Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Am I allowed to spaz when I say the following?

Stephen Fry is in town. And on Friday, he's presenting a Glenn Gould Award. Relatively near by to where I live. On a day that I can convince my Mum that missing school is fine & that I'll easily catch up (which I will). Oh yeah, and the show is free. FREE.

*jumps 2 feet in the air*

No big deal, you guys. Stephen Fry is only a legendary skit comedian who rose to fame along with Hugh Laurie, Rowan Atkinson & Emma Thompson. He's only just an incredibly smart, funny, British Tweeter & QI master. He also kinda did an amazing tour of America for BBC, voiced over all the Harry Potter audiobook tapes & acted numerous times in Blackadder as a character called Melchett.

These are a load of my favourite things.

You see why I'm excited? Just a bit? Yeah.
Julianna xoxoxo

Friday, 18 March 2011

Sarah Maclachlan Concert

Yes indeed... I went to a free Sarah Maclachlan concert. Kudos to my dad's work associate who couldn't go that night & gave me and my Mum tickets. On the main floor. Front row center.

I'm not a huge Sarah Maclachlan fan. I'm aware of her work, have a couple of songs of hers on iTunes (I didn't pay for them though, I got them from my piano teacher who wanted me to check out more female musicians). Not much more than that.

But I did enjoy the show a good deal. The people behind us were pigs, constantly shrieking out during the moments when the whole room was quiet in the beauty of the song. Asses. They also talked a regular level when the show was on. You pay to see the show, not talk amongst yourselves like when you listen to a CD. We weren't at a bar. We were in Massey Hall, one of the most iconic venues in Toronto, or even Canada.  I wanted to punch them. No joke. My Mum turned around and gave them a good speech, but they just said "You have no right!" and clapped even louder and near our ears than before. I learned to point at them without taking my eyes away from the stage & make a cutting motion with my hands.

And I'm not the kind of person who gets that annoyed with whispering. Whisper, sing on key in the same octave as the person on stage, fine. Sing as a guy with a low voice & yell over to the person 2 seats away how there's a tambourine in the drum kit & how amazing that is, I will get you. Talk about that after the show, after the song, or whispering to each other if you're directly beside each other. Don't yell out.

Still, we enjoyed the show.  Not entirely because of Sarah Maclachlan though. She had a great idea where she had everyone playing together rather than a warm-up band before the main act. This was the best way to make a show.

Sarah Maclachlan shared the stage with:
Butterfly Boucher
Luke Doucet
Melissa McCleland
Peter (forget his name... urgh)
and a drummer who I don't remember the name of, but his name sounded like "mascara"

the encore had
Kevin (forget his name... urgh), the cellist
A greasy grey haired man who I believe was named Greg. He was famous, I think...

The atmosphere was fantastic. Neon lighting, chandeliers, and a change of guitars by at least one band member every song.

Sarah Maclachlan played a ton of songs, but the only ones I knew were "I Will Remember You", "In The Arms of the Angels", and "Ice Cream". All songs were very well played obviously (though the guitars were so blended you couldn't tell the difference of who was playing what). It wasn't a grinning reaction or even a dancing or tapping the armrests in my seat reaction, it just made me think "Hey, this isn't bad. And wow, the guitarists sure can play". She answered questions & told funny stories about her surfing too. Turned out to be a very intelligent person.

The other band members were fantastic, but Butterfly Boucher was definitely my favourite of all the people on stage. Gorgeous too. Mum & I agreed if we weren't straight, she's the kind of person who we'd choose. I love my Mum. She's awesome.

This is exactly what she was wearing too... except with a navy and red necktie.

Butterfly's songs were very different from each other & memorable. I'm gonna put up one of her songs on this blog... 2nd fave female artist now (no one beats Regina Spektor). Plays piano & guitar, has a gorgeous voice, great lyrics, and she's Aussie. You can't want more. And yet, she got only polite applause. Probably cos the audience was mainly made up of close-minded Sarah Maclachlan stalkers. I felt really bad for her. Loved it.

Melissa McClelland was very good as well, but not as original as Butterfly. Killer guitar riffs, and married to Luke (she made that very clear). Respect, but not a huge fan, really. A bit too country, not much into that. Wore gorgeous 2 inch red heels and a wicked skirt I'd steal if it was my size though...

