April, 2009

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appendix (to the last post, not the one that gets appendicitis)

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

MP3 – in case you’re like me and have youtube blocked on your server.
SITE – MP3 is housed on with more fanfare information and a RealAudio option.

Am I done obsessing?  Probably not.

Three-note chime… or UNIVERSE’s biggest coincidence? You decide.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Lean in close to your screens, folks… and stick with me.  This is crazy to me!  No.  It’s C.R.A.Z.Y. to me *groan*!  Insane!

Leaning in?  We’re embarking on something big.  A secret of the underground.  A secret of the Montreal underground, to be exact so if there were ever a chance of my interest and enthusiasm rubbing off on this blog, this would be the chance.

First: ask yourself if you have been on the Montreal Metro (translation: subway).  Then: ask yourself if you have ever been on with me.

If you can answer yes to either, we probably haven’t lost you.  If you can’t, I hope you’re still along for the ride.

*Oh man this is big!*

If you have ever taken the Metro with me, guaranteed, I have pointed out to you the super-unique three note chime that occurs as the trains depart each station.  The chime can be heard inside the train, and in the station.  There’s a pretty good chance you could ride the train your whole life, though, and not consciously hear it because, in a way, you really have to be listening above the other noises, and because it occurs once the train is already in motion and has departed.

Every single time I’m in Montreal and think to listen, I feel super nostalgic because the chime kind of matches the whole feel of the Metro, and of Montreal, and of the accompanying colour scheme.  I noticed it my very first visit and I hear it best on the Yellow line.  Here, I’ve found it for you, you’ll have to strain your ears but you can here it.  If you’ve been, it’ll sound familiar.

Now.  Listen to this.  What’s this, you ask?  It’s a symphony.  Don’t listen to the whole thing… that would bore you.  Just listen to, oh, the first three notes.  (you’ll have to make it through a drumming intro too).  It’s called Fanfare for the Common Man.

AND the aforementioned fanfare was one of the MAIN THEME’s of Montreal’s Expo ’67.
So what?  haha, I can hear your inner dialogue now.

You’re thinking the same thing I am (or nothing at all, which is fine too):
The metro used the fanfare.
(or, the only other logical conclusion, the fanfare used the metro sequence).

So what?  But no.  That’s not the case at all.

I don’t know what inspired me to Google it tonight, but I did AND the chime is made by the sound of a piece of equipment called a peak chopper.  It is used to power up the motors on the train in stages, to prevent a power surge.
*Shut the heck up!*  A city, Montreal, has an underground system that COUNTLESS times EVERY SINGLE DAY makes this unique sound that matches the theme song of one this place’s defining moments… and the two are completely unrelated, coincidental events?!  My brain can not comprehend that.

I really, really think.  Either the composer (even unaware) heard this sequence from such a machine, or there was some choice involved in which sounds the machine produced.  Someone, somewhere, must have created this somehow.

Okay, you don’t care.

BUT if you ever find yourself in the world’s best city…  I bet next time you listen!  😉

It’s kind of an intriguing piece of information… and it certainly is an intriguing underground space!

We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came…

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

…one of thousands of lessons during this substantial week.

[here, you might have to wait awhile before it comes up and you can listen]

“♫♪…and go round and round and round in the circle game.♪♫”  Hopefully, all the while, living life big, taking it all in, and enjoying as much of it as possible.

Questioning the essence of film?

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

dvb, eyes coy: Did you see “Yellow movie”?me, eyes scanning for punchline: No, was it further back?

dvb, eyes still coy and now glad I’m biting: Ya, I’ll show you.

We’re in MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, on the floor with art SO modern it verges on the insane.  Floor 2.

We walk back a bit, to the entrance of this floor’s main exhibition.

I’m looking for an “out” from the installment I’m viewing anyways.

dvb, pointing to a sloppily painted thick black rectangle on poster paper painted white: this is Yellow Movie.me: oh.  (hmmm…).  I did see it then, I just walked past.

dvb, extending the already awkward pause: did you listen to the description [on your free audio tour]?

me: no.dvb, smirking, waiting for my reaction once I do listen, as he does now know I will listen: listen and I’ll listen again too.

