Sled Island Post-Mortem July 5, 2010

Sled Island started hitting it’s stride right when I left it’s host city. I think if it had matured to what it is today, I would have been less likely to move away. Not much less, but a bit. The “island” bit of the title is it’s most appropriate, standing as this weird island, isolated in the calendar with the disintegration of the Calgary Jazz Festival and with a long stretch before the Calgary Folk Festival (who are really bringing it these days, even at the expense of their theme). The year is relatively dead, aside from a smattering of events spread so thin as to be nearly invisible.

Sled Island makes no sense really. I had a lot of fun living in Calgary, but for most people, the city is a “wasteland” (to quote Japandroids), a partially deserved qualification. But for a weekend in July, it’s the home of arguably the best music festival in the Pacific Northwest, if not the entire West Coast. Plus it gives me an excuse to eat my parent’s food for a weekend.

What I Saw, And How Good It Was (in chronological order, starting Thursday afternoon):

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Blogroll Spotlight April 10, 2010

Just thought I would bring people’s attention to the swelling blogroll on the left-hand side of your page. Some cool people around those parts.

Graham Templeton just set up a personal blog for himself. Peak Opinions editor (the guy who makes me not look grammatically stunted) and all around cool person, you should take a look if you want to immediately become part of the vast, confused Right Wing Conspiracy. Or something

Same goes for one Sam F. Reynolds. His blog is very blue and this is not a Coincidence.

Gary Lim is funnier than you. Don’t be upset, it’s just the truth.

Al…good Lord, I don’t even know her last name. Embarrassing. Anyway, my friend Al runs a blog with some other entertaining chaps. Their primary focus is food and anarchy. And Star Trek. Not being intrigued right now is akin to not liking music; it just doesn’t happen.

Alex Hudson is another person that makes sure my printed word type things don’t look stupid. He keeps a music blog over at Chipped Hip that is as well written as it is designed. Read his stuff and keep up with it on Twitter @ChippityHippity.

Filmmaker, Peak Production editor and all around classy bastard Bryn Hewko also just set up his interbutt. Looking forward to having one place to go to see his stuff, which is excellent.

Blogroll emeritus member the Midnight Social Club is still going strong, and is a great location to hear and read about rad stuff going on in the Southern Alberta DJ scene. Good guys over there, good writers and SleepyHead is one sexy piece of Greek.

Check them all out, they’re all good people.

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Oh my. December 5, 2009

Oh me!

Things have changed a bit around here.

I know a few people were partial to the old theme, but this one allows some pretty neat features, like being to, oh, center pictures and bold words and stuff like that.

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Updates! On Stuff! November 27, 2009

Hello, sports fans!

Just an update on stuff.

The Big Man On Campus Feature will run on Monday! Huzzah! Almost 2000 words worth of fat jokes! Can you dig it?

And I am running for Columnist over at the Peak! I don’t want to give too much away about my topic, but I want to punch George Lucas in the goitre after all the research I’m doing.

Also the new comic from Christopher Polancec is up, right below this! Keep scrolling for the funny.

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A Beach House in Onett November 15, 2009

From LargePrimeNumbers

There’s this house in the town of Onett. You see signs all around town, sometimes near signs like the one that says “Use the library more.” The signs tell you there’s a house for sale on the southwest side of Onett. It has a beautiful view of the lake, it says. Just inquire with the local real-estate agent, and he’ll sell you the house. If you go down southwest and find the house, you’ll see the blue-suited real-estate agent standing in the doorway. Talk to him, and he’ll offer to sell you the place for just $10,000. At this early stage of the game, that’s a hell of a lot of money. It’s earnable, of course. It’s just going to take some time. You earn money by fighting monsters. Kind of. Whenever you kill a monster, your dad deposits money into your bank account for a completely unrelated reason. Your neighbor Pokey claims this is possible because your dad borrowed a lot of money from his parents, “Maybe like a hundred thousand dollars, or maybe more!” You never find out how much it was your dad borrowed. However, the monsters in Onett aren’t strong enough for you to earn $10,000 without losing half your mind. Even so, what do you need the house for? You have a house — your mother’s house — up on the north side of town. The player who thinks within the game’s world will never have to buy the house.