The drummer was very steady. He does what the drummer does extremely well... keeps a steady but interesting beat.

Peter (for his name): Damn good guitarist. Hilarious to watch him compared to Luke as he looked extremely British (like a Rolling Stone, actually) while Luke Doucet looked like an American boy with a cowboy shirt with embroidered horses and everything. Amused me the entire show, comparing the two.

Luke Doucet was a hell of a kind guy. Also fantastic at guitar & really kind towards the audience. Wore a black shirt with a white horse head by his shoulder. Looked exactly like in the picture. And at the end of the show as I was leaving he called my attention & gave me the pick he played the show with. I have no idea what I did to deserve that, but it was extremely kind. It's orange and has a cartoon of a small clown & the word "Stereophonics" on the other side.

Definitely enjoyed it, but I wouldn't pay the price of over $100 to go to see them again,
Julianna xo

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home

This song is incredibly cheerful. Steady guitar. Not really a great song to review or analyze, just super happy. It has a mid-seventies feel... reminds me of Boney M. a bit.
Julianna xoxo

Bloc Party- Little Thoughts

It's a sweet background band, but not interesting enough to stop and listen to over & over.

Very similar to Coldplay, but no outstanding riffs to hold onto. Still, worth a check out. This is the best song I found...
Julianna xoxo

Monday, 14 March 2011

Bigger Boys & Stolen Sweethearts by The Arctic Monkeys

Fantastic bass lines, and crisp lyrics sung by a man from Sheffield. How could I want anything more? The Arctic Monkeys are amazing.
Julianna xo

Sunday, 13 March 2011

And now Japan has a volcano attack. Have they not had enough?

Clearly this is revenge for them killing all those whales.

Well, no, cos there isn't really any correlation between nations with more vegetarian products & high levels of safety, but yeah... there's really nothing other than mass whale-killing that Japan did to deserve this massive "Judgement Day" situation. Watching footage is insane. Pictures even... just crazy. Earthquake, Tsunami, and Volcano. In the span of less than a week. Lots of people aren't even aware of the volcano & are beyond appalled at the circumstances.

Click this link: Footage of the Tsunami flooding the streets

It's just insane. Toppled apartment buildings. Cars floating like they're vegetables in soup. Now a freakin' volcano in addition. Almost 10,000 deaths now. Incredible.

I am so sorry for the nation of Japan.
Julianna xoxo

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Regina Spektor & Citizen Radio

As time goes on, I realize more & more how awesome the guest list of Citizen Radio is. Tim Minchin. Billy Connolly. Howard Zinn. Sarah Silverman. Plus 2 awesome hosts.

And now, they got Regina Spektor on the show. Favourite female musician. Absolutely incredible.

So today my song is Consequence of Sound. Its poetry, simplicity, & musicality is unlike anything I've ever seen. Just gorgeous.

Just look at a tiny bit of the lyrics of this song...

The weather report keeps on
Tossing and turning,
Predicting and warning,
And warning and warning of,
Possible leakage from news publications and,
Possible leakage from news TV stations.
That very same morning right next to her coffee
She noticed some bleeding and heard hollow coughing and
National Geographic was being too graphic,
When all she had wanted to know was the traffic

She's just incredible. Must see her live one day.

Julianna xo

Friday, 11 March 2011

Japan Earthquake/Tsunami

I was just speechless this morning. Hearing about the Japanese tsunami, all I thought was: "Oh my god... my school is on that trip".

See, my school does a Japan trip every other year. And they just left for Japan yesterday. At least 3 of my friends are on that trip.

All I could think of was lunch yesterday when I was in the library and one of the kids in my English class said they were going to the airport soon, and how I wished them a good trip. I thought "Does this mean... I unknowingly wished them a good death? Oh my god..."

Turns out that thankfully no one is dead. But they are stuck in Alaska. This has brought on a lot of fantastic Sarah Palin jokes around my school. Slightly cruel way to make light of the situation, but it's working, and really distinguishes the intelligence of my classes (there was one airhead of a girl who'd never heard of her).

This really sucks for the people on the trip, but at the same time, I'm sure they're grateful just to be alive. The trip was $4000 per person for almost nothing, but my French teacher says Alaska is actually quite beautiful. So I hope they enjoy it anyways.

