Archive for July, 2009

Free Music Monday 2: Electric Boogaloo

So, funny story. Back in my first year of university, I had this really cool English professor named David Gooblar. Gooblar was a young guy (it was his first year teaching), but he gave great lectures and was generally awesome all around. But it wouldn’t last long; after first term, David Gooblar left the school.

David Gooblar left to play in a rock band.

The band, also called Gooblar, played a few shows around London in 2007/2008; tragically, I never got a chance to see them. But that doesn’t mean I had to miss out on Gooblar’s music forever; the band also cut an album, Don’t You Want Me, Gooblar?, most of which is available for free on the internet.

Tragically, the band doesn’t seem to be active anymore. But the music lives on forever; you can reach Gooblar’s website here in order to snag their songs. Of the four, here’s two stand-outs:

Twentieth Century, from Don’t You Want Me, Gooblar?
The real stand-out from the album. It’s a lot of fun and oddly upbeat for a song with lines about “genocide and ethnic cleansing”.

Uh-Oh, from Don’t You Want Me, Gooblar?
This song, on the other hand, is very, very angry.

I’ve tried using Google to see what David Gooblar’s been up to lately, but haven’t had any luck. Wherever you are, Gooblar, keep rocking out.

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July 14, 2009 at 4:26 am 4 comments

It’s Always Snowing in Nova Scotia: Gay Porn

I’m dreaming about Mega Man. More specifically, I’m dreaming about the original NES game; the whole thing is even in 8-Bit. It’s fun, and I’m reluctant to wake up even after Danielle starts talking to me and asking questions.

“So you’ll do it? Awesome”

“Wha…” I say. “Huh?”

I come back to full consciousness, covered in cats. Danielle is on the phone. I’ve apparently just agreed to take part in a LARP.

*****

Danielle has a history of trying to talk me into strange things. There was a period where she decided it would be best for me if I was gay, and tried her best to gently nudge me in that direction. For the most part it was just little things, like saying “girls are too much trouble” and telling me that if I were gay, she would support me. One time, though, we were trading reading recommendations when Danielle suggested I give a certain comic book I try. I looked it up.

“Dani”, I said, “this is gay porn”.

After that Danielle’s efforts sort of faltered. I think she came to terms with my sexuality.

Needless to say, things with me and Dani have always been pretty weird. Even so, she’s pretty much my best friend. For awhile she was my only friend; when I moved from Amherst to Winnipeg I had a hard time meeting people, and Dani was the only person I got to talk to regularly. When I went to England and the timezone difference made communication difficult I would stay up until 3AM just to get a chance to talk to her. More than anyone else in the world, Danielle has always been there for me. We trust each other unconditionally, respect each other immensely, care about each other infinitely.

So I’m understandably worried I’ll break her heart when I tell her I’ll never see her again.

*****

I let Dani know I don’t feel up to LARPing and she starts making calls to get me out of it. Eventually the whole thing gets canceled anyway, making the point moot, and the two of us spend the rest of the morning watching videos on the internet.

From here the the conversation turns to internet fandom. Dani tells me about weird piece of video game fandom she found; Kingdom Hearts II characters drawn as Pokemon, then changed back to humans, who then have Pokemon children that later turn into humans. Someone went through the effort to create this. Then, someone else drew fanart of it.

“Wow,” I say. “I think that’s one step removed from total entropy.” In return, I tell her about Dragon Ball Z/Diary of Anne Frank crossover fan fiction I once saw.

It’s taken me three years to get back to Amherst, and so far I’ve wasted most of my time talking about comic books and things on the internet. This may be my last visit, too; because of the cost, distance, and the life I’m building, I’m not sure I’ll ever come back. I’ve got to stop wasting time. I’ve got to get serious, have an adult conversation. I have to break the news.

I turn to Danielle. “You realize I’m probably never coming back, right?”

To my surprise, her reply is nonchalant. “We didn’t expect you to come back this time.”

*****

Dani goes to shower, and not knowing what else to do I get on the computer. It’s been two days since I’ve checked my e-mail, and I have about a million messages. At first I’m not sure why, until I remember that yesterday was my birthday. Beth even sent me a birthday haiku:

“You don’t want people
to remember your birthday
so I fucked your mom”

Thanks, Beth.

July 12, 2009 at 6:06 pm 3 comments

Free Music Monday

Do you like free things? The RIAA got you down? Looking for impossible levels of hipster cred? Then good news; the internet is full of indie groups for you.

As someone who likes having a large library of music but generally doesn’t go in for illegal downloading shenanigans, internet indie performers and bands have been a boon for me. They’re a great source of good (or at least good-ish) music, provided you can find them. With that in mind, I’m here to tell you about an indie performer I’ve found recently who’s music is pretty damn good.

Kupek is a band consisting of one man, Bryan Lee O’Malley (whom you might recognize as the genius behind to Scott Pilgrim series). Besides supplying the world with one of the best comic book series of modern times, O’Malley also records music and gives it away just because it’s fun. I hear he does live shows, too.

