Two thoughts moving in entirely different directions.

by Mark Zaugg 17. March 2009 23:15

I've been wondering for a while which band would be the first to repeat in the morning. 

With all the Fred Eaglesmith I carry around, I'm awfully shocked that 1) it wasn't him and 2) I got a repeat before Fred even came up in rotation. 

Once more, this morning's band was the Ennis Sisters, this time the song is "If Only", and once more, I haven't had any luck finding it on youtube.  Hopefully it's an entirely inapplicable song in my life - I try to live without "If only" sentiments around, and I certainly try to stay out of the "advice-giving" business.  Hell, I don't take it very well either.  The best way of ensuring that what you're about to say to me never gets heard is by starting with the words, "If I were you..." 

Still, it's a pretty song and the harmonies are, as always with the Ennis Sisters, utterly sublime. 


The other entirely unrelated topic was that George Bush came to Calgary to give a speech today.  The protesters were out in force in front of the Telus Convention Centre. 

The spiritual icon of protests against Bush has become throwing a shoe.  Awesome.  Other presidents should be so lucky.  Frankly, I'm flabbergasted there have been so many attempts.  Apparently us Canajuns just prevent them against French Presidents

So me, being the dumbass that I am, head down to go to my Tai Chi class at the downtown United Church.  I see the crowd right in front of the convention centre and realize I have no choice but to plow past it or circle back a block to avoid it.  Plugging on through I get half way through the crowd and suddenly realize I'm carrying the shoes I wear for Tai Chi tied together over my shoulder. 

I remain your humble genius.  For the record, Bush didn't show up to do a set of Tai Chi.

Just slightly ahead of the curve once again..

by Mark Zaugg 16. March 2009 23:10

I miss the Canadian Alternative Rock channel on Iceberg Radio.  I miss it a lot.  One of these days, I'll probably have to figure out what to hit on Radio 3.

There weren't too many places where I could get my fix of a consistent, guitar screeching, drum pounding rock and / or roll.  It's out there, I just have to work a bit harder to find it, but shouldn't it be the job of the labels to spoon feed me what I'm looking for?  Well, if so, the labels are doing a piss poor job of it. 

One of the bands I glued onto early was the Sam Roberts Band.  I had no idea who they were.  I had no idea which part of Canada they were from.  But I knew "Where Have All the Good People Gone?" was a damned fine song and I kept my ear out for more from them.

They came to the Calgary Folk Festival last year - I was fortunate enough to get a pair of comps from BVMC for Thursday night, the only night I could go.  As it turned out, the same night Sam Roberts AND the Weakerthans played.  That made for a fantastic night out with Mad Axe Max!

It turns out that the Sam Roberts Band apparently have done well for themselves.  When Rebekk listened to the CD she said, "That's the song they play at the baseball game all the time."  Heh.  Good taste, kid. 

Unfortunately, the song this morning was "Rarefied" off "We Were Born In A Flame".  The early stuff is always the best, but the hardest to find.  NO LINK FOR YOU.  How about you go pick something else to watch on your own?

One step too close to the ghod-awful truth.

by Mark Zaugg 15. March 2009 22:01

First point tonight is to clear off last week's entry in the "Music to go to work by." 

I like a long of music, spanning a lot of classifications.  Funny, folky, freaky, groovetastic.  Yeah, baby.  The nice thing about being eclectic is that it's hard to come across something I don't like - so long as I keep off the superhighways of music's drudgery.  The down side is that I'm really hard pressed to say what my absolutely favourite song is. 

Well, my absolute favourite song is usually, "The one that's playing." 

However, one of the songs that perpetually bubbles near the top of my list is the Rheostatics "Rain, Rain, Rain" from "Whale Music."  Fantastic song, amazing everything, two references to it on youtube, neither of which give a good feel for what the song actually is.  Meh.  No link for you.  If you don't know the song - you'll have to dig it up yourself. 

The first part of mention is that the song itself starts with handclapping emulating the sound of a rainstorm.  It's amazing.  Then Martin sings (in his soaring, scratching voice)

I'm feeling really down
I'm feeling really
    Under the weather
And it is no problem, or lack of pleasure.

It's just the weather.

Rain keeps coming down
And I can feel the
    Low (low, low) pressure
Whenever that it stops, it turns to ice

I'm feeling really down.

'Cuz rain, rain, rain's coming down, down, down
Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain's coming down on the ground.
Rain, rain, rain keeps coming down
Rain, rain, rain.

Whenever it's like this
Always want to
    Pass the buck
But I don't even give...

I'm feeling really...


I'm feeling really
I'm feeling like I'm
    Owing money
But I don't even know anybody

I'm feeling really down (down)

Feeling good, feeling bad, feeling indifferent, I always feel better after hearing this song.  A gem amongst gems, and quite possibly, the song with the best claim to my favourite song ever.

A few days of catchin' up to do

by Mark Zaugg 10. March 2009 20:27

Well, three days to catch up on, anyways.  And since I'm still at work (8:30 at night and I haven't left yet...  Eesh.) 

First, let me start off with Mineral by Buffalo Tom.  Buffalo Tom is one of those bands I knew absolutely nothing whatsoever about until my buddy Todd slid them across my desk.  Worse, it's one of those bands that just stayed in the back of my consciousness until it played by random and I had one of those, "Who ARE these guys?" moments.  Fantastically cool band.  Give 'em a listen. 

Next is an old standby.  "Well," I think to myself as I walk through the doors, "At least I won't have a hard time finding this on youtube.  (The better copy won't let me embed.  Jerks!)  Mmmmm, eightieslicio..  Err..  Nope, sorry.  Never did it for me. 

This mornings I'm shaking my head over thinking, "I'm never going to find this one on youtube." 

Bill Carter, we still love ya big time!

Who am I not?

by Mark Zaugg 8. March 2009 02:17
One of the weird things that's been happening the last few weeks has been the seeming implosion of people's computers around me. 

My philosophy is that people should feel free to use their computers without fear that they'll bust something or screw something up or do their banking on-line and instantly lose their life's savings.  I think you have to be in the stock market to do that still. 

The problem with this is that people get a very disjointed view of what I actually do at work.  I've been having a whole series of piecemeal conversations where I'm trying to explain what I do.

Yes, much of my time is doing updates.  Well, yes, it's sort of like running Windows Update, only more frequently and a whole lot easier.  Yes, I do backups.  Well, no, taking backups is not particularly arduous, but I have to think about what is being backed up, how frequently it's being backed up, and trying to make sure that the important stuff that gets created gets included in the backups.  And testing backups is critical - it's no good having a backup if you can't get the data back after you've had some kind of disaster.  Much of what I do is to try to learn new ways of being more proactive and averting problems in the first place. 

And sure, that's a lot like what I do when I work on someone's home computer.  But the scale is a whole lot different.  I'm never fixing viruses at work - in fact I'm quite annoyed when I have an infected computer.  Okay, I'm royally pissed off, but that's probably because someone did something stupid.  I'm never troubleshooting, say, a video card.  Suspect hardware usually isn't worth trying to salvage in a business environment.  You try to head off issues long before they occur, because inevitably you're going to have the question of "Why doesn't my email come in blue anymore?  All of it comes in as read now!"  You'll have to go try to figure out what changed, what crazy circumstance is different, and what it actually means.

On the other hand, although I can run circles around just about any Windows issue I get, I've been feeling really stressed out about some Linux issues lately.  Mostly I need to spend some time thinking things through and playing on my own hardware and trying to break things and then subsequently fix them.  Time invested means value returned.  Also true for your computer at home. 

I'm pretty good on the server side, but I'm not great and I want to reach that level of greatness.  It's harder with all the cruft getting in the way right now, but time + effort brings accomplishment and I'm really trying not to stress over not knowing everything.

So I'm talking about skill levels with a buddy of mine and we get comparing myself to my guru.  "Hey," I said, "It's not like I'm Trever or anything.  I'm sorta like Trever-in-training."

I get that deadpan look that indicates I've just said something stupid.

"What?  Did you just say you're T.I.T?"

A quick shot across the bow

by Mark Zaugg 4. March 2009 23:17

1.  Ghod, I hate computers. 

2.  Bug and I got on Blinkenlichten today some how.  Blinkenlichten ROCKS.  But looking for the exact reference on Google made me even happier when I noticed the fourth hit.  Check it out with me:  Blinkenlichten Google Search


3.  I'm becoming Bob Dylan whenI'maworkinondacompooherstooLOHNG.  Ghod, I hate computers. 

4.  What the hell day is it?  Yesterday was "In Your Veins" by The Soundtrack of our Lives."  Not really one of my favorites, to be honest, but hey, it's what was playing. 

5.  Today was "Diminishing Returns" by Elizabeth from the Big Rock compilation.  Big Rockin' going on there.  I love it! 

6.  I tracked down Shuffledog (you'll always be Zab to me) today and informed him his site was a spam-infested pile of goo.  I discovered his new blog and this post.  Frankly, I strongly recommend his old blog. 

7.  Kick a computer on your way to bed.  It'll make you feel better.  Unless your name is Cindy.

The Originator

by Mark Zaugg 2. March 2009 22:50

Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley, where you been?
Round the world, gonna go again  

The Originator got his name from a sound that was unlike anything that had come before.  Music doesn't spring from one's head whole, in the end it's all a derivation of what's come before.  But occasionally, what is derived is so novel, so fantastically new that it spawns a whole new course in and of itself. 

