Monday, November 30, 2009

Music Monday: Jann Arden Concert

That title is a bit misleading. Jann Arden concerts are more like events. Events of hilarity.
I went to the Jann Arden concert last Wednesday. And it was fantastic.
Right. So I tweeted this before I went to the concert:
Blue Plate Diner for dinner, then @jannarden at the Winspear. Quite the line-up for a Wednesday! #yeg
But, after dinner we realized the concert was at the Jubilee Auditorium. Thankfully we made it just in time.
And when I got home and signed into Twitter, this is what I found:
jannarden @lisamchuk the show is at the don't screw that up!!! NOT the Windspear!!!
Jann Arden replied to me on Twitter!! How freakin' awesome is that!!!
Anyways, the concert. The concert was great. She played some new stuff I didn't know, some new stuff I knew, a few covers, and like, all my favourite songs. And she wasn't just singing the radio singles, she was throwing in good ones from old CDs that I love. For the record, my favourite Jann Arden albums are 'Jann Arden' (2005), Blood Red Cherry (2000), and Happy (1997). Plus I'm kinda in love with her cover of At Seventeen.
Back to the concert. Have you ever seen Jann Arden live?? She's freakin' hilarious!!! Early on she said it was ok to take pictures, youtube her, whatever, so some chick in the front row recorded the whole thing and Jann totally played to the camera (and I forgot my camera, boo)! Near the end she showed pictures of the band when they were young, and a bunch of her and her family from back in the day too. Too funny. She brought out Midi, her little dog, too (she talks a lot about Midi on twitter).
She also did a reggae version of "I Will Die For You"...
Full version here.
Plus, she did some impressions of her mom. A Jann Arden concert is not a Jann Arden concert until she does the impression of her mom (at 1:10 below).

During her encore, she did a painting (watch it happen) and it was auctioned off after, proceeds going to World Vision. I saw the whole auction go down, and there were three fierce competitors - it the end it went for $4000! It was really nice too, a total Jann Arden painting if you know what I mean.
So, yeah, it was a great night. I laughed lots. I sang lots. The music was good. The art was good. And Jann Arden replied to me on Twitter.
Doesn't get much better than that for a Wednesday evening.
You can find Jann Arden at:
If you like Jann Arden, you might also like:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dogsitting Diva

I have a new hobby: sitting stuff. Cats, dogs, houses, whatever.
I'm a decently experienced and fairly proficient cat sitter. I like cats. I know how to care for them. I know how to talk to them. I know how to pet them.
I am, after all, a cat lady.
I don't like dogs. I don't know how to care for them. I don't know how to talk to them. I don't know how to pet them.
Well, currently I am dog/house sitting. The only dog I really know is my friends' dog Jasper, and he melts my heart and I love him. This is my first time dog sitting for more than an evening however. And the learning curve has been steep.
Here she is:
Her name is Diva.
First, I'm getting used to staying at a new house. New sounds, new bed, new tv channel numbering. I think the worst part about house sitting is figuring out which light switches turn on which lights. Coincidently, I'm currently house sitting for my aunt and uncle too (only 2mins away from chez Diva though), so if it snows this weekend I'll have two driveways to shovel. Not cool.
And then there is getting used to having a dog around. She's quite old so doesn't do much but lay around. Her vision is not so good so we get to sleep with the hall light on.
But sometimes Diva just stares at me.
What do I do then? It's quite unnerving.
And she gets up at like 5 or 6am to be let out. Who gets up at 5am?! Not me, I'm a double digit-am girl.
And I can't be gone for more than 7hrs, otherwise I'll have accidents to clean up. Also not cool.
And did I mention she stares at me sometimes?
Feeding I can handle. I also quite enjoying taking Diva for a walk. When you say the 'w' word, she prances and jumps around like a horse, and even makes horsey noises. Actually, it's kinda cute. Plus I like walking and there's a lake here so it's pretty. That's the only reason I would ever get a dog - to have an excuse to go for a walk.
So it's been...interesting. This is a mini trial run for the Christmas holidays, when it's just me and Diva for two weeks.
Getting up at 5am.
Gosh, I can't wait.
At least there's a lake here so going for a walk is pretty. And good exercise. And kinda fun.
Ok, so I'm loving dog walking.
If she would just stop staring at me...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Music Monday: Avi Vaknin

