Monthly Archives: November 2005

winter in los angeles

I was traipsing around in open-toed shoes again yesterday. Open toed shoes and a light cotton jacket.

However, I was freezing when I woke up this morning because, unlike back in BC, indoors are rarely heated in L.A. So I guess it’s a tradeoff.

I went out last night to L.A.’s Most Alternative Venue, Spaceland, to see The Subways. Who produced a lot of sound for only having three people, two of which were throwing themselves around stage, and all of whom looked well under the Spaceland entry age of 21. I would have liked to see Living Things, but they went on too late – Silverlake parking regulations dictated that I move my car by 11. I liked “Ahead of the Lions” though, so I was sorry I couldn’t stay awake and keep my car in place long enough for that part of the show.

The Subways, for the record, sound familiar because they have an indie radio single out (“Rock’n’Roll Queen”) as well as a track on “Music From The O.C. Mix 5”. And everyone in the club recognized the latter track, although I’d bet that every single one would deny that’s where they heard it. But the songs are catchy and actually quite good, so I’d recommend pricking one’s ears up when they come on the radio. Even my music snob friend agreed they didn’t suck.

Opening act was Group Sounds, who weren’t bad, but I’m just not a fan of the “post punk” vocal style. It’s the half yelling, half singing method. I will likely never get into that. I did, however, manage to carry on a discussion over it about the meaning of “indie” as a genre term with my friend:

ME: “Remember when ‘indie’ described a label’s status, not the music genre? Back then, you had to describe bands using a mishmash of genres and other bands. Like saying they were kind of rock’n’roll with Fugazi-influenced vocals, or that they were a cross between the Sex Pistols and Franz Ferdinand. Now, you can just say a band is indie and everyone will know what they sound like!”

FRIEND: “You mean that they suck?”

ME: “Probably.”

The band wasn’t anything extraordinary, and they got less extraordinary when I realized that the keyboard player, who had been stripping down over the course of the show, was actually naked. I did not need to see “Sexy Joe”‘s junk, thank you very much.

My boss just walked in so I do have to work. Pity. This is just winter in Los Angeles: time to swap the beach for some more pretentious indie music.


It’s warm in Los Angeles! I was able to start shedding layers tonight as soon as I got home. I’m still running my space heater to take the chill off my room though. Slightly weird to be someplace where the buildings are heated, rather than left to the temperature outside.

Here’s the Flickr album from Saturday though – a walk through Oak Bay, and more photos of the local harbor seal population:

Did I mention how ridiculously cute my pet seals are? Seriously. I went for lunch with my mommy Saturday at the Oak Bay Marina, and fed the seals afterwards. There’s three of them hanging out at the docks these days, eating frozen fish sold to tourists at the gift shop, as well as the scraps thrown to them by the fishermen gutting their catch.

I also caught the Oak Bay High School Band playing Christmas carols in the Village on Saturday morning, which gave me a chance to catch up quickly with my old band teacher. Who cheerfully informed the kids that I was an alumni of the same Saturday morning Victorian throwback they were participating in.

“Jillian, you used to do this carolling, right? How long ago was that?”

“I graduated in 1995, Mr Campbell.”

The kids all got that “wow. we’ll be that old someday!” look on their faces, and then resumed playing “Hark The Herald Angels Sing.” There’s usually ten of them out there playing, one or two of each instrument, playing traditionalist classics like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy To The World” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. My high school band has always been visible in the community though, as part of a strategy to keep the School Arts Program Cutback Wolves away from the doors of our portable building out back of Oak Bay High. I also marched every year in the Oak Bay Tea Party parade, after which the band would perform at the Tea Party itself, and I played at the Remembrance Day ceremony as part of the brass quartet, and I did the carolling in the Village for the ten days before Christmas break. Being in high school band meant almost as much community participation as being in Girl Guides.

Anyways. The harbor seals are still hanging around off the docks. The high school band program hasn’t been axed, like so many others. Oak Bay is pretty much as I left it, an English village recreated in the Pacific Northwest. And I suppose that’s why houses there have gone up $100,000 in price in the last ten years, because not only is there a ridiculous Coast housing bubble, but people want to live there. I was lucky to be born to Oak Bay, and to be able to call it home, but everyone else has to pay half a million dollars to do the same.

I’m off to get a few hours sleep, but it was good to be back. It made me happy. I like having that home to go back to.


I’ve been sleeping for about half the hours I’ve been home so far, and plan to keep that up.

And I also feel about ten times better than I did two days ago when I left Los Angeles.

Actually, I feel more like my old self – whatever that means – than I have for weeks and weeks.

And now I’m going back to sleep while I can.


I just went to see Shopgirl with my mother. Or, as I can’t help but think of it, “LA Story Part Two”. But at least L.A. story was funny, whereas this was just painful in many places. And although I enjoy being the only person in the Victoria theater to be able to identify every single location in the movie (“hey, that’s the Saks 5th five blocks from my Beverly Hills office!”), I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as I expected to.

Perhaps this is because I expect a certain degree of typecasting from Steve Martin, who I idolize solely for The Jerk. Or maybe it’s just because, if it had been written by a regular hack screenwriter, and had had another token older actor in place (Michael Douglas, for example, would have been better suited to the character) it would have just been another psuedo-clever, yet ploddingly boring movie.