Bo Diddley grabbed the blues and dragged it kicking and screaming into "Rock, Rock, Rock and roll."  And we're not kidding, Bo Diddley's sound was extraordinary for it's time and it still stands today as something completely distinctive.  I can't think of anyone else who's ever had a beat named after them.  Bo Diddley's rhythm these days is just a known rhythm - most people my age think "I Want Candy."  Me, I think of a square guitar and a scream of "Hey, Bo Diddley!" or maybe "I'm a Man!"  Yes, I feel 10 feet tall and mighty when that shuffle comes on. 

The only actual album of Bo Diddley that I own is "A Man Amongst Men."  Make no mistake, Bo Diddley is something special and his might and power stayed with him right up near the bitter end.  I saw him live when my Lady-love bought me tickets for my birthday.  It was a night with a legend that will forever stay with me as magical.  Unlike the loser that brands himself a genius or the fool that puts himself above his compatriots, Bo understood that he was presenting something new, timeless, often imitated and never ever equaled.  He was a Man Amongst Men, he had the showmanship when I saw him at 77, and blasted stage presence and style in a show that was special on a thousand levels.

No "Oops! Bo Diddley" that I can find on youtube, so let's go with "Hey, Bo Diddley" and a gracious thank you for creating something special.

I think you've got the wrong band, we don't play that song.

by Mark Zaugg 1. March 2009 10:39

I guess I better cover last Thursday, eh?  How come I only have these entries Monday through Thursday?  Most Fridays I'm driving and listening to the radio.

Max Webster (and indeed pretty much anything released by Kim Mitchell ever since) is one of those marvelously wonderful mysteries of life where some silly, practically nonsensical lyrics overlaid on a solid wall of blasting, throbbing, thumping sound. 

Yeah, just lay down the groove and let the party continue around you.  Ignore that whole bit about "..a guy takes yer buns.."  Huh?  Oh, "..a guy takes a guy."  Err..  Look, I don't care what the lyrics think he says, I know what he actually sang.

Oh dear.

Well, YOU figure it out on your own.

&quot;What, are you STUPID?&quot;

by Mark Zaugg 27. February 2009 07:02

I'm a pretty sympathetic guy, but we've got an issue here.  I read this on my Blackberry on my way home last night and was incensed. 

A couple are out skiing for a romantic weekend away, they get lost, put SOS in the snow, the cops are taking heat for not searching quickly enough, and the wife actually dies.  It's terrible and tragic, but there's a whole lot that has to be asked before we start pillorying the cops.  And I've got absolutely no complaints with turning on a light and watching the cops scurry back into the shadows. 

There are some major flags going up in that story.  It starts off bad enough.  He had to use his skis to fight off wolves.  Wow.  But these weren't ordinary people, they were "experienced skiiers" - some family members were on the national ski team.  Okay, experienced skiier perhaps, but they were pretty bloody stupid along the way. 

He goes into survival mode.  He's an "avid hunter", okay.  They could cut wood and make shelter for themselves.  They survived by eating leaves and drinking river water.  They survived the cold. 

But what were they thinking? 

There's nothing particularly wrong with skiing out of bounds, but you absolutely need to have the skills to be in the back country.  If you haven't heard about the deaths from avalanche this year you have NO business being out there. 

The first night they stayed in Lake Louise. They then drove to the Mountaineer Lodge near Golden at the Kicking Horse Resort, where they spent the night of Feb. 14, police said in statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

The couple checked out of the Mountaineer Lodge on Feb. 15 and went skiing at the resort. Sometime that day they went out of bounds and got lost, police said.

They checked out?  Rule number one:  Tell someone where you're going.  You don't have to be precise, but if you're going skiing near Golden, well, you need to let people know you're going to be at the Kicking Horse Resort and you'll be going to the back country.

Rule number two, if you get lost and you realize you cannot get back, your very first job is to set camp and care for yourself immediately.  My kids understand this, the first thing you do is make shelter, the second thing you do is make a fire.  We go through this each and every time we go camping.  They know when we pull into a camp site, we still put up a tent first and start a fire - or at least collect the fire wood we'll use - before we do anything else at all.

Rule number three, STAY PUT!  SOS in the snow is a good idea, but SOS in the snow with a person huddling at a small fire and a lean-to shelter beside it is much, much better.


I seem to be way in the minority here, but there is no way I can hang the RCMP on this one.  They didn't sit on their hands, they looked for missing people from the resort.  Yes, they should have put a ground search in action, but there's absolutely zero chance that they'd have to do a ground search should they have found the couple huddling beside the SOS.

