Monday, June 28, 2004


We were antisocial this weekend, basically keeping to ourselves and shunning the outside world. Took some photos, though, and I'll post some more from the past week or so:
  • For whatever reason, the north slope of Giant's Head Mountain appears to be a prime ecosystem for saskatoon berries. Ivy and I did a couple of quick picking sessions on the hillside behind our place and got two good-sized bowls, along with the handfuls that we ate from the bushes. They're wild blueberry-style berries with an earthy, sweet flavour and seeds that are slightly bitter. I've been loving them, but Tannis thinks they taste like wretch.
  • We've developed a weakness for a fish 'n chips place in Summerland: Cozy Bay Seafood Cafe. It's fun, with a hodgepodge of ocean-themed decorations and kid-friendly toys and books. At least once a week I get a craving.
  • We did a roadtrip yesterday morning down to Keremeos, the "Fruit Stand Capital of Canada" because Ella had us all up early and we couldn't think of anything else to do. We visited the CBC's South Okanagan headquarters, walked by the river, and played on numerous playgrounds, before hitting a kitschy bear-themed fruit stand for a snack. On the way back, we took beautiful Hwy.31, which goes past Apex Mountain Resort.
  • Ivy's muddy hands

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Catch Up

Writing a journal is a bit like working out...after a while, if you miss enough workouts (or journal entries), you just stop because it seems sort of insurmountable. I'm swamped. We're launching a new product at work this week, I'm studying for an assignment in my masters course in educational research, and trying to fit some real life in around all of that. Meanwhile it's 37 degrees outside and not much cooler inside -- the downside of working from home, I suppose...but we've managed to hit the beach pretty much every day in the past week.

Our home computer is still dead. Replaced the motherboard and chip only to find out that the hard drive is absolutely hooped, which means we probably lost a few years of e-mails, photos and projects. That's one of the reasons I haven't been uploading photos for a while, but this week I loaded some into my laptop:
  • Not sure why I'm so excited about living in a desert, but we have a cactus colony living just up the hill from us. We transplanted a little one into a hot corner of our now-completed backyard a few weeks ago.
  • Ella is crawling this week. Well, it's a sort of shuffle crawl that couldn't be considered efficient, but it gets her around. She also had a nasty fever that seemed to follow her first round of shots from last week. That made her quite unhappy, but she's still been thrilled about the beach these days.
  • The wildflowers on the mountains around town have been amazing for weeks. We got lots of rain at the end of May, and then the sun really started blasting. The saskatoon berries on Giant's Head are looking outrageous, and the local cherries look to be a bumper crop.
  • Ivy is a going concern. When people ask me how she's doing, I usually say something like, "she's really intense". I don't really know other kids her age, so I'm never sure what to say. She keeps us very busy with her big questions and imaginary worlds.

Grab Bag

It's way past my bedtime, but I've collected a few links that I don't want to lose track of:

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Most Interesting Music

The coolest thing about my foray into WebJay is that I've been exposed to a lot of new music. I can have a playlist playing away in the background until I hear something cool and then copy it over to one of my lists in a few seconds. It's also significant that most of the best music I'm discovering is outside the mainstream. Here's a list of the most interesting tunes I've found in the last few weeks -- not the most rockin' or most mellow...just songs that are compelling because they're different (and great).

The Crimea - Isobelle
Self-consciously clever, with some fascinating musical ideas that get better with every listen. Hard to describe the style.

The Halo Benders - Virginia Reel Around A Fountain
The haunting intro just blows my mind. I wasn't too sure about the two-part vocals with one guy singing so low (and somewhat off-key at times) that it tickles your ear drums, but I find myself adding these wonderful sounds to every playlist.

A Whisper in the Noise - Silence
Odd song that uses plinky, eerie piano and atmospheric violins and cellos to make the slow Ozzie-like melody very compelling.

Laura Veirs -- Cloud Room
Interesting blend of sounds with excellent production. The voice is nice, too, with just enough vulnerability.

Madrid - Stereostar
Maybe a touch of Radiohead, but without the depression. Electronic bleeps and Cure-like guitar melodies with soft singing.

Centro-matic - Flashes & Cables
The most straight-ahead song in the bunch, this song has more depth than it's buh-buh-duh-duh-doh chorus would indicate.

Jesse Sykes - Dreaming Dead
She's got a nice smooth voice like some of K.D. Lang's best stuff -- the song has a great mysterious vibe, I think.

Veal - Radio
This band creates consistently interesting songs. Somehow mixing styles from show tunes, mexican ballads, and rock, this one builds up quietly and slowly to a dark, intense finish.

Guitaro - Luna
One of the slowest songs ever, the huge pipe-organ-like guitar sound and harmonized vocals are strangely hypnotic.

Rilo Kiley - Science vs Romance
Ok, I like the title as much as the song, but the singer has a wonderful, playful voice and the lyrics are fun.

Tiger Army - Ghostfire
I don't really know or care what kind of music this is. It's got this fast shuffle beat, but with smooth Chris-Isaak-style vocals. A bit of rockabilly, maybe?

By Divine Right - Bigfoot
Definitely some grunge influence here, but that's all good for me. This is more refined and smarter than most of the Seattle rock from the '90s -- maybe shouldn't qualify as particularly interesting.

Buddha on the Moon - Cosmonauts
This one may not be very innovative, but it's got great sounds and I can imagine it being the soundtrack to any of those Molly Ringwald movies from the '80s.

Sea Ray - Quiver
Such a good song. Interesting because of how good it is, not because it explores lots of new territory.

Kelis Vs Dizzy Bull - Welk Shake
Ridiculously cheery and catchy, with a Brady Bunch vibe and great beat. The organ work alone is worth a listen.

Reggie And The Full Effect - The Fellowship Of The Bling
Should have been on one of the Matrix soundracks...maybe it was. Over-the-top fusion metal that's almost funny -- reminscent of Mike Patton's first Mr.Bungle album.

Listen to these songs by choosing your player and clicking the Play button on this playlist. Or you can download them right from here...