Friday, October 31, 2008

My Favourite Videos of 2008

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the bands I would love to see. One of those bands was The Killers. Ten days ago, I commented on my frustration at not being able to get tickets to see them play at Massey Hall in November. As an update to that, I found out this week that they will be coming back in January to play the Air Canada Centre. Massey Hall would have been a great venue, but I am now in possession of general admission floor tickets to Air Canada Centre!! So I am pretty excited. I have never been on the floor for a general admission show at ACC (I have for seated concerts). Looking forward to it.

In the weeks to come, I will be starting to look at the songs I loved in 2008. In the past, I have given a CD to friends of my top 20 songs. Since I have been blogging about the songs I have been loving (and have a list on the right), it seems a bit redundant. So I have decided to look at different categories, like best single, best album, best lyrics, best live act, etc.

I will start by sharing some of my favourite videos. I don't watch many videos, so feel free to add your favourite to my list of candidates. Official nominees will be announced in a few weeks.

The first one is by a band called Skint & Demoralised. I have been loving them for a few months now, but their music is not officially released on this side of the Atlantic yet. Here's the video released this week for their upcoming first single (being released in the UK in November).

He came up with the idea and it's his friend's first professional production. I love the angles, the lighting and the mystery of the paper. Part of me would love to know what was written on it, but I know that it's so much better for it to remain a mystery. Only a couple of the meetings were staged, but the best reactions were genuine. Love it. Since I first heard this song, I had such a vivid image in my mind of the song. It's interesting to see a different perspective (it's interesting to see a video of a song you have loved for a while as opposed to hearing a song the first time with the video).

Here's a video that is beautiful, breathtaking and heartbreaking (the album was released in 2007, but the video in 2008). James Blunt's Carry You Home. Again, this gives a completely different meaning to the song for me:

Here's the video for possibly my favourite song of 2008...Viva La Vida by Coldplay. Love the lighting, the colours and the fact that it's just the band and the song. I think this song is complete enough without a lot of stuff to distract from it.

Just to show that I'm not only showing artists I love, here's Madonna's 4 minutes...great dancing, great effects, great video:

A beautiful video for Adele's Chasing Pavement. Great song...Beautiful the shadows.

The Kooks' Always Where I Need to and as a Canadian loves scenes of bands playing when they're cold...great jacket!!

Oasis - The Shock of the Lightning...very artistic...very busy...takes lots of viewings to catch everything...Beatles-like if I imagined the Beatles making a modern video.

Proof that I'm getting old. I have been reading about the Ting Tings for months and haven't been able to appreciate the music. Click here for the video (viewed over 6 million times - they have disabled embedding so I can't embed it into my blog) video, but I can't get into the music.

I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab For Cutie
I confess, I haven't watched the whole thing yet, but I will - it's over 8 minutes long but the cinematography is gorgeous.

I will end with The Killers' new video, Human. Most of The Killers' videos for Human were disabled. This one has a Maroon 5 video tagged at the end, it's a great video but not sure if it's from 2008 or 2007. I'll look into it before I announce my nominees.

What's your favourite video of 2008?

Fighting procrastination - one slow step at a time

Here's one approach to chipping away at your procrastination problem. Make a commitment to do something. But that's it, nothing more. Because that would mean actually doing something. But by making a commitment to do it, you've convinced yourself you're tackling a long overdo problem and maybe you even have a plan. But don't go crazy, don't announce that plan yet, why ? Because people expect dates with a plan. And dates bring pressure and new expectations. With a commitment, you have the immediate joy of taking a positive step in the right direction, you can freely talk all about the decision you've finally made and cleverly rid yourself of the burden of inaction and indecision. However, you've made sure that you really don't have to do anything, yet. Brilliant.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Top 10 reasons you should let people know it's your birthday

10. People like wishing other people Happy Birthday.
9. Remembering your roots.

8. A good reason to check Facebook.

7. You get to spoil yourself a little.

6. An opportunity to reflect on life and share quotes like
"I used to dread getting older because I thought I would not be able to do all the things I wanted to do. But now that I am older, I find that I don't want to do them anyway" (Lady Astor).
5. A chance to get lucky.

4. A good excuse for the bosses in your life when you have a long lunch, don't return the email as quickly as normal or forget something.

3. A pleasant reminder of one of the most important things in life - that you have friends and there are people that care about you.

2. Extra hugs and attention from your kids.

1. An excuse to get together with ya mates and do boy stuff.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Relax, it's not you

Do you ever get a little hurt when someone you're close to says something that you think is a personal stab. They say something or say it in a way that you feel is reserved for you ? That line or saying that just pushes your buttons and may cause the regrettable, reflexive I-wish-I-could-take-that-back response. These types of sentence structures or wordage are prefixes that grind on you and can formulate repeated annoyances, personal stress fractures or worse, life long grudges.

Well relax, it's not you. They speak that way and say those things to other people too. It's such a relief when you overhear them say those words to another person. You immediately go
hey, whew, or what ? It's not just me that they say that too ! It's not personal. It's just their phrasing or words they commonly use when they're trying to make a point or in an argument.

