on backs …again.

I tweaked the back a few days ago. It was one of those innocent ‘pulling on something that was stuck’ things while at work, and I suppose I was at the perfect height and angle to inflict damage even though it wasn’t the mightiest of yanks. I felt the muscle (or nerve …or whatever it is) ‘twinge’ a little, and after years of experience knew what I was in store for; two days of mild discomfort or possibly months of never standing quite straight. Happily it was the former.

It’s been a few years now since I’ve been really wrecked in the back department, and so I wonder if I’ve kinda figured things out in terms of prevention? Or I wonder if perhaps the back itself has had enough pain free days to kinda heal? Maybe there’s been some fortunate combination of the two? Whatever the case, I’m glad it hasn’t turned into a long and drawn out thing, cause the busy season at work is about to begin tomorrow and I need the ability to walk upright for at least a few weeks.

Longer would be even better.

Hotel Macdonald

The Wedding Crashers crashed the Hotel Macdonald last night kids, and the carnage was abundant. Valet parking peeps had their limits tested, lats were blasted hauling gear, requested songs abandoned, meatball sliders devoured, open bars pillaged, song endings and structures wantonly ridiculed for daring to be predictable…. Yes, all this and more! But through it all a glimmer of hope survived with the packed dancing floor, generous kudos from the bridal family and numerous requests for business cards and contact information. There was indeed a crashing …but survivors survived and like those before them, have lived to tell the tale to those who will one day hope to be assaulted in a similar manner.

The place btw, will never be the same.


Image from a photograph inside the hotel.


While recently looking for some old PDF versions of Real Books I had on an old drive (in search of Pretty Young Thing ….don’t ask) I said to myself “Hey Self ….why don’t you get that Sub-Standards thing of yours into a giant PDF? I mean, didn’t you just recently learn what the ‘continuous’ tick-box does on the scanner function?” So yes, I finally scanned a version of the rather un-famous Sub-Standards volume that I put together in 1999 for that MAQ thing I’ve talked about before. Sub-Standards btw, was the name I affectionately gave to a collection of jazz tunes I wrote while in school at Grant MacEwan way back when. A few of my favourites are already up on the Music – OLD page of the blog, but most of them have remained shelved in the obscurity of my ….well ….shelves.

They were the experiments of a young(ish) mind immersed in the post-pubescent culture of new-found musical stylings in the jazz persuasion. I was fresh. Untainted. I was a sponge. I soaked up the essence of whatever it was my wonderful teachers attempted to impart upon my impressionable and musically vacant mind (…which is not much different from its current state I’ll have you know.) A few tunes toward the end of the book were written when I was out of the program, but the lion’s share were done while locked in a oddly comfortable and yet oddly smelling wenger. Yes, it’s all coming back now. Lol, sadly.

So here it is, Sub-Standards. They’re not quite Standards ….but rather Sub-Standards (get it!). They’re mostly crap, but then again they’re what you have to go through to eventually get mostly non-crap. And yes, Non-Crap sounds like a wonderful title to the eventual companion series ;)

Download here (CLICK)


Do you like the mountains kids? Maybe? Lol, doesn’t matter, cause whether you like it or not I’m giving you one of those desktop pictures thingys that you can download and all …then use it as a screen saver or wallpaper or whatever else it is you kids like to do with your internet images. This one was taken on my recent BC trip with the ol’ Lumix (Leica wanna-be) LX3 I love so much. It’s purdy as they say in the south. I think. Anyway, to download the jpg just click on the image itself and it should take you right there. I know ….technology ;)



I like this article on humour.

It describes it as a combination of two separate states; an unexpected, unconsidered violation and a benign, non-event. Both states are polar opposites, but the points at which they intersect are where the potential for comedy exists as the viewer reconciles what it is they consider ‘taboo’ with what they consider run-of-the-mill. Comedy is that edge between the expected and the unexpected. If it’s too much of one state (the benign in this case) and completely expected, boring and predictable then it’s not very funny, while if it’s too much of the other (an unexpected violation) it’s potentially ‘too far’ or ‘over the top’ and might be considered in bad taste or even shocking …again, not very funny. The balancing of these is where funny lies.