Still, I'm really grateful I saved my money for going to London in January (it was completely epic and I wouldn't undo it for anything), and it costed about half of the $4000 they paid. For me and my Mum. Note: we stayed with an online friend from Angry-Feet, the Tim Minchin Fan Forum, so it was fantastically cheap and I got to stay with a Tim Minchin fan.

Really interested to find out what the heck happens next to my dance teacher, principal & my friends in Alaska. Apparently there are more earthquakes happening (though not as severe as the earthquake with the 8.9 magnitude Japan already experienced, there was a second one at the magnitude level of 6.8 & maybe more to come), so the trip is probably ruined. I feel badly for them, but I'm grateful no one I knew died (though no doubt it's terrible for the people in Japan right now & I'm sympathetic to anyone who was there & all that... I'm not solely concerned if it's people I knew).

Anyways, that's what my knowledge of the Earthquake. That, and that it was so huge, that it was felt in Beijing. That's crazy.
Julianna xo

Thursday, 10 March 2011

An awesome day.

The head of the vocals department came up to me in the middle of lunch and said that I was strong enough in vocals that her & my vocals teacher agreed I should be moved straight up to Grade 11 vocals next year instead of Grade 10 like everyone else was, if I didn't mind...

Of course I don't mind! It's an honour. That was just ridiculously random. Makes me very happy.  

Then my friends Miranda & Eric switched clothes for all of lunch, pretended to be each other & tickled each other to death. 

In vocals, we watched West Side Story and I got to sit on top of the filing cabinets, plus I finished my essay in English about Temple Grandin & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time before March Break. 

Then walking home, everything just seemed gorgeous in the rain with the atmospheric Oren Lavie music I was listening to. And now I have piano, which is always good.

This is an awesome day.

Locked In A Room by Oren Lavie

This is just a gorgeous song. It has a beautiful strings line in the background, plucking guitar style, and a low gravelly voice.

Oren Lavie is generally a great artist. Calm feel, like an optimistic rainy day. And it's not easy to have a rainy optimism. The lyrics are also great.

Locked in a room with a sink and a broom
And the walls are alright, but you think it's alright
And there's a wonderful image of a bridge which is covered with moss
And a man comes across...

Julianna xo

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tim Minchin on Charlieissocoollike's show

This is incredible. Tim Minchin, my favourite musical comedian & Charlie McDonnell of charlieissocoollike (the YouTube user) did a show together. On YouTube. For Red Nose Day (a humongous charity comedy show in UK, for those who don't know).

But they did something very depressing: Charlie (who that day was oddly technically challenged) FORGOT to turn on the mic.

Fellow Tim Minchin fans (and anyone who knows me well) will know how annoying this is for me. I am extremely joyful they met in the first place, but really... how could you Charlie?

My friend Egle (who I just finished talking with through Skype... she's in Ireland & I'm in Canada... what an incredible bit of technology, but I'll leave that for another time) says it's probably just a very sneaky way to advertise for Red Nose Day.

This is entirely possible. This has evidence.

I'm gonna be semi-controversial and compare this to religion.

Egle has a perfectly logical theory:

Charlie is a bit above average in intelligence. Not a genius, but smart all the same. He has done YouTube videos a lot. He's forgot to turn on the mic for one of the most awesome videos of his life? If anything, he'd probably check everything 3 times. And his microphone's clearly not glitched, as he did record the video to tell us about it, and didn't have to get a new one. This doesn't really make sense.

Also while looking back at previous takes, acclaimed YouTube user for about half a decade KNOWN for his music & funniness Charlie McDonnell would probably have noticed "Hey there's no sound! Let's turn on the microphone". And Charlie did say he definitely did more than one take (the hour and a half that Tim Minchin was supposed to do with Charlie became 4 hours... what a nice guy Tim is).

Her argument is like saying you have say, no God. No God (Hypothesis X, or just X if you will, so I can sound smarter and we can make this shorter) has evidence going for it. It says "Here's your flaw in logic... when people look up into the sky, why is is that they can't see him & that no person has seen him?"

Context: If you had a YouTube show which you edited, how could you not see & hear when you looked back at takes that there was no sound?    

