The Velocity of Stuff Stuff and Nonsense


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Music has been an important part of my life for a number of years. I try to play as much as I can, no matter how busy life gets. Influences include, but are not limited to, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, The Smithereens, Elvis Costello, Queen, The Cars, Brian Wilson, Mike Kennealy, Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Rush, The Alarm, Adrian Belew, The Bears, Psychodots, The Ramones... well, you get the point.

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Who Dis?

Who am I? I’m a musician, writer, husband, dog owner, pop culture junkie, comic book collecting thirty-koff-koff year-old, who lives in Guelph with a great wife, an adorable baby daughter and a snorty little pug named Charlie.

What am I going to write about here? A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and sometimes even some of the other thing. I make no promises to update this thing regularly, or, you know, ever…

…but I’m going to try… I’m going to try and share my mostly meaningless thoughts on popular culture, politics, funny books, the nature of creativity and daily life. What am I reading, what am I watching, what am I eating or drinking? Sure, it’s possible you won’t care. Heck, it’s even highly likely that you won’t, but that’s okay. I’ll still be here when you come around. I’m not going anywhere. After all, this thing’s paid up for a good couple of years.

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It’s a girl!
Ella Ivey French born 3:31 PM 7.5 lbs and perfect!

Mom and daughter doing well!

Photo Galleries

Ella 1
Ella 2
Ella 3

Ella 4
Ella 5
Ella 6

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It\’s Alive!

Three months ago, a server upgrade blew up this site.

Now, at long last, it\'s not only working again, but I was able to keep all of the original posts! Not a huge deal in this digital age, but I did have the kid\'s birth announcement in there, as well as some comments by friends, so I\'m glad to have it all intact.

Much has been going on, so I\'ll post some news soon. For now, it\'s time for Ella\'s first soccer game.

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Not Bad Friday

Okay, so we managed to get out and vote today, and I was pleasantly surprised by how long the lines were. After that, we got back home for more work around the house, before taking Ella to the park to play on the slides.

Then I got the bright idea to go and pick up fish and chips for dinner. That\'s when I remembered what a large Catholic population there is in this city. My secular brain thought it was being all clever, but all of the fish and chips shops in town had line ups out the door, and 45 minute waits.

We had pizza instead. I look at it as a win either way. Tonight there will be games night. I\'m leaning toward Tobago, maybe a bit of Pandemic as well.

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Back on the Chain Gang

I haven\'t posted anything since Ella\'s birthday. I notice that she\'d taken her first shaky, tentative steps that day, and now she\'s running, and able to climb up and down stairs with great speed. It doesn\'t take that long for everything to change. Lots has changed, in fact.

We now live in a new house, well, it\'s actually an old house, but we\'ve taken many steps to make it feel new. So far, that\'s all been on the inside of the house. It\'s been too damned cold on the outside, as this winter just hasn\'t wanted to let go! The first thing we did was to remove all of the floors. This home, in the 42 years it\'s been standing had many floors installed. Unfortunately, none of them were ever removed. Now they have been. There is one layer of flooring through the house, and it\'s all new!

There has been much painting, a lot of replacing of fixtures, and removal of several half-assed DIY projects. Having to do so much of hat makes you step up your game as well. Every time the idea of taking a short cut comes to mind, you stop yourself and remember what you just finished tearing out of the place, and you just do the job the right way!

It\'s Good Friday today, and we have little planned, outside of some continued tidying of the house (damn, but we have a lot of stuff!) and getting out to vote in advanced polls. I know the election isn\'t until May 2nd, but I vote in advanced polls every election. It\'s not because I want to miss the crowds, because sadly that\'s rarely a problem these days, but rather because once I\'ve made my decision on the issues at hand, I want it done. I feel I must listen to all of the discourse before my vote is registered, but honestly, we\'re just choosing the lesser of 3 evils this time around, and I won\'t feel guilty about ignoring the blather once I\'ve done my civic duty.

That\'s it for now. More to follow, hopefully before the kid\'s next birthday.

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Happy Birthday Ella!

Today, my little girl turns 1 year old! I don\'t know where the time has gone. She\'s grown so much and as though to celebrate her day, she\'s started walking for more than just a couple of shaky steps.

Happy Birthday, Ella! I\'m very lucky to be your daddy.

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Dirty Rotten

With the summer, of course, comes the summer TV season, which becomes a bit more of a season every year. Usually, it\'s a dumping ground to run out the contract on some series that the network ended up deciding they didn\'t like enough for the regular season, or you get the back half of a coproduction deal, like the Friday Night Lights situation I wrote about last week. Fortunately, as studio executives tend to be somewhat dim, or more to the point, think that all audiences are quite dim (and the success of The Bachelor doesn\'t exactly prove them wrong, does it?), we end up with some quality shows. As with the regular season, however, it\'s not always the case.

To me, the This-Meets-That pitch is what has generally precipitated the death of creativity in modern popular culture. It\'s an executive\'s way of saying \"give me the same but different\". Of course, what we end up with is a ton of writers, afraid to actually break new ground, stapling two generic clichés together into one, now doubly derivative premise. To be fair, they\'re afraid to break new ground because they just want to make the sale. Either way, we end up with a lot of generic TV and movies that have me cursing some putz in an office who sat there saying \"It\'s Twilight meets Desperate Housewives\" or \"It\'s Grey\'s Anatomy in space/walking a cop\'s beat/being something other than doctors.\" It\'s not innovation. It\'s lazy.

Think about those two pitches. They both refer to actual series out there. In fact, the second refers to several series over the past couple of years. All these series of which I speak prove my point. The This Meets That pitch is where creativity goes to die.

The first, Twilight meets Desperate Housewives, refers to the new Sunday night series The Gates. A more derivative piece of schlock you\'d be hard pressed to find. As with Desperate Housewives, it starts with a big secret. How secret, or indeed how big said secret may be is debatable. It\'s set iin a neighborhood with perfectly manicured lawns and a slight over saturation to the colour pallette. First things first: anything with vampires is wholly unoriginal, especially now, with series on every network and every other movie coming out with a \"cute\" vampire premise. Second, once you have to describe what you\'re doing only by comparing it to existing properties, you\'ve already lost the originality battle.

TV has been fighting a losing battle for a few years now, between the erosion of ad dollars, PVRs, and the competition of things like video games and the Internet, they\'ve become lazy, both on the executive side and on the creative side, as though they\'re saying \"nobody even cares what we\'re creating anymore, so why bother trying?\"

It shows.

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The Other Football Season

Before I had any interest in football, I was a fan of Friday Night Lights. The book, the movie, I enjoyed them both. Then the TV series started, and I just wasn\'t sure about it. I saw the first episode, and enjoyed that, and I\'m not sure why I didn\'t really continue watching it, though it started in my pre-PVR days (or, as I like to call them, The Dark Ages), so I\'m guessing I missed a couple of episodes and just never really picked up the habit of watching it.

Fortunately, we live in the age of TV on DVD, so after seeing the first episode on a flight, I resolved to get caught up in time for season two. I figured I\'d enjoy it.

I was wrong. I loved it!

It\'s a mix of great writing, strong characters, beautifully subdued performances, and stunning camera work. Hell, even the opening theme gets me.

I\'ve always been a fan of the standard inspirational sports movie. You know the ones I mean. They\'re all pretty much the same, and the ones that don\'t star Kevin Costner probably star Dennis Quaid. Either way, whether they\'re based on a true story or not, the stories are pretty much identical, and they\'re absolutely ridden with clichés. Not so in the case of Friday Night Lights. With the possible exception of the Tyra/Landry murder story, there hasn\'t been a clunker in the bunch.

The show is run by Jason Katims (Peter Berg, who directed the movie version is also involved), who I recognize primarily as the guy that brought the Roswell books to TV several years ago. He\'s also heading up the team on NBC\'s Parenthood, another show I love, because, like Friday Night Lights, it\'s all about the small moments. I generally loathe things that are remakes. It\'s a real problem in popular culture lately, and to me, it shows a startling lack of originality. That\'s not the case with either of these shows. They\'ve found a voice that is new, and original, even as it lives on the framework of something that came before. A lot of people in Hollywood would do well to learn this lesson.

A couple of years ago NBC cut a deal that allowed the series to continue. It\'s possibly the only smart move they\'ve made in the last 5 years. It works like this. DirecTV foots a portion of the bill, and in return, they get to air the show first. Once the season is over, NBC starts airing the show.

What ends up happening, for me at least, is that when May hits and the show starts its run on NBC, I\'m already kind of out of the habit of watching anything regularly. Truth be told, I don\'t watch anything when it actually airs anymore, so those two circumstances conspire to have me realizing, in the middle of June, that I\'ve accumulated 6 or 7 episodes. This leads to something I love, which is a Friday Night Lights marathon. That ends up being followed by the pain of having to wait for the last few episodes on a weekly basis, because by then, I\'m hooked again.

Tonight was the first part of the marathon, and there\'ll be another in a few days, and then the waiting will begin. I know that the show is coming back for a final season. I\'ll miss it when it\'s gone.

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