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Reading oneself. Walt Whitman. Ginsberg. America.

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I’ve been reading old posts this past week, which is kind of embarrassing.  I try so hard to write with a dramatic flair but it always goes over like a lead balloon.  I know that each person is their own worst critic and that blog posts will *always* suffer from that little time invested in editing and revision, but it’s still hard on the system.

am i being too hard on myself?  definitely.  will i stop being hard on myself?  nope.

i leave you with a great poem:  Ginsberg’s A Supermarket in California.  I’ve cited it once or twice in the past, so you may have seen me post this clip before.  It came to mind yesterday after a great conversation I had with the new is the true about america.

Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher

What America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and

You got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


Written by mitchellirons

September 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Icelandic Music to knock your socks off.

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If ever you get to fly Icelandair, make sure you bring some decent headphones with you.  The air carrier has an excellent in-cabin radio system with a large number of stations to listen to.  One was an “Icelandic Music” sampler.  On the flight home, I wrote down most of the songs and gave the quickest of ratings to them.

[Beware!  This image is HUGE!]

Here’s a list of the bands with my notes:

  • Band: Ampop
  • Song: January
  • Album: Made for..
  • My Notes: MNML.  Check it out.  3 1/2 stars
  • Band: Apparat Organ
  • Song:?
  • Album: Apparat Organ
  • My Notes: Atmosphere.  [legomen]  check it.  4 stars.
  • []
  • Band: Blindfold
  • Song: Falleg Depuro
  • Album: Faking Dreams
  • My Notes:Like Boards of Canafa meets John Lemain’s pop group.  meh. 2 stars
  • Band: Bloodgroup
  • Song:My Arms
  • Album: Dry Arms
  • My Notes: Click tracks & pop vocals.  good. 3 stars
  • Band: Egill Saebjörnsson
  • Song:
  • Album: Egill S
  • My Notes: singer-songwriter, but darker instead of happy-lovey.  3 stars.
  • Band: Feldberg
  • Song:
  • Album: Don’t Be A…
  • My Notes: sunny dreamy weekend at home. LA may like, too.  Check “Farewell”.  3 stars
  • Band: Hjálmar
  • Song:
  • Album: IV
  • My Notes: Jazzy-Reggae-Folk?  neat once or twice?  2 stars
  • Band: Hjaltalín
  • Song: Suitcase Man
  • Album: Terminal
  • My Notes: SOUNDS LIKES SOUNDTRACK MUSIC sometimes.  Dark.  Then fun. Then Bond-like.  varied in a good way.  4 stars.
  • Band: J Jóhannson
  • Song:
  • Album: Dis
  • My Notes: Kraftwerk clicks with more melody.  Guitar, too.  & fuzz.  4 stars.  atmosphere.

Second Page.

  • Band: Jonsi
  • Song:
  • Album: Go
  • My Notes: Atmospheric but uneven?  Requires further listen.  2 1/2 stars
  • Band: Lay Low
  • Song:
  • Album: Farewell Goodbye
  • My Notes: smoky dirty café (great voice more than anything else!) 3 1/2 stars √
  • Band: Blue Laggoon Soundtrack #2
  • Song:
  • Album:
  • My Notes: VA
  • Band: Our Lives
  • Song:
  • Album: We Lost The…
  • My Notes: 2stars.  Atmo-pop
  • Band: Påll Oskar
  • Song:
  • Album:
  • My Notes: Dance w/ Flutes & Disco! 2 1/2 stars
  • Band: Rökkurró
  • Song:
  • Album: þaó Kólnar…
  • My Notes: Atmosphere pop meets folky accordions of some sort + Icelandic pop = cool. 3 1/2 stars
  • Band: Sudden Weather Change
  • Song:
  • Album: Stop!
  • My Notes:Atmospher + Rock = symphonic/Wall of Sound/Almost.  Check it out/more listen? 3 1/2 stars
  • Band: Sykur
  • Song:
  • Album: Frabært…
  • My Notes:Kraftwerk, updated.  So far, so good  4 stars
  • Icelandic Airwaves Tunes to Find.  These are song titles by VA!
  • Lay Down in the Tall Grass


That’s the end of the Icelandic music love in.  It was followed by some reminders:

  • oh, so many illustrations
  • THE SOUNDTRACK for my funeral [i..e, my life on earth,] is AIR / LA FEMME d’ARGENT

Some general notes:

