Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Eastlink Advertising

The people at Eastlink are out of control.

I advertise my restaurant on their television station, which has worked out pretty well. We get a lot of dinner guests who mention that they heard about the restaurant on the television ad, so it is definitely worth the expense.

Anyway, I get billed on a bi-weekly basis (as in once every two weeks). The funny thing is that usually I get two copies of the bill, for the exact same amount, but the format of the two different pages is slightly different. I didn't really think that this was very odd, until I checked the mail yesterday. This time round, I got a total of SEVEN letters from them, for the last two-week period. There were the normal two copies, then a third one in a different format that I've never seen before, then two more telling me to ignore the first two because the tax was calculated incorrectly, then two more saying the exact same thing again.

Luckily, being a tree planter, I can appreciate this absolutely ridiculous waste of paper. I think of it as job security.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gabriel & Dresden in Boston

I just got back from an interesting weekend in Boston. I flew down to see a Gabriel & Dresden show, but also to actually meet them, courtesy of a mutual friend, Kate.

For those of you who aren't familiar with electronic music, these two are incredibly talented. Among other things, Dave Dresden is a talent scout for Pete Tong, and was a journalist for DJ Times, Mixer, DMA, and Billboard magazine, where he has done interviews with Paul Oakenfold, Moby, Todd Terry, Sasha & Digweed, Puff Daddy, BT, The Crystal Method, Keoki, Josh Wink, the Chemical Brothers, and Deep Dish. Josh Gabriel was the sound designer for the Oddworld video games, was co-founder of Mixman Technologies (remixing software), did work for for Warner Brothers & Sony Music, and was the mastering engineer on Disney's "Aladdin" soundtrack.

As a duo, the two of them are very highly ranked as DJ's (23rd in the world, to be exact), according to the current standings on They also have their own record label in San Francisco, called Organized Nature. However, they are probably most well known for their production skills, whether it is individually, as a duo, or in partnerships with other musicians and producers (including releases under the monikers Andain & Motorcyle). For the non-electronica fan, they are probably most well-known recently for "Tracking Treasure Down," which was #1 on Billboard a few months ago, in July of this year. Here's a link to the video for that song on YouTube (the link is visible on my real blog, but not in the Facebook feed):

Aside from that well-known hit, they have a very extensive string of other #1 hits over the past few years, and they've worked directly with or done remixes for a huge variety of well-known artists, including Coldplay, New Order, Tiesto, 4 Strings, Paul Oakenfold, Roger Goode, Sarah MacLaughlan, Jewel, Afrika Bambaataa, Armin van Buuren, The Crystal Method, Dido, Nelly Furtado, Fischerspooner, Groove Armada, Annie Lennox, Britney Spears, Depeche Mode, Madonna, and others.

Anyway, the weekend got off to a bit of a rough start when I forgot to go through my luggage carefully before flying. I've probably taken at least 300 commercial flights before, so I definitely should have known better, but I wasn't really thinking. I have a "travel bag" which is always packed, but the last time I used it was when I was just travelling in Canada. Consequently, when I got to airport security, I had to throw out my shaving cream (because it was in an aerosol can), and my drugs (you'll note that I said drugs, not narcotics). Then, the officer going through my bag asked me if I really expected to be allowed to take a wine opener on the plane. I guess the large pointy metal stabbing tool and sharp knife didn't exactly meet regulations.

I got to Boston pretty early on Friday morning, which led to a new dilemma, since it was 10am and I couldn't check into the hotel until 2pm. I don't normally drink before 5pm (unless it is a continuation of the previous night's festivities) but I thought that since I was on vacation, I'd make an exception, so I went to an Irish Pub for breakfast. And lunch. The Pub was about three doors down from the hotel, and there were several hundred students staying at the hotel for a Harvard Model United Nations event, so there were people to talk to everywhere.

After lunch, I went back to the hotel. That evening, Kate and another friend picked me up, and we went out for drinks to a pizza place & bar beside Fenway Park. We were planning to meet Josh & Dave fairly early, but their plane had been delayed in Chicago due to winds, so they didn't get into Boston until around midnight. When we went back downtown to meet them, they were having problems checking in because it was past midnight and the hotel computers wouldn't let people claim their room after midnight, so they came up to my room for about an hour before the show while they tried to sort things out.

The rest of the night was pretty fun. Rise was a fantastic little after-hours club. It was smaller than I expected, about the same size or smaller than the after-hours clubs I usually frequent in the Maritimes, but the cleanliness was unbelievable, and the lighting was incredibly well-done for such a small venue. Rise is a private members-only club (plus a limited number of guests for each member), so I think that most people who were there actually knew each other. Once they got started, Dave & Josh played until 7am, and it was a pretty interesting set since they played a fair number of their own tracks, and I knew quite a bit of the music. They ended the night with their remix of "The Wings" by Gustavo Santaolalla - I think that the original might have been the closing track from Brokeback Mountain.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. It's been a few years since I've been to Boston, but it has so many universities and students around that it completely reminds me of Halifax. There are very few US cities that I'd ever want to live in, but Boston would probably be the one exception (or maybe San Francisco).

Saturday night was pretty fun too, but that's another story. Coming home was fairly uneventful, except that our flight crew didn't show up for the flight out of Newark. It was kind of funny actually, since they eventually had to be paged on the airport intercom system: "Paging flight crew XXX, can you please report to gate C99. We need you to fly a plane."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

University Exams and Garbage Cans

We're in the middle of end-of-semester exams here at Mount Allison University, so most of my friends are stressing out about how hard their lives are right now. But really, when you're 80 years old, will you look back and say to yourself, "Man, I can't believe I missed that question about Dirac's Constant on my exam back in 2006. That pretty much ruined the rest of my life."

Let's be serious for a minute: is that exam really going to make the difference between you spending the rest of your life doing sub-atomic particle research versus being "the fry guy" at the local drive-through? I thought so. So it isn't worth getting that stressed out. Study, but don't stress.

I agree that exams can be pretty hard sometimes, but do you want to know something that is really hard? Try throwing out a garbage can. I'm not kidding. I have a broken garbage can, so every week, I put it out on the curb with the rest of the garbage. But do the garbage collectors ever take it away? No. It's always left standing there, lonely and unwanted, as they drive off into the sunset. It's becoming a war of attrition between me and PBS Waste, but unlike Bush and the war in Iraq, I know that someday I'm going to win.