This just happened a few minutes ago. I love it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's official - I'm past it

Today, I had the luxury of a little time to wander around one of my favourite streets in Toronto, doing some window shopping and seeing if anything caught my eye as an early birthday gift for myself. Queen Street West has always been tops in my personal tour guide of Toronto, both for street cred casual entertainment and fashion. I walked into a lot of shops and I even tried a few things on, but I couldn't pull the trigger on any of the clothes I was seeing. The items I my wish list don't seem to exist today, well, at least not in the cool shops. I think I used to be quite modern in my attire and kept up with most fashions and maybe even led the pack within my small social circles. However since spending a few years now in my forties, I think I have to admit I'm passed it in terms of hip male fashion. I can pull off the sporty-guy look, the dinner party guy and of course the business and formal stuff, but I don't think I have it when it comes to today's street fashion. Sadly, I ended up the walk at a department store picking up a new scarf and hat and some much needed, shirts for work. Sad. But on the way back to the office, I did stop at the gaming event tent to hang with the kids and check out the new PS3 games - groovy man.

Observations from the foodcourt

My orange juice - "Great New Taste" - its just orange juice folks, what could possibly be new about it ?

Communication breakdown - next-in-line dude trying to order his lunch from very thick-accented East Indian Tim Horton's server - lots of uhs, whats and looks of complete nonrecognition to questions about toastedness and payment options. I actually laughed out loud.

Still s lot of backward looking walkers - motto bellagrosso.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The story of me and the man who may not vote tonight

I was just walking to the polling station to vote for the local candidate in tonight's federal election. I noticed an old man across the street that was walking very slowly aided by an empty push-along shopping cart. He was slowing even more as he approached the big hill before the polling station. I continued my hasty walk, but then thought I'd see if I could perhaps return home and get the car and drive us both to our destination. So I asked him if I could help. He surprised me by saying he was trying to get home and was a little lost. He said he'd already voted and he was looking for #73 of the same street where I live at #74. But I didn't recognize him. He told me his name was William and the name of the lady he lives with. I ask him a few times if he's sure it's #73. He thinks so, but I can tell he's a little confused so we look through his wallet. Luckily I found a cheque with the address #37. So I offer to drive him home. I run back to the house, get the car and was relieved to see he hadn't disappeared on my return. I take him home and he tells me a little more about himself and he offers me his last $5 for the ride. I refuse and escort him up the walk to his home (he also asked if I liked rye or whiskey - I said we might have a drink together one day). A lady then greets us and says "you've found the wanderer have you?". Then she goes on to say they've been messed around with elections Canada and had gone to the wrong polling station. She seemed more upset by elections Canada then her missing partner. I offer to drive William back, but he refuses saying "he's had enough for the night". Apparently a car was on it's way to drive him to the correct polling station but who knows whether William will vote tonight.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Political debates

I watched the Canadian leaders debate last night rather than the comedy show of the vice-presidential candidate debate in the US.

I'm far from an expert on Canadian politics, economics is not my forte, and a don't have a great memory for past political history. I guess that makes me a dangerous voter. However I did my citizen duty and paid attention to the 2 hour debate last night. But as a Canadian, I think my viewpoint and comments are valid.

The unfortunate thing is that rather than a true debate on national topics, political debates typically turn to attacking the current prime minister. That was very evident last night and definitely skews the debate.

I think the moderator and organizers did a great job focusing on the topics that concern Canadians the most: the economy, crime, the environment, healthcare, Afghanistan, the arts, priorities and trust.

So, breaking all the rules of safe topics in polite conversation, I'll try and summarize my thoughts on the party leaders:

Elizabeth May, Green Party - smart, funny, well articulated. Appearing to side a little to the right, but not holding back from vicious attacks on Harper. A pleasant surprise showing that the Greens have a much broader platform than just the environment. A little green, but I like her.

Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois - well spoken, knowledgeable, but a little wacky. Obviously his Quebec only focus taints his arguments, and referring to good news from Quebec is ok, but he's not the premier of Quebec. A little radical, but I like the guy.

Jack Layton, New Democratic Party - a angry man and not very classy. Doing a good job buddying up to the common man (and woman) and especially, the blue collar worker. I could see his point and who he's speaking for, but I just don't like his constant confrontational approach and his lack of respect for his political competitors. I don't like him, sorry.

Stephane Dion, Liberal - a frustrated professor type who can't communicate his thoughts very well or perhaps his plans are so muddled he's confused himself. There may be some very good things he's saying, but I have a real challenge understanding him. Yes, he English is very poor, but it's more than that, his delivery is very confusing. Maybe it's me, but I find his arguments are all over the map, appearing incomplete, and inconsistent. Sorry, but I don't think this guy could lead and organize a dinner party, never mind a country. I'm very disappointed the Liberals couldn't find a better leader to represent their ideas and pose a better opposition to the PC's.

Stephen Harper, Progressive Conservative - calm, confident and smart. I got a little uncomfortable that he was telling us about lots of good things he's doing as prime minister today, but I didn't have a clear understanding of how well these programs have worked as opposed to his failures, and how bad our economy really is (my bad). Obviously, personal finances are suffering greatly today, but I'm thinking that a large part of that is to do with US investments. I don't think it's easy to separate the Canadian economy from the US. I may be a little unpopular by this view, but I don't think the economy is that bad here in Canada. What I do find is that we have some clear issues with the environment, crime and healthcare. In most of these other topics, Harper's comments on his plans and past decisions, seemed to make sense to me. I'm not pleased with his lack of commitment to the environment, and I still don't completely trust him (but I don't think I can trust any of the other candidates with running the country for the first time, in these difficult times). I think he's still the best choice for prime minister.

Listening to the news this morning, I wondering if I saw a different show, so I may not be speaking on behalf of most Canadians. But are my views similar to my readers ?