Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good-bye 2009

So barring weirdness today will be the last blog post of 2009. That means I will have posted 356 times this year. The goal was to post 365 times, but I fell just short. I was actually doing all right, but went completely off the rails while in Toronto last month. Then Christmas put to bed any chance of being able to stage a comeback and hit the magic number. Still, 356 posts is a pretty good number. I guess the goal next year is to find the time to hit those extra nine posts.

As for today's plans...we have lunch with one of Cathy's aunts, supper at Zapatas, possibly popping up to see some friends for a bit before heading off to the Rock House to see the Idlers and Mark Bragg. So a fairly quiet day for us, really.

There are some things I would traditionally do for end of the year and worst lists....a look back at the blog's stats...and perhaps some new years resolutions. However, that's all going to be talked about once we get back to Iqaluit when I actually have a bit more time to think and to recover from our time back in St. John's.

As for 2009 and how I feel about it, I have some thoughts, but instead I'll leave you all with the wise words of Warren Ellis, who comes pretty close to summing up how I felt about the year.
I’m starting to get the sense that 2009 wants to finish me off before it dies of old age. A calendrical unit yelling "I’m taking you with me, you bastard!" from its vanishing final paper bunker marked December, every spent day a room deleted from the structure until 2009 is finally huddled in one small box marked 31 and screaming obscenities in stark terror.

As for the rest of you, who may not feel this was, have a good New Years, enjoy the blue moon out there this evening and may 2010 be a much better year than the one before it.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home stretch

We're heading into the home stretch for the Christmas madness. Yesterday was an evening at a pub in Mount Pearl with a good friend of mine, which was awesome. Four hours in a pub with a good friend, shooting the shit, is such a rare pleasure for me that it nearly made me late for the rest of the day's activities. That included a good meal on Indian food at the Taj and then the Feast of Cohen. For those from away, The Feast features some of the best musicians Newfoundland has doing Leonard Cohen songs. It's been going on for ten years and it's always a treat.

The best of the bunch, in my opinion, was Sean Panting's delightfully macho "I'm your man", Amelia Curran's lovely "Bird on a wire" and Liz Solo doing "Joan of Arc". It was a great show, with very few misfires. Cherie Pyne comes to mind. But it was a blip on a great evening. Although I would like to know what happened to Mark Bragg, who was on the list to play, but was't there.

We're getting ready to head out for the day. So we have brunch at a friend of Cathy's family, then perhaps seeing our friend Suzy, we're trying to catch Sherlock Holmes, then we have supper with my father, followed by trying to catch a friend of mine doing some stand-up at Mustang Sally's and then, assuming we have any energy left, to go and see Sean Panting play a show at the Bull.

No kidding, assuming we survive making it back to Iqaluit this weekend, we're going to be in a coma for the better part of the week trying to recover. Still, the trip is going better than I would have thought a month ago when I was worried about job stuff. We might be exhausted, but we're in good spirits.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


So I figured an appropriate way to help close out the year would be with a small rant. The nice thing about the Duke night from a couple of days ago is that my friends know how to egg me on when I get on a roll about something. Because while I continue the mellowing process as I approach middle age, I can still fire up the rant machine when needed.

Alas, the rant about Snowbabies will have to wait until I'm back in Iqaluit and a safe distance away from the large cabinet sitting behind me filled with them. Today's rant is about Bell Island.

For those of you not from Newfoundland, Bell Island is an island in Conception Bay, about a 20 minute drive or so outside of St. John's. Back in the day, there was a lot of mining done on the island, and in fact, shafts extend well out under Conception Bay. These days, there's not much happening out there in the way of economic activity. There are still a few thousand people living there, but most of them hop on the ferry every morning and drive into St. John's to go to work.

Now, a few years ago there was talk of building a new prison there, which seemed like an excellent idea. However, I've had a new idea, having spent a days back home and listening to people and, tragically, open line shows. What needs to be done is this; everybody needs to be relocated off Bell Island and then we're going to transform it into an insane asylum. But a very special one. It will be an asylum for the politically insane.

That's why we need Bell Island because, let's face it, anywhere from ten to 30 per cent of the province's residents are going to be living there at one time. So they're going to need a bit of space.

Now, this isn't going to be a hardcore political insane asylum. Very few people will be permanently committed. Perhaps some former premiers and the like. But mostly it'll be a few months to chill people out. So if you're going on open line every day, well, that's three months out on Bell Island. If you're espousing conspiracy theories on why the rest of Canada is out to screw over Newfoundland and you seriously believe it, well, that's a year out on the island.

If you can't let a member of the House of Assembly speak four words without heckling them, that's a few months. If you scream traitor anytime someone disagrees with your political views, that's a year or so to go and chill out. And perhaps have a few smacks to the head, just for good measure.

Needless to say there will be no newspapers, radios, cell phone, regular phones, computers or internet of any kind. Smacks to the head will be a regular form of treatment for first time offenders and perhaps classes in debate, ethics, and manners would be a good idea. I wouldn't mind ECT or trepanning for repeat offenders. And, naturally, we'll have to mine an area around the island to prevent escape attempts. Sharks with lasers would also be frickin' awesome. And I'm thinking orcs in tunnels just for good measure in case anyone tries to use that route to escape.

I think it would do wonders for the level of coherent, reasonable and civil debate in Newfoundland. So let's see if we can find money in the next budget for that. Hell, I bet the prime minister would kick in some money for it.

Oh, and needless to say, if you start foaming around the mouth about political stuff and going completely off the deep end and ranting about Newfoundland politics on a blog, that's a couple of month on Bell Island. I already have my bags packed.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Friggin' house

Not my friggin' house, I assure you. One of my favourite blogs, even though it updates infrequently, is This Friggin' Old House. It's the adventures of my good friends Andrew and Karin as they attempt to renovate a house in downtown St. John's. I've always loved this house. It belonged to another friend of mine and I have a ton of good memories at that house. For example, for the better part of a decade I celebrated New Years at that house. I have so many good memories of the house that when my friend Anne announced she was selling it, I was understanding, but heartbroken. However, when Andrew and Karin announced they were buying it, I was thrilled.

I knew the house needed work and I knew Andrew and Karin were planning on doing a lot of work on the house. However, today we got a tour of the place. Renovations are well under way, but they still have months to go before they can sleep there. So right now the inside of the house is mostly frames.

