Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bare Naked Ladies in Edmonton

BNL is on a most massive road trip right now, and from looking at their list of shows one can only guess at how tiring and stressful this will be for them.  As I write this, they are preparing to perform in Vancouver, after playing in Edmonton, with previous locations in the last few days for Regina, Saskatoon, Las Vegas, Calgary and Victoria (April 6th to 14th).  All I can say is they must have an awesome road crew!  With that said...

Ed Robertson (shown here in an illegally taken picture from last nights performance) and crew (Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Tyler Stewart) did their "best" to wow the crowd as best as possible.  As best as one could be, minus the exceptional talents of Steven Page.  Yes, we know Steven was a bad boy.  Yes, we know at the time that BNL was concentrating on doing their "kids release" and it made it difficult to keep him around.  As a side note, I think that most people would probably presume that any rock and roll type band is doing some form of drugs from time to time. And I have to say that if we can "forgive" others who have done bad things, then I would suggest that the band may want to look at asking him back.

Getting to see the band, was a challenge that came about within the twitter community.  I simply love groups who are starting to embrace this form of Social Media (check out the BNL Twitter page here) and I was in a state of awe, as I read two of the tweets sent by them. These two tweets are quoted below:

Thx to everyone that played. Dn't forget to upload ur videos + pictures you take at the show and tag them so they can be seen on (5:50 PM Apr 9th via TweetDeck )

Go to the link for your show here to find out how to tag them so they can be shared (5:53 PM Apr 9th via TweetDeck )
Like many of you, one of the things you really want, is to have those "memories" of having been-there-and-done-that type of thing. And to have a band saying what they did... well... blissful is the word that comes to mind!  But wait!  Arriving at the Jube you were greated by signs saying that no recording or picture taking was allowed!  I asked one of the ticket takers what the scoop was, and even mentioned that BNL had said they wanted to see the pics and videos... and was emphatically told "no way".  And of course, during their performance, you could see the security staff literally running up and down the aisles, getting folks to stop taking those pics etc.  Well, I came "camera ready", but it was impossible to really use it because I had to keep the camera lcd screen close to my chest to stop the glare (this is what security was watching for), which meant I could not focus, and had to do my 'best guess' at where the lens was point.  This makes for bad memories, not good ones.  I just don't understand why this no-picture policy is in place.  After all, we all want our memories and we all did pay the price to be there.

Um, ok, so.. I lied. Not everyone paid-the-price. And that's because BNL was doing ticket give aways using twitter.  From following the BNL timeline, you could see what they were going to ask, and knew their tweet would be coming the day before the next performance.  So, I watched.. and waited... and waited... AND waited. Finally, there came the following: (I just happened to be in both tweetdeck and on their twitter webpage, when I refreshed the web page, this appeared)
Here we go: first five people to respond to this tweet with #BNLEdmontonTix gets a pair of tix (7:13 PM Apr 13th via TweetDeck )

So the natural response was to just re-tweet it... after all, isn't that a "response"?  Well, I was the first person to respond, and I waited and waited. But I got nothing. :(  A note to those who read this, BNL does not deem this as a response! So if you are looking to win tickets for your area do NOT re-tweet it because you will not win!
Thankfully, I was also tweeting with GuitarKat and somehow along the way, a person from South Carolina (sumrthyme) picked up on things, and also had tweeted back to BNL about the tickets, and actually ended up winning a pair.  She was trying to get them for friends in Vancouver, and didn't quite realize that Vancouver and Edmonton were not as close as she thought, and offered them to GuitarKat, who then suggested that I would be more interested. Well, bless GuitarKat, and bless sumrthyme. Thanks to both of those folks, those tickets were passed on to me.  I so love social media!
Ok, so now you folks reading this are clued in about winning tickets... but, what about the actual performance?  The opening warmup was done very nicely by Joel Plaskett, followed by a short break before BNL performed. The Bare Naked Ladies kind of rocked.  I mean, it was "good". But I was disappointed.  The following review posted in the Edmonton Journal entertainment section pretty much sums it up, at least for me.
To Ed, Jim, Kevin, Tyler... and especially to your road crew... I love you guys.  But I'd love it a bit more if you used the twitter social media a bit better, and if you brought back Steven. :)  As another side note, the videos I got were obviously terrible, considering the cirumstances I was trying to perform under, but I have other... ummm.. sources... and I will be looking at those to hopefully provide some better pics and maybe some videos.

Monday, April 12, 2010

School Closures

I have been following the school closure issue with some interest, albeit not nearly as much as I should. The latest article in the Edmonton Journal dated April 12th has some very interesting reading, including the comments posted from people.  From the 'twitter' side of things, I have been quite fond of the job that Sue Huff has been doing (you can read her blog and follow her on twitter) and her ability to think out-of-the-box has been most impressive.  With all due respect to her fellow trustees, many of them should be looking to Sue to learn some insight and lessons.

With that said, the politics of the school system really needs to be fixed.  It has been said that the formulas used are out of date, but what really kills me is the (paraphrased) "oh we can't do anything until the system changes so we are bound by law to do it this way" crap.  You, the trustees, are supposed to be there to think, and not to just rubber stamp things. One of the comments posted within the Journal at 3:25 pm on April 10th says
Seems to me that seven rubber stamps costs less than 140 bucks, so why are we paying in excess of 300 grand?
and I have to agree with that, to a point.  Now, I am certainly no expert, but one would tend to think that a fair amount of the "wasted" school spaces can be leased out to all sorts of worthwhile entities, such as day care, community services, etc.  Just because the current rules say "this" should not be an indication of what you should be doing, especially when it's obvious the rules are flawed.  Take a stance, say to the public and to the Government "these rules ARE flawed, and we refuse to make decisions based on errors".

From what I can see, there are only 2 trustees that are interested in really doing the job, the rest seem to be just along for the ride.  Which is really very sad for the children.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pardon me?

There has been a LOT of comments and discussions about the recent news of the pardon given to Graham James, who was convicted of sexual assault back in 1997.  The latest 'tiff' seems to be coming from the Prime Ministers office, as reported in this Edmonton Journal article dated April 6th, 2010.

Rather than getting into the specifics of this particularly nasty offense, let's look more at what the purpose of a pardon is, and when they should be allowed or not allowed.

If you have been convicted of a crime, then the law states that after 5 years from the end of your sentence, you can apply for a pardon.  This effectively "seals" your conviction away from the public eyes, and it allows for the person to get back to leading and living the proverbial "normal life".  And in simple terms, this is a good thing.  After all, lots of people make stupid mistakes and deserve the chance to put it in the past. No one wants that mistake to hound them until the end of time.

The real issue here, is what types of offenses should qualify for a pardon, and how many other convictions does the person have? Clearly, some crimes (and even more so some criminals, especially those with multiple convictions) should have much more stringent conditions to determine if a pardon is to be allowed.  Perhaps crimes need to be grouped into "types", where some will never qualify, and others will be allowed if you have been a "good person" for 15 years, or 10, or 5.

This is just another example where the old ways and outdated laws have not kept up with the times. Add in that the court system is so seriously flawed where the Letter of the Law allows the entire concept of Justice to fly out the window, it begs for some serious work to be done by both provincial and federal levels.  The current Canadian Government has done nothing more than provide lip service in this area, and it is up to the people of Canada to send a strong message that words mean nothing, and that taking action to clean up the legal system to bring Justice back is needed now more than ever.