Description 11 - Riding

The last word (finally!) on the Canadian federal election - could that word be "disapprobation" or "glinty-eyed"? - as the iRiver goes behind the cardboard screen for the voting process. Featuring music by Talladega and a fat guy wearing a blue-and-white wig, and how the new government is related to what's in Scott Feschuk's pants.

This is where you click to subscribe like a forward-thinking NDP'er.
This is where you click to download like a want-it-now Conservative.

Associated links:
Wikipedia on the 2006 Canadian Federal Election
Searching for Scott Feschuk in Macleans (Guess the boy will land on his feet...)
[Update, March 23: He's gone into freelance speechwriting! Hire the guy, will ya? And tell him I sent you, so he'll be reeeeally appreciative...oh never mind. Hire him anyway.]
Talladega @ myspace
Olivia Chow and the NDP

Not surprising that my podcast involving politics has the most wind ever. (rimshot!)

If you aren't from Canada or you don't know anything about parliamentary elections, don't worry about this episode going over your head. It's a painfully basic and partially incorrect primer for anyone.

In the time between the election and posting this podcast, Stephen Harper got his back up with the U.S. about who controls what in the Arctic, which was a pleasant surprise. So who knows?

I wasn't always anti-Conservative, mind you. Back in '84 when I was still in high school in Ohio, I watched the Progressive Conservative Convention on the CBC and was fascinated by Brian Mulroney. It was probably that deep, sweet voice of his at the time, I don't know, but I thought his election held such promise. Crazy teenager I was. Then the U.S. free trade thing happened, and I wised up. Somewhere, I'm sure there are Conservatives/Reformers/Alliancers who do not make me want to tell them to just move down south where they really want to be and see what it's really like. Maybe I lead too sheltered a life to come across them.

While I'm not a card-carrying NDP'er, I have two nice stories about those who lead them.

One isn't really a story: my very first 6 Ross party, there I was walking down Ross Street, not sure what I was getting into, and I approached that old house at about midnight. Rock seeping from the woodwork, a crowd smoking on the porch. When I reached that porch, there was Olivia Chow striding out of the house, smiling. And I thought, "wow, Olivia Chow was here; this could be good."

The other story involves her husband Jack Layton, also quite the personage in this town for a while, and lately the leader of the New Democratic Party. Of course, I'd see him around plenty of times over the years, and it was no surprise to see him front and centre in the first balcony at the Massey Hall CBC Rally featured in Description 6. After the show, everyone packed into the basement bar. The Canadian luminaries were dizzying to me. With the preceding show and whatever dumb anbient stuff I got later, I'd used up all the room on my iRiver. Then I happened to find myself in the same group of chatters as Jack Layton. Being the Torontonian I was, I was cool and didn't really say much of anything, but offered a thing or two. I think I may have mentioned the oddity of that night being the first time I'd ever been inside Massey Hall after years of living in Toronto. Layton asked me if I knew about the long history the venue had had with union events like that night's event (though I was more there to support the people than the union of which they were a part). I hadn't, so he gave me an brief and entertaining lecture about that history, going back to the turn of the last century, not long after Massey Hall had been founded. Our group found ourselves one of the last to leave, and the venue workers said their gracious goodbyes and locked the doors behind us as we left. We kept chatting about the importance of the CBC and the city and whatnot walking out on Gould and approaching Yonge. This is where I can't remember whether he piled in with some co-workers into a minivan, or whether he rode his bicycle home. Either one is pretty good. But I remember going on my way thinking what a nice, smart guy he was, and that I hadn't felt like I had been chatting with the leader of a major political party. No flyer that gets slipped under my door, and no tv mudslinging, will ever do that.


Me on CMHP, and an Election Message

Yeah, I'm here again already. Like I sort of mentioned earlier, I was at another of those podcaster meetups last month, which was very enjoyable, and inevitably there was some guy walking around with a snazzy recorder asking questions and taping us. Actually, there were at least two - another was a writer for The Star, probably that ID section. ANYWAY. This one guy Mark chatted with me for a while about my show and podcasting and whatever, and I blathered my head off. Well, Mark put that chat and others with other podcasters on his own podcast, called CMHP Radio. (Ah, radio - will we never let you go?) He sent me a gmail long ago that he'd put my stuff up, but...uh...I'd forgotten the password of my description gmail and couldn't get in it, then since I have my regular gmail and my life has been nuts I sort of let it go until I realised, "Man, I've got that other address on the blog" and finally got into it. So let me be the last to say thanks, Mark.

I've heard it, and fortunately, it did not make me curl up under my desk (plenty of other things to make that happen). I may go so far as to say that in that interview, I am only half as loud and annoying as I was with Dubber and Spoons. So if you're curious about what I'm actually trying to accomplish with this little podcast (because heaven knows I was curious), then head over there and listen to what Mark calls Isr4. Then listen to the more useful interviews with the other people who were at that meetup.