Still, my god...I never dreamed of the scope of renovating the house. I had a number I figured they might have to spend on renovations was off by so much I'm embarrassed. I'm actually staggered by the scope of it. From the small details and the little things that need to be done to the big scale reimagining of how the inside of the place needs to done is mind blowing.

Cathy and I walked out and said never in a million years could we do what they are trying to do right now. At one point we were mulling buying a house on Bond Street that we used to live in. We looked at it today, saw the shape it is in and shuddered at the idea of trying to fix it up. I would have lost my mind ages ago. So I bow to them, their patience and their vision for being able to do all of this.

I can't wait to see what the place looks like when it's finished, which they hope to be by April. Sadly, I don't think I'll be back in Newfoundland in 2010 so it might be awhile before I get to see it. But I look forward to the pictures.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Duke night - tonight!

A reminder for those of you living in St. John's (or having a strong hankering to make a sudden, spontaneous trip to the city), Cathy and I will be at the Duke of Duckworth this evening. We'll be there around 8pm (give or take a few minutes) and will be there, I would say, until at least midnight. Probably longer if things are going well.

Aside from the fact that I haven't been to the Duke since I was home, which is clearly wrong, this is a chance to see some people who we might not get around to seeing otherwise. It's just simply case of time. We don't have enough of it to get around and see each person we would like individually. So that's why we hope there's a good turnout of old and new friends this evening. It always sucks when we get home and get notes from people saying how sorry they are that they didn't get to see us. Well, this is your chance, so please come on out.

As for the holidays, I'm in better spirits than Sunday. I was just in a bit of a blue mood on Sunday for no reason I can really figure out. But on Boxing Day I went around the bay, saw a couple of my aunts and cousins, which was great. I also got to see my nan, which was....hard. She didn't really know who I was, but that's not going to change. But she seems healthy and the retirement home they have her placed in is really quite nice.

Even with the name Shag Rock Manor (actually, that's kind of awesome) it's a new home and the staff take good care of her.

Anyway, off to face the next part of the Gauntlet. Shopping and seeing some friends for brunch and coffee...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Getting tired already

So we're surviving the Gauntlet of Christmas so far. First there is the mad rush of getting Christmas gifts, and then there is the rush of the family. We've got the first done and we're in the middle of the second. Today was round one, with Cathy's family and a hint of mine. Tomorrow we head around the bay for a visit with my aunt and my nan.

And after that, we'll be trying to catch up with more of my friends. Plus, since my parents have been working so much during the holidays, I've barely had a chance to see them.

It's just a touch overwelming, that's all. Coming from Iqaluit where things tend to be a bit slower, trying to keep up with the pace is more than even I had anticipated. I know this sounds like I'm complaining, and I really don't mean to. It's just trying to find the mental reserves to keep up. We'll catch our third wind at some point and we'll be fine.

Anyway, now that I've vented a bit, I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Despite the craziness, it's been a pretty good one. There were enough presents under the tree this morning to hide a good part of it. And it has been nice to get back home and be around family.

Still, I think I should have wished for Red Bull for Christmas. Because I'm not sure I should be this tired this early into the game.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Done....and a birthday


There is something to be said about arriving back in Newfoundland with virtually none of your Christmas shopping started. And the thing to be said about it is that it is a very, very bad idea. Yes, coming back to Newfoundland was sort of the plan for the shopping, rather than trying to do it online. Plus, the last couple of months have been a bit frantic. We've had a few other things on our minds other than trying to do Christmas shopping.

However, after a few frantic days plowing through malls, big box lands and downtown, we're done. Thank god.

It's a lot different than last year, when we both went a little bit crazy. I don't have a job (although things are starting to look promising on that front) and we've just bought a house. So that's meant knowing when to stop with the shopping. I wish I could keep going. I like buying gifts for my wife. Especially this year, when I want to buy many things for my lovely wife to say thanks for everything she's had to put up with the last few months. But for now, restraint. Besides, Christmas is more than just gifts and she knows this.

In the meantime, feel free to drop a line in the comments section to wish Cathy a happy birthday. Her birthday is Christmas Eve. I already have a gift for her, wrapped in the appropriate wrap. But I'm sure she'd love to hear from you all. She's the silent partner on the blog, but she always reads it, reads the comments and reads many of the northern blogs. So here's your chance to go and say nice things about her.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home madness

I'm guessing my absence isn't completely unexpected. You hit St. John's after being away for a little bit and the demands on your time are extraordinary. Couple that with the fact that neither Cathy nor I had much in the way of Christmas shopping done and the past few days have been insane.

We think we've got the back broken on the shopping. Cathy is doing one last mall run tomorrow morning while I'm at the dentist, then we head downtown to get a few things we missed the first time around, and then I think, please God, that's it. Then I think the stress finally starts to evaporate a bit. Which would be nice. The past few days have been a bit more stressful then you ordinarily like when starting a vacation.

Cathy's also become our official schedule planner. She keeps whipping out her little book and putting it dates and times we're suppose to be meeting people. I think we've already got just about every evening between now and the 2nd of January booked. Our afternoons are still pretty good, though. Oh, and I have at least one official death threat from a friend, who says he will kill me if he doesn't see me before I go.

You know, I'm oddly touched by this. Every time I wonder if I'm a touch too insular and don't get out and socialize enough, a friend comes along and lets me know, in his or her own special way, that I'm special. Well, special enough to want dead, at the very least.

I guess the other thing of note was that we saw Avatar this evening. Still kind of digesting it, but first thoughts are the following.

1. James Cameron is a deeply mentally disturbed man, and God love him for it. And I don't mean insane like some artists where you wonder where they get their ideas. There's nothing startling original about the story, plot or characters. It's just that Cameron has OCD or the biggest stick up his ass in the history of the world. Because the obssession for details and wanting to get it just right and just right his way is what makes the movie.

2. Seriously see it in the theatres. I imagine it's going to look lovely in Blu-Ray and all, but you really need to be in a movie theatre, preferably one with the digital 3D, to appreciate it. The theatres in Iqaluit are lovely and all, and you should go see it, but you will be missing a little something from the experience. And even more if you wait until DVD.

3. Having said that, would have been nice to have seen it in a seat other than one in the second row. That's what we get for showing up late. Ow, my neck.