It’s a wonderful way to explain why jokes are either got or missed, as it allows the joke to exist as a subjective trait of the viewer, who in turn is naturally dependant on the background knowledge and/or cultural history they possess. A recent ‘joke’ at my shop was a perfect example of this; one person made a remark that was met with complete rejection from another because the receiver of the joke took the socio-ethnic observation too literal and didn’t allow for cultural history to play its role. Essentially they were too young, or perhaps too sheltered from what has been a common and often socially accepted caricature of a certain group of people. On the other hand this joke could be seen as funny if one was accustomed and familiar with the cultural history being referenced. It was a classic ‘generational’ joke that for an older person might be funny but for a younger one offensive.

The good joke then is not something that exists on its own, but is instead dependant on what it is a person brings to the table; becoming ‘good’ if it aligns itself along that edge of what is benign and of what is in violation. Only at this spot can one ‘get it’ ….but if you’re not there however, then the joke misses its mark.

Interestingly, I think the idea of what constitutes ‘good’ music benefits from a similar approach! *future thoughts to be continued…*



Image from pnas.org


On my way back from the funeral I stopped in at a place called Field, just across the boarder into B.C. I remember being there once before because I recognized the ‘two mountains’ you see from the bridge going into town, but I had never gone further …so this time around I took a drive into the village. I haven’t checked out what its thing is yet (too lazy to google it) but it seems to be composed of small, decorative, funky little houses comprising an almost tourist-town of sorts. It’s not very big at all, and I doubt there’s more than a hundred buildings nestled along the hillside.

It was early morning so I stopped in at a lodge (almost all the places were bed & breakfast, lodge-type deals) called Truffle Pigs. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. It was nice though, and nice people. I ordered the Home Made Granola And Yogourt and with a coffee the total came to around $12, which was fine for the serving size. They even drizzled honey around the edge of the large bowl it was served in; excellent as it dripped slowly into the granola as the meal went along. It was a nice visit though, and I’m glad I took a little time to check things out. Part of the interest too is that I have a gig out there in October sometime …so you might say I was on a little reconnaissance.


two mountains…


Remember that post not too long ago where I proclaimed the greatness of my Aunty Minerva along with her borscht recipe? Yeah, that one. Anyway ….she up and died a week ago. Yeah, that sucked. It was one of those unexpected ones too; had an out of the blue heart attack but managed to call 911 and they were there in 5min and got her to the hospital then checked her over and gave her about 1 week before they’d let her go back home but on the second day there while feeling pretty good and all had another one. Bigger ….and rather final.

Death’s suck most when they’re unexpected.


Aunty Min hated being in pictures …but she liked taking them :)

the ol’ days

Last night I got to play a party for a 25th school reunion ….and if it was anything like the ones I’ve missed in the past, I don’t think I’ve missed much. Oh sure it was fine, and the reunionizing peeps were probably glad to have seen their long lost classmates and all, but for some reason I just don’t have that great an interest in reuniting with those from the good ol’ days. I’ve kept my friendships with those I wanted to, and although seeing the old faces would be somewhat interesting, it doesn’t rank that high up on my things to do list. Is it me? Probably. But still, if you’ve got some sort of desire to reconnect with those from the long lost past, then why didn’t you simply keep that relationship going from the start? I’d rather say Hey! on Facebook than awkwardly make small talk over beers in person.

But again, it’s probably just me.


The band! (…they weren’t reunionizing)

Loooong Weekend, Day 5 of 5

This was the tiring one I think. The others were fine even with all the back and forth between family and friends etc, but this final day had me running on empty from the start. It was a trip out to Sylvan Lake. I hadn’t been there in over 20 years and my only recollections were the beach, shallow water and of course the leeches. The latter may or may not still be around as I didn’t venture too far out to test things, but the beach and shallow water (including water slides of course) were in the same spot I remember them. It was warm too, and the few beer in the afternoon went to my head pretty quick. Too bad my resulting headache wasn’t on the same speed schedule.

But it was a fine time and no one was injured. More importantly the loooong weekend was finally over, and I’ve got a bit of ‘me’ time in over the last few days. Not for long though, as it appears more travel and family is in the works next week ….sadly :(


Loooong Weekend, Day 4 of 5

Was out at Fort Edmonton with the Mom this day, and between the Mom-chatter and all I managed to find a few interesting moments for some picture-taking. It was a fine day though, and she got out to St. Albert to do some reminiscing of sorts before she packed up to leave on the Monday. Fort Edmonton is kinda nice for the still life shots if you’re so inclined, as all the preset rooms look wonderful in the natural light that’s available. I love the LX3 for this very reason :)