  • I can’t remember why I appended the square brackets to my note about funeral soundtracks.  I do recall adding the bracket after writing the sentence.  I think it may have to do with differentiating between the sounds of Heaven (Suedehead) and the sounds of my wake (La femme d’argent).
  • Jean-Michel Jarre is not Icelandic music.  He was listed in the “Ambient” radio listings (as well as Air).  I wrote down this album since I’ve listened to it in the past.
  • Jonsi is Jonsi Birgisson, of Sigur Ros.
  • “John Lemain’s pop group” should be read as “John Mullane ‘s group, In-flight Safety.  (I was too tired to remember anything at this point..) I worked with John for a month or two on a catering gig just before the band became big.  Not my kind of music, but props to them for sticking it out.
  • “Blue Laggoon” [sic] is actually the Blue Lagoon, a geo-thermal spa outside of Reykjavik.  It’s kinda touristy, but very must worth the trip.
  • If you’re curious, yes, I can pronounce some of the odd-looking letters, such as the ash (æ) and thorn (þ) (Thank you, ENG 240Y, Old English, at Uni College, U of T).  That doesn’t mean I could understand anything, though.

Some music notes:

  • Iceland has a serious music scene.  I’ve heard twice that aside form being a great cultivator of local music, a lot of bands stop in Reykjavik and play gigs there in order to offset the cost of travel across the Atlantic.  It may be only a story but it doesn’t change the good vibes in this town.
  • There is a wicked music store you should check out if you head to RVK, called 12 Tónar.  12 Tónar has their own record label.  They’re great fellows in there.  You’re welcome to listen to anything in the store in some real comfortable couches and chairs…  and they serve you espresso!
  • RVK has a music festival called Iceland Airwaves.  We missed it by a week – sadness.   Check it out.
  • While looking for URLs for these bands, I found two strong resources online for Icelandic Music:

Written by mitchellirons

October 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

creative insecurities and the like

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I believe that perfectionists are incredibly insecure people.  Perfectionists self-identify with their condition:  they understand and know that they can’t achieve their ideal even though they try so hard to do so.  They want completion even though completion is a fantasy, a myth.  But rather than allowing themselves to accept this condition and move forward with their lives, this understanding festers and becomes a lack.  Perfectionists can’t ever be happy with their work.  The incomplete nature of it haunts them, it shames them.

I’ve only recently begun to understand the ramifications of this relationship (effect: insecurity; cause: perfectionism).  Now that I have a little bit more time on my hands, I’m becoming more creative again with my writing.  No longer must I write only essays or write only for work.  Now I can write in whatever mode I choose, and I can write for pleasure.  Putting the pen to paper has sometimes been difficult, though, because of this perfectionist insecurity.  I’m haunted by the apparant lack in my writing.  Even when I write for no audience but myself (i.e., when it really is paper that i inscribe with a pen, as opposed to a blog post), I fret on what my words are missing as opposed to what beauty or rhetoric they might contain.

I’m trying to figure out the causes for this perfectionism beyond simple “insecurity”.  I think a large part of it has been my years and years of schooling in the humanities. The arts taught me to write well (and I’m a superb writer when I want to be), and my work teaching writing and rhetoric sharpened my own writing skills as I helped others improve their abilities with the written word.  However, writing in the arts is always marked by evaluation.  An essay is meant to be a container for an excellent argument, but often (and especially in literature, philosophy, and history) it becomes an integral part of the work itself and is therefore evaluated as much as the ideas it conveys. I’ve spent nearly ten years writing “A” and “A-” papers, which are marks of excellence in the arts, but these marks – as all marks are – highlight what a work lacks; they focus on what prevents the work from being perfect or ideal.  I like to write, and I like to be creative, but since my act of writing has for so long been tied to scholastic ambition and evaluation, I tend to focus on apparent (or perceived) deficiencies instead of achievements.

This insecurity – as foolish as it may be – prevents me from writing more than I would like and more than I should.  It stifles my creative output since I constantly second-guess my words.  It also impedes my desire to write publicly.  For years I’ve written on the Internet with a pseudonym (and I still do, you have noticed) in order to avoid criticism and evaluation.  I look at my friends who write and write freely on the web with their real names and I wonder why I can’t find the courage to do the same.  I think it’s because I evaluate my own words by considering the public opinions of academics who would have graded my works inside and outside of the classroom and I wonder if they would throw off my prose as purple or my essays as not ready for prime time.

This situation may have changed this week, though.  Now that I’m “in the workforce” and have a lot of free time in the evenings, I have more time to write.  And now that my workplace is filled with people with different backgrounds who all consider themselves writers of one kind or another (including not only academics but also authors, journalists, and public relations professionals), I’m beginning to feel that I don’t have to judge my work by the one and only measure I have been for the last ten years or so.  There are other measures that are perfectly valid (excuse the pun), so I shouldn’t inhibit my own creative output on account of my misguided perceptions of the opinions others may have of my words.