Music a bit different today.
Last year, I wrote about a web-documentary that I was watching - Gaza Sderot: Life In Spite of Everything. It documented the lives of average Israeli and Palestinian people in the Israeli/Palestinian border towns of Gaza and Sderot.
One of the people followed was an Israeli musician called Avi Vaknin, and I fell in love with his music, even though I couldn't understand a word of it (it is all in Hebrew).
I listen to his myspace music a lot. He recently release a CD, but I can't figure out how to get ahold of it. It's called "Square of the Lost" or "Kikar Ha'avodim":
"The lyrics and music are infused with a strong sense of place – the influence of a small suffering town in the Israel’s South can be heard and felt."
Even though I don't understand, I can still hear and feel where he's coming from. The title track is my favourite song. You can listen to it on myspace.
Here are a few other songs he's released, 'Million' and 'En Makom':
You can find Avi Vaknin on myspace, facebook, and on his official page (Hebrew and English translation).
I've always loved music sung in different languages. I'm a HUGE fan of traditional Quebecois french bands, and I own CDs by Gaelic, Indian and Ukrainian musicians. Though I can't understand it, I love the musicality and 'sound' of other languages. Perhaps I'll feature other non-English musicians in future music monday posts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Learn Something Everyday

The premise of this here lil' ol' blog is to make known what I learned today... I love this awesome website Learn Something Everyday. I highly recommend adding it to your RSS feed - it will fill your inbox with colourful fascinating goodness:
See, it's awesome.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Red Light and Speed Cameras in E-town

Want to know the location of all the red light (and the new red light + speed) camera are in Edmonton?
The Edmonton Police Service has a list of all the possible locations, and here's a link to a fantastic google map of all the locations (via theedmontonian).
Fines for running a red start at $287, and speeding through a red will cost you a minimum of $350!
You've been warned...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cell Phone Numbers Go Public

Via an email:
REMEMBER -- Cell phone numbers go public next month
All cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.
Use the "Do Not Call List Canada" web site and register your phone there
(Whose stupid idea was it to make cell phone numbers public???) ***UPDATE: This is a hoax.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2009 Roar Of The Rings: Volunteer Pep Rally #2

I'll be volunteering for the upcoming Olympic curling trials in December, an event dubbed the "Roar of the Rings". Last night was the second volunteer rally - so catch up first by reading about the first here.
I arrived at Northlands Agricom (free parking, yay!) just in time to walk across a dusty construction site. They are renovating the Agricom (like a big conference centre with different halls), and while what they've done looks nice, the site is still very much under construction. And the Roar starts in 18 days. Worried much? The inside of the new part looks really nice though, no more yellow railings, no more pebbled concrete - now there is sleek grey and white concrete, windows and lighting aplenty, and tons of cafeteria type seating. I wonder if they are planning on renovating the old part too? Not in 18 days I'm sure.

Anyways, I signed in, and then lined up to get my uniform. I was handed a black cloth shopping bag full of stuff - and of course everything has the Roar logo (above) on it. My uniform consists of a black pullover (modelled below by K-Mart, which is quite nice, I'm going to wear it for curling after), a red jacket (which is so not my colour, and a bit big, but if I'd gotten the smaller size I wouldn't have been able move my shoulders to sweep, on the occasion I do wear it to curling after) and a huge photo ID badge on a lanyard. Also in the bag were two Roar pins (one that says 'Volunteer', and a big fancy gold one) and the volunteer handbook.

From the uniform station, I walked into Hall F, where they had set up a ton of dinner tables in front of a small stage. I was a bit bewildered, not sure where to sit because I didn't know anyone.

Right away I saw two very important people. I first spotted Jackie Rae, a local radio DJ, who is the self professed 'Lord of the Rings' (she's very nice and quite hilarious).

And then I saw Jennifer Jones (left), who is probably Canada's most famous female curler at the moment. She was walking around, meeting volunteers and generally being friendly and genuine. Yes folks, her hair is actually that beautiful, it's not just a tv trick. I did think it was odd that they flew her out of Winnipeg to be at the rally, considering three full teams of male curlers (including Kevin Martin, right, the other Roar ambassador) live in Edmonton, and another famous female team curls out of Calgary, but hey, what do I know, I'm not in charge of the budget.

I sat down at a random table and started chatting to a random woman, when someone caught my eye - out of 900 volunteers, I actually do know one older guy from my curling club, and there he was at the next table. I moved over and chatted to him and his friends/family.

