Friday, March 21, 2008

A Miscellaneous Assortment of Topics

Pitchfork just gave the new Dodos album a "Best New Music" tag. I saw them open up for Les Savy Fav a month or two back and it was pretty incredible how two dudes were able to crank out so much sound. I tracked down their first album (Beware of the Maniacs) and it's been on pretty steady rotation since then. I'm confident that the new album is going to be bad-ass and worth checking out. If only I could find it.

As well, thanks Marty for sending me Stuff White People Like. I especially like the part in "Bicycles" where it talks about how the whole city bike fascination is due to people that want to pretend they live in Europe. There's nothing like self-deprecating white person humour.

And lastly, this video on the subprime mortgage meltdown is pretty funny. Funny in a "clever and sad" sort of way. Not really in a "ha ha" kind of way.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What Happens When You Hate Your Customers

I take great pleasure in watching the slow, yet steady decline of the major label music industry. It's my firm belief that we're living through a golden age of music where talent and innovation is recognized over and above marketing, hype and hit makers. Small bands are making it, small labels are starting and this is all because of file sharing, not in spite of it.

This article here makes me really happy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shaq Returns

So I took the TDI in to the shop today. She's been running a bit slowly lately. I figured it was just a plugged fuel filter or something but the mechanic insisted they would need to crack into it to take a closer look. He phoned me later in the morning and started listing off things that were wrong with it. Each sentence seemed to involve spending 300-600 dollars on something. It turns out that somehow the air intake got plugged up (not the filter, something else) and at the same time the oxygen sensor broke. He said the intake manifold was so gummed up with shit that only 20% of the opening remained. That probably explains why Hyundais were blowing by me on the Coquihalla. All kinds of things needed to be replaced, taken apart and/or cleaned.

I told him to go ahead with it and I was bracing myself for a 1500-2000 dollar bill when I went to pick it up. But there lies the beauty of owning a Volkswagen. They fix shit, and they somehow end up doing it for free. I mean, my car has been off warranty for a couple of years but they seem to keep replacing things on warranty. When I picked it up the total tally was 1000 dollars, including the 300 bucks for the oil change and replacing all the filters. And bleeding the brakes. The old girl is like new.

I'm stoked. Own a Volkswagen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


So I drove down this last weekend to Portland. It was a two birds with one stone type of deal. First off, I'd promised to visit my friend Dan down there for the longest time. Next, I needed a new full suspension bike while I develop the old prototype, so I picked one up down in Portland from a....ummmmm...competitor. First thing I've paid retail for in a good couple of years.

Anyhow, to start with...what the fuck! I was pretty pumped on getting this bike as it had a standard 135mm by 10mm rear hub and I was planning on cycling three sets of wheels between this bike and my hardtail. But nooooooo...somebody thinks they can always do things better and offset the rear triangle 5mm off center towards the drivetrain side. I understand what they're hoping to accomplish (stronger rear wheel, better chainline), but they're called standards for a reason. Now I need to choose a wheelset to sacrifice to this frame and there will be no switching. Not worth the effort.

Portland is a rad little town. It's the land of bridges and large portions of good food. I stopped in Olympia on the way down and ate the most fantastic burrito I've ever eaten in my life. Check out Quality Burrito if you're ever rolling through there. Of course, I was so excited that the bank machine gave me money (PC Financial isn't known for its worldwide acceptance) that I left my card in the machine. Oops.

On to Portland. Started the night at the Trailblazers/Lakers game. What a scene. Man, if you think people get into hockey in Canada, it's nothing compared to basketball in the states. Non stop yelling and cheering. There was just so much going on. It was pretty awesome.

One funny thing about Portland is that it's a town full of beer geeks. Good lord, I work in a Brewery and people don't talk about beer as much as they do in Portland. We were at a party and these dudes talked about hops for a half hour! But it's all bullshit. The only beer they like is over-hopped shit that gives you a headache if you have more than one.

Other Portland highlights:

1) Ate some Pastrami at this place downtown. This easily rivaled Schwartz's in Montreal, which is saying a hell of a lot. For $6.50 you got this massive sandwich that was about 3 inches thick, filled with thick cut pastrami. It was pretty fat and made me incapable of moving for the next couple of hours, but well worth it.

2) The Made in Oregon sign. Look for a Lumberjack logo like this soon. Ya, I know. It'll be a rip-off and I probably shouldn't tell you about it. But who cares. It's an awesome logo and I'll be proud to rip it off.

3) The overpasses and bridges. There's so many of them. Even though Portland isn't a big city, you feel like you're in the center of the Universe as there's so many goddamn bridges.

4) Powell's Books. This is the greatest book shop I've ever seen in my life. There's a motorcycle suspension guide that I searched for for weeks and finally bought from the author and had it shipped over from England. Nobody in North America had it. Powell's had 4 copies. They had everything. New and used. I could have spent days there.

Anyhow. Portland. Good stuff. The drive sucks, but whatever.