blarg?

From here, with hotlinks added:

Peacefully in his sleep on May 9, 2007 at age 32 in Hiroshima, Japan. Treasured son of Ms. Carol Hamilton and Dr. Ronald P. Hamilton. Brother of Ben Hamilton of Toronto. Step-son to Judith Courrier and step-brother to Heather Emond. Fondly remembered by his family in Canada, Aunts and Uncles and many cousins in the United States, and his many close friends in Canada and Japan. Nick attended Ashbury College Junior School, Lisgar Collegiate (’94), and received a B.A. (Hons.) in English and Classics and an M.A. in Canadian Studies from Trent University. He was living his dream as a teacher of English Language to students at Hiroshima University and teaching adult EFL with the David English House. His friends knew that if he couldn’t be found at home, you would usually find him in a park, on a bench with a book. His ashes will be placed in a bench under the trees of Poet’s Hill, Beechwood Cemetery. Memorial to take place on Saturday, June 2 and 1:00 p.m. at the Beechwood Cemetery Reception Centre, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa. A reception was held in Hiroshima on May 17 where he was remembered by his friends and co-workers in Japan. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation would be Nick’s wish.

I’m compiling a small collection of music; stuff Nick liked or that reminds me of, and would appreciate suggestions.

Side A:

  • Bad To The Bone
  • She Sells Sanctuary / Fire Woman
  • Savoy
  • Bottle Of Smoke
  • 500 Miles
  • Friends
  • Stand On It
  • King Of Spain
  • If I Should Fall From Grace With God
  • It’s Saturday Night
  • Midnight Blues

Side B:

  • Feeding Frenzy
  • Tall Grass
  • Rain
  • Change For The Better
  • Spiderman
  • Locked In The Trunk Of A Car
  • Gimme The Prize
  • Far Beyond The Sun
  • Righteous
  • What I Like About You
  • Voulez-Vous

Ok, the beachhead is secure.

If you’re interested in helping us move, we’d be grateful for your company. How grateful, you ask? Beer-and-pizza grateful, that how!

We’re going to get this ball rolling at 2:00 on Saturday afternoon May 19th, starting here just around back of the corner of Queen and Greenwood, right behind a place called “The Film Buff”. We’re in the “rear unit” of the place, so you’ve got to drive about twenty yards north on Greenwood and then around to the lane behind the storefront. Parking can be a little dicey, but if you drive in around back you’ll probably find a place to lay up. We won’t be there long anyway!

We’re going to ferrying back and forth between there and the new place, a cold and windburned fortress crouched dark and ponderous upon its craggy summit all of about twelve blocks away. It won’t look cold, windburned or craggy at first, you understand; it’s one of those Magic Eye things – you just have to stare at it until your eyes unfocus, and after a while you’ll feel cold, craggy and windburned. For fullest effect, you should start staring at about two in the afternoon; by about three in the morning, the whole “cold and craggy” thing, well, it’ll really jump out at you.

So while that one lonely, haggard wierdo is standing across the street, swaying back and forth with determinedly unfocussed eyes, the rest of us will be inside, noisily consummating the aforementioned labor-for-pizza-and-beer agreement and, one presumes, totally screwing up our haggard wierdo’s focal depth.

So all hands on deck, party people. If this is anything like our previous moves, it will involve a lot of people, a generous helping of dinner-thanks and a shockingly nominal amount of actual effort. But this will be our last move for the foreseeable future and as such is not to be missed; you should consider the return on your investment investment of effort here to be totally worth your while. Tell me you’re coming, however you like; I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Update: It has come to my attention that I’ve once again scheduled a move during a Senators playoff game. You should all know that I feel very bad about that.

Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays.

To recap:

  • I found out about Nick.
  • Arlene and I signed the last of the paperwork for our new house.
  • I signed up for a big new job, with hugely expanded responsibilities.
  • I’ve been asked to be the godfather of Chris & Darcy’s coming son, and
  • I’m recovering from a mild bout of food poisoning.

All of that has happened between Sunday evening and now.

If all of you could arrange to have nothing bad, and possibly nothing of any real consequence at all, happen to you until sometime next week, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Nick Hamilton died last week in his sleep of an apparent heart failure; his family is in Japan now, sorting out his affairs with Mika and Luke’s help.

At this point it is expected that his family will be returning to Ottawa with his ashes within the week, and that a remembrance ceremony will be held sometime in the weeks following; this is not confirmed.

Update, from Mika:

For those of you whom wish to do so, the family would appreciate donations in memory of Nick to be made to the Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre Foundation as is requested in his will. Ben will be setting up a formal fund through Enbridge where he works, so please stay tuned for more detailed instructions.”

Update 2: Pictures of Nick.

This entry will be updated with more information as I receive it; comments are closed.

With regard to things pop-culturesque, I’m usually about five years behind the curve. It works out great if retro is in, I’m on the bleeding edge for the whole ride, but the rest of the time I’m just kind of out of touch.The practical upshot of that is that if I’ve stumbled across something great, I usually just assume that the entire planet already knows about it and move on; otherwise I get into these awkward conversations that aren’t quite about how pneumatic tubes are going to put the Pony Express out of business, and I’m really thinking of investing in plastics, those young men at the bakelite plant are doing some very clever things, but they’re close enough that it makes no appreciable difference.

