Archive for the ‘Link Day’ Category

Links? Maybe not.

May 7, 2009

In all the time I have written this blog, I have never lost an entire post. Until tonight. I had put together a link day with some fun bits about a Newfoundland and Labrador commercial (watch the third one), the Hamilton Timeraiser, and Laura Smith’s upcoming tour. You can follow the links if you like. 

Since I lost the entire post I was left reflecting on the impermance of electronic data.  Earlier today someone reminded me that I should be backing up my work in case my harddrive fails, a not uncommon occurence.  I back up everything on an external harddrive and occasionally usb sticks.  Of course, some of my writing is done on old fashioned paper.  It is less likely that paper will “fail” since the biggest threat to that medium is fire or accidentally throwing it out.  Now it is more likely that paper will be misplaced, but it’s always fun to find a long lost song or poem (I continue my quest for the elusive CS1).  There are those who prefer to read real books, and write on actual paper rather than using computers for those activities.  I try to strike a happy compromise between the two.  Here’s a poem:

1927

Winter
Began as it does
Lonely
Finding its meaning
In the ice
Where boys and men
Girls and women
Carve their lines
And slap their sticks
To express
A century’s old meaning
When a plant and a bear
Meet out there
Only one will win
And it won’t be pretty
From corner to corner
From post to post
Across a country
Circling the world
In rinks  
Floating playgrounds
From father to son
And Mother to daughter
Losing its meaning
Lonely
Ends as it does
Winter

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Don’t Let It Get Away

April 17, 2009

Today was an absolutely beautiful day. It’s funny how winter changes my perception of a somewhat warm day.I used to regularly have link days around here.  I would share some of my favourite sites and give a little commentary about them.  In honour of a lovely day I present you with some sites worth giving a look.

I want to start with my friend Dave’s flickr page.  He is a great photographer and he constantly experiments with new techniques and subjects.  The wide range of photographs virtually guarantees something for everyone.  He usually focuses on extremely small objects and derelict buildings.  He mixes in a lot of other subjects but those seem to be his main focus.

Among the many distractions that fill my days is Basketsim. This online basketball simulation game is quite fun, even if the presentation is not flashy or exciting.  I have been playing for well over a year (and 4 seasons in BS time) and I continue to visit daily to check up on my team and the forums.  If you’ve ever wanted to manage a basketball team against people from your own country and around the world give it a try.

I watched a great program about Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner on Bravo today.  I have not seen this movie but I had heard of it.  It looks quite amazing, and unbeknownst to me it won quite a lot of critical acclaim in 2002.  I mention this because it is coming to Moviepix! If you are like me and haven’t seen it I recommend checking it out.  It looks like a fantastic piece of film.  I don’t think there is any other movie like it.  Once I watch it I will write a review (7 years too late).

The final site I want to plug is now defunct, and is fairly well known, but it’s worth a read.  I have gone through every post on Fire Joe Morgan at least 4 times.  They continue to make me laugh. If you like baseball, intelligence, common sense, or The Office (the FJM guys were writers on that show) you should love this site.  The site is not just about getting rid of Hall of Famer and Sunday Night Baseball commentator Joe Morgan.  They debunk a lot of bad journalism all with an eye towards making you laugh out loud over and over again. Even though they closed up shop last November, there is still a vast archive of first rate humour.

This is a very short post today. The weather was just too nice!  Tomorrow looks like another live concert review.

Dreaming While You Sleep

February 24, 2009

In my dreams I’m dying all the time.

Moby

Porcelain

I was never a huge Moby fan, and I don’t usually die in my dreams (in fact I’m usually the one killing, scary), but it is an appropriate lyric for today’s podcast. It largely deals with themes pulled from my own dreams.  There is also music by Mythos, Duchess Says, and Miwagemini. As usual you can find the podcast over there –>.

I actually had a lot of ideas for this week’s show and had to leave many out. One involved an old collection of early Genesis songs, and another a call for action on the Mid-Summer Festival of Peace nd Tranquility (I will get to that soon).  My favourite missing piece was a discussion of Anne Hathaway’s interview with Barbara Walters. Now I did not watch the Oscars, nor did I see Rachel Getting Married, but I confess to being a lover of Anne.  Her work has generally been pretty good, and I have always thought of her as being quite beautiful.  Two things jumped at me as a result of the that interview. The first was her comment that she wanted to “own land.”  What a quirky 19th Century statement to make.  I imagine she meant it in the sense of a sprawling acreage in some quiet place, but I took it more literally. This young actor wanted to own some property, thus becoming a real grown up.  Mind you this was her answer to the question “where do you see yourself in 10 years?”Isn’t buying a piece of land really the last act of a young person becoming an adult?  Once you get that mortgage, or outright buy it, you have responsibility to and ownership of something vast and timeless.  What a strange event in a persons life. Hopefully she gets her land.

The second I notice was my own reaction to her. Clearly I have matured, because I no longer ogle her like a 15 year old.  She is still a beautiful woman, but I would no longer sell my left leg for a shot at her.  I’m happy about this, I’ve been waiting for my own transition to being a real grown up, and I think it’s coming.