It’s the breed of player most commonly referred to as a “gamer” that will need to buy the house. This gamer will come all the way back to Onett once he has enough money to buy the house. You can’t buy the house during the game’s ending, when you’ll no doubt have more than $10,000 in the bank, because the real-estate agent is gone and the door is locked. You can’t buy it past a certain point in the game, either, because once the endgame begins, Onett is invaded by aliens and plunged into eternal darkness until you kill the alien. If you want to buy the house, you have to come back at some reasonably early point in the game. When you buy the house, the real-estate agent takes your money and leaves the doorway. He runs all the way off-screen. You are then free to enter the house. When you go inside, you find that it’s a run-down shack with wooden floors and walls. A few boards are missing. With the power of its pixels, the game shows you that the mattress in the middle of the floor has a few springs popping up out of its fabric. The back wall of the house — the third wall, as it were — is missing, and we can see the lake in the distance. The fourth wall is already gone — that’s the wall through which we, the player, see our heroes standing in this dilapidated shack. We’re looking at, essentially, a house with two walls. This can be construed as what Itoi thinks of the videogame as a medium — it is a house with two walls.


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The Fat Man Cometh November 12, 2009

Entertain me, fat boy!

That’s what you’re all thinking. Little do you know, my friends, you’re on fat guy time now. And that means you wait until somebody brings whatever you want to you. It’s sometimes a long wait.

So where is Big Man On Campus? Where did it go? Well, it’s on vacation.

For those of you that picked up The Peak this week, you may have seen a little doo-hickey in the corner of the funny pages:

Love Handles

Thats right, ladies and gentlemen, a feature!

See, what happened to BMOC was very similar to what happened when Trey Parker took over all the creative duties on South Park and Matt Stone just started insulating him from all the other bullshit: it got a wee bit serious, politics all peppered into the scatalogical. This isn’t a value statement, it’s just seems appropriate to explain my point.

See, the talented and sexy John Morrison III and I decided I had gone a little too far up my own ass (my words, not his) for the Humour pages. And he was definately right: Weapons of Mass Delicious marked a turn for the run ( I say that like it has been some epic amount of time) where things got a little bit deeper and started sewing in some thought with the fat jokes.

Not to worry: the next part of the run (BBW, D+D Free) was, I think, my funniest article. But it was also the most serious. Too serious, we decided, for the Humour pages.

So, it is with great pleasure that I announce that in the coming weeks, the very fetching Stacey McLachlan has been kind enough to give the project a home in Peak Features.

And because you are so cool, I want to give you a little preview. Watch this space, friends. It’s all happening soon. We’ll have an army pretty soon, all dressed in bulky clothing, shouting my words from the streets to the people who matter! Like this:



Clinton Hallahan

Aretha Franklin was a fat, fat woman with the right idea, asking for a little respect years before obesity became as common as chairs. I doubt she and Dr. King were concerned with fat-ass rights, but would nevertheless be surprised to learn people are judged less on the content of their character than the number of chins they have.
I’m gonna give one to the hardcore feminist element out there: ladies, you are far better at having your fatness held against you than men. If fat dudes are busy being a punchline, you are truly out back being tarred, feathered, cleaned up and tarred all over again into infinity, like a hungry hungry Sisyphus who shops at Pennington’s. The table is indeed tilted, but I am of the opinion that the majority of the incline comes from other women heaving your gut onto said table.

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Every Little Bit Helps April 5, 2009

Recession proves big business to otherwise stifled platitude industry.

By Clinton Hallahan

As the world financial market downturn drives the world economy into a recession, any glimmer of hope is encouraging, says California businessman and proprietor of platitudes Ellroy Thompson.

Thompson markets and distributes platitudes, a business very nearly driven out of business by eight consecutive years of economic prosperity, a prosperity Thompson was shocked to hear was mostly manufactured.

