I Got the No Pussy Blues!

Sharon and I saw Grinderman, Nick Cave’s side band, at the Commodore on Friday night. Nick Cave hasn’t played Vancouver since 1994 when he walked off stage at the Lollapalooza show after someone in the audience hit him with a thrown shoe.

It was an epic, sweaty, frenzied show and I agree with the Georgia Straight’s headline, “Grinderman gives Vancouver a religious experience.”

Only one more show left: the Mint Records Ridiculously Early Xmas Party at the Biltmore next Friday. Then I’m done shows for the year and quite possibly for quite a while after that.

I’ve been chilling at home with Sharon this weekend. We saw The Social Network last night (that’s the film about the Facebook guy). Tonight I made some apple pie and some pizzas.

Kill Your Mail!

I’ve been slowly moving towards a minimalist lifestyle. One of the things I’ve recently undertaken is to eliminate all mail that comes into my mailbox, with the only exceptions being my mortgage statements and my subscription to BC Business magazine. I don’t have time to wade through all that other crap!

Here’s a brief rundown of what I did for anyone who values their time and focus:

  1. I told Canada Post to stop delivering unaddressed bulk mail (a.k.a. junk mail). I simply put a note in my mailbox and the next day the Canada Post person had stuck a small red sticker inside. No more junk mail! See the Red Dot Campaign website for more details.
  2. I moved all my bills to ePost so they get delivered electronically. I also took the opportunity to sign up with all my utility companies and set up automated bill payments. I no longer have to worry about forgetting to pay a bill.
  3. I set my banking preferences to “electronic delivery.” Unfortunately RBC hasn’t sorted out how to deliver my RRSP and TFSA updates electronically yet so I’m stuck with quarterly reports being mailed to me. Not the end of the world and I’m sure one day they’ll have that ironed out.
  4. Steps 1, 2, & 3 took care of most of the mail coming in. There were still a few companies that were sending me stuff: Sears catalog, the BCAA magazine, and the occasional marketing piece addressed to “occupant” or “home owner.” For these items I’ve had to contact the senders individually to get myself off their mailing list. I usually tell them I’m doing this to “minimize my environmental impact”, which is true although I’m mostly doing it because I don’t want to have my time wasted.

Most days I don’t have anything in my mailbox, which I love. I’m still working through the occasional marketing piece from step 4, but I should have those all taken care of by the time the new year rolls in. It means one less thing I have to deal with every day.

No Beer Until the New Year (and No Meat Anymore)

For the past several years I’ve been playing with the idea of going vegetarian. There’s a bunch of heath benefits and I’ve never been interested in cooking meat at home anyway. Sharon’s a vegetarian so it seemed like an opportune time for me to cut out the few pieces of meat that I occasionally eat too. I’m about a month in now. There’s been a couple of meat dishes in there when I was out and couldn’t find non-veggie options, but whatever, I’m basically a vegetable chewing hippie now.

I’m also trying to shed another inch of fat. In 2007 my weight had crept up to 185 lbs and I was having to buy 34″ waistline jeans. During the summer of 2008 I got my fattening ass into the gym and worked myself down to 175lbs and a 33″ waist. I’ve held steady there ever since but now I want to drop back to a 32″ waist, which is where I was back in 2003ish when I was more active.

So how do I get back to that size? After going through a running/gym phase last spring without any weight change it’s become clear that I’m going to have to improve my diet and cut back my calorie intake. Ditching meat, fatty foods, and beer should do it. In the past month I’ve done exactly that and it’s been pretty painless. I don’t eat out as much and the food I make at home is healthier than anything I could get anywhere else anyway.

The bonus to not eating out? I’m saving cash! I have a Google spreadsheet where I track all my expenses and I’m on target for the cheapest month I’ve had all year! Not buying concert tickets (save for the 2 x $12 tickets to the Mint Records Xmas Party on Dec 3) has helped out a bunch too.

Given my activity level has ramped up (2 x gym visits + 3 x runs every week) again I don’t really feel like drinking beer anyway. Not that I was some outrageous beer-guzzling monster (despite photos that suggest otherwise).

Carolyn Mark, The Evaporators, and Geoff Berner

Mint is putting on a “ridiculously early Christmas party” on Friday Dec 3 at the Biltmore. Acts include The Evaporators, Carolyn Mark, Geoff Berner, and Laura Barrett (that’s the girl who sings the Robot Ponies song). I know I said I wasn’t going to go to anymore shows but this is a great lineup and is only $12!

Anyone interested? This is going to be one awesome show! I’m picking up tickets from Red Cat tomorrow.

Better get your pocket-protectors out!

I’ve started a separate blog to talk about software stuff: software.darrenthetiger.com. If you’re not a software developer then it’s doubtful you’ll find it at all interesting. It’s just there to let me talk about geek stuff without my non-geek friends having to wade through posts about Ruby, Agile, and other nerdly pursuits.

In other news I only have one more concert until I’m officially done shows for the year! Grinderman, Nick Cave’s other band, is playing the Commodore next Friday.

November has been a relatively quiet month. I’ve been cooking lots, spending time with Sharon, and getting heavily into my nerdly activities like Ruby on Rails. There’s also been some fantastic software talks in town. I won’t bore you with the details of those though. See the new blog if you’re interested.

Dan Mangan, The Burning Hell, and The Crackling

Saw three really great bands tonight. Dan Mangan was headlining at the Vogue and his backing band are also in a band called The Crackling, who were cool to watch. Bah, having a tough time finding words to describe. Am tired. Anyhow, The Crackling is fronted by Dan’s drummer and Dan actually hopped on drums for them during one song.

The Burning Hell went on next. They’re from Ontario and are fronted by this quirky dude who plays ukulele. Again, hard to describe so I’ll steal words from their website: “The essence of The Burning Hell is music to dance to while laughing about death, music you can sing along to while smiling out of the side of your mouth, knowing that while the end may be near, the bar is still open.”

Sharon is a big fan of Dan Mangan, who is a local artist. He’s sold out 2 nights at the Vogue so he’s popular but not someone I’ve listened to. I’ll have to check some more out because his music is really good! He knows how to build a song into a small explosion and then bring it back down to a soft acoustic tune.

I’m very tired so I’m quitting writing this now.

Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me

Saw The Trews acoustic show at the Vogue tonight. Didn’t realize they wrote a pile of hit songs. Sharon’s a big fan and this was her 7th show or something. Band rocked, even though they were acoustic. Stuck in some covers in the middle of a couple of songs. My favorite was their cover of Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks. They did 2 sets, the first with the regular band and the second with the Tim Chaisson, who opened the show, and a couple of other players. The second set was more diverse since they had Tim on the fiddle and this big bearded dude on accordion. Enjoyed both sets!

Last weekend’s band (I say this because we seem to be going to a show every week) was the Paper Lions and Bend Sinister. I forget the name of the headliner, but we were there to see the Paper Lions who’ve put out a new EP that’s destined to become one of my most listened to this fall. Bend Sinister is a local band who sound a little like Supertramp, but way, way better. I don’t like Supertramp but these guys were fantastic. I got their new EP as well and it’s been played heavily ever since. Paper Lions were great to see again (they had previously opened for the Electric Six show we saw earlier this year) too.

What was fun about the Paper Lions show was it was the last stop on the tour for the 3 bands so they were all hopping on stage with one another while the crowd got pretty wild. It was at the university bar so there was more people having a good time than you see at most Vancouver shows.

And now, I sleep.