Variations on a theme, if you would. Perhaps one might call it a “fugue”. I hear they’re going to be the next big thing.

Anyway, here’s this thing I know about that I think you should know about too; if you happen to be in the market for music that will have you tapping your foot, nodding your head and grinning like a fool the entire time, boy, do I have what you need. I’ve been listening to nothing but The Epoxies for the last two days, and if I go another forty-eight hours I’m definitely going to sprain my face.

They have two albums and one EP out, and to my ear there’s not a soft spot in the bunch. That said, “Synthesized”, “This Day” and “Everything Looks Beautiful On Video” are, I should tell you, particularly sweet.

Their website is right here, and if you root around in it you’ll be able to find some videos of their songs, including the aforementioned Synthesized; you should definitely fill your intertubes with that last one right away.

So there you go. Here I am on the cutting edge of obscure indie pop-culture retrofuturism, and I have no idea what to wear.

Have a good weekend, internets!

A conversation from work:

“So, when do you move into the new house?”

“We take possession next Tuesday. I’m pretty stoked about it.”

“It’s exciting.”

“Yeah. We’ve got an ongoing mouse problem at our apartment, so we’ve got a lot of incentive to move in.”

“Well, it could be worse. It could be rats.”

“True! Could be skunks!”

“Yeah, or terrorists.”

“I think I’d prefer skunks to terrorists. You can’t try and reason with a skunk, and you don’t have to bathe in tomato juice if things go bad.”

“Unless they’re terrorists with stink bombs.”

“That’s true. Boy, this is a dangerous world.”

“Sure is.”

“Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.” – Thomas Szasz

“It’s not paranoia when they’re actually out to get you. It’s right thinking.” – Kim Martin

In Ottawa South near Bank and Hunt Club you’ll find the South Keys Mall, a wide slab of black asphalt and off-white facade that is, apart from the vague resemblance to an office-building washroom all malls seem to share, completely unremarkable. Drive a ways west of Ottawa to Kanata and take the right Queensway exit, and you’ll find yourself in a mall that is almost identical to the one in South Keys; there are some minor differences in the layout, but they’re so minor that you need to look long and hard to see them, and it’s a mall, so you really don’t want to point it directly at your eyes, so just take my word for it.

If you should find yourself in the outer western reaches of Kingston, you might find yourself facing an imposing field of parking lot braced on both sides by ugly white stucco; in the east end of Toronto, you’ll be able to find exactly the same thing; same parking lot, same miserable little trees, same stores in the same general, not-quite-the-same layout.

They’re horrifying.

Even on good days I feel like I’m holding on to my sanity with two fingers, and if any one thing in the world is going to stomp its heel down on that grip it’s going to be these clone malls. They’re wierd, creepy and frightening, and whenever I stumble into one it always takes me a minute to figure out where I am and what part of my life I’ve woken up in; the opposite of cognitive dissonance, a too-strong resonance, like an opera singer who’s got it in for a wine glass.

Stumbling into a clone mall unprepared is like being dropped into a crappy Pottery-Barn-sponsored remake of Dark City. I can feel my brain smoothing it’s wrinkles out, minimizing the surface area exposed to attack, and my limbic system starts pulling every rank it can grab, screaming panicked gibberish at my forebrain. Damage report! What city are we in now? Kingston? Ottawa? What year is this? Red alert! Set phasers to kill and monkeys to twelve!

Then my newly-smoothed brain starts scraping the environment for clues. Shut up, limbic system! Dial down those monkeys! Ok, so what’s my situation? Let’s see, I think I know who I am, I’m wearing a ring, so I’m married… it’s summertime… I think that means it’s at least 2007. That woman over there, that’s Arlene, she’s my wife, that’s good… Shut up, limbic system! Christ! Now where am I? I think I was in Toronto a few minutes ago. This looks like Kingston? Limbic system: shut up! This is not “Truman’s World All Over Again”! Ok, it’s a little different. Reused plans. We’re still in Toronto. OK, good. Clone mall, don’t panic, it’s unfortunate but that happens sometimes. Dewrinkle, brain, I’m going to need you in a minute, or I’ll end up spending money in a megamall, and we can’t have that. Jeebus. OK. Deep breath, let’s all calm down and find me a coffee. Work with me here, limbic system, I want to enjoy it. Find me a parking spot, limbs.

That’s about two minutes of internal dialogue, right there. I don’t think I even have a fight-or-flight response left anymore; it’s all sulk-or-surrealism now. Let me tell you, my wife loves me at times like these. Absolute, unfettered love. It’s amazing that she hasn’t hit me with a brick yet.

As a public service, I am here today to inform you that if you have never heard the Electric Church recording of Jimi Hendrix’s classic “Red House”, from the Blues album, you are strongy advised to obtain and listen to it immediately.

It is blues-guitar heroin.

Thank you for your attention in this matter, please go about your day.

I want you to:

  1. Search your drive for MP3s.

  2. Sort them by date, oldest first, and
  3. List the first five.

Mine are:

U2 – “Staring At The Sun” – 10/06/97
Reel Big Fish – “Beer” – 05/06/99
Expansion Union – “Playing With Lighting” – 06/27/99
Live – “Voodoo Lady” – 10/06/99
Cop Shoot Cop – “3 AM Incident” – 11/01/99

…with Ben Harper, Stereo MC and INXS narrowly missing the cut.

Tell me yours.