4. Damn, Sigourney Weaver still looks hot. Seriously.

And I`m sure I`ll have more later. It`s not the greatest movie ever made, or even the best I`ve seen this year. But it`s a spectacle, a good one and certainly one worth experiencing.

Oh, one last thing. A reminder. We`ll be doing a night at the Duke of Duckworth on December 27th. If you`re in town and would like to see either one of us, we`ll be there from 8pm onwards. It`s our attempt to see people we might not have a chance to visit otherwise, so please, come on down. We`d love to see our friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Half way there

Well, we're in Ottawa and as I write this I'm sitting in the Porter lounge area using one of their snazzy iMacs. Porter lets even riff raff like ourself into the lounge and not just people flying first class. So it's a good start to the day. The weather out east is looking a touch remains to be seen if we will manage to avoid the blizzard coming up the east coast towards Halifax, where we have a brief stopover, and it's apparently quite foggy in St. John's. Let's hope we earned some good karma from yesterday's travels to get us back to St. John's safely.

Yesterday wasn't a bad day for us. A touch frustrating perhaps. We were an hour late leaving Iqaluit because the line through security was so brutal. They really do need a new airport in Iqaluit to accomodate the increased traffic flow. Then again, I'm reminded of a Facebook status update from a fellow traveller yesterday - "If you don't know you need to take the coins out of your pocket when going through security in Iqaluit..." and, well, then there were threats of violence against fellow passengers.

Although the really frustrating part was waiting an hour for our luggage in Ottawa. No reason given and the First Air staff near the luggage carosel seemed completely useless in helping people out. Now, it was just a touch frustrating for us because we wanted to get to our hotel, get something to eat and maybe catch a movie. But there were people who needed to get their luggage to catch connecting flights. And we know a couple of families who missed them. It would have been tight if they got their luggage right away, but an hour is just insane. I've been to massive international airports where the luggage has gotten there faster than that. Someone dropped the ball there somewhere.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much though. It's all in perspective. A friend of mine sent me this link awhile back about how people complain too much and take for granted the technological miracles around us every day.. Which is true.

Here's hoping our technological miracles get us back to St. John's safe, sound and reasonably on time today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Heading out/Curling event

Cathy's been humming "Leaving on a jet plane..." for much of the past 24 hours. There's othing quite like a teacher heading out on Christmas break, I assure you.

I normally try to keep a regular posting schedule when I'm away from the mansion for any lengthy period of time. My success rates vary. I did surprisingly well in Italy and on the cruise. I did all right until the end in Australia and I did very, very badly during the recent curling event. However, as we're staying with Cathy's parents and they do have internet access, hopefully I'll still manage to find the time to jot down a quick note or two.

One more thing before I head off, if you're living in Iqaluit and staying here for Christmas break (which is becoming increasingly less white as the temperatures stay above freezing today and possibly well into tomorrow), but want to get out of the house for a few hours, well, the curling club is going to be open for a few hours on December 27th, from 1-4pm. Nothing serious, just a chance to get out and shoot a few stones, It's only $5 and that covers shooting rocks, hot beverages and some hot dogs. I'd be heading out if I was still here. Drop iqaluitcurling (at) gmail (dot) com a line if you're thinking about attending.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must go and talk my wife down off the ledge as she has been looking at Environment Canada's website and notices the weather for Halifax and St. John's on Sunday is kind of crappy.

Last Five
1. Old black 'n blue eyes - The Fratellis
2. Tunnel of love - Bruce Springsteen*
3. I taught myself to grow old - Ryan Adams
4. Can't hardly wait - The Replacements
5. Closing the door and opening the window - Drive

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Big Thaw

So the weather outside right now in Iqaluit is +2C with it possibly spiking as high as +6C before the day is over. There's fog hovering over the city and we're getting sporadic bits of drizzle and rain. The date, for those who might have forgotten, is December 18. Normally the high for this day would be -19C with a low around -28C, however it seems we're breaking with tradition a bit today.

Oh, and it's also one of the shortest days of the year. Sunrise today was at 9:20am and sunset is only a few hours away as I write this at 1:42pm. So on one of the days when we will have the least amount of sunshine or daylight, it's balmy up here. In case people in Edmonton were wondering where their warm temperatures went when they were being flash-frozen earlier the week with temps around -50C, it apparently moved up here for a few days. Thanks.

All of this and I get to read headlines from the Globe and Mail about how the climate change talks in Copenhagen are a "Dismal failure". Good timing on that, guys.

Believe it or not, this is not the strangest weather day I've experienced in Nunavut. For that we have to pop into the wayback machine and travel back in time to February 27, 2006, when the temperatures hit +5C. I wrote about that here. Funny thing....I was told by several people that it getting so warm at that time of the year was a massive fluke occurrence. If not a once in a century type event, then certainly a once in every 50 years type of thing. I'd likely never see something like that again during my time in Nunavut.

And, less than four years later, here we are again. Funny how those decades just fly right on by, eh?

This warm weather has two other things I'm going to mention. When I went to see the doctor earlier the week we were making some small talk. Even then people around town knew there was the possibility of getting something like this on Friday. And, in a rare fit of competency, Environment Canada got this one right. Anyway, she said she was dreading it. Because it's not like this weather is going to last. At some point late on Saturday and certainly by Sunday, the regular cold is going to come back and bitch slap this warm weather system all the way down to the Carolinas. And then all the slush and pools of standing water are going to freeze solid.

That means the hospital is going to get bombarded with slip and fall injuries and lots of broken bones. So if you live in Iqaluit, watch out for yourselves this weekend. It's going to get tricky.

The second unintended consequence of this warm weather is that the snow that is already down is melting. Duh, I know. People using snowmobiles are going to be unhappy. For us, however, it displayed that we are bad neighbours. We've been letting Boo out when he needs to do his "business" and he's been pretty good about nipping out, taking care of things and then coming right back in. However, he's been doing it in front of our neighbours house. No problem when the snow is falling and covering up the crime, slightly bigger problem when it's all melting.

So I had a knock on the door this morning from the next door neighbour asking if I wouldn't mind going and cleaning it all up. Oooops. And was then told it would be much appreciated if the dog would stop doing that on their property.

