Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm a window, come break in

Matthew Good’s third solo album Hospital Music is in stores today. I have to say, I can barely remember the first time I heard one of Mr. Good’s songs, which was Alabama Motel Room when I was about 15, because I literally find it difficult to remember not being a fan. What I do remember clearly from that time, is falling in love immediately with his voice and his sound. Talk about an artist who has influenced my life…over the years, I have anticipated his album releases, played his music on repeat for hours on end and attended way too many shows and appearances to count. I have been encouraged to educate myself to a much greater degree about human and animal rights, world issues and politics and been inspired by Matt’s writing and passion for his art and beliefs.

This particular release is even more exciting to me because I know the depth and honesty of the content on this record and have come to know Matt as a friend. The first time I heard it, I told him that it was my favourite yet because it sounds the most “him”…
It has been said that “music is what feelings sound like”…that could not be more true for Hospital Music. I played the stream for my parents the other night, and they both fell in love with it too. I can guarantee you that my dad will be out buying his copy today, as of course will I.
Each track drips with heart and soul and you can feel the energy as it shifts through a myriad of emotions. Clearly, Matt had many realizations throughout the writing of this record, many of which are represented in song. While some may say that bitterness is one of the themes, what really resonates with me is the fact that while confronting his past; including all of the pain that goes along with that, he made the choice to end with a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End…” What a beautiful, optimistic and meaningful decision after all that Matt has been through.

I encourage everyone to go out and buy it today and wish Matt all the success that he deserves with this brilliant record. I am humbled by Matt’s talents and wish to congratulate him on this incredible piece of work; it is truly a masterpiece.

· Amazon - Canada USA UK
· iTunes - Canada USA UK
· Maple Music - MG Store

Photo courtesy of Dan Lilly on Flickr

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Vancouver International Bloggers Drinking Convention

Friday night was the Vancouver International Bloggers Drinking Convention. Though I wasn't able to make it early enough, a small group met up at Steamworks for a little pre-Blogstock fun, and then it was on to The Railway Club for more drinks and conversation, which is where I joined the party.
I've been blogging for a few years now, and through this forum, I have been fortunate to meet some amazing folks. Many of us met for the first time back in 2005 when we had a Blogger Meet Up before one of Matthew Good's shows at The Commodore Ballroom. Friday night was filled with familiar faces and some new ones as well. The Godfather of Blogging himself, Tony Pierce was in town from LA, plus party organizer Smelly Danielly and Chad Ciavarro (who was sporting some pretty rad, groundbreaking shades which conveniently fold up into a little ball). New faces were also in attendance (some new blog reads for me) including Jag, Patz, Terra, Foxxy and Nome. Plus those ones who I have read and admired but had not met until this weekend: Duane Storey and Corrina aka Gusgreeper.

It was a lovely, drunken evening-many pitchers consumed, some unfortunate tequila shooters and fantastic company.

Photos courtesy of Patz

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Have you seen the little piggies crawling in the dirt, and for all the little piggies life is getting worse

The time has come for me to get back to my program. This lazy-ass routine has got to end. I need to whip myself back into shape pretty quick here or else I am going to become a miserable, mucky mess. Wait, I think I'm almost there. Why is it always a million times harder to get back into a routine once you play hooky a few times?! It's so much harder to follow through after you slack off for a bit. I have missed my pilates classes. I love the structure of going to class. I love being pushed on the reformer. And I just feel so much better when I'm doing it.

My friend Shawna tried to convince me to go to a Bikram's Yoga class with her tonight...and while I have enjoyed taking yoga classes over the years, the hot yoga absolutely kills me. It's not the exercise itself that I can't handle, but the environment. My anxiety is so terrible in that hot, sweaty room...I feel like I can't breathe, I get dizzy and I worry so intensely that I am going to pass out, that I can't even follow along. The last time I attended a class at Bikram's, I had an instructor who was a character Ben Stiller could play in the movie version. He treated the class like a Fat Camp. He yelled and screamed at everyone and told us that torture was the only way to lose our fat asses. While I'm sure that's true, I was not up for the torment or the stinky, blurry, humid setting. One guy almost got chastised for trying to leave the room because he didn't have a drop of water left and was beyond dehydrated. I had a panic attack. It was hardly a calm, serene environment in which to balance your energy and replenish your soul. So needless to say, I declined the invite to join the class. Hot yoga is just not for me. Next week though, I start back at pilates. That's a kind of torture that I can handle.