Northlands really put on a nice dinner buffet (salad, vegetables, meat and veg lasagna and desert squares). When the dinner was finished, Jennifer Jones gave an inspiring speech about how much volunteers mean to the curlers, and Jackie Rae introduced all the heads of the volunteer crews. The volunteer coordinator read out some rules. More important, she told us that we were allowed to sit in the 300 level seats to watch. The third tier of seating is way, way up there, but its free so it's all good.

Afterwards I met with the merchandizing team, and we received new schedules (no changes for me).
Randomly, a woman came up to me and asked if I was so-and-so's daughter, and it turns out she's my aunts cousin and actually recognized me, even though I'm certain I've never met her before. Small world.

So that's the Volunteer Rally. The next even is a big appreciation party before the Roar, with a fancy dinner, and then partying at the Patch, but I doubt I'll go. I don't really know anyone, don't drink or fancy partying with strangers, and have three huge papers to write before the Roar anyways. I might go down for the opening ceremonies the next day though, if I can get those stupid papers finished.

I was a bit confused and disappointed after the last rally, but now am excited about the event. The curling is going to be fantastic, and the atmosphere likewise.
18 days...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Hadza - How Life Used To Be

It's been awhile since I linked to National Geographic, but I've just come across an absolutely fascinating article:The author, Michael Finkel, lived with the African group for a couple weeks, and reports about how their simple lifestyle has lasted for centuries, but is now being threatened by the rat race. Honestly, I found it quite gripping. And don't forget to check out the photo gallery too.
"There are things I envy about the Hadza—mostly, how free they appear to be. Free from possessions. Free of most social duties. Free from religious strictures. Free of many family responsibilities. Free from schedules, jobs, bosses, bills, traffic, taxes, laws, news, and money. Free from worry. Free to burp and fart without apology, to grab food and smoke and run shirtless through the thorns."
"The days I spent with the Hadza altered my perception of the world. They instilled in me something I call the "Hadza effect"—they made me feel calmer, more attuned to the moment, more self-sufficient, a little braver, and in less of a constant rush. I don't care if this sounds maudlin: My time with the Hadza made me happier. It made me wish there was some way to prolong the reign of the hunter-gatherers, though I know it's almost certainly too late."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Music Monday: Blue Rodeo Part II

I'm sneaking in another Music Monday post by cross-posting a short article I wrote for NXEW:
As promised last week, Jason Schneider, of Heartbreak Trail has posted part II of his Blue Rodeo interviews, this time he talks to Jim Cuddy.

If you haven't already done so, check out last weeks interview with Greg Keelor. Blue Rodeo's newest double CD, 'The Things We Left Behind', is available in stores now. Tickets are currently on sale (or will be soon) for their 2010 cross-Canada tour.
The new double-CD is pretty darn good. Some of it reminds me of old folk stuff from the 60s/70s, with it's great harmonies and psychedelic guitar solos.
In case you haven't been paying attention, I love Jim Cuddy. I also love Luke Doucet's guitar, so you should probably watch this video of both of them...
I do love guitar dancers!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bed Bugs Invade Toronto

Have you hear the latest creepifying news story??
Bed bugs so bad in Toronto they'll soon spread on transit, in theatres, experts warn.
That is not good news. Bed bugs are super inconvenient, and only lead to anxiety attacks and paranoia. I should know, I had them when I lived in England.
If you want to hear more about bugs in Edmonton, the Unknown Studio did a great podcast with a local bug expert - I highly recommend it!
And stay away from T.O. for awhile...
Thanks to @inkslinger for the link. The comic comes from one of my favourite webcomics, Savage Chicken.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Canadian Finals Rodeo Is Back!

Last night, I went to the Canadian Finals Rodeo with my parents. The CFR rolls in to Edmonton every November, and it's super fun!

Never heard about/watched a rodeo before? Here's your 3 minute lesson:
Last night was opening night, so all the competitors came out at the beginning, and since it was Remembrance Day there was a short ceremony and a time of silence. George Canyon sang the national anthem (and did a song later) and then the events began.

We were treated to outstanding competition in: bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc, tie down roping, ladies barrel racing, novice bareback, novice saddle bronc, boys steer riding, and the most intense event - bull riding.

Want to learn more? Check out these CFR 101 videos about each event.

I love the rodeo, but I think I might be in the minority. Talking to friends and colleagues recently, it seems that a lot of people either don't know what the rodeo is, or have never seen it before, or think it's cruel.