The next podcast is going to be recorded around the time of the federal election here next Monday, so much of what I'm going to say on it will be pretty much after the fact. So this is what I'll say now: PLEASE GO VOTE! PAY SOME FRICKIN' ATTENTION! I'm of the camp who thinks you should vote for whomever will help your riding be a better place to live (Americans, I'll explain ridings later.), because the Prime Minister's going to screw up one way or another whoever he/she is. However, I must add that I'm also of the camp that is scared of Stephen Harper. Well, "scared" is a strong word, but we've learned in the US that just because a guy isn't threatening in a competent way, that doesn't mean he can't do damage worth your fear. Harper should go down where I come from, stay there and leave us alone. But regardless, all Canadians MUST VOTE. Oh, and though I'm not a big Liberal backer, if you haven't checked out Scott Feschuk's Blackberry Blog yet, you have one more week to go and laugh like you're stoned. Even if you're not. Thank you.


Description 10 - Boxing Day in the USA

Celebrating a great Canadian holiday where no one knows what it is, in my hometown. Ancient sounds, torn-down wonderlands and candy bars gone wrong, recorded with the help of the root beer glass mic stand. With cameos by two horses and the University of Pittsburgh Marching Band.

This is where you subscribe for long-term downloading convenience.
This is where you go if you think long-term is for wusses.

Associated links:
Boxing Day at Wikipedia (finally, the real answer...maybe)
Miniature Pinscher
Quaker Steak and Lube
Cadbury's Crunchie Bar
Pitt Talking Bottle Opener!

See, I told you I'd come up with a damn show. :-)

Thanks to Ron, Julie and Gord for putting up with me and my root beer mic stand. Julie thought there'd be nothing worth describing at her place for a podcast - while she had all the new presents, baking, work-type stuff (piles of shirts and associated tour merch, which is her stock and trade), cats indoors and out, and a wall shelf full of model horses. Of course, we didn't cover any of this because we got all fascinated with the Crunchie bars. Perhaps another day.


Another month, huh?

Today I saw Tod Maffin's announcement that he's snazzed up and relaunched Canada Podcasts.ca, so I went over there to see if what was up with my listing. [To review, when I first submitted it, the guys listed the podcast as "Valerie In Toronto" without the "Description" part, I noted this to Ryan at Sounds Sustainable at a meetup, and he sorted it with the editors at the time, although it stayed at the bottom of the alphabetical Ontario list. Tod took over again, and the listing lost its "Description" again.] Sure enough, the listing was the same. But then I noticed that I hadn't updated my feed link to feedburner, for which I can't blame any of those guys. So I was about to change my listing, then I saw the bit about how you have to have at least two episodes up and the most recent has to have been put up in the last 30 days.


I have the same lame-ass excuses I had last time, so for a change of pace, here's some of the stuff I have planned for when I actually get new episodes together.

Speaking of Ryan, at the last meetup, I made fun of him for having hours and hours of material recorded but no new shows for a long while. And so now...I have hours of material recorded but no new shows for a long while. (I'll take my crow with peanut sauce, thank you.)

The first show I'll cobble together (and I started, honest - it's on my work computer) is about spending Boxing Day back home in Ohio, a place that of course does not have Boxing Day, at least not in the official paid-holiday actual-term-for-it sense. It'll have my mom (who's called it "packing day") using an ancient contraption to get her bowling league paperwork done and my best American friends testing out a great Canadian candy bar gone horribly wrong.

Then there's the stuff I recorded in the days following back up here during something I called (and the London Free Press stole the term!) Reunion Tour Week, where the nice people I do a website about, The Pursuit of Happiness, promote their new best-of CD by playing five shows in six days for the first time in eons. I try to explain how I got in this wierd situation, hang out post-show in Waterloo, and do a soundseeing tour of Union Station in Toronto before embarking on a train to the London (ON) New Year's Eve show. (A new excuse for not getting any new episodes out is that I had to finish a photo gallery about the week for the website. See? Here's proof!)

But probably before that TPOH ep., I'll do something about the federal election, which is creeping up fast. As I type this, the latest leaders debate is happening, and I've made a point to ignore it. Not that I'm not interested - I've voted in every election here since they let me - but that debate's not going to tell me anything I don't know. I know who I'm going to vote for, and I know it may not have much effect on who becomes Prime Minister. (For you non-parliamentary countries, I'll try to explain all that when I do this episode.) In the meantime, though, I'd like to direct your attention to an awesome blog that involves the election campaign. One of my favourite smart-ass column writers ever, Scott Feschuk, has been a speechwriter for current PM Paul Martin for the last while, and he's been doing a blog on his Blackberry while he's on the road with his boss and their merry band of Liberals (if there's such a thing). Why it's on the official Liberal Party site I don't know, because it's not very deep on the issues, unless your idea of "the issues" are pranks in the back of the bus, the Marmaduke comic, eating copious amounts of ham and matching wits with the "Conservative Spin-O-Matic 3000 Blogging Supercomputer and Water-Pik." Regardless of your country or political system, this thing is freaking hilarious. So please click here and go read it, and while you catch up on Blog Boy's antics, I'll see if I can get that Boxing Day thing hammered out. Uh, after I sleep. And go to work and have to do all kinds of stuff there's no time for. And sleep.