My argument (at least originally) was more that of a religious person. "X doesn't make sense cos I've seen people be affected by God. It could happen that there is a particular God who on particular days who when pray to him in particular ways grants prayers. It could happen."

Context: Charlie is "people".  He was very sad and did a *headdesk*, therefore yeah, there actually was a mic mishap. Cos he said so. Even though the rest of it sounds a bit iffy (the whole somehow he didn't notice ). Charlie could be that stupid.  

One is logical, one is emotional. For now, I'm thinking in a slightly denial-filled way: "Charlie could be that stupid."

But really... he could, right?
The only bit of information which completely destroys this metaphor I've tried to form (did I do ok? I hope so...) is that Charlie could've very well done may takes with Tim & actually never watched them. But as a YouTube user, I must say I have never done a take & not watched at least a bit of it directly afterwards. Otherwise, you can't know if you need to do another take or not.

Here's the video. Decide for yourself, based on what you've read here. Comment. 

Julianna xo

Monday, 7 March 2011

New Clothing

Look, you probably don't care about this, but my Mum made me a very shiny skirt. And I'm very happy with it. So I'm posting a picture of it .

(yes, I am standing on a chair)

The top bit is sort of a shiny gold crinolin material, and the bottom half is brown animal print (but not really animal, just fuzzy fun fur).

I kind of love it.

There ends my dribble. I'm not one for fashion, but when I get something I reeeally like, I wear it a lot. This is also a semi-diary thing, so if you don't care, ignore this entry, and I'm sorry.

Julianna xo

In Bloom- Nirvana

Ok, this may seem to be a really obviously well known song to some people, but today at school I learned only 40% of my table knew who Nirvana was. That's a failing grade, people.

So today's song is In Bloom by Nirvana. It's gotta a sorta depressed grunge feel & all the sounds blur together, but there are some days where its underground feel is very cool. I mean, it's Kurt Cobain. You have to know who he is.

Trivia fact: He died the year Justin Bieber was born. Not the greatest year...

Note: he does have a cold while singing this. So not his best song. But I figure the vast majority of people know "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
Julianna xo


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Sumo Robot Fighting at OCAD

Well guys, today I saw my first robot fighting tournament. Who doesn't love robots fighting? It's nerdy, competitive, but not absurdly manly to the point of being grotesque like monster trucks. There are no ads,  just a bunch of ramp-shaped robots with funny names. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't like it (other than people who are afraid of robots... though I've never met such a person).

Me avidly watching the match & stuff

ANYWAYS, it was pretty cool. The setup is a 6 foot wooden octagon with padded floor around the outside. The robots are put facing off in the square, and try to knock each other out of the ring. There are three rounds (if there is a draw after 3 minutes, they just do another round). For the heavy-weight competitions, there is a pole in the middle to prevent them colliding straight into each other at the beginning of the fight.

If they weren't fighting, the robots created art or danced. The art was always at least a little abstract of course, but very cool.

The names of the robots were hilarious. Some were cute, others sounded like they could be names of Death Metal bands.

Here's a list of names and their roles:

Pretty In Pink: Giant pink 99 pound ramp. Champion for many years.

SARS vs. Pretty in Pink in the ring.

SARS: Green box robot.

                                    Creature Revenge vs. SARS

Creature Revenge: Big orange grippy wheels & a box. Good torque.

Scary Mary: had blades at the front, but dropped out of the competition due to damage that could not be fixed in the timeframe.

OverEasy: Made of a toaster. People, you can not understand how gleeful my friend Geneva & I were when we heard there was a toaster robot. Still had the slots at the top too. Loved that little guy.

Overeasy is the robot at the bottom left of the screen

Eagleslayer: Student made. 2 wheels and a ramp in between them.

Eagle 2: The same as Eagleslayer, but had a 3 pound difference in weight.

Octane: Another Eagle-like bot. Only difference: it had the words "sorry you lost" scribbled in marker on the edge of its ramp.

The Beast: Red box with red & blue lights on top. Like a moving small red TV.

The Beast vs. Octane

Seizure Inducer: Light flashing robot which was self controlled. It kind of failed and we were all left in the dark to watch almost none of the lights flash, but cool in the light. It was a bit smaller than a microwave and faced off against...