Here Comes The Helicopter

February 18, 2009

You’ve got to kick at the darkness’til it bleeds daylight.

Bruce Cockburn

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Suns up, mhmm, looks ok, the world survives into another day, and I’m thinking ’bout eternity, some kind of ecstasy’s got a hold on me. This is one of those nights when a good song fills the air, and I rock back and forth on my couch.  Is there anything else quite like a musical compostion?  Sound can influence emotion in rich and significant ways.  Although at various points of history larger compositions have been very popular, symphonies and concept albums being ready examples, the song as a unit has generally been the preferred form of music for people through the generations.  I mention all this because my good friend Dave, who has often been mentioned on the blgo and podcast has launched a new site he calls, The Song Review. Basically he takes a song that he enjoys and dissects its musical and thematic content.  He has a great passion for music, and his site is the perfect outlet for that.

I have quoted so many Bruce Cockburn songs as a way of encouraging Dave to take some time and pick one of his songs to write about. I’d also recommend some Simon & Garfunkel, The Band, and of course The Alder Fork.

Bad News

February 17, 2009

Lord, here comes the flood
Well say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again, the seas are silent
In any still alive
Itll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, youre running dry.

Peter Gabriel

Here Comes the Flood

I’m afraid today’s post must be very short because of a broken water heater, and a small flood in the basement. I will have a more compelling entry tomorrow. In the meantime you could check out the podcast, or look back on some old posts. Hope you have a nice Tuesday, and that your family day was better than mine!

Not Near Enough

January 26, 2009

Praise the Lord above and sell, sell, sell

David Gray

Sell, Sell, Sell

New podcast is finally up!

In this episode I reveal 3 albums that I think people should listen to, because they probably haven’t.  I am also aware that people are having a hard time keeping up with my podcast schedule, so I am contemplating a change. I haven’t made a firm decision yet, but I will.

This week’s show features music by two artists.

First up is another Shameless Records act, Leisure Co.  They are mainly a side project for several West Coast musicians, and their tunes are infectious. You can find out more about them and get more of their music here.

The other group on this week’s show is Mujaji. A Canadian-American-British grou that seems to have specialized in creating licensed music for film and tv. Their electronic music is well crafted, catchy, and highly entertaining. Although they don’t really function as a group anymore they are stil worth checking out here.  There will be more music from the members of Mujaji in the future, stay tuned to The Alder Fork for that.

Short post today because of the podcast, back tomorrow with some usual content.

When I Spy A Monster

January 21, 2009

Get myself a final glimpse of the world I used to live in.

The James Clark Institute

The World I Used To Live In

Yet another episode of The Alder Fork Podcast is available over there –>. This episode features a discussions about a classic TV show, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and interreligious dialogue. Needless to say it is a bit of a different show!  I am featuring music by the very talented Laura Smith, whose music you can find out about here, and The James Clark Institute.

If you are interested in learning more about interreligious dialogue I recommend using google to find a local group that is involved in facilitating that type of discussion. Kitchener-Waterloo has the Interfaith Grand River group. Organizations like this tend to exist in most centres with a number of religious communities.

Short post today because of the podcast, but tomorrow our first guest writer, Iwona Szkudlarek, will bring us Six things you didn’t know about the GTA.

Oskee Wee Wee

January 18, 2009

And down on Imperial Street

Pinstripe Mystery

Imperial Street

Just want to send a quick plug to a recent commenter’s blog.  If you live in KW, or just want to visit check out the Kitchener Life blog. With the stated aim of showing that life in Kitchener is tolerable, it promises to be a great read, if the first few posts are any indication. You will find a permanent link to the blog over there –>.

Reading that blog reminds me of the most common question I am asked about Hamilton, what is there to do?  In recent years I have met a lot of new Hamiltonians who wonder what they can get up to.  I usually mention the most obvious things like Webster’s Falls, the Farmer’s Market, the Art Gallery, or any of the lovely civic museums (my former employer).  Any of those would be a great choice.  Depending on what your interest is you can do just about anything either in Hamilton or just a short drive away.

For sports lovers we have the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the Bulldogs, Tiger Cats, Red Wings, Real McCoys, McMaster and Mohawk Varsity sports, and a thriving adult sports scene. I’d recommend Reach Forth sports and the South Hamilton Ball Hockey Club. If you want to watch harness racing or gamble on the slots, head out to Flamboro DownsFlamboro Speedway offers something for the speed freak in all of us.

The music scene is not on par with Toronto, or even Guelph, but there is still much to be enjoyed.  The Casbah and Hess Village are the two most obvious choices, but the Corktown offers a nice alternative to that scene. In addition we have lots of Jazz, Symphonic, and Blues music around.  The summer brings the Festival of Friends, It’s Your Festival, and streetfests on Locke, Concession, and in WestdaleFieldcote Museum offers an amazing summer concert series on Sunday evenings from June to August.

There are many more attractions that I should list, so I will follow up this post tomorrow with a part II looking at other attractions and the local theatre scene.

