I've recently really enjoyed Pat Finnerty's "Why does this song stink" videos on YouTube. I love not only that he agrees with many of my biases about why certain songs "stink," but I also really appreciate the creativity by which he builds his videos. They are deliberately lo-fi with various basic animations and simple jump cuts.
He's done excellent videos about "Hey Soul Sister," "Don't Tell me How to Live," and "All Summer Long," but his best tour de force so far is the "Kravitz Bowl," a hilarious hypothetical "football game between two songs."
Finnerty's videos are wonderful if you have specific music-based taste in music. I think it's safe to say that most people who play guitar and really love pop music likely dislike Train's music, found "Kryptonite" insufferable, or were bewildered by Warren Zevon's presence on "All Summer Long." Finnerty's clear love of music and willingness to create in-depth videos about why some music doesn't quite work, well, I appreciate that effort. I remember hearing Train, and "Kryptonite," and Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman" and "Fly Away" and thinking, Something's wrong here. Something's off. And Pat Finnerty seems to be able to put into words just what's so off about that sort of corporate bland music.
In addition, Finnerty appears to have a real knack for getting people involved in his videos. These videos are masterclasses in being friendly and inclusive with the people in your community, in making them feel included in projects. He appears to have a knack for getting people on board, even the likes of Dave Grohl.
I feel as if I'm suffering from a creative block right now, both in music and photography. I've gone through this sort of thing for a very long time, but it feels rather acute right now. I can't seem to conceptualize anything: no visions for interesting photographs, no melodies or lyrics to work with. I don't want to dwell on the problems of creative block, though. I'd rather try to pin down some solutions.
In no particular order:
I miss creating. I miss feeling like I wrote a worthwhile song, or took an interesting photo. Here's to hoping that, as the days get longer, my creativity can flourish again.
I've done a few new-ish things with my life, so I should update my info here on the weblog.
Firstly, in September 2021 I moved from New Westminster, where I'd lived from March 2020, to Ladner, BC, in a different corner of town. My partner and I moved from a loud, large apartment, to a quiet, cozy farmhouse. It's a quaint place that the locals often seem to recognize as a landmark of sorts. It's taken time to get used to living in a home with so few electrical outlets, but on the whole it's been very nice. It's not an easy home to keep heated, but it will be great in the summer. We also have a large lawn that should be helpful for hosting and for photographs. I'm looking forward to creating more there as time progresses.
Secondly, after 14 years or so working in School District #78 (Fraser-Cascade), I've started working in School District #36 (Surrey). Currently I work as an "Integration Support Teacher," a teacher who helps to support students with exceptional needs as we aim to integrate them into the classroom. For the first time I'm working in an elementary school full-time. It's completely different from my previous positions--I've mainly been a secondary school English and Social Studies teacher--and a change is just what I needed. Admittedly, I'm struggling to make sense of the job quite a bit, but I'm grateful for the change nonetheless.
Those are the main changes in my life right now. There are other personal things too personal to write here, but overall I'm in a good place.
I haven't found a gig to work at or anything like that. I miss playing live at the restaurant, like I did a few years ago in Harrison Hot Springs. However, I don't really know where to look these days, and being a teacher in a new position is often extremely tiring. Perhaps I'll be able to find a gig as the days start getting longer again.
I don't have anything to add to the heartbreaking story of the discovery of gravesite of 215 Indigenous children in Kamloops. The students had attended the residential school in Kamloops in the 20th Century; they died under the care of that school. The gravesite was an open secret, but now there's some hard-and-fast evidence to back it up, and I can't stop thinking about it.
This is a shameful part of Canada's heritage. Here's to making things better.
I haven't felt like writing much for the last year. This busy year hasn't really prompted much to write publicly about. But perhaps I should try to provide some sort of update, since I haven't written anything here for a year or so.
With the continuing pandemic, I haven't done anything of musical consequence for the last 12 months. Live performances are off the table. I've tried to record things now and then, but I simply haven't had the time or space to make it happen. Recording songs takes space, time, and energy, and I simply haven't had much of any of those. So I can't write much about making music.
I've done a lot of photography instead. Briefly in March, I had space and time to shoot some photos with some friends and models. My partner's father retired from his law practice, and he let me use his downtown New Westminster office in a heritage building. In that space, I thought I could practice taking photos of silhouettes. So I did.
Above, I met Alaska through a Facebook group. We had a pleasant couple of hours shooting photos and trying to make things interesting. I'm happy with some of the results, and less happy with others. Altogether it was a learning experience.
A few days later, I shot some photos with Noelle, a friend from University. We had a good time, although again it was a learning experience. Most of the photos therein depended on continuous light, and I learned a little more about how to work with the light available to me.
And I also took some photos with Marty, a friend from my high school days. Crazily enough, I don't think I'd seen him in all that time, but we'd always kept-up with one another online. I'm very glad these photos seemed to work out, and glad to reconnect in person.
Beyond the photo stuff, I spent most of July working on creating some Indigenous curriculum units for my school district. I wasn't happy with what I made by the end of the month, so I worked through each unit in the classroom and re-made them in a more user-friendly format. It took me a long time to get the units finished, and I had to teach myself how to use Microsoft Publisher, but I'm pleased with the results. I take some pride in how I made units I could utilize in my own classes, and perhaps other teachers can use them too.
Beyond those little blips, I don't have anything else to update in a public forum like this. I've essentially disappeared from my social media feeds, and it feels good. I still use Instagram, but don't bother to post a picture a day; I use Facebook exclusively for Messenger and Marketplace; I've deleted thousands of tweets and posts on multiple platforms.
âBut I wish I had more to say here.
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