Written by mitchellirons

October 17, 2010 at 11:30 am

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i’m thinking of getting in touch with some recruiters this week.   please don’t get the wrong thought about the workplace because of this statement – for the most post i like my current job and the people i work with (however lonely the office can be at times).   but the economic climate worries me.  halifax is a government town, and the cash crunch that hit the private sector for the past two years is going to hit the public sector this year and next now that the public spending tap has been closed.  my job is not permanent.  it’s contract.  and though the people i work with like me and seem to like the work i do, i need to make sure i’m don’t leave myself hung out to dry, so to speak.  (wow, a reflexive use of an idiom.)

so i’m thinking about recruiters since it gives me a chance to compile a dossier (check – this has been up to date for two years now) and then hand it overs to others.  i’m not interested into scanning job ads every single day of the week right now – not until we’re much closer to the end of my contract  -but if i can convince some recruiters that i’m worth my salt, then maybe something may come of it between now and then…  who knows.  etc etc.

Written by mitchellirons

September 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

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Comparing Hastings to an AT-AT

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Some of you are privately asking me what an AT-AT is.  To get an answer, you’ll have to either watch Empire Strikes Back or look at the photos of my recently shorn cat, Hastings.

The full slideshow is here, but I’ll draw your attention to a few photos so you can see what I’m talking about when I say he’s equal parts kitten, rat, and AT-AT.

Perhaps the resemblance isn’t as noticeable as I’d like it to be with still images.  I’ll try to get some video of the handsome man (that the cat, not the AT-AT) while he’s strutting about the house with his Gigantico legs so you can see what i’m talking about.

Stolen from LucasArts, presumably

(the AT-AT photo was found on the young manhattanite via google image search.  i’m sure he stole it from LucasArts and we’re all about to get DMCA’d on account of it.)

Written by mitchellirons

July 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm

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Halifax Gay Pride Parade 2010

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Some photos of Halifax’s 2010 Gay Pride Parade, starring a few people I know, including @hellopineapples and @disasternat

Two thoughts came to mind when I was standing at the corner of Barrington Street and Blowers and waiting for the parade to come my way.  First, that this section of Barrington is marked by Venus Pizza and Venus Envy.  and second, that I’m probably not the first to realize that.

Once things got going, I got to thinking about the differences between parades and marches.  There were people marching in the parade, that’s for sure, but I’m guessing that things are a little more jovial today than they were twenty years ago.

The highlight of the parade, I think, had to have been The Coast’s parade float.  I don’t know who the band is but think it was Windom Earle. Anyway, they were rocking Barrington St’s socks the entire time.  The saxophonist (below) stole the show, for sure:

The Coast at Gay Pride 2010

The Coast at Gay Pride 2010: the saxophonist's energy stole the show

I’m a big fan of social justice and of political activism. So, some other highlights of the event were the number of unions who marched.  Supporters of the Liberal Party marched completely in Grit Red, while NDP supporters took on full roller derby regalia and came to play as the MP Hammers.  I didn’t see anyone from the Conservative Party of Canada, though, which might have been a missed opportunity..  Just sayin’…

Megan Leslie's Roller Derby team: the MP Hammers

NDP MP Megan Leslie and friends dressed up in total roller derby regalia, as the MP Hammers.

Finally, there were no bag pipers at this parade.  Bagpipers are normally a sine quon non at parades in Nova Scotia.  I did see some kilts, but that’s as far as it got.

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Written by mitchellirons

July 24, 2010 at 3:02 pm

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My 17lb. maine coon cat was shaved for the summer

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It’s summer time, it’s oddly humid in town, and Hastings, my 17lb. maine coon cat, has a couple knots in his coat  We’re normally very good at working these out but they got out of hand while we were traveling and then it got to a point where no one could take it anymore.  So put it altogether and what’s a poor cat to do?  Clearly, it’s time to get him shaved!

Today Hastings had a spa day.  He visited the vet, who promptly sedated him and then shaved him right down.  He’s since come home and I think it’s safe to say that he was stoned and had the munchies because I’ve never seen a cat go through kibble like this guy did this afternoon.   Hastings doesn’t really look like his 17lb self anymore, but that’s okay, partly because he’s now equal parts kitten, rat, and AT-AT [wookie].

Finally, there is an apocryphal story of Hastings chasing bees right outside of a second-story window in his youth.  Those who know the story often wonder if he in fact has a “strut” or a “limp” on account of this tender fall one summery spring day (yes there is such a thing) in Waterloo, ON.  Well, now that he has no fur, I think it’s safe to say that something definitely is different with his gait on his left hind quarters.  But that doesn’t ever stop him from bounding about the house like the handsome clown he is.

You’re welcome to check out these photos, which show some before and after shots.  The last clip is a short video for those who are interested.  Wooo motion video!

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And for those who know him best, here’s a short video.  It’s rather dull and unrevealing unless you’re friends with the friendliest cat in town:

Yours, etc,


Written by mitchellirons

July 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm