In the News

One Month Too Late

From the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s site,

Graphic:'s 'September is National Preparedness Month' headline.

Click the graphic to find out more about National Preparedness Month.


The Soundtrack from My Personal Coming-Of-Age Film, Part Deux

A couple of weeks ago, in an entry titled The Soundtrack to My Personal Coming-Of-Age Film, I lamented that the Billboard Top 100 wasn’t representative of the sort of stuff I listened to. I was a regular listener of CFNY (better known these days as 102.1 The Edge) back then. I looked around for some CFNY charts, which led me to the Spirit of Radio site, which publishes CFNY’s old charts.

Here’s the chart from the year I graduated from high school — 1987 — with the ones I particularly liked in bold, and the ones I particularly disliked in strikeout text. Note how much this chart differs from the 1987 Billboard chart.

  1. U2: The Joshua Tree

    This was one of the instigators of that false notion a lot of late 80s musicians had: “slower” means “deeper”. This is similar to another false notion that got its start in the early 90s and still plagues indie rock today: “angry and bitter” means “honest and sincere”.

  2. New Order: Substance
  3. R.E.M.: Document
  4. Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses
  5. The Cult: Electric
  6. The Smiths: Strangeways, Here We Come
  7. Sting: Nothing But the Sun
  8. The Cure: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

    The Cure went all over the stylistic map with this one and made an album packed with gems. It brings me back to dancing with the death-bunnies at Montreal’s “Thunderdome” club.

  9. Echo and the Bunnymen: Echo and the Bunnymen
  10. Blue Rodeo: Outskirts
  11. Pink Floyd: A Momentary Lapse of Reason

    My roommate Mark used to play this quite often, so hearing Learning to Fly always takes me back to hanging out in Crazy Go Nuts University’s Leonard Hall, room 313.

  12. INXS: Kick
  13. Pet Shop Boys: Actually
  14. The Northern Pikes: Big Blue Sky
  15. The Housemartins: The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death

    Before he became Fatboy Slim, Norman Cook was in this happy Britpop band.

  16. 54.40: Show Me
  17. Billy Idol: Vital Idol
  18. Chalk Circle: Mending Wall
  19. Level 42: Running in the Family
  20. Various Artists: La Bamba Original Soundtrack
  21. Suzanne Vega: Solitude Standing
  22. Eurythmics: Savage
  23. Robbie Robertson: Robbie Robertson
  24. The Alarm: Eye of the Hurricane
  25. David Bowie: Never Let me Down
  26. Sinead O’Connor: The Lion and the Cobra

    “Don’t call me sweetheart, just call me Joe…” Before she went bonkers, she made some pretty good music.

  27. The Box: Closer Together
  28. Men Without Hats: Pop Goes the World
  29. ABC: Alphabet City
  30. Icehouse: Man of Colours
  31. Bryan Ferry: Bete Noire
  32. Erasure: Circus
  33. Prince: Sign O the Times
  34. Love and Rockets: Earth-Sun-Moon
  35. Yes: Big Generator
  36. The Jesus and Mary Chain: Darklands
  37. The Sisters of Mercy: Floodland

    Want a good 80s goth collection? Get Fad Gadget’s Collapsing New People, some Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, a little Alien Sex Fiend, the Batastrophe EP by Specimen and of course, this album, which features the original pre-Ofra Haza version of “This Corrosion”.

  38. Rock and Hyde: Under the Volcano
  39. Gene Loves Jezebel: House of Dolls
  40. Gowan: Great Dirty World
  41. The Grapes of Wrath: Treehouse

    “Now and Again” was by far the better Grapes of Wrath album.

  42. FM: Tonight
  43. Crowded House: Crowded House
  44. The Smiths: Louder Than Bombs

    Another must-have if you’re trying to put together a definitive 80s alt-rock collection.

  45. George Harrison: Cloud Nine
  46. The Silencers: A Letter from St. Paul
  47. Grateful Dead: In the Dark

    The Dead are forever associated in my mind with a lack of volition and hygiene.

  48. Simply Red: Men and Women

    I could never get into Simply Red, either.

  49. That Petrol Emotion: Babble

    One of the best eighties albums you never heard.

  50. Rush: Hold Your Fire
  51. Squeeze: Babylon and On

    Much better than their previous attempt, Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, but still no Argybargy.

  52. 10,000 Maniacs: In My Tribe
  53. Roger Waters: Radio Kaos
  54. Hoodoo Gurus: Blow Your Cool
  55. Hugh Marsh: Shakin’ the Pumpkin

    A violin player rocks out and gets interesting results. Notable track on this album: Rules Were Made to be Broken, a primer on Nazi Germany’s hatred of jazz. They called it “Judeo-Negroid music”.

  56. Skinny Puppy: Cleanse, Fold and Manipulate

    “This is stuff by a guy who used to be in Images in Vogue?” I asked when I first heard it.

  57. The Style Council: The Cost of Loving
  58. Flesh for Lulu: Long Live the New Flesh
  59. Gino Vanelli: Big Dreamers Never Sleep
  60. The Proclaimers: This is the Story
  61. Public Image Limited: Happy
  62. The Screaming Blue Messiahs: I Wanna Be a Flintstone (12″ Single)
  63. Yello: One Second

    “Ohhhhhhhhh yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh (chicka-chickahhhh!)” How many movie soundtracks did that song end up on, anyway?