I'm still waiting on the wolves angle.  They always sound close, if he was fighting them off with his skis, he was in over his head.  Were they approaching his fire?  How well designed was his camp?

This just doesn't sound like a couple well-prepared to be out there in the back country.  They made serious mistakes.  They made it incredibly hard to find them once they were lost.  No, they were not anywhere near experienced enough or prepared enough, nor did they have equipment necessary to go back country skiing.

It's a stupid loss of life, but the stupidity did not start at the search team.

Turn up the radio

by Mark Zaugg 25. February 2009 20:59

I couldn't find the Ennis Sister's "Turn Up the Radio" on youtube.  The best I found was a short sample on their webpage.  (It's the first song on the Ennis Sisters album.)

Maureen, Karen and Teresa Ennis don't really make that saccharine cuddlepop girl rock that I crave, but they have incredible harmonies and really solid songwriting that just settles into the songtrack of my life.  Strangely enough, the Ennis Sisters were in the background and I never really placed them together with the songs until they played BVMC and sang them onstage in front of me.  I'm sure they still think of me as that freaky freak in Calgary. 

A sidenote:  Teresa has since recorded a solo album of her own.  I'm listening to it as I type.  HellojQuery152023106263694353402_1309243846453  Is that Pete Townshend's "Blue, Red and Grey"?  Looks like I have another one my "Must Buy" list.

In actuality, "I'd Never Walk Away" is one of my comfort songs for when I'm feeling crappy and self-absorbed, but not crappy enough or self-absorbed enough to actually blog.  In light of that, I'll post that instead of "Turn Up the Radio" and take a little comfort in hearing it again myself.  I'd never seen the actual video before tonight.  Awww, that's cuddlepop country enough for me!

So turn up the radio!  Well, actually don't.  Radio in Calgary still pretty much sucks.  Then again, radio everywhere pretty much sucks right now, so that's not a particularly uncommon sentiment. 

Commercial radio is a vast and barren wasteland these days.  I gave up on commercial radio back in about 1990.  I remember the moment as if it were only yesterday: 

<Cue waves across your screen as we waver to a flashback.>

A young and handsome Mark Zaugg with a full head of hair is sitting in his DeLorian outside of work waiting for his shift to begin.  (LOOK, it was me, in a rust-bucket of a cow-car, but let's not ruin the image, okay?)  I casually turn on the radio to hear the dulcet tones of Terrence Trent D'Arby singing "Sign Your Name."  No, I will not post a link.  This was on the supposed rock station at the time (yes, I continue to loathe it above all other stations in Clagary..)  "Screw that!" I said as I confidently changed the station (was it still CKIK then?) just in time to hear...  Terrence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name." 

"Awgh!" as I flipped to the AM band.  Sadly, I was tuned to the mighty CKXL which was well into decline by then, which, even more sadly, just started playing Terrence Trent D'Arby, "Sign Your Name."  Quickly I changed over to the top 40 station - whatever did they call CFCN radio back then?  Oh!  AM106 - just in time to hear the end of - and I only wish I could make this crap up - Terrence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name." 

In panic and frustration, I went back to the FM band and went to the soft-rock station.  I may as well have signed my own death warrant.  The same song played more-or-less concurrently on five different stations.  I turned off the radio and swore off shlock ever since.

For the record, it was during that job that I received my introduction to that truest of Canadians, Stompin' Tom Connors, with this song:

That's the precise moment I knew that these were my stomping grounds, too.  Poor Mr. Bug must have had a devil of a time as I swirled down my whirlpool of inanity and insanity.  Oh, who the hell am I kidding?  He actively fomented it.

I've been charting my own course ever since and it takes me down some wild and wonderful paths.  Now, it's not that I don't listen to radio at all - far from it.  I most actively listen to the Mothership, CKUA, and I still flip over to CJSW.  But the newcomer to the list and the one I'm enjoying the most as of late is AVR.  Go figure.  It's eclectic enough at least, dropping an MUFFY-bomb shinazzle just before heading into a soaring ballad, followed up with maybe throat singers or something.  Awesome!

In the meantime, you'll see me bobbing my head along to my iPod and you'll have a rough idea what kind of weird crap I'm actually listening to.


Change is the only constant.

Welcome to the semi-exciting new look, same crappy blogger.

All comments are still moderated, I'll approve everything that isn't spam or offensive.  Agreement with His Dorkasaurus is not necessary.

What has changed is that I don't have 1000 junk accounts clogging up the system that I have to go through one by one.  Yes, you too can set up an account and no longer need to wait for me to notice you posted.  Completely optional.

As always:  Have fun, be respectful.


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