Thursday, January 31, 2008

Around the Way

Despite what other people might have you believe, Windsor, there are other things going on in the world.

For your viewing pleasure, a documentary on comics scribe Alan Moore, the man who brought you V for Vendetta, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Watchmen. Also one of the most delightfully weird men on the planet. Enjoy.

You may recall a bizarre controversy regarding some guerrilla promotion for the Aqua Teen Huger Force movie, using LiteBrites. You may also recall the city of Boston went a little loco over the whole affair, misconstruing the lighted displays as some sort of terrorist attack on the city.
That was one year ago today. Let us look back, and never forget.

Spent a few minutes watching the Clinton/Obama debate on CNN tonight.
"This is more civilized than I thought it would be," said The Lady.
"Well," I replied, "someone's gonna have to break out and distinguish themselves soon, cause they're starting to seem identical."
Judging from their voting records, that could be easier said than done.

Turns out MySpace might not be the only one suffering from social network burnout. The Register looks at Facebook fatigue.

This is the nerdiest thing in the world. Two sad facts: I know at least three people who will love it. And I scored 7/10.

Something I can recommend for everyone, in honour of my first shift in the kids department tomorrow: Cracked gives us the 10 Best Cartoons for scaring the hell out of children.

Hail to the Henderson, King of D-Baggery

*pinches bridge of nose, waits for pain to subside*

I swear to God, Windsor. If I didn't know better, I'd swear the man did it for solely my benefit. But today makes at least a week [a week] of columns from Gord the Great dedicated to the engineering school.

Today's offering provides zero in the way of facts, instead spewing 600 words or so of admitted speculation on how the university's Board of Governors might have voted when deciding where to place the new building.

And if you, as Gord suggests, "haven't a clue who sits on this absurdly cumbersome [thirty-five] member body," you can endure the difficult task of clicking here, where such information is readily available. Certainly more readily available than who sits on the Star's editorial board, but there you have it.

Anyway, Gord muses on four boardmembers in particular, and why they'd be opposed to having the building downtown: Tecumseh Deputy Mayor Tom Burton [Tecumseh hates Windsor]; auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers [Dennis hates Eddie]; Ambassador Bridge heir Matty Moroun [he may have sat out the vote, but what if other members held their tongues for fear of offending him, especially after his family bailed out the stadium a few years back?]; and Tony Toldo [who isn't even a member, but what if someone else worried that constructing a new building off campus would offend this generous philanthropist and campus booster?].

All interesting ideas, which would be more interesting if Gord offered a shred of fact to support them. But if he's got 'em, he ain't telling. It's actually kind of a fun game, I'd like to play it.

Sure, Henderson's been a stand up guy, fair and balanced, but what if his home was infested with rats, Windsor? And what if one of those rats bit him on the nutsack while he slept, causing him to contract rabies? And what if said infection clouded his judgment so severely that he ranted on the same tired subject for months on end, oblivious to the sounds of former friends and colleagues quietly disavowing any knowledge of him?

Of course, I can't prove any of this, but still, it could happen....

Given that the Star is just another cog in the Canwest/Global empire, I suppose we should be thankful there's any local columnists, but if this is what passes for hard hitting commentary down there, fall on your knees and plead with whatever God you pray to for salvation.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Quickness!

Art by Kelly and David Sopp. Buy their book!

Man, Blogger is being a royal pain in my ass today, people.

Today is apparently International Delete Your MySpace Account Day, and I'm a little shocked it took this long for it to happen. As much of a joke as Facebook is, at least it's not glitchy and poorly laid out. Honestly, unless you're in a band, why would you ever have a personal MySpace? In my experience, the only people who still do are eighth graders.

Michael Bay to helm a do over of Nightmare on Elm Street, Variety reports.

Wonder why so many flicks seem to be coming out with 3D content all of a sudden? It's harder to bootleg, that's why.

Next month the wonderful Michel ['Eternal Sunshine'] Gondry will release his latest offering, 'Be Kind Rewind'. It's central conceit is the art of sweding, that is where one recreates famous movies using only the people and props at hand, which is exactly what a pair of video store clerks do in the film. I mean, you could watch the actual trailer if you wanted, but why not watch Gondry himself act out the entire trailer?

Oh, and Grand Theft Auto IV has a release date of April 29. So basically everything in life is just killing time until then.

The State of the World

With all this hooha over the engineering building, I've completely neglected the mess that Kwame's got himself in across the river.

Turns out the Free Press earlier this week uncovered over 14,000 text messages implying the Detroit mayor was having an affair with his chief of staff, 37-year-old Christine Beatty, who Kilpatrick has known since high school.

Kilpatrick said in a statement that the messages were over five years old, adding, "It is profoundly embarrassing to have these extremely private messages now displayed in such a public manner. My wife and I worked our way through these intensely personal issues years ago."

He'll be giving a statement tonight at 7.30, apparently the Star's website will be streaming it live.

Provincially, the big news of the day is the news that the the Toronto District School Board approved plans for an Afrocentric school in the city, though what that exactly means still remains vague. The school was approved 11-9 by the board, in an effort to curb the city's 40 per cent dropout rate among black students.

Across the border comes word that Rudy Giuliani has dropped out of the Republican presidential race, with John Edwards withdrawing on the Deomcrats' side. FOr those keeping score, that leaves McCain and Romney on one side with Clinton and Obama on the other.

Pit bull chews toes off of sleeping, paralyzed owner.

Four hundred Croatians dress up as Smurfs. Hey, why not?

The continued globalization of language is endangering the weirder sides of the Danish alphabet.

Finally, The Lance's video team checks in with Sigma Chi's annual Hot-Tub-a-Thon.

My question: Where were you, Rogers?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Since I Work Close Tonight, Videos [Special D-Bag Edition]!

Behold! The grossest thing I've ever seen on the internet! [contains NSFW language]

Roid Head Loves Himself - Watch more free videos

Also, the King of Kong is out on DVD today, and you should totally see it, if only for the d-baggery of Billy Mitchell.

And now, off to yell at teenaged manga fans who refuse to clean up after themselves. Honestly, Naruto knows how to put things back where he finds them, kids.

The State of the World

Top of the pile today is the news that the province has given the UofW over $4 million dollars to improve energy efficiency and repair infrastructure.

There was an issue during my time as News Editor I always wanted to dig into but never really got the chance to, and that was on 'deferred maintenance'; essentially that the U will put off making necessary repairs to spend that budgeted money elsewhere, something Ross basically admits in his quotes. He even adds to the campus vernacular by referring to some old classrooms as 'Harry Potter rooms,' meaning they're so old you could film the movies there.