  64. Van Morrison: Poetic Champions Compose
  65. The Nylons: Happy Together
  66. The Psychedelic Furs: Midnight to Midnight
  67. Swing Out Sister: It’s Better to Travel
  68. Julian Cope: Saint Julian
  69. David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive

    Brian Eno for the Doc Martens and spiky-hair set!

  70. The Cars: Door to Door
  71. The Dead Milkmen: Bucky Fellini
  72. The Mighty Lemon Drops: Out of Hand
  73. Alison Moyet: Raindancing
  74. M/A/R/R/S: Pump Up the Volume

    George and I played this a lot back in Leonard Hall.

  75. Hunters and Collectors: Living Daylight
  76. The Blow Monkeys: She was Only a Grocer’s Daughter
  77. Thrashing Doves: Bedrock Vice

    I was seeing a rather wacky girl at the time and I associate the big single on this album, Beautiful Imbalance, along with the entire Singles: 45 and Under album by Squeeze with her.

  78. Run DMC: Raisin’ Hell
  79. Manteca: Fire Me Up
  80. Various Artists: In Demand
  81. Bruce Cockburn: Waiting for a Miracle

    My friend Yann and I used to have this favourite Cockburn joke: If a tree fell on Bruce Cockburn, would anybody care? He’s just too damned earnest, even for me.

  82. The Big Supreme: Don’t Walk
  83. Wire: The Ideal Copy
  84. Skid Roper and Mojo Nixon: Bo-day-shus!

    Everybody remembers Elvis is Everywhere, but Don’t Want No Foo-Foo Haircut on My Head/cite> was also pretty good.

  85. The BoDeans: Outside Looking In
  86. The Dolphin Brothers: Catch the Fall
  87. The Call: Into the Woods
Geek It Happened to Me

Marc Canter Sez: “Bring Accordion Boy!”

Photo: Marc Canter.Marc Canter, in a roundabout way, has played an important role in my career. He was behind the multimedia authoring tool Director, the first development tool I ever used after graduating from school.

Although my computer science degree and strong marks in my database courses meant that I could’ve landed a job at a bank or insurance firm, I wanted slightly more offbeat work. I ended up working for an interactive multimedia company, Mackerel Interactive Multimedia, where I used Director. Thanks to Director and Mackerel, I’ve been doing “road less travelled” techie work ever since.

(Cory Doctorow wrote a piece about Mackerel for Wired titled Burying the Fish. Although commissioned, it was never published.)

Canter’s in Accordion City this week, and sent Boss Ross some email inviting him for lunch. The most notable line in the email, which was cc’d to me:

OK dude - so how 'bout lunch on the 8th?

We’re staying at the Four Seasons – wanna do dim sum or something like that?

Bring Accordian Boy.

That’s Accordion MAN, dude!

Coming along with me and Boss Ross is Tucows’ new VP of Product Development, Alain Chesnais, who in former lives worked at ATI and Alias, partially because this is the sort of meetup that he should be attending and partially as a “welcome to the herd!” activity.

It should be a fun lunch — dim sum — and I’m sure photos and a blog entry will follow.

In the News

Great Quips from "The Daily Show"

On pathetically incompetent FEMA director Michael’s former position as

commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association: “Most Bush appointees are beholden to Arabian people.”

On the administration’s new favourite talking point — “everyone is playing the blame game”: “Those who complain about the blame game? They’re usually to blame.”

A little perspective on the President and Sean Penn (who really is on the verge of turning into his puppet from Team America) “[Bush] took four days, and then he visited Trent Lott’s house, while [Penn] actually got in the sludge and rescued people.”

(I still think that Penn’s bringing along a photographer was a bit much.)

In the News

As Seen on Last Night’s "The Daily Show"

Photo: Still frame from Sept. 6 'Daily Show': Major disasters of the Bush administration.

I find it interesting that for “V”, they went with “Voldemort” and not “Vader, Darth”.


I Need Your Digital Camera Opinions

Photo: Two pictures of the Nikon Coolpix SQ: one in the 'swiveled' position, one in the 'closed' position.

I like the form factor of my Nikon Coolpix SQ, but its sluggish

response time and the graphical “noise” it adds to images is beginning

to drive me bonkers. Since I have an upcoming wedding and plan to take

lots of photos of what’s supposed to be a major day in my life, I’m

giving some serious thought to purchasing a new camera and giving my

old one to my sister so she can always shoot pictures of the kids.

I’m still looking for a compact 3-or-more megapixel

mostly-point-and-shoot camera in the CDN$300 – $500 range that also shoots

movies with sound. It would be nice if the camera had a decent reaction

time. I might be willing to overlook a little compactness if it takes

standard AA batteries (I’d use rechargables, but it’s nice to be able

to buy fresh ones from the corner store in a pinch. I’d also like it if

it can shoot movies with sound.

I’ll be cruising a number of digital photography review sites as well as the Henry’s catalogue

to see what’s out there. If you have any suggestions that you’d like to

share with me and the rest of the web, please let me know in the



By the Way…

You have donated to a relief organization for Hurricane Katrina, haven’t you?