Monthly Archives: February 2006

My Hung Jury

Carson, Stacy and Clinton all tout the company line when it comes to this topic. These are televisions fashion gurus and while they may disagree on what would be better to wear on a night out, they all say to use wooden hangers for your clothing.

The idea of why wooden hangers are the preferred choice of closets struck me after I was compelled to go to IKEA yesterday and buy sixteen more wooden hangers. In the last eight months I must have spent over $50 on these hangers but I have no idea why.

People say they are better, but that does not necessarily make it true. But, I went ahead and continued to buy more wooden hangers anyway. Metal hangers not only hold your clothing, they can be made into devices to retrieve your keys when they are locked from the inside or even act as a primitive finglonger.

Wooden hangers are the best for keeping a garment?s shape, especially suits, jackets and other heavy items. They are very sturdy, and since they come in a series to hang suits, jackets, pants, and skirts and blouses, they?ll give you a uniform look. But they take up the most room in your closet, and they?re expensive. Wood solves every problem except maximizing space and minimizing expense. link

Then there was this page which broke down the other types of hangers available (plastic, padded as well as magically enhanced expandable hangers).

I could not find anything to argue against the advantages of wooden hangers on Snopes or elsewhere so there must be some truth to this fashion folklore. In my research I came across a variety of sites devoted to selling hangers, but few had any hard evidence as to why wooden was better.

Then I found this site, which discusses concave versus straight hangers. Be warned, there is another conspiracy brewing where the wooden hangers we have been buying in the last decade will become inferior to their altered curved brethren.

My Team Change

It was only one night, but it feels much worse. This is equivalent to cheating on your significant other. It meant nothing to me but after fourteen years of being loyal I cannot help but feel a little dirty.

What is all this about? Last night I saw the Edmonton / Minnesota game and cheered on the Oilers. When Edmonton potted one in I threw my hands up and joined my brethren at Rexall Place. I went with my boss from work and had great seats right at center ice.

The Edmonton fans have always been known for being loud so it was kind of nice to be cheering along with them, rather than being the odd one in the stands when I cheer for the away team. Edmonton lost 6-3 but not without trying.

The game was over after the first period but the Oilers came close but Minnesota was relentless as they outpaced the Oilers at every aspect of the game.

Going to the game last night reminded me of another curse that I have related to hockey. Although this one is far worse than my Canucks-televised curse and has been going on for nearly a decade. I have never been to an Oiler game where they won.

The six Vancouver games and two non-Vancouver games I have attended have never resulted in a win. There was one tie but the rest have been in the loss column. Since I came through on one of my other curses I will try and watch the next televised Vancouver game and see if I have repaid my debt to the karma police.

Edmonton Oiler fan

My Readings

Over the weekend I finished reading Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk. What more can be said about his writings that I haven’t already said? His books give you a curve ball. You have no idea where the plot is heading and then at the end it all suddenly makes sense.

Palahniuk will give you the ending of a story and then explain how everyone got to that point and always make it interesting. Survivor was a good read and offered a very satirical view point of our society and obsession with finding the “next big thing” or religious fanaticism.

The next book of Palahniuk I have to read is Fight Club, but being a huge fan of the movie I think I will wait a while before I dive into the book. So far Invisible Monsters has been the best read from Palahniuk.

With Palahniuk and Grisham (with the exception of The Chamber) done I have moved onto a book that has been collecting dust on my shelf for several months: State of Fear by Michael Crichton.

It is a longer book, so will probably take a while to go through but should hopefully be a good read. It has been over a year since I last read Crichton (Prey in December “04) so I am a little interested to see what new technological disaster will plague society.

Chuck Palahniuk - Survivor Michael Crichton - State of Fear

I also wrote a PHP script to display the images of the books over to the right and order them by random. It’s a small thing, and should appear no different to the readers but it will make the addition/removal of books a lot easier now. A neat little thing is that it won’t display a link to a post until I’ve finished reading the book – look to State of Fear for that example.

And this is something I do at work anyway; so life imitating art’or something like that.

My Personal 900

Tony Hawk did one back in 1999. And now in 2006 I have joined his ranks.

When Aaron and I went to Banff last month I wanted to go there and back on a single tank of diesel. Sadly it was not in the cards and had to put some extra fuel in close to home. Last night, however, was an unexpected stress test for the fuel consumption of the Jetta.

My readings for mileage left in the tank showed that I had nothing to worry about. My round trip to work was 130km, and it showed 150km remaining. But as I merged onto the Whitemud heading to work the readings dropped dramatically. I played it safe. No major accelerations, did the speed limit and let off the gas where I could.

I got to work no problem, but I was 20km away from my regular gas station and the mileage left in the tank said I had 50km to go before the car became a huge obstacle on the road. I start driving away from work in the evening, on way to begin my expedition and the mileage remaining drops to 40. I hold my breath and continue to do the speed limit on Whitemud. 30. Oh dear, I’m about 8km away, I am sure I can make it.