Sir Bumpsalot: Everyone loved this robot. Tiny little thing, about the size of a guy's fist. Self controlled, it just went to the edges of the ring and went back to the centre, sensing where it was. And this was controlled by a 6 YEAR OLD. Very cool. As I said, it faced off against Seizure Inducer (which was more than double its size) and WON. Fantastic.

                                      Sir Bumpsalot

Vampire Leprechaun: Same design as the Eagle 2 & Eagleslayer but with a rainbow bit of paint.

Muffin the Cat: This thing looked slightly possessed. As if someone had stitched together a dead cat over robot insides. It made an abstract art work with blue paint.

AutoMatisse: Loved this thing. Looked like a paint palette & drew a face on paper.

Bristol Bots: LOVED these. Little toothbrush heads with batteries on top that caused them to vibrate & move around.  They created art with sand.

 So that was Sumo Robot Challenge at OCAD. It was only $5 per adult, $2 a student, and kids under 10 are free. So yeah, if you live in Toronto or will be in Toronto in the Spring of 2012, you should go see this. Fun day & I discovered a kind of fighting (other than ninja-esque fighting) I actually like in real life.

                   An example of one of the artworks done by a robot

The cart they used to carry the robots to the ring (or rather the octagon)

Ok, now I actually have to go to bed. It's 1:37 in the morning people. 
Julianna xoxo 

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Thermals- A Pillar of Salt

This song is just amazing. Especially the beginning. Rocking guitar & drums. I love the lyric "We don't think we're special sir... we know everybody is". Just fits so beautifully.

Also, this is the song that the theme of Citizen Radio is based off of! (if you're seeing a trend in the subject matter of this blog, note I am going through a tiny obsession)

Note: the video is really random. There is everything from pillow fights to smushed noses. The end gets a bit repetitive, but other than that, I like this song a lot.

The singer is the guy in the blue shirt. He wants too much attention. He's a little too emotional. The other two are cool though...

Go listen to it.

Anyways, that's today's song.

Julianna xo

Thursday, 3 March 2011

I'm thinking I'm gonna do this a lot

Trying to blog every day. That's the idea.

And I always am obsessed with learning about more music, or where music has come from, or just generally good bands. So I'm gonna take the list of bands I got from the kids in my geography class and name one band with one song a day. Unless I've got something better to tell you about, like a show of some sort or something hilarious or outrageous I saw.

So this is mostly gonna be a bunch of music the average teens with good taste in music (well, good taste in my judgement) listen to. If you're like me & want a new song to listen to, fabulous, you just found the place. If this song isn't new, tomorrow's probably will be.

So today's song is Sleepyhead by Passion Pit. You may have heard this ear-piercing song on television as an ad for something... I don't remember what, but it had a blue and white background & snowboarders. I think it was for Playstation, but I could easily be wrong.

I like this song for its random high pitched singing, and for its model of how techno-pop stuff can actually be good, not simply stuttering for 4 minutes (sorry, but so much stuff is it makes me sick). It also has managed to get bells, music-box like instruments & cool harmonies in a semi-popular song. I commend them for this.

Here's a YouTube link...

Julianna xo

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I'm gonna recommend a book!

If you like British stuff, read Tickling The English by Dara O Briain. This Irishman has told me a hell of a lot about this culture of Brits, from history to how odd the people of Sheffield are. It amuses me lots. This isn't a proper review, I know, but I'm thinking this is the reason I call this blog Assorted Things... it doesn't really tell you much. Just assorted bits, and recommends things I think you might like. Or at least not hate, to consume your time on this Earth. *ramble ramble ramble*

Anyways, check it out if you see it at a library, or for free online, or something like that. If you've got money, buy it. Or if you're more like me, read in the store & go home again still with $20 in your pocket.

Julianna xo

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I'm gonna recommend a song!

Hey, it's as the title says. I just thought I'd recommend a song. I'll do this when I'm lazy, or have homework. Also, it'll give a view of what my taste in music is.

The song is "An Awful Lot Of Running" by Chameleon Circuit. It's about Doctor Who. Relish in the nerdiness of this song.

It also has a fantastic music video. The main guitar riff is based off of the Doctor Who theme, it's rock, and has a music video involving stop animations of paper Daleks. Therefore, it's worth a watch.

I've been listening to this song on repeat for a while, so if you don't know it, click that link up there now.
Julianna xoxo