I'll use this opportunity to make the same request I always make at times like this: can you please do something with Dillon Hall? Please?

In other city news, bust out your rose coloured glasses for an economic forum at All Saints Anglican Church [330 City Hall Square] at 7.00 p.m. Said organizer Hillary Paine: "We're operating on the premise that the glass is half full. It's surprising what the power of the people can do when it's mobilized and allowed to express itself."

I can't be snotty on this one, Windsor, only because the people behind this are passing on laying blame and choosing instead to look at the challenges as a community. Drop me a line if anyone decides to go.

Moving outward, in what I'm sure is a joyous day for a large number of people, George Bush gave his last State of the Union address last night, and man, does he sound like he's checked out or what?

You may recall there was a surge of articles last year on how self-centered all you teenagers and early 20somethings are, how you want the world handed to you for nothing and think you're more special than you are. It was a pretty popular theme, and we linked to a lot of articles on it. Turns out, you're all no less self centered than anyone before you, according to researchers at the University of Western Ontario. Turns out it's the old timers who have the problem.

Who knows how long this will be up, but you should probably fear for Suri Cruise if it's legit.

HuffPo pleads for Al Gore to support Obama. Funny, it hadn't occurred to me before now how powerful Big Al's endorsement could be.

Host of radio show in Austin, Texas burns the station down when his playlist gets changed without his consent. Name of the show he hosted? 'Mellow Down Easy.'

Eighty people get into a violent brawl. At a Chuck E. Cheese.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What an Odd World...

Downtown Windsor in better times. No engineering building necessary.

Gonna keep it short tonight, Windsor, but it's a bit of an...interesting doozy, given the racial upheavals at York in recent weeks, which is sad enough in itself.

The National Post reported on Thursday that people have begun catching on to the fact that in the Southern United States, 'Canadian' is the new 'n*gger'. That is, a slur against black people that white racists can use in polite company.

Said Stefan Dollinger, a linguistics fellow at UBC, "This ‘code' word, is the replacement of a no-longer tolerated label for one outsider group, with, from the U.S. view, another outsider group: Canadians. It could have been terms for Mexicans, Latinos etc. but this would have been too obvious," he said. "What's left? Right, the guys to the north."

The article also claims 'Canadian' is not just a racial slur, but has also been used in Kansas for inner-city families that do not tip.

Given that the Lady is currently marking expository essays that find some of her students arguing Rodney King had it coming and the riots were completely out of line, and I furrow my brow at the continued clusterf*ck that is race relations in North America.

That Which Will Not Die, and Other Stories

Told you I was being optimistic.

It was a busy weekend for University bashing as both Gordy and Bubi's Burgers(?!) voiced their continued frustrations over the UofW's lack of desire to get roped into bailing out a mess they had nothing to do with.

Though Bubi's manager Kyle Reid was level headed enough to admit that if you want to lay blame for the project's ultimate failure, it can be spread to school and city admins.

I stand by what I've always said: it's not necessary to expand into another shitpile when so much has been invested in the shitpile we already have. *curtsy*

Never one to miss an opportunity, Gord tells us St. Clair president John Strasser has begun making comments that his hands are wide open if the city wants to toss some money and land to him.

Let us also, if we may be media literate for a moment, examine Gord's skilled use of language. He describes Strasser as a "steel company CEO who could skate circles around most ivory tower thumb-suckers," who's got two bucks in his pocket for a "double-double klatsch" with Eddie.

Look how with one single sentence, Gord casts Strasser as "one of us." A steel CEO, hey, they make cars out of steel! Or, they used to! He drinks Tim Horton's? I drink Tim Horton's! I love you John Strasser, have my babies.

The man knows his audience, give him that. Oh, and anyone who didn't want the engineering building downtown is a "Windsor despising dimwit." I suppose that would mean me.

SIDENOTE: You know what the consensus among the former Windsorites I've talked to who love their home city is? Sadness. They come home, and they are just terribly sad for what has happened there. And they are troubled by the fact that a lot of people don't even see how bad it's become.

I've spent most of my adult life wearing a hooded sweatshirt with ROSE CITY embroidered on it and defending that town to everyone from disillusioned teenagers to narrow-minded Torontonians so don't fucking tell me I despise my city, Henderson, because I know what I see when I come back home, and if you think some academic building will revitalize the downtown, I'd like your opinion on the Chrysler Building, please and thanks.


Proving that there ain't no party like the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton is admitting her husband got a little carried away, and was sleep deprived when he made pointed comments regarding Barack Obama last week.

Anonymous takes its fight against Scientology to the streets of Orlando. It's boring, but it's there if you want to watch it.

Oops: Television presenter doing a program to show how safe Britain's streets are at night has a gun pulled on her.

Slate makes a case for drinking your toilet water.

South Korean singer offers to expose his junk on television to prove he hasn't been castrated. And that's in the not crazy Korea.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Never a Day's Rest

No rest for the wicked around here, Windsor, I swear.

On the road again tomorrow as I head back to your ample bosom to play a show at The Chubby Pickle, so as always, if you'd like to shake my hand or spit in my face, that's the place to find me tomorrow night, and only tomorrow night, as we're heading back up to T-Dot the next day.

So once again updates will be sporadic, but rest assured, I'm not on a leisure tour. If I could get wireless along the 401, I would gladly post. Stay warm, Windsor. Hope you can make it out.

Another Henderson Head Slap

There is a sound I make when, having just arrived home from work on a Saturday afternoon and sat down on the couch, frazzled and tired from another retail grind and subway commute the Lady will, say, ask me to take down a load of laundry.

Not quite a sigh, not quite a grunt, more of a huff. It is the sound of someone should have seen it coming, but is no less irritated when it arrives.

It is the sound I made when I saw Gord's column today. Three guesses what it's about? The first two don't count, and the third has to rhyme with shmengineering filling.

Obviously he mourns the lost opportunity he was dreaming for, mocking our stupidity compared to Waterloo, which opened a satellite campus in Cambridge and his former alma mater Ryerson [proof positive a JD won't make you a better journalist], which recently bought up a bunch of properties on Yonge Street here in Toronto.

Interesting Factoids:
Current enrollment of Waterloo - approx. 27,000
Current enrollment of Ryerson - approx. 26,000
Current enrollment of Windsor - approx. 16,000

Now you would think, Windsor, that of course larger schools with an extra 10,000 students' worth of tuition money at their disposal would be more inclined to risky moves like these, and that a smaller sized campus desperate for some of those students who are already going to schools like Ryerson and Waterloo, should keep everything as centralized as possible, to create the sort of intimate learning environment they can't find in their hometowns.