To be fair, they have three kids and we shouldn't be letting the dog do that. We just got lazy. So it's to Plan B. Whatever that is, and it'll have to wait until after we get back from Christmas holidays. Hopefully the neighbours won't burn the house down in retaliation while we're away.

Last Five
1. Gone to hell - Sean Panting*
2. Across the universe - Fiona Apple
3. Big wheel - Tori Amos
4. Possession - Sarah McLachlan
5. Lucinda/Ain't goin' down (live) - Tom Waits

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why bother

I was playing follow the link yesterday and stumbled upon something kind of stupid. The link following began over at John Gushue's blog where I saw the trailer for the new Robin Hood movie....a movie I really, really hope is better than this trailer which looks like Gladiator set in in England, except dumber.

From there it was the trailer for Alice in Wonderland, which actually looks like a lot of fun. At some point you would think I'd get tired of watching Johnny Depp chew scenery in Tim Burton movies, but it hasn't happened yet. On a side note, I mentioned to Cathy I've never read the book, and she was horrified. I don't know how it happened. I actually know most of the story, but I've just never read the novel. Funny that.

And from there, it was the trailer to Lord of the Rings. Yes, I am aware that movie has been out, dear god, nearly 10 years now. However, this is the trailer for the movies re-release into Blu-Ray for April.

Oddly enough, we just finished re-watching the movies this weekend. Cathy probably watches them every couple of months, but this is the first time I've sat down and watched all three in probably two years. And I'm always pleased to see how well they're holding up. It was never the story or the acting I was worried about, but the special effects. And yes, there are some clunky bits that haven't held up well, but considering the extended versions of the movies add up to 11 hours or, I think that's pretty damn good.

I'd been looking forward to seeing the trilogy come out in Blu-Ray. Cathy has a rule about movie purchases since we got the Blu-Ray player, and it is this: we're not allowed to buy a movie in Blu-Ray that we already own in standard DVD format. We've only broken that rule once, to buy WALL-E. However, I think Lord of the Rings might be another of those exceptions. It's that epic in scale that I want to see it in Blu-Ray.

However, I noticed some curious wording within the trailer about "theatrical release" and a quick check confirmed it - this is the Blu-Ray version of the original theatrical movies, and not the extended cuts.

I understand why the movie companies are doing this (think "money"), but it doesn't make it any less stupid. Blu-Ray is still very much a geek technology. If you're using the players, odds are you're a tech geek and if you're one of those, you tend to be a geek in other parts of your life as well. And I don't know a single person who prefers the theatrical release of these movies compared to the extended versions of the movies. In fact, I haven't seen the theatrical versions since I first saw the movies in the theatre. Why bother when the extended cuts are so very much better.

It seems the extended cuts will come out on Blu-Ray closer to when The Hobbit gets released. Which is fine and all. I understand the marketing strategy behind this. However, I honestly don't know who is going to buy these. I won't. It really strikes me as being a huge waste of money.

Then again, considering the movies have made a couple of billion dollars, I guess you're allowed to waste the odd dollar here and there.

Last Five
1. You're the reason I'm leaving - Franz Ferdinand
2. Trying to pull myself away - Glen Hansard
3. Hard road - Sam Roberts
4. The long and winding road - The Beatles*
5. Stumble blind - Drive

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pub night

We're beginning the slow fade into Christmas break in the blogging world. The past few months have seen a huge boost in the traffic running through here. But as always, about a week or so before Christmas the numbers begin to drop. People get busy preparing for the holidays and then wrapped up in the events themselves. All of which is to be expected. I understand when people have better things to do than read this blog. Hell, even I know my writing has been a bit flat the last couple of weeks. It happens. I've learned not to fret about such things. At some point the writing will spike upwards again or something will trigger my moral outrage and I'll be off to the races.

Well, here's hoping so anyway.

As for our Christmas, as might be expected, things are already starting to get crowded. We're designated Sunday, December 27th as a Duke night. If you're in St. John's and you'd like to see either Cathy or myself, please swing on down to the Duke of Duckworth around 8 pm and we'll make sure we're there. By the way, this includes friends and people who just read the blog. By all means pop down. Hopefully we'll see our friends lots of times, but it's Christmas and I know exactly what that time of the year can get like in a big bloody hurry. Next thing you know we're back in Iqaluit answering emails from people upset they missed us while we were home.

So mark it on your calendars and come on down for a pint.

Oh, and in an unrelated note, I finally got the results back from my physical. I figured since my turning 40 is closing in rapidly, it was time of a 40,000 km check-up. Results were all very positive. Cholesterol is good, blood pressure is good, no real obvious problems. I need to keep losing some weight, which I knew anyway and that's in progress, but other than that, things seems to be fine.

I'm kind of pleased with that. The last physical I had was back in 2005 and my doctor chewed my ass out for how much weight I had put on, my blood pressure and cholesterol. So if I'm doing better, that's good and here's hoping I keep on track.

Last Five
1. Sons of the golden west - Camper Van Beethoven
2. City of lakes - Matt Mays*
3. Will there be enough water - The Dead Weather
4. Here comes those tears again - Jackson Browne
5. Letterbomb - Green Day

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Superstitious feeling

I like to think I'm a reasonable rational adult. I know superstitions about luck are pretty foolish and yet, from time to time, I have them. Primarily they show up in two areas - curling and the weather.

A prime example of curling superstition happened during my game last week. I shot shit in the first two ends and we quickly fell behind 3-1. Disgusted by the whole thing I took off my curling gloves for some reason. And then, magically, I started shooting better and do did the rest of the team. For the rest of that game I wouldn't even go near the spot where I had tossed my gloves because I was convinced they were the source of my ill-luck in the first two ends.

Never mind I probably just adapted to the ice better and I gave the guy who was sparing for us and shooting lead stones a few tips and he instantly started shooting, no, clearly the gloves were cursed that game. I've been superstitious about curling ever since I first started playing it.

The other thing is the weather. Now, last night, completely out of the blue, Environment Canada called for a blizzard. As I've stated previously, and many times, I do not trust Environment Canada's accuracy when it comes to predicting blizzards, especially ones they decide to conjure out of thin air. Monday morning, the forecast for Tuesday was a typical northern day. By Monday evening, it was a blizzard. I call shenanigans when I see that sort of thing.

Or, as I said on Facebook this morning, " I would say that Environment Canada was as useless as tits on a bull, but that would be insulting hermaphroditic bulls everywhere."