“They took it all the way to the bank,” he remarked “and almost drove me into the ground.”

With the foundations of global commerce now crumbling, Ellroy says his business is booming. With bloggers and print media pundits alike scrambling for ways to describe the widespread panic and hardship, Thompson says he is nearly swamped with requests.

“I had “in times like these” and “pinch every penny” stocked on the shelves for miles”, said Thompson on Tuesday, “and now I am scrambling to keep the pantry full.” By Friday evening Thompson’s stock of “recession-proof” and “Wall Street fat-cats” was completely sold through.

Competitors corroborate the increase in sales. Jerry Wilder, a truism dealer from New Mexico is experiencing a similar spike in sales. “Around Christmas I was overstocked on “you can’t borrow your way out of debt”. I was sold out on February 1st.”

Use of timely “Grapes of Wrath” quotations is also set to double from last year.

“If somebody lowers a price on something, people need a way to communicate the gravity of the situation.” Thompson said.

The upturn is not universal, however. Inner-city optimism vendors are reporting the lowest sales since Reagan, and purveyors of dictums are decrying the offenses being made daily against their craft. Ellroy Thompson is unsympathetic.

“I took my lumps and its their turn now,” he said of depressed industries, “its the way things go.”

Thompson plans to use the increased profit to invest in a small cliche factory in Denver, which he sees as becoming lucrative in the post-recession economy. He says the revenue from “not in this economy” and “credit crunch” alone will fund the venture.

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I could feel his cold stare. February 2, 2009

Adam McIvor: I rather like Reese Witherspoon

Me: I like her better Without-er-spoon.

Adam: …

Me: …

Adam: Fascist. 

Moral: Don’t playa hate, Adam.


Lovingly ripped from the amazing fellows at Anaxified.

Lovingly ripped from the amazing fellows at Anaxified.


Updates coming soon, including a long delayed Best of 08 post and Why 2008 Was Terrible for Gaming.

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So a skinhead walks into an EB Games… November 30, 2008

Brentwood Mall is the definition of sleepy.

The northern Burnaby mall is not quiet by any means, and is just as busy as any average shopping mall (excluding the one nearest to it, Metrotown Mall, but we don’t count the biggest mall in BC). But it does seem to draw an older clientele with a B-grade offering of stores and services. It’s anchored not by Sears and The Bay like most, but by Sears and Zellers, which makes a bigger difference than you might expect. Must be the two dollar pancakes at the Zellers restaurant. 

Anyway, after scouring for a place to park and looking forward to getting my croissant on, I swing by EB Games to see if I can pick up a copy of Crono Trigger DS. I get in line and watch a minor drama unfold. 

There was a man at the till talking to a CSR, trying to buy something. The CSR was looking a little skeptically at him, and for good reason.

Let me paint you a picture. The guy is about six feet tall with a shaved head. He has scars on his forehead and some fresh wounds from what I can only assume was fistfight, as they matched the slight black eye he has. He has no facial hair but has some sunglasses resting on his head. He is wearing a worn out white sweater, custom made. The sweater has the words “It’s never as bad as it can get” around the neckline and the logo of the German SS printed on the heart. On the back, it is slightly torn with the words “Surrey Vets” on the back, and with some other writing I didn’t have time to read , but I think you get the picture.

The CSR is visibly annoyed, holding a Visa card in one hand and a cordless phone in the other. From where I was standing you could see that the card was one of those ornate jobbies, the kind with the rolling hills of green and the blue skies with cotton candy clouds printed right on the plastic, taking you away to a wonderful world where you aren’t buying a Big Mac with 15% interest tacked on. This does not please the CSR.

See, what I find out after is that the card is a fake. Clearly a fake. Not even close. I got to see it and it was a like a laminated library card with a half-assed faux hologram in the corner. So obviously the CSR calls security, manifesting in a couple of brawny chaps with ear radios and pepper spray to the rescue. 