Before I Pull The Covers Down

January 16, 2009

I’m desperate now to see your face.

All of the Above

This Car

New podcast is up! This show features a chat about independent music including Shameless Records (see the interview below). It’s a very musical show, and as always you can find it over there –>.

Music includes This Car by All of the Above, an all brother band from Saskatchewan. They have been getting quite a lot of positive attention in their home province. Check them out here.

The Wheat Pool makes their first appearance on the podcast after being featured in a previous post. They are an Edmonton based band that have gained a national following. You can learn more about them, including their fun blog here.

Rose Reiter’s song Tender Sky closes the show.  She is a B.C. based musician who has won acclaim and had her music featured in several films.  Her music including a new single can be heard here.

As part of the show I mentioned an interview I conducted with Shameless Records President Glen Erickson.  He runs the independent label that represents The Wheat Pool, Leisure Co, Andy Shauf, F & M, Hector Fector, and Nick Perrault.  You can visit their website for more info. The part that follows is in a Q & A format. Thanks again to Glen for agreeing to do this and be part of The Alder Fork.

Can you tell me what drives your passion for music?
I really love new music, I always want to hear something new.  There is an incredible energy in being hooked by a new song.  I think that is the narcotic for me, and working at the label means my focus gets to be on the creative process all the time.  its pretty great.
What keeps you going in the face of increasing competition?
I don’t know if I’ve ever thought about competition.  You know there are a lot of bands and artists and labels out there trying really hard, maybe harder than I am.  There isn’t a formula for success, so just working your hardest at doing what you do best is motivation enough.  Being happy with what you see in the mirror makes a difference.
To what do you attribute your success?
I don’t know if I would consider us successful.  The label isn’t paying any bills, I don’t have a problem admitting that.  Maybe the fact that I’ve found a way to survive for six years is success.  Sticking to what we believe and feeling satisfied with accomplishments seems successful.  Helping some of our artists begin to achieve their goals feels pretty good too.
How does your identity as a Canadian label affect how you go about your business?
It doesn’t.  I’ve never considered it.  Being a western Canadian label that isn’t Vancouver has some impact.  Does anyone care about anything not in Toronto?  It rarely seems like it.  Not being able to walk down the street to meet with any major industry partner face to face creates some serious hurdles.  My artists are western Canadian.  Its hard to get them touring, its such a huge sacrifice, and ironically its twice as important.  We need to get in the face of the rest of the country and its not easy.  So thats the real issue.
Is being Canadian particularly important to you?
Terribly significant.  I love it.  Regarding music, we have the most incredible indie music scene, the best in the world.  Makes me feel great to be part of it, like I got drafted to the Oilers in the 80’s.  Incredibly lucky.
Where do you see your role in the cultural mosaic of this country?
Shameless has a place perhaps.  It would be an honor if we are ever considered that way.  I hope to find some special artists, people who I believe in whole-heartedly and know the world should hear, and Shameless can play the role of bringing that artist to the world.  I hope we can be the voice of a special brand of music being made out here too.
Do you have plans outside of music promotion?
I’m trying to live an intentional life and do the things I love, and not do the things I don’t love.  The people of Shameless share that spirit.  So whatever I do it will be what I am passionate about.  Thats a lot of things all the time it seems, too much to discuss.
What is the next big project for Shameless Records?

Probably The Wheat Pool and their second record, which is going to be recorded and released in 2009.  A lot of eggs going in that basket.  They are in the writing phase while continuing to expand their touring schedule in support of last year’s Township record.  It’ll be “the most un-country country record” I hear.

The Roof Is Leaking

December 29, 2008

It’s written in a book!

Phil Collins

Behind The Lines

New podcast is up today. As usual you can find it over there –>.  This week I am doing a vinyl album review of Phil Collins’ Face Value. I’m also featuring the music of two instrumental acts.

The first group is a local Hamilton outfit called Euphonic. They are a trio consisting of guitar, cello and drums. The music combines elements of jazz, fusion, and other more traditional styles, along with a contemporary sensibility. They have a concert on Friday January 2nd starting at 7pm at Centenary United Church (24 Main St. West in Hamilton). What the Folk will be joining them for that show.  It promises to be a great time! For more info about Euphonic check out their website. Music by What the Folk will be on a future episode of the podcast.

The second featured artist is Phoenix Rising, a duo of San Francisco area musicians, Monica Williams (Flute) and Wendy Loomis (Piano). Their latest album Ascension is a 7 track exploration of meditation, and relaxation with each track corresponding to one of the 7 chakras of Hindu spirituality.  One nice feature of the album is that the key of each track is one step above the previous. Meaning the album literally ascends musically. If you are looking for an entertaining and relaxing collection of well composed and beautifully played songs this is the grou for you.  For more information about this popular American duo visit their website.

The next episode will be up Friday and should feature Max of The Mass Romantics.

To my friends and listeners, I am going to begin posting my podcast updates through facebook and email to contact those who have not subscribed to the RSS feed. You will be able to opt out of this, but you need to let me know by replying to the message I send you. That’s it for today I will be back as usual tomorrow!