(I like that line and I don't know why. Forgive me)

Anyway, that didn't stop the crowd at the staff Christmas party I went to last night from hoping and praying for a snow day today. I don't think I'm giving up state secrets by saying the only people who enjoy snow days more than students and the people who teach them. So they were convinced today there was going to be a blizzard and school was going to be cancelled.

I, of course, was appalled. Not because they wanted a day off. I can understand that. But because so many of them are catching flights on Saturday to head somewhere else for Christmas. And for the love of God, you don't wish for a blizzard when you're trying to fly out in a few days. The Weather Gods are fickle creatures. Oh, they'll give you a blizzard all right...a nice four day one right starting right on the day you're scheduled to fly out. Wishing for a blizzard this week is lunacy. It took all my strength not to go up to several of them, start to shake them and scream "for the love of God, shut the fuck up!"

The week before a trip, you don't even think about weather. You don't hope for good or bad, you just ignore it and hope it ignore you.

It's probably too late now. If Environment Canada is to be believed we're supposed to get rain on Friday so who knows what will happen on Saturday. Probably a biblical plague of frogs that will delay our flight. ("We're sorry, but we have to, ummm, defrog the plane before take off.") If this happens and I'm stuck in the airport with a bunch of teachers, I may well start beating them. They're nice people and all, but they will have brought this down on all of us, what with their wishing for blizzards and all.

Last Five
1. Bill (live) - Allison Crowe
2. Burning wheels - The Trews
3. Know your enemy - Green Day*
4. Only in the past - The Be Good Tanyas
5. Lines on palms - Josh Pyke

Monday, December 14, 2009


Because my brain isn't functioning in a way that allows me to write coherent sentences today...I give you one of the more popular YouTube videos making the rounds. And it made Cathy laugh today, which is always a sound I like hearing. Anything that makes Cathy laugh is all right with me.

Anyway, the Muppets doing Bohemian Rhapsody. It is The Awesome.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

House warmed

One of my goals for this year was to try and post 365 times during the run of the year. I knew I wasn't going to be able to post every day, but I figured there were would be some days where I would double post and make up for the slack. I was doing pretty good right up until I went to Toronto last month. Then there was moving into a new home. And I'm sure the upcoming trip to St. John's will do little to improve that ratio. So I should break 350 posts, but barring a massive creative writing spurt, I'm hosed on the 365.

This is a long way of saying I didn't post yesterday because of the prep for the housewarming we had last night. Because it is very, very important that no dirt be found anywhere in the house when we have people over. Anyway, it was a nice time, we had a nice mix of people show up to ooh and ahh over the house. It's silly, but it's always reaffirming when people show up and tell you your house is nice.

We had some of Cathy's co-workers, some people from curling and even someone who follows along on the blog. I've met her a few times before, but only in passing. So it was nice to get the chance to sit down and have a proper chat. Plus, she's a neighbour, which is cool.

I'd say the weirdest thing about the party was that we seemed to end up with more booze than what we already had. Oh, the beer we had disappeared, but people brought wine to give us. Which is a fair swap in our books as we don't really like beer, but kind of like wine. So that works.

The other bit of weirdness is that I keep giving people the wrong address. I keep getting the number to the house mixed up. No idea why. We've been here almost two weeks now and I keep making the same mistake. This is mildly embarrassing and thankfully when I make these mistakes, like say when I put it in a status update on Facebook, my friends don't spend a dozen posts mocking me for this....

....yeah, right. Anyway, I'd like to apologize to Jaap and Charlotte who, you know, drove all the way to Iqaluit from the San Francisco area only to be sent to the wrong address. My face is red over that. Although this does bring home a point, as it were. We can now have friends stay here if they want. Oh, I understand that very, very few, if any, will ever come up for a visit. But we at least have a room and a bed for them now as opposed to a couch. So the invite is open to friends who have, oh, an extra $1500 or so to burn should you find yourself in Ottawa....come on up!

And no, you can't drive. Sorry.

Last Five
1. You can do better than me - Death Cab For Cutie
2. Your bruise - Death Cab For Cutie
3. Blue lips - Regina Spektor
4. Love anyway - The Waterboys
5. Silver palomino - Bruce Springsteen

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not freaking out quite so much

We've had a few people asking how the whole home owning thing is going for us so far. I inquired to a few homeowners at curling if the stark terror that something horrible is going to happen ever goes away. I've been assured that after a few years it kind of eases into the background. Although perhaps that person shouldn't have told me he accidentally spent $10,000 on his bathroom. That gave me the cold shivers.

Other than that everything seems to have found a home. Two boxes of knicknacks bit the dust today, thus marking the official end of the boxes. Of course, they're piled up in the shed attached to the house because we're not sure what to do with them. I don't know if garbage in town takes them away or not. I seem to recall some rule regarding how to dispose of cardboard. I guess I should call city hall and ask about that.

Other than that, we're getting used to the occasional odd sounds that houses produce. The water truck showing up and filling our tanks is still a weird experience for us. Although it didn't show up today, for some reason, so we're down to about half a tank. That's low for us, but we'll have no problem making it until the truck shows up tomorrow.

So yeah, it's all starting to settle in, I guess. Of course, our first mortgage payment won't clear until Monday and most our our bills are being paid directly by Visa, so we still have a little grace before all the money starts flying out of our bank accounts. I shudder to think about the oil bill. Oddly, I suspect I'll be turning into my father, what with all the going around and turning off lights and making sure the heat isn't up too high.

Anyway, with luck I'll have a job by then. I was ranting on Twitter and Facebook today that I will do anything except prostitution and substitute teach at this point. Then, oddly, someone dropped me a line and told me to contact them, they might have something for me. So we'll see. A job before Christmas would be awfully nice.

Finally, we're having a small house warming/Christmas gathering Saturday evening. If you're in town and interested in swinging by, drop me a line and I can send you the address.

Last Five
1. Come as you are - Nirvana*
2. Price of gasoline - Bloc Party
3. Sink ships - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
4. Lua - Connor Oberst and Gillian Welch
5. Some days are better than others - U2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where men win glory

So, in an attempt to occasionally mention some of the books I'm reading, I finished Jon Kraukauer's "Where Men Win Glory" last night. It's about Pat Tillman, an NFL player who game up a career that would have paid him millions and signed up to join the Rangers. He died in Afghanistan in 2004. All of which sounds a bit straight forward, but naturally isn't.