Kupek’s 5.5 albums (one is a collab) can be found and downloaded here. But just so you don’t have to trudge through all 83 tracks (wow, that’s a lot), here’s some of the highlights:

Don’t Bother, from the album Tries Again.
Fun Fact: This was used in the soundtrack of the film One Week, which I had a chance to see for free and then didn’t. Oops.

Donut Lagoon, from the album Tries Again.
Wherein O’Malley establishes his nerd cred by causally referencing Raccoon Tail power-ups in a song.

Are You Ready to Go, from the album Awkward Songs.
One of the many mostly-acoustic numbers from Kupek. I really dig the long pauses between certain lines.

Cough Drops, from the album B is for Bupek.
Considering the summer I’ve been having, I identify pretty strongly with this one. See if you can tell why!

She’s an Invalid, from the album B is for Bupek.
Parts of the song (particularly the repeated stuttering) are kinda hokey, but as a whole I like the tempo and structure of this one.

I had a really had time narrowing that down to just five songs, and an even harder time spreading those five out between several albums. Just so you know? Pretty much all of “B is for Bupek” is ace. You should probably listen to the whole thing.

Happy listening, guys.

July 7, 2009 at 3:53 am 1 comment

It’s Always Snowing in Nova Scotia: It Burned Down Last Year

We’re deep into French country, and Stephen and Jon are going to get our asses killed.

“Oui oui! I would like some french toast!”

Both of them are wearing their berets, both are speaking in terrible French accents. An ominous draft blows through the restaurant.

“You can’t do that here! This is Aulac!” It’s possible nobody every said this directly, but the sentiment was certainly implied. We can’t afford to get ourselves killed at such an early juncture; there’s still so much to do.

We are eating at the Big Stop, for what may be the last time.

*****

Danger doesn’t manage to find us, and we pass the time talking about comic books and tv shows. It’s what we talked about on the car ride here. It’s what we talked about during the day. It’s what we talk about nearly all the time. Even our attempts at serious conversation tend to end up couched in comic book terms.

Somehow we dredge ourselves out of our conversational sinkhole, and I start fielding questions about people I know out west. They’re perplexed by the fact that so many people out there smell me, like I was a flower or glass of wine. I find it perplexing, too.

Danielle’s mom happens to be eating here too, with her friends. She says hi and gives me a hug. Danielle spends the whole dinner taking pictures and photos, barely touching her food. But then, Dani is such a picky eater that she barely touches any food. My dinner is disappointing, but the milkshake is nice.

On our way back Jon takes the wrong turnoff. We’re heading to Sackville. Stephen shouts at him.

“How could you take the wrong turn-off, Jon?!”
“I always take that turn when I’m going for classes! It’s instinct!”
“What are we going to do in Sackville, Jon?!”

Benji, of course, has the answer. “The liquor stores are still open in New Brunswick.”

*****

Though Amherst has all my friends, Sackville is the town where I grew up. My dad got a job at the university there when I was three, and we stayed until I was somewhere around Grade Six. It’s a tiny place, the kind where you only have one of everything; one grocery store, one barber shop, one pharmacy. Yet despite the frugality elsewhere, you can still find at least six pizza places; it’s how you know it’s a college town.

We drive one of the two streets making up the downtown. Everything is exactly how I remember it, even though I haven’t lived here in nearly a decade. The cinema (one screen), Mel’s Tearoom (which doubled as my first comic shop), and….

We turn off Bridge Street onto Main Street. The building on the corner is wrapped in plastic and covered in scaffolding. “What happened here?” I ask.

“Oh, that.” says Jon. “Most of Main Street burned down last year.”

*****

We get to the liquor store, and Stephen and Jon take the opportunity to clown around in their berets with the French wine. It turns out no one is all that interested in getting anything, with the obvious exception of Benji; he’ll spend the rest of the night trying to get me drunk. We drive back to Dani’s; they sing happy birthday again, this time with a birthday cake and pie. We spend the night devouring them while watching movies and playing about a million rounds of Super Smash Bros.

I spend a lot of the night cracking jokes at Jon’s expense, and then feel really bad about it. Jon seems to think something entirely different is going on, though. “Every time you say ‘just throwing this out there'”, he says, “I think you’re about to hit on me”. To dispell this notion I spend the rest of the evening trying to hook up Stephen and Jon; though they claim to resist my efforts, they end up leaving together.

Tomorrow is February 14th, Valentine’s day. I try to discreetly ask Danielle if I should clear off so she and Benji can spend some time together. But their relationship has always been somewhat non-traditional, and they explain that won’t be necessary. Somehow in the midst of this Danielle and I agree to find time to sit down for tea and discuss life.

Everyone goes off to bed, and it’s just me trying to sleep while the cats crash around the living room, chasing each other and desperately trying to climb on the bed. Danielle mentioned that Shuck hasn’t been neutered, and I’m worried if I fall asleep they’ll try to have sex on top of me. But eventually the noise subsides, and I’m off to sleep again.

July 6, 2009 at 1:38 am 2 comments


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