*listens* Ah, is that the sound of the St. Clair example getting whipped out? People, have you been to the St. Clair campus? Of course they'd take the offer. Why? Because the two coffee shops downtown are still better than an acre of vacant field and residential areas.

Besides, programs at St. Clair are so insulated and demand so little in the way of elective classes, you can put the whole program in another building and never have a reason to go back to the main campus. The same can not be said of university programs of study. In my journo program I took courses in at most, five rooms in two years. In one semester during my undergrad, I might have to bounce between buildings three times in an afternoon to attend my major and elective courses. And now you want to shuffle in a downtown campus?

As far as the reputation, I'd argue that the university's reputation is as much a product of the city it's in than any students that have graduated from it.

This is not me going all Toronto and ragging on you, Windsor, you know I will always love you. But the fact remains, there are millions of people in this country, and judging from the people I've encountered here, thousands in Ontario who have no idea you exist. And if Gord thinks any of those Toronto students, would decide to uproot themselves and come here after getting a peek at the glorious new engineering campus smack dab in the crumbling ruins of downtown, he's further deluded than I thought.

So Gord, while you and Larry Horowitz are comforting each other, try to remember the point's the same it's always been: give the students a downtown worth staying in, maybe then somebody will have a serious talk about campuses.

The one good thing is that he'll hopefully turn his foamy vengeance at the border issue and we won't have to hear him bitch about this again. Yet, I doubt it.

For just refusing. to. let. it. die., Gord gets a respectable 4/5.

For The Lance's modest proposal on this issue, peep this article.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Deez Nuts Would Like a Word With You

Lance Multimedia Editor Mike Evans returns with another video for y'all, this time on an epidemic plaguing not only campus, but your very soul.

Mike should be careful who he angers. People are onto him.

The State of the World

  • Well, it's official, not that it was in doubt: the U of W Board of Governors has voted against an downtown engineering campus, despite the pleas of the city and local media. The details of the vote won't be disclosed as it was held behind closed doors, but Board members discussed the idea for over three hours before making a decision.

    While I'm not one for soundbites, I actually do think Uncle Ross said it best: "This is not arejection of downtown, but an affirmation of campus." And honestly, that's the issue. The university will always be under the bridge's armpit. So if the opportunity arises to add something amazing to the campus, why shouldn't it go on the main location? Why in the hell would you ship it down to the waterfront? What does that say to the current and prospective student? What does that get the university, except for some vacant land.

    Look for much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the coming days. Downtown Business Assoc. chair Larry Horowitz has already started. Geez, the guy already got those '50 Cent wannabes' out of his neighbourhood, and still he complains? There's no pleasing some people, Windsor.

  • The head of Stephen Harper's panel to recommend a course of action in Afghanistan says demand more NATO support, or bring the boys home.

    Former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley says Canada should commit to a mission extension only on the condition that NATO provide 1,000 troops in reinforcements to the volatile southern part of the country.

    The Harper government is taking time to digest the panel's report.

  • You may have heard that the internet collective known as Anonymous [meaning internet subculture, usually centered around 4chan's /b/ forum, has decided enough is enough with Scientology, and have officially announced their grandiose plans. I expect much sound and fury with little else, but anything's possible.

  • Seems people have noticed Bill Clinton's not so subtle transformation from party leading bridge builder to smack talker. And not everyone is happy about it.

  • How does one lose a stillborn fetus in the first place, let alone have it sent to the cleaner?

  • Far be it from Star Wars fans to let Dr. Who-philes have all the fun: Jedi Church slated for the UK.

Off to the gym. Huh. Za.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Looking for Happy

Still really bummed about Heath Ledger, Windsor. And the pall this will now cast over my enjoyment of the new Batman movie.

So, a cat picture it is, along with the premiere of Extras on the Comedy Network tonight.

The State of the World, With Sad Ending

Well, everyone seems to be frothy about the Essex Engine Plant again, with some scuttlebutt that the Ministry of Industry [no link] is entertaining ideas from Ford and our beloved Henderson checking the temperature of his readers and reminding us that the Liberals bailed out Chrysler almost thirty years ago.

I'm sick of talking about this, so allow to paraphrase a rant I went on to the Lady over dinner the other night: As far as the Big Three are concerned, they owe Windsor nothing. And if it comes down to it, they will cut their losses and set up shop somewhere else with a pat on the city's back and a nostalgic comment about the good run they had, before heading to Mexico. Unless the unions are willing to bend substantially more than they have in the past, that ship's gonna keep taking on water.

I'm no fan of pot, but I'm less a fan of propaganda: turns out the weed you're smoking is no stronger than the skunk your parents were on.

In an effort to make me feel better after the sad 'nine bald eagles dead in Alaska' story from last week, a story from Iowa, where bald eagles are super common in the winter.

Overachiever earns every girl scout merit badge possible, ensuring a prom night spent at home alone.

Apparently people are very annoyed that Jonny Greenwood [of Radiohead]'s soundtrack to 'There Will Be Blood' was ruled ineligible for a best score Oscar on some weird technicality. I say he's in frigging Radiohead and he'll live, but that's just me.

It's cool, I have a violent reaction to Sean Paul, too.

Son of a bitch. Heath Ledger died.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Bit o'This n'That

Not quite the news, but not quite not.

Thanks to Star writer Dalson Chen for plugging my band's show this weekend at The Chubby Pickle in this morning's edition of The Scene. Though to be fair: (i) Only one of us lives in Toronto [the other two are in Fergus and the fourth still in Windsor and (ii) I don't know that the pastures were any greener up here.

That's January 25, this Friday, at The Chubby Pickle, downtown Windsor. Come on people, the Avalon closed, what else are you going to do?

Ethical dilemma: Student makes derogatory comment regarding prof's sexual orientation on anonymous review form. University hires handwriting expert to track down student and administer punishment. University says the student violated the code of conduct. The NY Times says the university has no business pursuing it.

Proof Caddyshack was scientifically researched and accurate.

Barack Obama takes us to church on Martin Luther King Day. And speaks out on anti-semitism, homophobia and xenophobia in the process. Say what you will on the man, he is an incredible public speaker.

The loonie dips back to 97 cents. Maybe now those assholes at work will stop giving me lip about Canadian/American price discrepancies on books. But I doubt it.

In the abandoned Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, a tree grows among the rotting paper.

Let this be a reminder to you of how crappy Mondays are for news.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Guest Post! Live From NASH!

Lance Sports Editor Ryan Rogers checks in with some dirt on what's gone down at this week's National Conference of Canadian University Press.

We made it into Ottawa after a 12-hour trek across the province, from the southern corners beside our American friends, to the eastern limits beside our francophone neighbours, to reach our National Conference. Abbreviated to the simple Nash, this will be the 70th time the Conference has been held somewhere around the country.

Last year in Vancouver was a touching first-time-out onto the journalism landscape for me, where there are a few things that people might not know about student journalists; they're in a league of their own. Voracious, brow-beaten, cynical, under-appreciated, addicted to a legion of uppers, and conceited, there’s no more diverse or outspoken crowd to be associated with.

Think feminism, meets environmentalism, meets political pundits, meets jaded columnists, meets Dr. Nick Riviera. It’s thousands of shattered psyches all put back together like Frankenstein’s Monster, which is then fired up to go and cause shit in their respective communities.

I know a lot of you have been to conferences of some sort, and indeed the agglomeration of different people into one community under one title (in this case CUP) has all its role players. Imagine a high school prom collided with a Star Trek convention, and also with some people from Saskatchewan, all on an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and that is Nash.

There are a lot of people who have been to a lot more of these CUP Conferences than I, but I've clearly noted a pat tern within the crowd.

The Tenets of Nash:

  • There will always be a true gentleman, who reminds you of Lieutenant Columbo if Columbo were Forest Whitaker - awkward much?

  • "20 minutes," NEVER means just 20 minutes.

  • Roberts Rules will be followed closely, but it won't help a single damned thing. You can't fake sick during plenary.

  • If you get in the shower first, it will help you win.

  • You'll be able to identify all those people who love(!) the sound of their own voice.

Seriously, though, we've had some outstanding guest speakers and key notes. I had the incredible opportunity to meet Stephen Brunt and Ian Mendes, and was privy to key note addresses from Juliet O’Neill, Ken Alexander and Jack Layton ;)

Which brings me to the issue of the day, for me anyhow, of parodies and spoofs. The CUP Daily, is an overnight two-to-four-page paper that recaps the keynote from the night before, and addresses the highlights of the previous day’s goings on.

This year, someone (or paper, not sure which) decided they’d lampoon the CUP Daily, and created the ‘CUP a Feel’ to the ire of our president, Amanda McQuaigg, who gets called out in it most regularly.

At dinner, she addressed everyone indicating that she felt that the publication was in poor taste, and that everyone should stop to think about why they laughed at it, first of all, and second – for those who were writing the publication - to elevate their humour.

Good on her for not condemning the publication altogether, and rather encouraging them to do better work. But, to agree with her, the ! title story for the Juliet O’Neill recap was tremendously tasteless. If you review her link above, even for a short browse, it is plain to see what she has had to struggle through while trying to preserve her integrity as a journalist was an emotional intrusion on her life. But McQuaigg felt that the daily rag had more harsh statements to be made about sexist and racist comments, in particular anti-bilingual comments that seemed in poor taste.

If McQuaigg really wanted the spoofing to stop, she got quite the opposite. In response, this morning there were two spoof editions for us to peruse. Apparently ‘CUP a Feel’ didn’t impress many people (its first edition was notably poor) so another team decided to create the ‘FuhCUP’ Now, FuhCUP was alright, but the competition definitely put the pressure on CUP a Feel, who brought their A-Game for their second edition. So now there are two francophone-bashing spoof editions circulating. CUP a Feel proudly boasts “100 c opies. (Mine’s bigger)” on its cover.

Their critique of our fellow CUPpies during question period after key notes and guest speakers warrants a post:

"You know you’re a windfucker when …
  1. Your question is composed of fragmented and irrelevant information that you weave together with slow, confident pauses.

  2. You begin talking before you have been chosen to ask a question.

  3. Your question is a three minute statement.

  4. You address jack Layton with: “I interviewed you last year … I don’t know if you remember.”

  5. Your question educates the audience on your drinking activities last night.

  6. You’re not interested in the answer to your own question … windfucker.
**Windfucker: a Shakespearean term identifying someone who beats the wind with their voice. In other words, a windfucker is someone who talks because they enjoy hearing their voice."

If you’ve been to conferences, you know exactly who the above-mentioned ‘windfuckers’ are. CUP a Feel put it better than I ever could have paraphrased, and point 3 makes me laugh out loud, as consistently as getting Rick Roll’d. I digress.

I guess the moral of the story is: If you bitch about jokes you don’t like, you make yourself an easy target, and could possibly just make things worse. McQuaigg certainly didn’t prevent herself from being the subject of any of their articles.

No, probably not what she was looking forward to when she woke up this morning from our long night out.

Hey, I interviewed Jack Layton once. And I guarantee he doesn't remember!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Holding the Fort

You may be asking yourself, 'Wait, isn't this the week of the Canadian University Press National Conference?' and I would say, 'Yes!'

You may then ask, 'Should you not be in Ottawa then, Trail?' and I would say, 'No!'

Because you see Windsor, Daddy likes money. And he can't make none if he runs off to Ottawa to get plastered on hotel bar Caesars with Rogers all week [as delicious as that sounds right now]. So no, I will be here holding down the fort, hopefully some of my colleagues will be able to file dispatches as the week goes on.

Though man, if you guys missed the Digital Rights seminar with Michael Geist, you missed out. He's at the head of a major movement regarding sane copyright legislation in Canada, and I'm actually jealous I couldn't make it.

I admit, I'm a little disappointed with how...traditional most of the seminars are. Save for the aforementioned Geist session I see....token seminars on websites and podcasting from a pair of CUP staff. Podcasting? The Lance done been and gone from that two years ago. Maybe all that hype Bresson's spouting is actually legit.

Oh, and you should check out Walrus publisher Ken Alexander at his keynote. I was the only one from the Lance who caught him in Ottawa three years ago, he's a pretty good example of someone who traded in their starry-eyed idealism a long time ago, but still has an iron belief in what he does.

So to our CUP n00bs, Lindsey and Natasha, enjoy your first. Lord knows some of the best weeks I've had were at NASH. And to Rogers, don't drink too much. But if you must serenade someone with sweet Bhangra rhythms, I'm not about to stop you.

Oh, and grab me some of them Fulcrum buttons. I gotta believe they whipped up some good ones if they're the hosts.

Maybe you'll get some news later. Then again, maybe you won't. I like to keep you guessing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tired and Cranky

De La Soul is playing at The Docks tomorrow and nobody told me. What the hell is the matter with this city?


Scientific American attempts to explain why bright lights help me sneeze.

Forget Nano, here's a more realistic exercise: how to write a novel in two months.

I don't give a damn, it's still my cheat day indulgence of choice.

Johnny Depp entertains kids at children's hospital dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow. Top notch, that one.

Cracked gives us the eight strangest online communities. It includes 4Chan, so you know it's legit.

The unstoppable force meets the immovable object.


The State of the World

Man, I forgot the sweet smell of new vinyl. How sad is that? She's a beaut; pics on Facebook later tonight.


If you know me at all, Windsor, you know new Dunny days are not something to be trifled with. I apologize my afternoon shift yesterday kept you from a second entry, but you're gonna have to be delayed a little longer. A Tristan Eaton piece of vinyl is not something I dare pass up. I'll be back later this afternoon.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Late Night Music Club

Back when I was a more regular bar crawler than I am now, my buddy Hollywood and I would always ask local buskers to play songs by 90's rock band Monster Magnet, regardless of what instrument they were playing. Actually, we still do that to this day. We're kind of douchey that way.

It's a hard thankless life being a busker, and Multimedia Editor Mike Evans spent a recent Saturday night downtown with local musician Disco Dan to talk about the life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Before bed, some random

Annie is a wonderfully random young lady I work with, who is Chinese and had me believing on the subway that her father was a member of the Red Army. It is grossly unfair that you cannot enjoy the oddities that spew from her mouth, so from time to time I will grace you with Things Annie Says(TM).

'Are you going to the staff party this weekend, Annie?'
'I think so. It'll be nice to drink with other people for a change...'


So Uncle Steve dropped his MacWorld keynote today, and the only item of note is the MacBook Air, being touted as the world's thinnest notebook computer [they do make computers, remember]. While it is certainly cool, given my tendency to smack my satchel into things around me when I walk, it does not fill me with the greatest sense of confidence. Basically, I'd have it for a week before cracking it in half.

Still, if you felt a rumble in the air this afternoon, it was the collective erections of the countless iDisciples fawning over the commercial.

I think I respect the fact that this dude has enough Star Wars toys to pull this off, but I'm not sure.

When I worked midnights at the gas station back in the day, on Saturday nights the guy I took over for was named Sami. Sami was the from Lebanon and was the most sweet hearted guy you'd ever meet. And when I would come in, Sami would immediately hand me a copy of the weekend Windsor Star comics section and make me read Garfield. He would wait expectantly until I gave my perfunctory chuckle, and Sami would burst out laughing.

"The cat!" he said, "he has no respect!" To Sami, this was the height of humour writing. For the rest of us, there is Lasagna Cat.

Michael Pollan, the author of a hot seller around my work called In Defense of Food was interviewed on NPR a couple weeks ago. You can listen to it here. The book's argument is pretty simple: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Which works fine for me until we have to face the unfortunate fact that meat is delicious. But that's not the point, the point is that nutritionism is at best a pseudo science that is still imperfect, and that's what Pollan's book is arguing.

You may have heard that a Scientology recruitment video or some other such thing featuring Tom Cruise was on YouTube for about seventeen seconds before it got yoinked down. Well, the fine folks at Defamer got their mitts on a copy and cut the ten minutes down to a much more manageable one and a half. And no, I don't know what an SP is or what KSW means.

The State of the World

Honestly, why didn't Bradshaw just wear a giant sign that said, "Remember me? I'm important dammit!" instead of subjecting me to that bloated 37-minute promo? And if I know creative, they'll book him to win at the Rumble because they think the feud is money.

And the swanton off the lighting rig was pretty cool, but I've seen it before.

  • Everyone congratulate Downtown Windsor BIA Prez Larry Horwitz who finally got his beloved mandatory 3 a.m. shutdown for all bars in the city in a narrow 6-4 vote last night. Even though Police Chief Glenn Stannard and Mayor Eddie both thought it was a rather silly idea.

    Though Larry's right. There will be more violence. Now it'll just happen at three a.m. after everyone slams down those last rounds of shots at last call.

  • Trouble in Shangri-La?: New US energy legislation suggests unconventional energy sources can only be endorsed if they produce the same level of greenhouse gas as conventional petroleum. This could be major suck for the Alberta oil sands, as it's one of the dirtiest energy sources since it takes so much power to get the oil out of the sand.

    Canadian petroleum producers play down the legislation, arguing transporting oil from the Middle East is just as damaging to the environment, if not more so.

  • If you didn't know, by the way, it's a total nerdgasm day as Steve Jobs is preparing to make his MacWorld keynote later this afternoon. Further details tonight.

  • Japanese whalers to Greenpeace: We ain't playing with you.

  • German researchers claim to have proof the Koran was not written by the prophet Mohammad. That should go over well.

  • Celebrating seven years of the hive mind.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A QUick Hit of This n' That

"I don't know the title, but it was either 'Living with' or 'Managing Genital Herpes.'"

--Search inquiry made by twentysomething businessman at the Yorkdale Indigo, 1.14.08

Honestly, why would you not just do the search yourself?

Elsewhere: Light and smoke accessory for Rock Band? Does it come with a sweaty headbanded guy with a Fu Manchu to work the rig?

Happy couple marries. Later discovers their twins.

Dude! The Smurfs are 50!

Game characters and their real life counterparts.

US book retailer Borders tries to bring some poetry into your life.

Cool, I literally just started to keel over at the desk! This gym stuff hasn't given me more energy yet, that's for damn sure. Goodnight, kids!

The State of the World

  • You may recall a week and a half ago we made mention of Gord's column on Councilors Alan Halberstadt and Ron Jones putting forth a motion to have a mandatory closing time implemented bars, to wipe out the plague of after-hours clubs in Windsor in light if the recent violence outside the Box Office on Pelissier.

    We alluded to the 'forest for the trees' issues inherent in looking to remove an environment where violence occurs instead of examining why the violence occurred in the first place, but it's been more eloquently expressed today in an editorial by Boom Boom Room proprietor and [full disclosure] occasional Lance ad designer Remo Agostino.

    I'll leave you to read it yourself, but I will highlight that I thought reminding people of slain officer John Atkinson as a means of illustrating that violence isn't limited to the bar district was effective. People might say it's in poor taste, but it's the grim truth of the matter.

  • I also commend Star reporter and 'Scene' fixture Dalson Chen for introducing a new phrase into my vocabulary: In describing local acoustic act Michou's latest offering, Chen recommends it to "those who aren't too Windsor-weary to appreciate a little romantic beauty in life."

    Windsor-weary! The feeling of dread that comes from being under 30 in a busting economy is succinctly expressed in four simple syllables. Keep that one handy, kids.

  • Best party ever causes $20K worth of damages in Melbourne.

  • Sad: Nineteen bald eagles die when they gorge on fish entrails in an uncovered Alaskan transport truck.

  • Is Cloverfield 2008's Snakes on a Plane?

  • And that's all I have time for, cause my fat ass is off to the gym. More later, including the best question I've been asked since I started in the book retail business.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Doing the work so I don't have to

When you're an exhausted old man who goes to bed at 10.30 at night, isn't it awesome when other people do the work for you?

Join us now as we formally welcome Lance Multimedia Editor Mike Evans onboard, as he documents his 2007 travels in Jamaica, and his encounters with Rastafarian culture.

I'll holler at you this weekend, Windsor. Until then, stay safe.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Children and Shotguns [Delayed due to Internet Issues]

What goes together better than that? Honestly? Oh, American South. Whatever would we do without you?

The State of the World

  • Hosanna in the highest: Eddie the last Boy Scout hints at a possible third term as Windsor mayor. Which makes Gord happy, since he'll have someone to make out with well into the next decade. It's nice to see the crotchety bastard getting some joy out of life for once.

    Oh, and apparentlt Caroline Postma has a problem with "misleading, two faced blogs."

    Loud whisper: Chris, are they talking about you?!

  • IceCube, of all people, gets the lead writeup in the National Post Arts section today. What a strange world we live in now.

  • Turns out Radiohead proved some kind of point: In Rainbows, originally offered online using the honour system as a payment plan, is the #1 CD in the US.

  • It gets old quick, but check out this Canadian's horror at some things he witnessed during a trip through the States, and enjoy the comment war that erupts as a result.

  • A no Bullsh*t guide to winning a fistfight better than any Maxim article*

    *Inclusion of this link is meant for informational purposes and neither The Paper Trail nor The Lance editorial staff is encouraging any mooks to go play Chuck Liddell this weekend downtown.

  • Ew, ew, ew.

  • Oh, and Geroge Bush [remember him?] claims he can broker a Palestinian peace deal by the time he leaves office. You don't need me to take a shot at that, Windsor.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Who loves stupid?

To commemorate the joining of Paper and Lady Trail to the St. Clair Good Life, we examine the sort of culture we are now a part of.

Thankfully, the fine folks at Picnicface also provide geographical lessons as well!

Hooray! Bed now.

The State of the World

My fat ass joined a gym. Aging brings about strange and scary changes, Windsor. But if you think I won't knock back a large stuffed crust pepperoni lover's by myself on cheat day, you are sorely mistaken. No comments required, please and thanks.
  • The mothership finally comes out of hibernation to deliver you an update, though it mostly consists of year-in-review type stuff and some wire copy. Not being snotty when I say that, I had people up my ass for wire copy all the time when I was News Editor, and that story on profs looking to ban laptops from the classroom is actually pretty interesting.

  • Because even though we're Canadian, we're unable to ignore it, John McCain won the New Hampshire primary for the Republicans, with Hillary Clinton eking out a slim win over the Obamachine. Though most of the footage I saw involved Bill Clinton taking down Obama's talking points, which only suggests Hillary can't do it herself, which isn't exactly the message she should be sending.

    And McCain? He's really still in this? I thought the rule was if you got your ass beat once, you gracefully exited the stage? Though maybe not, look at John Tory.

  • Over in Alberta [you know, that place all your friends moved to] a legal showdown is brewing with Premier Ed Stelmach and a blogger who bought the domain, which then redirects to his own site and generates about $20 bucks a month in profits. Ed is now asking for a cut of the profits and for his domain name back, on the grounds the blogger is misappropriating Stelmach's persona.

    Now, I'm not a doctor, but isn't that exactly what the blogger is doing? He's essentially cybersquatting, and isn't that illegal?

  • PS: With all the optimism and excitement over the US Presidential campaign, please don't forget that the whole Iran thing is still kicking about. Today's crisis: speedboats, and their legitimacy.

  • Fifty car pileup? Sounds like good watching.

  • Hate your heart? Try the deep fried, cheese filled bacon burger! As in, made with bacon.

A Brief Word on Canadian Television

Caught the series debut of jPod on the CBC tonight, based on Douglas Coupland's novel of the same title, about a group of miscreants making videogames in Vancouver at a thinly disguised parody on Electronic Arts. I thought the opener did a decent job for the most part, though it wasn't as good as I thought it could have been. With the exception of Cowboy and Steve the incoming VP, I thought most of the actors were pretty bland, even Alan Thicke, who I had high hopes for. And the technocolour product shots sprinkled throughout, in homage to the book's random insertion of system specs or the development team behind Photoshop, didn't really work for me in a visual medium. Plus, the hints of romance at the end of the episode were really rushed.

Still, there is hope, and it's always a good thing to see an honest to God new Canadian show. I imagine I'll stick with it. Ooh, until the writer's strike is over and new episodes of House are on again.

Now, did you see how Bree's cubicle was filled with Dunnys and other assorted vinyl? I'm a trendsetter, Windsor, I try to tell you these things.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Sort of State of the World

Two hours of wrestling, and what do I get: Bradshaw hauling his flabby teats out to wail on Jericho for 15 minutes, and one cool aerial flip from Jeff Hardy off the top of the cage. 1997, where have you gone?

Alls I know is, if Jericho's booked to lose at the Rumble, why the hell did he even come back in the first place?

What else is out there?

Troubled by the pleas of 'don't tase me, bro!' when you're taking down attackers? Worry no more, as this sleek and trendy case will hold both your stun gun and your MP3 player. Fresh!

And you people thought hands free phones were a modern phenomena.

Women: your vanity is killing you. Wear flats.

Cow farts hurt the environment. Kangaroo farts do not. Australian scientists currently examining how they can make one into the other.

You may not know this, but back in the day Thomas Edison was desperate to prove that his direct current system of electricity distribution was much safer than Nicola Tesla's alternating current system. How did he accomplish this? By publicly electrocuting an elephant, obviously. With 100 year old video!

Studies showing girls type their feelings online all wordsy like, boys film cockpunches.

Sexually active gay men not wanted as organ donors in Canada, lumped together with injection drug users and "other high risk groups."

What a happy note to end on!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The State of the World

So yeah. If anyone knows how to get connected to Xbox Live with an Arris TM502G box provided by Rogers, let me know. You need a goddamned Comp Sci degree to get this frigging thing working.

Now to go see if Kennedy will continue to mismanage his top card push. See you in a few hours.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

More Reasons Why Comics Make me Feel Like a Fool [Now With Manga!]

It's the weekend, I can go on about these sorts of things.

So perhaps you didn't hear about it, and why would you really, but Spider-Man recently had his marriage mystically annulled in the pages of his comic. Short and spoilerish, last year Aunt May got shot by a sniper, and after exhausting all options to save her, Peter literally makes a deal with the devil and accepts an offer made by Mephisto to save May's life at the cost of his marriage wiped from the collective memory. Oh, and and his 'never be the same!' unmasking from last year has also been undone, he's back to mechanical web-shooters and Harry Osborn is back from the dead for no discernible reason. Why does Mephisto decide to do this? Who knows. Why did no one consider that maybe Aunt May would say she's lived a full life and would want Peter to live his happily with Mary Jane? Because...well, because editorial needed people not to. I know bitching about editorial at superhero companies sacrificing logic so they can get the stories they need to sell more books is as useful as tits on a bull, but honestly. That's just ridiculous.