I think I like the rodeo so much because of how I was raised. My dad grew up on a farm, and my mom in a small town. A cousin of mine used to barrel race, and was a rodeo queen. Family members have horses, and while I'm not a cowboy, I certainly know how to ride a horse. I love horses, and watching them, because they are beautiful. I have a healthy appreciation for country music. And I have, on occasion, been know to eat steak and hamburgers. I'm an Alberta girl - to me, the rodeo is a great night out, and I was enthralled the entire evening last night.

The last time I went, in 2002, I took three Korean students I was tutoring. When I asked them what they thought of the rodeo, they replied "You Canadians are crazy!" I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

If you want to check out CFR, it runs through the weekend at Rexall. Tickets are only about $20. I highly recommend an evening at the rodeo, and I guarantee you'll have fun!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Music Monday: Blue Rodeo

I'm sneaking in a Music Monday post, by cross-posting a short article I wrote for NXEW:
The new Blue Rodeo double CD The Things We Left Behind comes out on Tuesday, November 10.
Jason Schneider, of Heartbreak Trail, recently posted an excellent interview with Greg Keelor. I highly recommend the interview - it's a timeline of fantastic gems of knowledge surrounding many of their previous releases.
An interview with Jim Cuddy will follow next week, and look for a Blue Rodeo retrospective piece in the December issue of Exclaim! magazine.
Blue Rodeo will be going on a Cross-Canada tour in 2010 for the new album - check out their tour page for an extensive list of where they'll be. You've been forewarned, many of the presales are already sold out!
Check out another post I wrote about Blue Rodeo here.
You can find Blue Rodeo at:
If you like Blue Rodeo, you might also like:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Curling: Who Makes The Ice?

Do yourself a favour and read this great article about curling icemaker Shorty Jenkins. There's more info about Shorty here, and more about making curling ice here.
You'll learn stuff, I promise.

Friday, November 06, 2009

22Minutes H1N1 Flu Song

What a very fitting post for today, as I'm home from work with the (strange somethingorother that only has one symptom - vertigo, so at least it's not H1N1) flu.
Here's the 'This Hour Has 22 Minutes' crew doing an H1N1 song. Too hilarious. Can you guess who all the Canadian singers are??
Answer: Jann Arden, Feist, Anne Murray, Avril Lavigne, Rufus Wainwright, Nickleback's Chad Kroeger, Alanis Morissette , Loverboy, K.D. Lang, Shania Twain and Brian Adams
Videolink via @jannarden

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Roar Of The Rings: Desktop Wallpaper

They've released a desktop wallpaper for the Roar of the Rings Olympic Curling Trials:
It's pretty shiny. Unfortunately, it wont really work for my Mac, as it is definitely designed to fit in with the way desktops are arranged on a PC. All the images are on the top and right side, whereas I already have a top bar on my Mac, and I keep icons on the right side. The dimensions they provide are for PCs too, and look distorted on my Mac (my screen dimension is 1200x800, and they only provide for 1200x1024, so the logo would be half cut off). So I like my other curling desktop better (c/o Terry Ananny):
It was a good try though, and if I had a PC I would definitely display it for a few months!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Movie Narrative Charts

Are you a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies? Star Wars?
If you answered "yes", then you definitely have to check our xkcd's Movie Narrative Charts...
Absolute brilliance!
(Also included are Jurassic Park, 12 Angry Men and Primer.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November Perogy Suppers In #yeg

It's that time again! (Or in Etown terms, it's perogy time always?!)
Not too many this month, but I may have missed some. More perogy supper 101 info here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Music Monday: November Concert Listings

It's time once again for my super-biased list of Edmonton concerts!*
November Concert Listings:
I would love to see Blue Rodeo, but only just found out about it and tickets are sold out I think plus I have a night class that night. I'm going to see Jann Arden though, and maybe Mike Plume or Amelia Curran, so it'll be another good month of entertainment (with possibly a roller derby thrown in the mix too!).
*Gig list is not exhaustive, and only reflects artists I might like/know of. Please feel free to comment on other suggestions.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

No Nanowrimo Again

Unfortunately, I will not be participating in Nanowrimo again this year.
Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is an annual novel writing challenge whereby a 100,000 people all over the world try to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November. I've done it twice, in 2006 and 2007 (my novels, "In the Key of Zed" and "A Place Like Home", are crap but I'm proud of my accomplishments nonetheless - and no, you can't read them).
Once again grad school and four part time jobs will prevent me from writing. I've got an idea though, so when I'm (likely) unemployed after I graduate, I might Nano in 2010!