listening to the Tragically Hip is essentially the same as eating comfort food. Mike and Jenn concur with this one, having both never been Hip fans while in Canada but they are now. For example last night I absolutely could not miss the first Leafs game of the season and I had to listen to ‘Fifty-Mission Cap’ before the game.

We do all of these things to stand out, to prove if only to ourselves that we are not like the rest of you, we’re just here on vacation and I’d rather be a tourist than a resident. I intentionally make sure I don’t look like anyone else around here, I don’t dress like them, I refuse to act like them or bend to their mentality for life. Even if it means I feel like a walking Molson Commercial for my attitude I will not bend. Granted I’m not about to get a Maple Leaf tattooed on my arm or start actually trying to figure out why people watch the trailer park boys, but it’s comforting. I listen to Canadian radio, I watch Canadian tv online whenever possible and I read Canadian newspapers. Essentially I am in San Diego in location only.

Granted there are things I love about not being in Canada. The weather goes without saying and the lack of shoveling snow will be a big plus in a couple of weeks. Not having to endure a conservative government and that idiot Harper and his prairie dog cabinet is a plus, as well as not having to put up with that insufferable, white boy posturing as a journalist, fake George Strombo-lo-botomy.