Now, I'm not going to argue whether or not ending the marriage was a good idea [I think it sucks donkey ass, but that's a matter of personal preference] but when even the writer of the story dislikes how it was done, I think I'm allowed to argue the same.

In case you don't want to read that post, and why would you really, the gist is as follows: editorial told the writer, "It's magic, we don't have to explain it." Wow, deus ex machina much?

I hear you out there, Windsor: "Why do you care, Paper Trail? You haven't bought a comic in over a year."

This is true Windsor, but I fell for it for a long time, and crap like this leave a hell of an aftertaste. They were shilling the same loads of crap in 2005, and I munched up every bit. And I can look back now and see what a fool I was, and I wonder why no one else does the same.

Now, as I've established in other posts on the matter, the argument from comics aficionados typically goes like this:

"You might not like superhero comics, but have you tried alternative comics?"

"Yes, I have. I disliked them, too."

"Well, we'll find you something you like."

"I don't want to like anything. I had my phase, but I really think I'm over it."

"Nonsense. Poppycock. Fiddlefaddle. You can't be over comics. Comics are a medium! You can't hate a whole medium."

"Some people go their whole lives without reading a novel, I'm pretty sure I can ignore comics."

"Have you tried manga?"

Ohhh, manga. Before I got back into comics, Windsor, it was anime all day everyday for me, and working at the bookstore has only confirmed to me that I was never meant to be the anime and manga fan I thought I was. Hell, I even went to a convention for a few years, and every year as I waited in line, I quickly grew convinced that my friends and I were the coolest people there. The scary part was, so did everyone else, I'm sure of it. And now that I'm at the bookstore, I deal with suburban manga fans regularly, and it's really kind of sad to watch. When a woman in her mid 20's almost cries tears of joy when I find her the second volume of St. Lunatic High School, a comic targeted to 13-year-olds, how am I supposed to feel?

Lest you think I haven't tried, know that I have, Windsor. I have tried. I got through three volumes of Death Note on my breaks before the stilted writing ultimately drove me away. And that's my biggest problem with these quickie black and white tankubons: in an attempt for authenticity, because fans want it as close to the original as possible, they change as little as possible. So since manga is typically collected from weekly 8-10 page installments, you get mini recaps every ten pages. So page 50 might inform you that Sasuke has come to avenge his father, and page 51 tells you that yes, Sasuke has come to avenge his father. Do you know how irritating that gets after 200 pages? I mean, I read the colour Akira reprints Marvel put out in the 80s, I don't recall them being like this.

But ultimately what kills manga dead for me is the subject matter. Good Lord I am horrified that I used to like this stuff. With the exception of Tezuka's body of work and Junji Ito's horror books [which are genuinely scary], it's just ridiculous. And I shelve a lot of this crap, so I'm not talking completely out of my ass, here. To wit, the cover to a charming volume we sell at our store, Battle Club number 4.

Now granted, I can't think of many other ways to eat a banana while tying your shoes, but this is kinda pathetic. Peruse the book and you have nothing but girls Greco Roman wrestling in unitards, with lots of closeups of their peckish vaginas nibbling their tights into their plump labia, until some happy accident exposes their pert yet ginormous breasts, each with perfectly shaded nipples. And this is exactly what this book sets out to do; this is its only function.

And while I do have a problem with such material being out in the open at our establishment [even though its initially wrapped in plastic and says 'mature readers' on the cover], mainly because the people who ask for it are f*cking creepy, the blatant pandering to creeps is a disturbing aspect that I don't know should be encouraged.

I know these are all specious arguments, and you can't expect Merchant Ivory to make excuses for Seymore Butts, but I'm wondering where the Merchant Ivorys in comics even are, because with the exception of maybe someone like Brian Wood, I don't know where to look anymore.

So how about this, comics: I'll try Exit Wounds at work this week, and I'll give the Toronto issue of Local a read, but that's your last chance. Honestly, you're becoming an embarrassment.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Take your pants off, it's Friday!

Oh casual Friday, you're a lifesaver.
  • I gotta think there was a better way to word this opening paragraph.

  • "...At Obama events one hears outbursts of optimism so desperate and artless that I can't help but check my cynical instinct. Grown men and women look up at you with puppy-dog eyes and all but beg you not to shit on their dreams": As Barack Obama celebrates his Iowa win, look back on what Rolling Stone had to say about him last month as his campaign picked up steam.
  • Oh, and on the Republican side, Iowa <3's Huckabees. If you care about that sort of thing.

  • Large bust of Lenin discovered in Antarctica.

  • Also in the Times, a look back at an odd social science experiment on the New York subway thrity years ago.

  • You know what's hardcore? Blowing a 0.4 at your morning court date for drunk driving.

  • A ridiculous papercraft version of Bumblebee made out of a KFC bucket. Look for the Colonel's cameo in the next Transformers movie.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

This n' That

If there's anything more amusing than your girlfriend talking smack as she pwns at a first person shooter, I don't know what it is.

Assasin's Creed is still better. Get off the FPS dick, Bresson.


Frustrated trying to figure out how to use a purchased compact disc without getting sued by the recording industry? Here you go.

Fractal art makes me uncomfortable. Maybe I have some sort of Uzumaki-esque fear of spirals?

Question sources everywhere you go! Make the world wikitastic!

A skillful mashup of the 25 top selling singles of 2007.

Related: The 2007 Best of Bootie compilation dropped as well.

Finally: girl opens iPod she got for Christmas, finds a sort of anticapitalist ransom note telling her to read a book. Best part? The note had spelling mistakes. Go literacy!

The State of the World Does a Mean Soulja Boy

But his Superman needs a little work. But his Supersoaker and Robocop? Spot on, son!
  • Issue of the day? Aside from trucks on Dougall is the mecca of violence known as the sidewalk outside the Box Office nightclub on Pellissier. And kids, Alan Halberstadt and Ron Jones are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore, putting the word out that they'll be putting a motion to council to have the city's after hours "entertainment lounges" shut down by 3.00 a.m. Clearly, this is something Gord can get behind.

    I'm not gonna go after the message of the column, I agree with it actually. There's more blood on Pellissier than anywhere else in the city, so clearly something needs to be done. But Gord's never found a sensationalist quote he didn't love, so councilor Jones's quip about "these little 50 Cent wannabes," is too good to pass up, followed by an odd, two line headshake at the state of youth [read: black] culture. I won't get all Michael Eric Dyson here, but suffice to say: the issue's a little bigger than that.