As security is asking him to leave over his protests that his card is legitimate, a few uncomfortable customers (myself included) look on and exchange glances. I’m meeting eyes with one of these when the skinhead turns to us and says “are you going to let this n****r kick me out of the store”, in a way I took to be not rhetorical. So, with security close by and with a few other customers between him and I and feeling full of sass, I answer.

“Yeah man, I was totally black before I got right with Jesus”.

His eyes met mine, his arms went slack at his sides as I struggled to maintain eye contact and a straight face. The security guards look at me for a moment as if asking why I had just asked for this to get worse. The skinhead stared at me for a few seconds, and sauntered off into the mall with security trailing behind. 

So what was this Neo-Nazi buying? Which gore-fest shooter with sexual over and undertones was he so desperate for?

I guess he just wanted to get his White-Power waggle on because all he wanted was a Wii. Take that stereotypes!

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Also: November 22, 2008

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Thoughts (like poison, they are) on Twilight.



To wit:

Twilight is the cancer killing literature, higher intelligence and cultural evolution in this day and age.

Okay, maybe cancer is a bit strong. At least people are reading, right? Maybe its just a benign cyst, or maybe a tumor still, but it won’t metastasize and can be mostly removed with horribly invasive surgery or put into remission by pumping plutonium through your veins.

But if it is a tumor, its in the brain, and the surgery will accidently destroy your motor skills (you will know tons of synonyms for the word “said”, but you most likely use, like, the word, like, “like”, like a lot. Like.). And if its a cyst, its not hidden. Its like one of those giant cysts that people have growing on their forehead, or chin, or on the nape of their neck, that grows to about the size of a small bowling ball (like we would use as kids under the blacklights at birthday parties, throwing them at a smaller number of smaller pins, the birthday boy all crying in his party hat because he threw a gutterball or a 7-10 split). But people will never call you ugly. They will call you strong. Or independant. Or alternative. Or beautiful in your own way. But in their head they are wondering if its contagious.

I don’t think anyone would accuse Twilight of being well written. Not to mention it’s just such a badly veiled allegory for abstinence it makes my head hurt. But it has this intellectual halo effect that is easy to see and hard to understand.

First off, who would want to see this, the worst vampire story of the year, when they could go see the best vampire story of the year with Let the Right One In. Thats like preferring Free Willy over Moby Dick. 

Secondly, why are people I consider intelligent investing so heavily in trash? Many of these people are in university, and others are just smarter than that. 

Thirdly, it bleeds into other areans. Check out the song and video Paramore did for the movie. Tiffer and I came across it channel surfing, and he was rather adroit in wondering why any artist would want to create a 7 year old sound, one we dealt with back when Ben Affleck wore red tights and horns. Daredevil came hand in hand with that Evanesence song everybody loved so much. Thats fine, I understand pop music and its machinations, but the overall tone and general acceptibility of this inaffectual tween drama seems to have thrown us back into a 2001 sound. Tonally I guess it fits, but its almost embracing recycling old (and crappy) music trends, akin to scoring Zodiac with a Cure song off Disintigration. 

I don’t get it. But this guy sure does (click to enlarge if you can’t read it):



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Death. November 18, 2008

Is four papers, a presentation and no ambition.


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A Mid-Fall Evening’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” Reality – UBC’s production impresses, inspires ridiculous titles. November 16, 2008

I am supposed to be taking mental notes. Every inch of me is screaming at my brain to not enjoy this, to look at this play objectively and critically. I need something to write about, so there is no time to invest, to enjoy or to experience a drop in critical vigilance.

This is very hard, all because of one missing shoe.