I confess, I never would have bought this book just based on Tillman's life story alone. For me, the selling point was Kraukauer. His book "Into Thin Air" remains one of most riveting non-fiction books I've ever read. And "Under the Banner of Heaven" made me want firebomb swaths of Utah and Nevada. It was a devastating look at polygamist Mormon sects. So Kraukauer is someone whose books I always look forward to on those rare occasions when they come out. So if he wants to write about Tillman, and the events that happened after his death, I'll certainly give the book a try.

Is it good? It is, but certainly not in the same class as the other two books I've mentioned. It actually feels, and this seems strange, a touch light. As if Kraukauer has to fill some pages to bump his up from what would have been a very solid feature magazine piece up to book length. For example, there's are lengthy sections about incidents in Iraq that had only had a little to do with Tillman. One was the infamous Jessica Lynch rescue and the other a case of a devastating friendly fire incident.

I understand why Kraukauer included both incidents. He wanted to show how the military and the Bush White House reacted when unfavourable incidents happened during war time that could damage them. It wasn't so much spin or even was out right lies. And those incidents were a harbinger of what would happen after Tillman died. Still, I don't know if he needed to go into such extensive detail to get the point across.

Still, even if I think the book has a bit more filler than needed there's still plenty in there to get you riled up. For example, if you needed another reason to want every single member of the Bush White House locked up at Gitmo for the rest of their lives, then reading this book will certainly give you plenty more. "Scumbags" was a word that I kept muttering to myself quite a bit. The White House and military actively lied about what happened o Tillman, saying he was killed by the Taliban when they knew he died in a friendly fire incident. They did it at least partially to deflect from the hammering they were taking over Abu Ghraib. A NFL player who became a Ranger dying heroically to save men in his unit sounds much better than what really happened, which was panicking members of his unit shot him.

Secondly, if you ever wanted more proof that things are completely fucked in Afghanistan and Pakistan, then this book should help do the trick. I'm not quite at the level of saying they only way this will get fixed is if those two countries and everyone living there were to mysteriously vanish, but I'm probably several steps closer now than before I read this book.

It is a good book, by the way. I'm not sure I ever would have been friends with Tillman, but Kraukauer clearly admires him a lot. His portrayal of him his glowing and he rarely has a bad word to say about him. Then again, perhaps there wasn't much bad to say about him. He simply might have been one of those guys that everyone liked.

Despite a bit more filler than I would have liked, I do recommend the book, but perhaps in paperback rather than hardcover. It's no "Into Thin Air", but then again, I suspect Kraukauer could write for the rest of his life and never manage to top that one.

Last Five
1. Run, run, run - Joel Plaskett
2. Leavin' song - Colleen Power*
3. One month off - Bloc Party
4. Trunk - Kings of Leon
5. A stone would cry out - Sam Roberts

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

End of the decade

Somehow it managed to escape my notice that the decade is about to come to and end. For some reason I just assumed that the end of 2010 would be viewed as the end of this decade. Technically I believe I'm correct. However, in much the same way the new millennium started January 1, 2001 and not on 2000, popular consensus rules. So the end of the decade is upon us.

The reason I've noticed is that along with the rush of Best of the Year lists is also coming along a wave of Best of the Decade lists. Which is better than dealing with the whole mess around 2000 when there was Best of the Year/Decade/Century/Millennium lists. Which were awesome, by the way. How you can choose the best books in a given year is one thing, selecting the best ones over a thousand years is another matter all together.

I can't help it that I like these lists. The yearly ones are nice simply because I always find stuff that snuck by me during the course of the year in books and music. However I suspect the Best of the Decade lists are just going to be things I'm going to yell at a lot. Which is fine as well.

For example, I'm looking at Entertainment Weekly's Best of the Decade and it's producing its fair share of "oh really?" moments. For example, I will gladly get into a racket with Radiohead fans that "Kid A" is one of the ten best albums of the past ten years. I like Radiohead, but that was a self-indulgent wank material at best. Also, and I'm prepared to be a bit of a hypocrite on this because I haven't listened to the album, but I will bet good money that Beyonce's "I am Sasha Fierce" is not one of the premiere recordings of the past decade.

Also, and I know I'm in the minority on this, but I really didn't like "The Sopranos". Oh well.

And then there's Time Magazine's massive, and always entertaining, Best of 2009. I'm still slogging through that, although I confess to not having heard of half the artists in the Top 10 best records of the year. Although the best political cartoons and late night jokes were pretty good.

I might, if I'm feeling particularly suicidal, try and compose my own best of the decade list for TV shows, movies and music. I don't really think I can do a best of 2009, just because I miss so much stuff up here, especially with movies. But for several years I was the pop culture columnist with The Express, so I like to think I have an ear and an eye for this sort of thing. So we'll see if I have some time next week and I'll start piecing things together. My friend Melissa already picked her best songs of the decade, so clearly the gauntlet has been thrown.

Then you can feel free to post here what an idiot I am and that I clearly don't have a clue about anything. After all, that's the whole point of these lists anyway.

Last Five
1. Happiness Ltd. - Hot Hot Heat
2. The con - Tegan and Sara
3. Original sin - INXS
4. Caroline, yes - Kaiser Chiefs
5. Porchlight - Neko Case*

Monday, December 07, 2009

All grown up

I think early in our relationship I got a strange look from Cathy when I made a comment about the kids in the Harry Potter movies. And the comment was something like this - "those kids are going to grow-up into seriously attractive adults."

And yeah, that's a weird thing to say when looking at 11 or 12 year olds, but I could just tell looking at them back then that they were going to look interesting when they grow up.

Those words kind of came home over the past few days. The first came when I followed a link to Empire Online. They're celebrating their 20th anniversary and wanted to get some actors being photographed reprising their most famous roles for some of the most important movies of the past 20 years. The Potter films obviously fit that bill, so they have this picture of the three leads.

Sadly, my first thought when I saw this picture was, "Wow, nice legs Hermione." Then there was the crashing realization that I may well go to hell for thinking that. However, in an attempt to take as many of you with me as possible, you may want to digest this news - there are swirling and conflicting reports about Daniel Radcliffe appearing naked in the last two films. I was trying to figure out how that could happen, but the two scenes they mention kind of make sense if he's not wearing much or anything.