Rating: C-, but a B- if you’re from L.A. Like all Steve Martin’s movies, this one also did include a subtext of love letter to Los Angeles. For me and my ex-Angelino mother, that made it more fun – but it still went on far longer, and with more hubris, than was truly necessary.

it’s DARK out there

I woke up this morning, at about 11:30am (nothing like home for a solid 11 hours sleep). My first thought was, “did I sleep through the whole day? is it 4pm aleady?” The light outside is far darker than it is even during an overcast winter day in Los Angeles. I feel like I’m in ([nerd alert!]) Return of the King, when the light starts dimming as Sauron’s power increases.

This is probably just as well, because on the way over on the ferry last night, I was writing a (not for publication) entry about how I do still think about moving back to Vancouver. Quite often, actually. I know that if I did, my life there wouldn’t be much different than it was in 2004 when I left. In fact, it would probably be better, because I’d be moving back with everything I’ve learned in Los Angeles, and with a completely different perspective on Vancouver. And I’d probably have a job much better than Spotted Dog Media – if there’s an agency in Vancouver big enough to hire me.

But that was before I realized – it’s dark, and cold, and rainy here in winter, and I don’t think I’ve learned everything I can out in the Wider World yet, and that was why I left. Too much dark in winter, and not enough to do to keep my mind off of it.

Regardless, I’m still happy to be home. My faithful Golden Retriever is at my door, waiting for me to finish this entry and pet him. My mommy is making Thanksgiving dinner, because I missed Canadian Thanksgiving last month, and she didn’t want me to miss American Thanksgiving by being on the far side of the 49th. And it’s just good to be home with my parents. It’s also good to know that in two days, I’ll be back on the mainland – there’s talk of Fiction for martinis and yam fries on Saturday – because by then I’ll probably be Island’d out, but for now, despite the dark – it’s good to be home.

for shame!

I’m writing a Powerpoint for my freelance job that actually uses the term, “blogosphere”.

But then, as I told the college students at Career Day three weeks ago, “your clients won’t know what the hell buzzwords mean, but they sure love hearing them!”

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a pain that i’m used to :: depeche mode concert recap

I have more work in front of me than I like to think about. I’m still at my day job office and have to get an awful lot done for my night job when I get home to the Shaque.

So what am I doing?

Reliving last night’s Depeche Mode show and writing the recap.

Let’s just say that I have been to some wonderful concerts in my day. But no one does shows like Depeche Mode. There is simply no other group that combines sheer enthusiasm, joy and love of the music and the show, with the despair, pain and longing that Depeche Mode write about. The songs on their own are melancholy, but the songs in concert are indescribable. It’s being able to find pure happiness in the song itself, while still accepting the subject material. The world is a terrible, shallow place, full of heartbreak and pain, misery and hopelessness, but there is still such perfect joy to be had in the music, in the singing, in the expression of those ideas.

Last night’s show was easily one of the best concerts I’ve been to. I’d actually put it on a par with the Exciter tour. Exciter had better visual effects, more creative use of light and shadow and images, but it also had a lot of Exciter in it. “Touring the Angel” had more elaborate props and video screens, and used less shadow and more video, but it also skipped right over what I consider to be Depeche Mode’s weakest album. I’m not a big fan of Exciter, although I love “Dream On” as a single. However I do love “Playing the Angel” as much as I love “Black Celebration” and “Ultra”, and almost as much as “Music for the Masses” and “Songs of Faith & Devotion” (which is my absolute favorite Depeche Mode album, ever), so I was happy to hear the songs live, rather than waiting for them to be over so that the band could go back to singing songs off “Some Great Reward” and “Violator”.

There’s only two bands I’m obsessive about – Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. So, without further ado, let’s get into the show itself. Because I almost flew off the floor a few times during it, and I danced for pure happiness, and I sang and waved my arms in a unified stadium of thousands and thousands of people, and it was just so. fucking. amazing.

Review behind the cut, because it’s longer than the actual show was.

setlist and comments and quotes and happiness, and this is very very long

for those back in BC

Metroblogging Vancouver is now online!

I am a big fan of the keystone site,, so I can hope that its Vancouver cousin attracts as many entertaining bloggers to post about as much random stuff as my local sources do.

Speaking of that though – nafspeak, I totally think you should contact them & ask to blog. It would be a fantastic place for your news posts & quizzes. Ditto mhalachai. I think cracksmurf for shows and events that he’s working, and spadoink should post his photos and observations and sharolyn should just post her musings. All my friends back in Vancouver truly love the city, and are very talented & outgoing people who should be blogging on that site. If only so I know what’s going on for weekends that I’m home.

And on that note, I mass e-mailed a lot of you people today, because I have some time to kill Saturday night and Sunday daytime back in Vancouver. If you are reading this and were NOT on that e-mail, then I forgot, because I’m brain-dead today, and I apologize, and you can comment & tell me what’s happening back home that I can use as an excuse to get off the Island on Saturday.

everything counts in large amounts

I can’t begin to express how absolutely wonderful the Depeche Mode concert was last night. The two hours they were on stage just flew by. It was everything I’d hoped it would be. Two hours of dancing in place and singing along and screaming when I heard the opening notes of “Never Let Me Down” or “I Feel You” or “Enjoy the Silence” (which is ten times better live than any studio version)

More later. Only smartass remark I have to make is, to hell with “Love, Angel, Music, Baby.” The four words that were part of the Depeche Mode set were, “Sex, Pain, Angel, Love.” And they are the only musical artist that can take such sheer joy in singing about that.