    By refusing to acknowledge that, all shutting down some clubs could do is make these people operate in the daytime.

    Flag on the play: Fearmongering, Paper Trail. -37 points.

  • The Globe's got further info on that teenaged girl who was stabbed to death on New Year's Day in Toronto.

  • Area man about town Mike Beauchamp is hosting an NHL '94 tourney at Phog Lounge next Tuesday, January 8th at 9.00 p.m. Dust of the old Sega Genesis and practice up, but register quick: there's only 16 spots available.

  • It's on, so I am unsure of its legitimacy, but enjoy the five brands we enjoy today that once worked for the Nazis.

  • Albino penguin!

  • Get 'em now before that aunt you don't like emails them to you: 2007's Darwin Awards.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A brief look back on the year that was

What to say about 2007, Windsor? Not much. Most people were content to muse on the depressing nature of beautiful girls whilst dancing under their umbrella-ella-ella, but it couldn't change the fact that the city continued on its downward slide, the US economy fell to lows no one thought possible, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq slugged along like they always did.

But it was also the year where for a weird [and short] moment it seemed like most people cared about the future of the planet [scoring Al Gore a Nobel Peace Prize in the process], domestically things were pretty uneventful for Canada [aside from Haper lipping off to China every now and then] and despite things being bleak in Windsor, they didn't go in the shitter entirely.

Personally, I moved beloved Kingston to the despised megalopolis, though I'm slowly warming to it. The Lady got a job teaching english and this blog turned one year old, celebrating what is certainly the longest stretch of continuous writing I've ever done. I know the five of you who read this appreciate it.

I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to select my personal favourites of the year that was, mainly because it gives me an excuse to tell you what I liked and didn't like. This is not a 'Best of '07,' since some selections may not have been released in the last 12 months, I may have just discovered them then.

IN MUSIC: Rock and roll all but abandoned me this year, but hip-hop did not disappoint, and the Big and Little Brother of Roc-A-Fella kept my head bobbing for the last quarter of the year. Jay's American Gangsteralbum was clearly something he needed to do, but after the uneven Kingdom Come record the year before, I'm not going to stop him. Classic samples combined with a raw yet fluid hustler's flow. What's not to love?

As for Kanye, Graduation is the album of his career, hands down. Everyone can talk about 'Stronger' all they want, personally I like 'Good Life' better, but it doesn't matter. The whole album is the sound of a gifted artist deliberately reaching for the brass ring, and getting it. Liek the man said, stadium status.

IN FILM: I saw a lot of movies this year, yet I didn't feel like I saw anything that would merit calling it the best of the year. Having just seen 'Walk Hard' yesterday, I'm starting to think the cadre of '40 Year Old Virgin'/'Anchorman'/'Knocked Up' writers and actors are starting to stretch themselves a little thin, but they still gave us Superbad, so there's obviously some gas left in that tank.

But if I had to pick one, the answer is clear: Hairspray. I went into the movie thinking I would like it, not knowing that I would know the soundtrack by heart and would buy it the week after it was released. It's the movie I've seen more than any other in the last 365 days, and it deserves the honour.

IN BOOKS: What are you talking about? I don't read. My reading habits went from on fire to next to nothing in the last half of the year, though my current job has caused the pile to continuously rise. Two of my favourite authors released mediocre books [Murakami's After Dark and Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet] and books I had high hopes for disappointed me miserably [Sheffield's Love is a Mixtape]. If I had to pick the best book I read this year, it would probably be a book written years ago: Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys.

IN GAMING: Unless you've been under a rock the past month, you know I got a 360, courtesy of my wonderful woman. And I went out and bought Bioshock for it, based on the hype and recommendations.

But D'Arcy Bresson, there's NEVER been a gaming experience like it? Are you high? It's good, damn good actually, but let's not shit ourselves: it does things with the shooter genre that have never been done before, but it's still just a first person shooter, with a cool location and a copy of Atlas Shrugged under its arm. It's not reinventing the wheel. You know what did? The other game I got this Christmas: Assasin's Creed. The Tony Hawk-like, parkour elements involved in fleeing guards in old Jerusalem are genius, and it's amazing how your mind starts to look ahead of your character to see the paths spread out in front of you. I can't lie, I might even prefer to play Bioshock most days, shooting people is damn fun, but for innovation, Creed takes it.

IN THIS BLOG: Definitely a hard thing to pin down. My war of words with he who shall not be named back in September was an early highlight, which perhaps can only be fully appreciated when you see the epic, meandering emails he was firing off to Lance editorial on a weekly basis.

Also of note was the appearnace of Global weatherman Bill Coulter, who stopped by to comment on a post I had made expressing my sleepy desire to punch him the face one morning back in the spring. I've had people I've talked about come here to bitch before, but I've never had a provincial television personality come by to make jokes.

But if there's one stroke of genius I think I can pat myself on the back for, it's for deciding to bilk an awesome idea from the fine team at Torontoist and remind you all of the punishing reading that is Gord Henderson's column. I read it so you don't have to, Windsor. First item of business for '08: get Photoshop, redo the Hendometer.

That's my truth, tell me yours.

Welcome, to The State of the World

Aaaaaand........we're back.

If you think it's been awhile, I'd like to point out both the Lance webiste and the Daily News have not been updated since around December 20. Go me!

--And if we're back, there's only one place to go first. Gordy-Gord-Gord, who's got his bonnet tied tight and is twirling his parasol contentedly as he muses on all those nogoodniks who insist on sounding Windsor's funeral knell. He talks of his faith in Buzz Hargrove's ability to keep the Big Three in town with his deal cutting abilities [but can he do it without inciting a mutiny in his membership?], the construction of the theatre at the Casino [bigger than the National Arts Centre in Ottawa! But does a Motown cover band have that kind of draw?] along with the pipe dreams known as the Greelink tunnel and the downtown engineering school.

There's nothing I can say that isn't stated multiple times in the screens of comments that follow, so give them a read and decide for yourself.

I lost the Hendometer in the great Mac return of aught-six, but trust me, there'd be full marks for this drivel.

--My new hometown wasted no time starting the new year off right with the stabbing death of a 14-year-old girl in Toronto's east end. Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl in connection with the murder.

--New science looks at why we dream, makes for interesting reading.

--Hey resolu..tors[?]: gym memberships are a waste of time.

--Real world intermission: Lady Trail playing Bioshock in the next room, getting ambushed, says "F*cking turdsh*t!"

--2007's most overused words.

--First entrant for 2008's dumbest criminal.