20 Albums that Changed my Life

The instructions:
Think of 20 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dig into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wasu, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 20 others, including moi. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now?

My note: This was harder than I thought it was going to be, mostly because it’s all off the top of my head. I’m sure I missed some key albums.

1. Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
You know, I JUST got the play on words here! Oh, Billy, you are just so witty. The SP was the first concert I went to as a teenager and it was so great. I wore my SP shirt for years even though my mom hated it. I felt like it “expressed” me.

2. Live – Throwing Copper
My very first CD bought; I bought it before I even had a CD player. That was “back in the day” when BMG was the hot new thing.

3. Tegan and Sara – Under Feet Like Ours
My introduction to indie singer-songwriters. This was from back in the days of Napster!

4. Be Good Tanyas – Blue Horse
I still listen to this album a ridiculous amount. It reminds me of the summer I biked across Canada – definitely a coming-of-age summer in 2001.

5. Veruca Salt – Eight Arms to Hold You
In, like 1997, they opened for BushX or something, but I went for VS. I was a regular on their fan forum for many years after that and made some cool friends from there. I stopped going, though, when there was some drama. I know, I know – internet drama?

6. Metric – Old World Underground Where Are You Now?
Just way too good!

7. The Beatles – The White Album
Arguably one of the best albums of all time.

8. Janis Joplin – Pearl (with Full Tilt Boogie)
My dad was a huge Janis fan and we both still love her. I believe my middle name to be a tribute to both this woman and my aunt who passed away just before I was born. I feel a spiritual connection to both of these women because of this.

9. Feist – The Reminder
This album is so good that sometimes it’s hard to listen to!

10. Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope
This album really does give me hope for the future of the world. If music this amazing can be created, then the world can surely be salvaged.

11. Arcarde Fire – Funeral
Easily my most spun album from 2004 – present. Even though I still listen to it all the time I think to myself every time, “This is such a good album!”

12. Stars – Set Yourself on Fire
So sappy and great.

13. The Black Keys – Magic Potion
It just kicks me in the pants every time I hear it!

14. Jann Arden – Living Under June
This album had “Good Mother” on it, which meant a lot to me when this album came out because my mom was undergoing treatment for cancer that summer.

15. Beck – Odelay
There really is no explanation for this album. It speaks for itself.

16. Radiohead – OK Computer
It was hard to pick just one from Radiohead.

17. Elliott Smith – Figure 8
There is nothing like listening to Elliott when you’re feeling really depressed. Especially, now that we can even be sad because he’s not around to make the beautiful music anymore.

18. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
How is it possible that this album gets so much radio play on mainstream radio and is so amazing at the same time.

19. Travis – The Invisible Band
I listened to this album on my walkman in 2001 almost every day when I biked across Canada.

20. Blitzen Trapper – Furr
My top album of 2008.

A Recipe for Awesome: music, book launch, and beer

Tonight in the loft of a local pub in Saskatoon called Lydia’s, there is going to be a great event happening. Turning the Tide bookstore is launching a book by a semi-local artist named Jan Guenther Braun (she’s from Osler). It is a story about a homosexual girl in a Mennonite community. Seemingly, it is a story about adventures and coming-of-age. All the while, an amazing musical talent will be playing as well! Kirby Criddle is going to play some of her sweet music to woo us all. This will be my first time listening to this awesome talent and wonderful person live. If any of you are in Saskatoon, come out and support all this local talent and a great bookstore that is helping to make it all happen!

V-day

Today is the day of one of my least favorite holidays: Valentine’s Day. It is a day around which hearts, roses, pink and related colours, and unethical chocolate makes its seemingly unending presence in stores, streets, and everywhere one looks. There are endless gifts and gadgets to buy your loved one to show them that you really care by purchasing “the perfect gift.”

I think I dislike Valentine’s Day mostly because of its high-pressure nature. I feel sorry for people who can’t show their love and affection for 364 days the way that they are “supposed” to show their love and affection on this day. I like to show my love and affection for the people in my life a more even amount. Actually, I think birthdays are a perfect time to show someone just how much they mean to you. As a Leo, I truly love my birthday. Plus, it’s your day (and anyone else born on the same day) and is special just for that.

What I also dislike about V-day is that it really causes a lot of people sadness. This is also a big reason why I don’t like Christmas or New Year’s Eve either (I’m more a fan of the shoulder-season holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving). Any holiday that is so high-pressure to make people feel a certain way (ie. in love) creates a lot of disappointment and lackluster attempts to make it happen. Tonight I went to dinner with some friends and many of the couples at the restaurant looked fairly unhappy. I remember being in an unhappy couple and “having” to go for supper with my significant other on Valentine’s Day because that’s just what we had to do. It was not so much fun. Now I treat it like any other day, even when in a couple relationship. Although, I have to admit that I bought a sad, dying V-Day cyclamen for myself at the store today because it was discounted and I wanted to see if I could revive it.

Today I looked up the history of “Saint Valentine,” who this day is named after. Apparently, there was not one Saint Valentine, but many. February 14th was actually a Christian holiday about some “saints” (yeah, I doubt that) and their feast. I thought it was strange that there was no talk about love or romance. Here is a blurb from Wikipedia about Saint Valentine:

Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name “Valentine”, derived from valens (worthy), was popular in late antiquity. Of the Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14, nothing is known except his name and that he was buried at the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14.

In 1969, the Catholic church stopped recognizing it as a holiday. I guess that’s when Hallmark and Nestle thought it would be a fantastic idea to take it over. I can’t help but wonder if they realized that it is actually a pagan holiday. According to About.com:

The Romans celebrated a holiday on February 14th to honor Juno Fructifier, Queen of the Roman gods and goddesses as well as goddess of marriage. In one ritual, women would submit their names to a common box and men would each draw one out. These two would be a couple for the duration of the festival (and at times for the entire following year). Both rituals were designed to promote not only fertility, but also life generally….

In 469, emperor Gelasius declared February 14th a holy day in honor of Valentinus instead of the pagan god Lupercus. This allowed Christianity to take over some of the celebrations of love and fertility which had perviously occurred in the context of paganism. Pagan celebrations were reworked to fit the martyr theme — Christianity did not approve of rituals that encouraged sexuality. Instead of pulling girls’ names from boxes, both boys and girls chose the names of martyred saints from a box.

At some point, the holiday went back to being about love and voila! it became the commercial holiday it is today. I think I’ll just stick to loving the people in my life on my own time, at my own intensity with no expectations of anyone. Actually, today, I have shown a lot of love to myself and I cuddled with my puppy. Happy V-day, to QuirkyAlone me!