I roll into Petro-Canada on the south side of Edmonton with over 900km on my trip meter and mileage remaining showing at 20. Just in time!

Personal 900

After I fill up, I am ready to push the limits again:

How Far I Can Go

In other news, the Vancouver/Edmonton game was on CBC last night. I am still avoiding all Canuck broadcasts because of my curse but I decided to tune in before I went to bed, just to check the score. 2-0 Edmonton. Nuts! Wait, Canucks break out, Sedin passes in front’Daniel scores, 2-1 Edmonton. Hmm, interesting development. Before risking anything I decided it best not to watch the third period and hope for the best.

When I awoke I checked the score and it was 3-1 Edmonton. I am not sure what to make of this curse I have with Vancouver, or if Edmonton just has their number but I hope it ends soon because I can’t miss a playoff game.

My Musical History – Redux

After listening to half of U2″s discography, I had to complete the trend by listening to the 1991-2004 time line. It was in the 90″s that I turned into a U2 fan. I became interested in their music late in the decade, and my passion slowly grew until 2001 when it exploded after seeing them live in Calgary.

Because I am a 90″s fan I find that I can relate more to the music from this era, and can remember where I was when I first heard certain songs. There were a few less records released in this time, and perhaps that is why I find there are no “soft-spots’ like there was in the first decade. To me, it was a string of great records after another.

The decade started with Achtung Baby. The band members wanted to go in different musical directions and lead to a lot of conflict while recording this record. Whatever they did, it worked. This stands as the best U2 record in my opinion.

What makes this record so great is that this was meant to be listened to front-to-back, a musical journey that very few artists can do well. The heart ache and intimate lyrics, paired up with raw and new guitar sounds from The Edge put this record years ahead of its time. A lot of fan favorites come from this release, and for good reason. I cannot even pick a favorite, each song has such a deep personal connection to me it would be like picking your favorite child.

Their next record was meant to be an EP, and was recorded while they were touring Achtung Baby – interesting circumstances to record under, but it worked. If viewed on its own, Zooropa appears weird and out of context. Although, when seen as the middle child of Achtung Baby and Pop * its’ release is critical to the musical advancements of the band.

*I am excluding the Passengers side project in my U2 discography session. It was the same members performing, but just under a different name. Similar to The Network and Green Day or Chris Gaines and the two-stepping Garth Brooks. Since it was not a U2 release it should be removed from judgement, although it did follow an important step between Zooropa and Pop.

At first I did not like Zooropa. It was too much of an experiment, but once it grew on me I find myself cranking the volume and having a good time. This is a feel good record with plenty of overlooked songs. Also, The Edge has a whole song to himself in Numb!

Fast forward a few years and this is where I became interested in U2 with the release of Pop, the final step in their alternative musical approach. This was a record I never really appreciated until it was several years old. Songs such as Please are still relevant in today’s society and helps maintain the moody and cynical theme. To me, Pop is one of their best records and is on par with their first three in that I forget how great it is, and how amazing the material is until I listen to it all the way through.

For the sake of being a completest, I also listened to Best Of 1980-1990 and Best Of 1990-2000 not that it offered much to the flow of their history. Although after listening to Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop, the 1980-1990 hits release almost acted as way to say to the fans “Thanks for sticking through our experiment, we will be bringing the rock back in our next record.”

For me, All That You Can’t Leave Behind was my turning point in being a U2 fan. It went from casual to fanatical and it was all because of this record and the Elevation Tour that followed it. This is a near perfect record with the first 10 of 11 tracks being absolutely stunning. This release is a brilliant return to musical form and is highlighted on tracks like Beautiful Day, When I Look At The World or New York. I actually forgot how much I loved this release until I listened to it today (which I went through twice).

To make the records-listened-to count eight from seven I also spun their USA-Target-only release of 7. It was a release that followed All That You Can’t Leave Behind. It contained a few remixes, b-sides and some outtakes from their last studio effort. It is mostly All That You Can’t Leave Behind – Part II, and was followed up by the 1990-2000 hits release. This was somewhat disappointing, not as much material to choose from (no amazing B-Sides CD like the 1980-1990 release had) but did what it was supposed to: increase sales and hype an inevitable U2 release.

And that brings us to the present. I had a lot of expectations for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and all were met. Although I went from enjoying this record to loving it after seeing them on the Vertigo Tour. It is interesting what hearing a song live can do for you. Atomic Bomb is about The Edge on a power trip in the studio, and I enjoyed every part of it. He wore the pants in the creative process of this and it shows.

There are some lyrics in the songs that seemed forced, but there was a lot going on in this record, and when you take a step back the lyrics no longer seem tacky. Some of the ideas for songs come from the bands arrival in New York a month after 9/11, the loss of a Father, political problems resulting in violence, the need for medical advancements as well as religion and faith. Fairly heavy subject matter that is put together in a really complete package.

What more can be said that I have not already said? U2 is my favorite band and hope they continue to put out material and tour for many more years. At the very least they have kept me entertained over the last few days as I listened to all of their material and realized why they are the best.

U2 - 1991-2004