Watching the Potter kids grow older and likely go on to do more adult roles is going to be one of those deeply weird experiences for a generation of people, I think. Mainly because they seem like such good, normal kids despite the bizarre circumstances surrounding their teen years. I attribute that to the movies being filmed in England, good parents and an insanely protective cast and crew. If those movies were shot anywhere near Hollywood, I think it would have been a much different result. So watching them go off and do other things after the movie wrap up is going to be weird, I think.

Oh, and just because I commented on Emma Watson's legs, here's something else from that Empire photo shoot for the ladies. There are a lot of nice photos there, actually, but I thought this one in particular might make some happy...

Last Five
1. Dancing in the dark - Bruce Springsteen
2. Flying - The Beatles
3. The man who sold the world (live) - Nirvana*
4. The Sunday song - Amelia Curran
5. There is a war (live) - Sean Panting

Sunday, December 06, 2009

House pictures

We've been having a pretty mild winter so far and it's easy to get spoiled by that. For most of November, and even after I came back last week, I'd been wearing a pretty light winter coat. The Big Fucking Winter Coat had only been brought out a few days, which was nice. But it does lull you into a false sense of reality. It staying this warm this far into winter is an abnormality, not reality.

And yesterday, reality began to close in. The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. And that trend continued today. Temperatures were around -37C with windchill. I'm not complaining, by the way. It's the reality of the place. But that doesn't mean the first few days when you're settling into this level of cold that it doesn't suck. We also better get used to it seeing as how the long range forecast indicates it's not going anywhere.

Anyway, we are now mostly settled into the house. We've had some requests for pictures, so I'll put up a few. It is a nice neighbourhood. We have a former premier as our next door neighbour, who came over to introduce himself today ("Hello, I'm Paul." Yes, I rather realized that), a former co-worker lives across the street and someone who used to live in our apartment building and regularly follows the blog lives just up the street. So it's nice.

Anyway, pictures of how the place is shaping up so far.

The House

The Living Room

The Living Room

The Bedroom

The Bedroom

View out the window

Spare bedroom/Den


Last Five
1. Cardiac arrest - Madness
2. Danny's song - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
3. Ring them bells - Bob Dylan
4. At last - Etta James*
5. My name is - Eminem

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Reluctant return home

Two weeks from today we'll be on our way back to Newfoundland. Unlike past trips where we left here at 2 pm and normally managed to make it back to St. John's around midnight, this will be a two day affair. Because Air Canada was asking an insane $1,100 for a trip from Ottawa to St. John's over Christmas, we opted to give Porter Air a try. Considering they were asking under $700 a ticket, we'll spend the extra night in Ottawa, thank you very much, even if means getting home a little later.

Cathy's getting pretty excited, which is understandable. She hasn't been out since August (I know, hardly an epic long time) and she hasn't seen her parents since August 2008. She doesn't like going that long without seeing her parents. However, I am a touch less....enthused.

Part of this is I just got back from a trip down south and part of it is I've seen my parents more recently than Cathy. However, if my conversation with my parents earlier this week is any indication, I think I'm mostly a touch unenthused because I know the way conversation is going to go once I get home.

Oh sure, we'll still get a few questions about life in Nunavut. I might get a bit of conversation about the Dominion. I suspect how the new house is going will certainly get lots of conversation. However, there's going to be lots of questions on how come I still don't have a job.

Look, if you told me back in July that I would still be unemployed at Christmas, I would have said you were crazy. Of course, if you told me I would have a house bought by the end of the year I also would have said you were cracked.

Even as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I thought the job situation was resolved. I had back to back interviews and a request to do a written exam. But two of those interviews didn't pan out and I have to wait to hear back about the exam. I confess to being a bit confused about why I still don't have a job. I've applied to lots of place. I'm on casual lists. However, I'm just not hearing back from a lot of these places. It's confusing and a touch scary. And yeah, all right, I'm a bit worried now. We have a new house and Christmas is going to be much more austere this year as opposed to previous years.

I imagine it's all going to work out. I'm enough of an optimist to think it will. I also know people have bigger problems to worry about this Christmas season then what I'm going through. However, I think I can be forgiven for not wanting to answer "So, why don't you have a job yet?" a couple of dozen times during the holidays.

Anyway, pardon the vent and the whining. I'll deal.

Sunday, pictures of the house, now that we're mostly settled in. The place looks not bad, I must say.

Last Five
1. People think they know me - Sloan
2. Flying down juniper - Lindsey Buckingham
3. I can't be wrong - Sean Panting
4. Love is hell - Ryan Adams
5. Goodbye yellow brick road - Elton John*

Friday, December 04, 2009

How to drive a Newfoundlander crazy

Saying the words "Churchill Falls" is like the "all aboard" call for the crazy train to crazy town for most Newfoundlanders. Seriously. One of these days they're going to have to rename Newfoundland and Labrador and call it The Waterford (the local mental hospital for those from away) because that damn falls is going to have driven everyone insane.

You want proof? Read the comments section of this relatively mild editorial from The Telegram yesterday. This was the first comment:
mmm...quite an interesting editorial from a paper that is owned by Transcontinental Media (a QUEBEC based company) with its editor from New Brunswick. Naturally this paper is going to be opposed to re-opening the 1969 Churchill Falls deal. They don't want to offend their Quebecois masters.

I read that and nearly heaved the computer across the room. There are times I wish all Newfoundlanders had one head so I could knock some collective sense into it. Of course, I guess that's relatively mild compared to the premier screaming "traitor" at the leader of the opposition and suggesting she's getting questions from outside the province for daring to wonder what the hell the government is up to with Churchill Falls.

Look, Churchill Falls was a shitty deal. It's always been a shitty deal. If you want to dig up Joey Smallwood's corpse and kick it around the graveyard a few times to make yourself feel better, go right ahead. Have a party. It's not going to change things, though. We are locked into that deal for years and years and that's never going to change. Why?

1. The instant any Government of Quebec agrees to reopen that deal and they take in once cent< less revenue from it, you can set an egg timer to how long they're going to remain in power. The people of Quebec will toss them out on their ass.

2. If positions were reversed and we were screwing them out of hundreds of millions of dollars annually, we would be mocking them. "Should have had some better common sense there, b'ye." And there is no way on Earth we would ever reopen that deal. Because we would be idiots to do so. And Quebec knows this too.

I'm not saying you have to be happy that we're being fucked in the ass for the next few decades. If Premier Danny Williams wants to create a provincial holiday and encourage Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to travel to Quebec and punch someone in the head completely at random because of this deal, why, I could be for that. But enough already at trying to renegotiate that deal. It's not happening. Enough of yelling and screaming every time Quebec says to bugger off about them being bullies.

It's tiring. It's irritating. And surely God someone in that government has something better to do than fighting this utterly hopeless cause.

Last Five
1. Dumb - Nirvana
2. Midnight coward - Stars
3. Stay free - Black Mountain
4. Dueling chanters - The Chieftains*
5. Let 'em in - Paul McCartney

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Death to boxes

So we had a mass slaughter of boxes here last night. I'm certainly not speaking disparagingly of my wife, but Cathy and I operate at two different speeds when it comes to unpacking. I'm content to pick and poke at things, unpack a few boxes and then find homes for the things. Not the fastest way to go about doing it, perhaps not even the most efficient, but I'm fine with it. As Cathy said to me last night, "You'd be perfectly content to come back from Christmas and still be unpacking." True.

Cathy, on the other hand, wants all the boxes gone now. So as I type this morning, there is but a sole box that escaped the slaughter unscathed last night, and that's the one containing our carvings. Not everything has a home, you understand. A good chunk of it will be moved from it's current location to a more permanent place over the next few days, but the boxes are all gone.

Of course, as I type this I'm waiting for NorthMart to come and deliver our sea lift order, so soon our hallway will be filled with even more boxes, but small matter. The moving boxes containing all of our stuff are empty and broken down.

I also enjoy that during the slaughter last night, Cathy plotted out probably $20,000 in home renovations that she has planned over the next few years. There is a small dividing wall between the kitchen and living room...she wants that gone. And because that will screw up both the ceiling and the floor, well, she's going to need to pull all of the tiles from the floor and put in laminate. She also wants all of the carpet gone from the bedrooms and laminate put in there as well. Plus several of the rooms clearly need to be repainted.

I confess, the logic of pulling up carpet and putting in flooring with rugs on top of it is one of those things that just does not seem 100 per cent logical to me, but I'm just going with the flow.

As for Boo, he's adapting just fine. No freaking out, no behaving strangely in a new place. Then again, he's 3.5 years old and this is, essentially, the fourth place he's lived in. Our two places in the previous apartment building and Cathy's parent's house in Mount Pearl during the summers. So he's an old hand and finding himself in strange new places and adapting.

Finally, I've noticed I've been nominated in a couple of categories at the Canadian Blogging Awards - Best Overall Blog and Best Blog Post Series for the bit I did on the best pictures I've ever taken. I suspect Megan did most of the nominating, but if someone else out there nominated me, then thank you.

Now, this is the long list. They're doing it a bit differently this year so you can vote from your top 10 favourite blogs in order and then they weed those down to the Top 10 you can vote for later in a few weeks.

I'm not certain how hard I'm going to be campaigning for this. I'm flattered to be nominated, but there's a lot of excellent blogs out there, and the campaigns to win this from some blogs are pretty intense. Still, if people out there would like to head on over to the Canadian Blogging Awards website and vote for me, or some of the other excellent northern blogs, I would say that is a brilliant idea. I believe voting on this round cues up on December 12, so get in there and vote.

In the meantime, I'm gearing up for the truly big blogging awards - The Nunies, which should be starting in a few weeks. I'll be gunning for the Best Blog award, which I lost in a heart breaking tie-breaker last year to Port Town Ghosts. But this year it will be mine, oh yes....

Last Five
1. Throwing it all away - Genesis
2. Dog new tricks - Garbage
3. Message in a bottle - The Police
4. Put it in your heart (live) - Bruce Cockburn
5. Everyone, everywhere - Sean Panting*

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Settling in

A quick update for those wondering how things are going. Not to long of one, you understand, as there are Things To Do. And they must be done now.

So we now own the home. Or, I think we will in less than an hour. It was supposed to close yesterday, there was a glitch of some kind, but now it will close at 3 p.m. this afternoon. Which is good, because if someone comes knocking on our door and tells us to get out, there will be much tears. Or possibly even blood.

But no one has come knocking, so I assume we're safe.

A pretty glitch-free move over all. We're 99 per cent in at this point, with only a couple of small things left at the apartment, mostly for cleaning the place up. Funny enough, our next door neighbours at the old apartment building wanted to take a look at the place. They're thinking of putting in for a move of convenience and getting the place. I wish them all the best. I loved that apartment and I'm sad to see it go.

However, we're settling in here now. The movers took about two hours to take most of our stuff from there to here. Nothing appears to be damaged or broken. Of course, most of it is still in boxes. We're going to be unpacking and finding things for days. As Cathy does not handle clutter or disorganization well, this could be a frantic next few days.

The only glitches so far are the internet was late being turned on. Cathy called a week ago to get it transferred. After several calls to NorthwesTel, who assured us it was turned on, we got someone in tech services who played around with a few things and made it work. So I no longer have to steal internet from my neighbours. Which is good.

The only significant hold up now is our satellite. The dish is there, the receiver is here, but apparently when the previous owners left they took something called an SW-21 switch, which they were supposed to do. I have bought a new one, but have no earthly idea how to go about installing it. I also suspect we'll need a ladder to reach the dish to do this, something our current house does not possess.

We'll get it figured out, it's just a nuisance for now.

(Lo and behold, I got interrupted while typing this by some friends coming over to figure out what was wrong. It's solved, but I didn't need an SW-21 switch, so that bloody thing is going back this evening or tomorrow).

But yes, we own a house. It hasn't collapsed underneath us as I feared it might once we moved in. Because that's just the way I think sometimes. Drives Cathy nuts from time to time, but I do tend of have a mindset to expect the worse to happen.

However, right now I'm sitting in one of the bedrooms, which we've converted into a den/library and typing this from a couch. And it feels pretty nice. I might get used to this after all.

Last Five
1. Little earthquakes - Tori Amos*
2. Bones - Little Big Town
3. Smokey Joe - Tori Amos
4. I feel for you - Prince
5. Fire it up - Modest Mouse