I key the appropriate number into my walkman, take a pensive step back thinking that’s what one should do, and begin listening.

“Yellow Movie” it turns out is a film.  No, the paper isn’t anything technical.  Either is the paint.  In fact, quite the opposite.  The paint is cheap white paint, that will–over time–turn yellow.  See?  And so, it’s a film… questioning definitions of time, film, art, the works?  If you stayed and watched long enough, the film takes up space and time.

At least, according to the artist… who even talks with a voice expectedly arty.

dvb, upon my recognition and hesitant eye-roll (an eye-roll wanting slightly to buy-in and applaud the originality): Yellow.  Movie.  (followed by the famous hmmmm-hmm-hmm laugh)

me:  you’re an idiot.  Yet another artist who is his own biggest fan.  Well, I have to say… it’s better tha Wolf Eating Deer in Plain White Room.

But, dvb and the museum sum up [one of] the secret[s] of life: the more you know about something the more you can enjoy it, and appreciate it, and mentally take it on.  The taking of the time to understand is all part of the pleasure.  Whether art, a city, music, a topic, food, …anything.

Taking the time might mean taking an entire night class, an entire degree, or an entire few minutes to listen along to someone trying to give a jist.

Now, in the whole entire museum-slash-city I was probably the least aware of any art presented at MoMA and most ill-equipped to fully appreciate any of it, or comment on it, or savour it.  But between dvb and the Free Audio Guide, I got more than I bargained for.  Never a bad thing.

And with that, what I take away from the whole experience, or at least this segment….

I hope I’m the Free Audio Guide to at least part of my students’ experiences:
I really am starting to, conveniently as a Teacher, think education is the cure to everything.  And now after New York:
…and if not the cure, a significant part of the enjoyment of everything.

I guess that’s what I want out of my students inevitably… many cures, and much enjoyment.

…and what I want

of myself.  =)

You haven’t REALLY seen Y unless you’ve seen XY.

Monday, April 6th, 2009

I didn’t really know what to expect from New York City prior to going.  I had never been, my pop culture references were expectantly fictional, and everyone’s personal accounts upon hearing I was going were as varied as the people offering them.

The common thread among New York City advice was you haven’t really seen __ unless you’ve seen this __, this way.

Examples:  You haven’t really experienced Chicago unless you’ve seen it live, on broadway.  You can’t really picture Times Square unless you’re right there standing in the middle of it. Oh ya that’s a nice Abercrombie/Apple Store/Barney’s/etc…. but NOTHING compared to the Fifth Avenue one.

And now, that’s all I’d have to offer a first time goer too.  You have to go.  That’s it.  To experience NYC, you have to be there.  You can’t read about it.  You can’t Wikipedia it.  You can’t watch it on TV.  You can’t even really try to compare it to any city you’ve been (at least that I know of).

I’m sure other cities fit the same category: Paris.  London.  Tokyo.  The superpowers.

With New York:
How safe it feels, how busy it is, how money-centred it’s designed, how American it is AND how American it isn’t, how art and artists and performance and voice are everywhere… all of it, is meant to be felt and experienced, if you’ve ever even remotely considered it.

My usual post-trip F.A.Q. (composed of Q.’s never, let alone frequently, asked) will be comprised once I sit down with my ticket stubs and iPhoto pictures.  In the meantime, I offer my take on what many MUST have also experienced, an exciting tremor of insignificance amongst millions not unlike the sensation of looking up at the stars on a clear night and realizing the vastness of everything else out there.

You haven’t really felt small (and inside a taxi amongst trillions of others) unless you’ve felt small in the craziness of New York City.

[You also probably haven’t experienced a city so dead set on inspiring you creatively, unless you’ve been to New York City… although our very own Montreal comes pretty darn close!].

The universe just called…

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

…and it asked me to start close in.

(an NYC trip post is coming soon, I promise.)
(a Honda Fit post is coming soon, I promise.)
(a University of Lethbridge M.Ed. in Information Technology post is coming soon, I promise.)

Seems like we’re in a phasechange, and a substantial, expensive, evolutionary one at that.