Monday, October 30, 2017

Alt-J, Witches & Fishy Alexa

Weekly Update 2017-44: Dreamy music from Alt-J, witches as the new symbol for feminism, and soldering an Amazon Alexa to a singing wall fish.

Music: Alt-J
I am counting down the days until Massey Hall closes its doors for two years of renovations by seeing as many shows as I possibly can there. One of those is English indie rock band Alt-J, who played two sold out performances on Friday and Saturday. Being the early-adopting hipster that I am, I was able to enjoy the Friday show, and what a show it was. The three musicians arrange themselves rather peculiarly onstage, along a row facing the audience, each on their own platform. There are series of lights between the platforms all the way to the ceiling, separating them by what is essentially walls of light. It makes for quite a light show.

Anyway, you probably know their music as they've become quite mainstream since winning the British Mercury Prize in 2012. In case not, check out Breezeblocks, Left Hand Free and Matilda.

Last week was full of small accomplishments that didn't add up to much in the end, unfortunately. For instance, I managed to make a nice trip home to visit my parents but we didn't get to relax and enjoy each others' company amidst the other catching up that needed doing. I also tried to dye my hair blue for my halloween costume, which ended up interesting but not the colour I needed for my costume. I managed to Bunz trade for a wig about 20 minutes before my halloween night began, but then didn't have the kind of night I was expecting to have.

All in all, everything got done. I did manage to visit The Green Room for one last drink before it closed yesterday. I can't believe that one of the classic bars of my youth is closing. I hear it's relocating to College, but the Annex is surely becoming something totally different than it once was.

I didn't get to do any writing last week, though I did do some soul searching to think about my next steps in building my Jewish identity. I'll be writing my reflection on my bat mitzvah this week.

One of my favourite events, the Bunz Flea is coming up tomorrow night. A whole hotel full of spooky artisans making cool stuff, all for trade. I feel almost like a travelling salesman when I attend these events, lugging all my wares along with me. But I usually find really cool stuff. And there's something about making a trade on the spot that's really thrilling.

I'm also hoping to check out the OCAD Yorkville Village Art Show in Hazelton Lanes this weekend. I've never seen anything like this in Hazelton lanes, so I am excited to see what's going to be there.

Random Thought: Being Witchy
Maybe it's the halloween in the air, but I've been noticing the higher-than-normal use of witch tropes in a positive light. It's almost like feminists are reclaiming the trope as something positive, which I am pretty excited about. The most recent episode of Broad City contained a whole sub-plot about women being witches in a coven, but in an empowering and positive, inclusive way.

Witches might be the ultimate feminists.

Maybe because we're living in a world of political turmoil where these topics are pretty much everywhere you look, it's easy to draw parallels between classic characters of the halloween season and the rapidly empowered women we are hearing about in the news every day, standing up for their rights and the rights of women around them. 

I especially love related ephemera like this vintage patch. I know it's a little extreme, but being a little edgy is funny. And I know women who could paralyze a man with their evil stare. Freaky.

Inspiration: Fishy Alexa
Ah, maker culture. Without it, we would never have...well, a bunch of things we probably don't need, but that bring a smile to our faces anyway. For example. Take an Amazon Alexa, a soldering iron and some know-how, and that old singing wall fish you got as a joke present. And what do you get?

Without maker culture, this never would have happened. There's no way a giant corporation would ever produce a singing wall fish that can be possessed by your smart home system. And if there were, I don't think I'd want to live in that world. I'm more that satisfied with the world in which this Fishy Alexa exists.

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