I don't know what's with me this week! I just can't get motivated. I have no energy and no willpower! I keep finding "excuses" not to go anywhere or do anything. It's amazing how I can go from acting like I'm an Olympic athlete in training one week...to being little Miss Piggy who doesn't want to leave the couch the next. I have had absolutely no desire to go sweat on a machine in a stuffy gym in recent days, and a much greater desire to sit on a patio drinking an ice cold beer. Now I'm kicking myself because I feel soft and uncomfortable and I have to parade around in a bikini on the houseboat in a matter of weeks.

I've always said that the ability to lose weight is a state of mind- at least for me. Those who know me, know that my weight has gone up and down over the years, at times drastically. I'm tall, so I can carry a fair bit of weight, but nonetheless the scale has gone up or down by as much as 50 pounds over the last 10 years. I have been alternately obsessed with losing weight and being comfortable the way I am. This is why I have managed to go from skeleton to balloon and back so many times. Time to get on the weight loss train again now though. It's a constant battle for me.

Inspired by Raymi's Guide To Skinny, I'm going to make some changes.

ANOTHER NOTE: I just found a new "Diet & Weight Loss" application that can be added to your Facebook page. Hmmm...not so sure I want all my Facebook friends tracking my progress to that degree, but perhaps this is a sign.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

She aches just like a woman but she breaks just like a little girl...

I couldn't wait to get home tonight- all I wanted to do was order in sushi, get into my pajamas and jump into bed with my laptop to watch 'Factory Girl'...so that's exactly what I did.

I am a huge fan of biopics. I am captivated by life. This story follows the rise and fall of the legendary Edie Sedgwick. She is the 'poor little rich girl' born to American aristocracy and the cinematic muse to pop art genius Andy Warhol. The year is 1965, and she is living every young girl’s dream. Ambitious and beautiful, Edie’s life changes forever when she meets Andy Warhol, the man who will transform her into a dazzling superstar. She has the world at her feet. Every woman wants to be her. Yet, Edie is alone. A fragile shooting star who dazzles the world with her beauty, style and glamour, Edie is one of the great pop icons of the 1960's. This is her story.

While I know that this movie has been bashed by critics since its opening, I was still interested to see it and would not let myself be swayed. As I suspected, it is stylish and quirky and it completely captured me. Sienna Miller's performance of Edie Sedgwick is absolutely stunning. Miller never plays a stereotype, this performance is real, heartfelt and compelling. The film itself is an exciting, sometimes upsetting look at the 60's art world, the superficial idealism of the 60's and the price of fleeting fame.

Perhaps the true genius of 'Factory Girl' is that you actually really feel the shallowness of The Factory world. If you've ever been around someone who has narcissistic tendencies (which all The Factory members do), at their core, they're incredibly dull; but from a psychological and voyeuristic standpoint, the narcissism is what makes the people who inhabit The Factory so fascinating. And if you have experienced first hand the culture of clubbing, fashion, music, art, drugs, etc. in which all is momentary and expendable; and the people are self absorbed and always looking for the next cool thing or "it" person; you will appreciate how this movie really nails it.

I love films about real people, complex characters. Edie Sedgwick was self destructive but she also possessed a real light. She was a vibrant and fascinating woman who really started a big movement at that time. I think that Edie burns out because she is abused and misguided- a true tortured soul. The relationship that she has with Warhol is intense and complex. They feed from one another in opposite ways and strangely, they compliment each other very well. There is a quality in the nature of their connection that I can relate to.

The other element that I must note about this film is the extraordinary fashion. This film is impeccably styled. Edie Sedgwick herself possessed an exquisite personal style. Her look was entirely unique, which I believe was somewhat accidental. She would do these ballet work-outs, and she’d wear her leotards with her black tights, and then she couldn't be bothered to change, so she’d just put a coat over it. This look caught on and became a huge trend. It was kind of an inadvertent thing that happened. She was carelessly stylish in the most fabulous way.

'Factory Girl' has been called "the sexiest, most provocative film of the year"- I say it's definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My current state of mind...

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things that you didn't do than the things that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Mark Twain

Monday, July 9, 2007

I want to live, I want to give, I've been a miner for a heart of gold

Tonight I spent some time at the beach; alone with my thoughts. I felt happy. I found myself filled with a sense of coziness and cheer. As I walked, I felt the cool water under my feet and the sand between my toes. Imperfect memories stirred in my head, glazed with a heat shimmer and dusted with a warm summer breeze.

Recently, upon close examination of my reflection in the mirror, something is quite vividly apparent. There is life in my eyes again, a sincerity in my smile, a warmth in my heart. There are of course still times that I do what I do to feel closure. Acting upon impulse, living in the moment. There is a wanting to wipe the dirty window clean; that window which I have looked through for the last time. I regret nothing that has happened in past days, and prior evenings... I am not selfish, I am merely considering myself for once.

I am ensuring that my heart remains safe. I am ensuring that there is no opportunity for repeated heartache. A moment, an instant, I barely remember it happening. But what I do remember is feeling content, and ready to move on. A heart that held on so dearly for so many nights can finally let go. I am free.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Suddenly everything has changed

"Is there no way out of the mind?" --Sylvia Plath

I've been in one of my moods this week. I was beginning to get pensive and tortured, doing a little bit of the woe is me routine. I had really let myself get rundown. I suppose I really haven't been taking the best care of myself lately. I haven't been eating well and my insomnia has been worse than ever. When I can sleep, I have been having the most disturbing dreams. The result? I've been tired and downright grouchy. So, I decided to take a weekend of "me" time- I needed an escape from the city. I went out to stay at my parents' house in the burbs since they are out of town and I could have the whole big place to myself. This is exactly what I needed. Tonight, I feel re-energized and happy.
Last night I connected with some friends for a mellow night at home-we ate, drank, sang and had lots of laughs. Perfection.
I'm really working on feeling happy with myself. I certainly do struggle with feeling thin enough, and pretty enough and happy with what I see as much as I struggle with seeing what is actually there. I've been busy gathering up all the lessons that life has thrown my way lately and trying to do something with them. I've been listening to good music, writing and reading Jack Kerouac, which can have a tendancy to make me want to become a bit of a relcuse and turn me a little more crazy than usual...but in the tortured artist, eccentric writer kind of way. What a punishment it can be to overthink, but at the same time, that is when my creative juices are the most fluid. And all this thinking has lead me to make some important decisions. I've always said, I write to understand. I learn a lot about myself through writing. I'm being proactive right now and that is a good thing. I've spent too long sitting idle and talking, talking, talking but never actually doing many of the things I talk about. It's all about the follow through, kids...there's so much to learn in this too-huge world, and if we're not students of the school of life, well then what the hell are we doing here? So I'm choosing to learn. I'm choosing to grow. I'm choosing to look on the brighter side of things.

Here are some of my favorite Jack Kerouac quotes...the man was an absolute genius. I've delved into On The Road this week. There's nothing better than getting deep into a good book.

"What is the feeling when you're driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It's the too huge world vaulting us, and it's goodbye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."

"My fault, my failure, is not the passions I have but in my lack of control of them."

"I like too many things and get all confused and hung up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody but my own confusion."

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the mad ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say commonplace things but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."

Friday, July 6, 2007

Here it comes and there it goes, another day of getting up to fight

Matthew Good will be the recipient of The Youth Role Model Of The Year Award presented by Jer's Vision Canadian Youth Diversity Initiative this year. At the gala, which will take place in October, he will be unveiling a petition signed by no less than 10,000 Canadians that support the following statement:

We, being citizens of Canada, call on all members of the Canadian government to work together to immediately produce a definitive timetable for the cessation of Canadian combat operations in Afghanistan. We specifically target these operations singularly and support continued humanitarian and diplomatic efforts where necessary and applicable.

"The purpose is, of course, to demonstrate that we, as individuals can make a difference if we choose to, which is certainly a principle that should be instilled in this country's youth." Matthew Good

If you would like to sign the petition, please click here. If you agree with the statement above please sign the petition and forward it to your family and friends so that Matt's goal of 10,000 signatures can be reached by October.

Thank you for supporting this cause! Matt's ongoing efforts to make a difference in the world are truly inspiring.

One of his entries today called The Importance of Vigilant Discussion began with the following:
'If there is one thing that is routine with regards to the emails in my inbox on a daily basis, it’s accusations that this website does little more than “preach to the choir”. That accusation is then commonly followed by suggestions that information and commentary be presented in a far more fair and balanced fashion (where have you heard that slogan before?), and that I should spend less time focusing on the same themes and more time focusing on others because, as it was put to me this morning, …“constantly talking about the war in Iraq is boring. We get it, now move along!”.'

How disheartening that this seems to be a common opinion! I believe that the people who choose to read Matt's blog should appreciate whole-heartedly the information which they can find there. The perspectives and facts that Matt provides allow me to stay up on issues that I may not have time to delve into researching on my own. The passionate insight that he shares about the topics which he discusses are exactly what make a daily visit to his site a must for me. In my opinion, Matt is doing a fantastic service by putting out into the world what he does.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The world forgetting by the world forgot

Tonight I crawled into bed early because it has been the longest short week ever. I'm absolutely exhausted. Of course I couldn't sleep, so I decided to pop in a movie. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind seemed to call my name from the dvd shelf, so I curled up and settled in to watch it. I think this movie is pure genius...an antithesis of the typical Hollywood romance. It is at once idealist and romantic but not in any sort of conventional way. It is absolutely unique and profound.
I was in awe of the movie's refreshing originality the first time I saw it. The story is about a couple who enlist the services of a company that performs a procedure to erase specific memories. Clementine (Winslet) and Joel (Carrey) decide to have the procedure done to erase one another from their minds, so that they can move on once their relationship breaks up. I just love the concept. How many times have I wished that I could erase all the special times with Mr. Heartbreaker from my memory...forget how sweet Mr. All Wrong can be at times?? You have to wonder...does the heart have a memory independent of the mind? And how valuable are the lessons we learn through loving another person?...even if that love should ultimately end in heartbreak. Can we really be who we are without the memories of people who have touched us in our lives? Is the spotless mind truly full of eternal sunshine? Or are the spots what make us who we are?
As I have chosen to break the ties that bind me to the past recently, I must also acknowledge the lessons I have learned through the experiences that I shared with that person. Those memories are a part of who I am ...who would I be without them?
The passion, flare and brilliant wit of this story are framed by incredible performances by Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst. I grew to really love and identify with these characters, every one of them. I was completely taken by the relationship between Clementine and Joel. They are complete opposites but their connection is undeniable, right from the get go. And they compliment one another beautifully and naturally.
Not often enough with films in this genre do I think about the concepts explored in great detail after the film has ended.
JS gives this flick two thumbs up.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I want it all...

Today didn't start out well. I haven't been sleeping much this week...bouts of insomnia combined with frequent night terrors. This morning I woke up with the kind of headache that makes you wish someone would stab you in the foot because it would take the focus off the throbbing pain in your skull.

Is my head in the clouds, or are the clouds in my head? I have spent tonight listening to Matthew Good's Hospital Music and trying to untangle the mess that is my mind. I've always been kind of an ADD goal setter. I have accomplished a lot in the last year but I'm always thinking up new ideas about what I want to be, or where I want to go, what I want to do. I suppose that ultimately, I just want to live happily ever after; but there's no instruction manual, no script for life to follow...I just want to feel like I'm making my mark in this crazy world. At times I feel caught between the desire to have wild adventures and the need to feel secure.
I want to feel like I'm doing things that are taking me further. Further is one of my favorite words.
Hey, hey wanna dance? Let's close our eyes and not our minds.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gonna change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules, gonna put my good foot forward

I had exactly the kind of weekend that I needed. I was happy to have time to relax, to sit at the beach, to write and reflect. Last night I had dinner with a couple of my girlfriends on the patio as the sun set at the new Hapa Izakaya restaurant by Kits beach. The food was delicious, the sangria went down smoothly and the company was divine. It was one perfect evening. There's nothing better than spending time with people who you can be completely yourself with.

Lately I have been very focused on educating myself and trying to figure out how I can make a difference in the world. I don't believe that ignornace is bliss. I think that the more I know, the better. I have determined that every day is a chance not only to make something more beautiful in the tiny space that is our proximity, but also in the grand world in which we live. I know the answers are different from one person to another. We all have different lives, we're all in different places. I got tired of being complacent and helpless. I know that there is so much that I don't understand and that I can not comprehend all the struggles of everyone in this world. But one thing I am surrounded in light about, is that we as individuals, each have the opportunity to be in touch with what is important to us. And that our dreams and goals are very much alive.
Whenever you get a heavy heart, know that there might be something you can do about it. Do you want to? We can all make a difference.