Stephen Heatley tried very hard to make this play difficult. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the classic “boy-meets-girl-but-girl-likes-other-boy-who-likes-other-girl-who-run-afoul-of-a-bored-diety-and-are-put-under-the-influence-of-hallucinogens-hilarity-ensuing” plotline most often seen on primetime teen soap operas, emulated for its utter simplicity. Heatley’s production ups the ante by doubling characters who are playing a role of the opposite gender. So we have a boy played by a girl in love with a boy who is in love with a girl played by another boy who is wildly in love with a girl played by a boy, with a supporting cast of numerous transgendered characters, often with some playing other characters of various genders. While this all seems basic and straightforward enough, there was often times I had to shake myself and remember who was who. Though the program cites this as an “additional challenge” taken on by an “immensely talented” graduating class, anyone who has taken a drama class or been involved in a production can attest that the ratio of women to men in dramatic arts skews to females in orders of magnitude. As a result, it becomes less an instance of carnivalesque and more an issue of personnel.

Not that I can pay attention to any of this because of a single sneaker.

The curtains nearly grazed my nose I was so close. I opted (read: was forced into due to tardy ticket purchasing) for front row tickets and in the packed Fredric Wood Theater (not the more prestigious Chan Center, mind you) I couldn’t help but wonder how old the place was. The design screamed sixties but the theater itself felt older, more experienced than that. The actors took the stage not in a cold open, but militarily, lined up in front of unmarked cardboard boxes presented as the curtain split. They are dressed in drab underclothes, a shirt and trousers, colored slightly auburn, like a russet potato. They all introduce themselves both their real names, the character(s) they portrayed and the costumes they would don over the unremarkable (yet ultimately distracting) underclothes. As one cast member would introduce themselves, the others would busy themselves with costuming themselves for their roles, a masterful display of coordination and preparedness.

Except Bottom (Kim Harvey) has forgotten a shoe. Her sock foot perpendicular to her leg, raised at me in defiance. It is this shoeless foot that will haunt my brain for the next two and three-quarter hours.

I cannot imagine William Shakespeare knew the impact his little comedy would have on literature. Midsummer is prevalent and enduring, I believe, because of its accessibility and its endearing plotline. This, as a result, is usually what production teams tend to focus on, eschewing characters for conveying the plot more clearly. I have personally seen three productions previously and preformed in one and this is the first time where the characters stayed with me past the closing of the curtains. Kim Harvey is pitch perfect as Bottom, layering bombast and pretension near effortlessly and creating the necessary pitiful character Bottom’s need to be memorable. Almost as memorable is Yoshie Bancroft as Quince, a secondary character at best yet in this instance both troubled, tender and often hilarious (aided in no small party by her reckless chauffeuring of her troupe around stage on the ever achronistic golf cart).

Sarah Afful, on another note, presents a quandary. She is simultaneous the most unique and frustrating Puck I have ever witnessed. Tonally, the director put the entire play on her shoulders, and instead of the mischievous and playful nymph we are so used to seeing, her delivery comes off, in a word, sinister. She drags the timid and whimsical storyline into an atonal odyssey through the dark and frightening depths of witchcraft, adding a slightly hellish quality to the production. Even the lighting aides in this, relying far more on shadow than is optically conducive to a pleasurable viewing experience, utilizing the lighting of onstage set lights often to light entire scenes. The set, while sparse, is littered with only the most grotesque and evil looking of trees. This, like the “dark” remakes of various comic book characters during the early 90’s on the success of Spawn, (a black suited Superman, Captain America’s shield drinking blood, et al) works to varying degrees. It also marks the second time I have seen a Shakespeare play end with a musical number, though the difference between the two was akin to the difference between a Hillary Duff and a Marilyn Manson concert.

After the play, my companion for the evening lamented, “It was creative an all, but I cannot help but always be off put by Midsummer.” When I inquired to the reason for this she said, “It always bothers me that the happy ending is the result of unscrupulous and unethical use of a love potion. There is no real love outside that induced by magic. Seems kind of hollow.” I replied “Yes, but you cant deny the appeal of a happy ending, no matter what kind of intoxication is needed to get there.”

The shoe reappeared the first time it was needed past the introduction. I wonder where it went.

3.5 out of 5 anthropomorphic donkeys.

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Goodnight, Neverland! November 14, 2008

Say goodnight, Neverland. 

Be polite, and blow out the candle. 

Goodnight, Neverland!

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