Archive for March, 2007

Just in case you were wondering…

March 27, 2007

I sunbathed on the roof of my apartment building yesterday. You know you’re jealous.


All moved in

March 26, 2007

After the past two months of constant traveling and sleeping in hotels, hostels and other people’s couches, I’ve finally settled in my new apartment in Pasadena. I had to spend a few nights this week sleeping on my apartment floor on an air mattress because the moving company apparently thought I was kidding when I said that I move in March 1. The initial excitement of finally moving into my new place and reuniting with my stuff I haven’t seen since the beginning of February has now officially worn off. I spent the entire day unpacking, cleaning and cursing. Looking at the amount of stuff still sitting around at the moment, you’d think most of the effort went into cursing.

The only thing that made me laugh all weekend was opening up boxes packed by the movers. It was a surprise every time and made for a humorous afternoon when I would find utensils individually wrapped in paper, stuffed in with a box of living room decorations. The cheese grater in the entertainment stand was the highlight. I decided to put some music on while I was unpacking, but had a hard time finding the subwoofer for my computer speakers. After going through every possible box in the apartment, the subwoofer was nowhere to be found. Then I thought to myself, “where is the most random place it could possibly be”, and of course the answer to that question is “in my underwear drawer.” The initial excitement of finding it was then overcome by the thought that THE MOVERS WERE RIFLING THROUGH MY UNDERWEAR.

When at all possible, pack your own boxes.

Because Rob’s hair needs its own post

March 18, 2007

South by Southwest 2007
Originally uploaded by mayhem.

Our sweet-looking booth

March 18, 2007

South by Southwest 2007
Originally uploaded by mayhem.

This is the first time that I’ve been to a tradeshow and have been a booth babe (yes, I’m deliberatly avoiding the SATC term, I prefer ‘babe’ rather than ‘bitch’), and I have to say, it’s really great to have started with the awesome setup that we had. I forgot to take a photo, so this one’s courtesy of Rob from MusicBrainz.

Seriously, that’s one sexy booth. No boring 10×10 with a backdrop bearing the company logo and half walls separating us from the two companies on either side. We don’t mess around at MusicIP. Not to mention our other two booth babes that clearly made us the hottest thing at the SXSW tradeshow 😉

Possibly the best meal of my life

March 18, 2007

I’m not a big meat eater. I spent 5 years of my life as a vegetarian because I really just never saw the point of eating meat. Humans are intelligent beings that have the means to survive by not eating other animals. That and the fact that the way my mother cooks roast beef made me really just not like it (I love you mom, but it’s always overcooked).

Stephanie, my new boss, lives in Dallas and had told me that steak in Texas is just something that needs to be experienced, much like eating seafood in a port city. Having had fresh fish in Lisbon that changed my life, I was not about to turn down this opportunity, despite my long-standing dislike of meat. After we finished knocking down the booth at the end of the tradeshow today, we headed over to the Ruth’s Chris on 6th street for a cut of prime Texas beef.

I don’t think I’ve ever had food this good in my life. I have no other way to describe it, other than total blissful, meaty heaven. I can’t believe I’ve spent this much time not eating steak. Why oh why have I been wasting my time ordering the pasta? Thank you Texas, for opening up this whole world of eating opportunity. Adding in the great glass of red wine and the creme brule for dessert just pushed the entire meal over the top, I thought I might actually fall into a food pleasure coma.

And I ate the whole thing.

SXSW update

March 16, 2007

I’m in Austin for SXSW and am pleasantly surprised at pretty much everything here. Austin is so NOT what I thought it was going to be. The convention centre, where the tradeshow is being held is a block away from 6th street, which is jam packed with tons of bars and restaurants in low-rise brick buildings where shows are being held about every 2 minutes.

Yeterday was the first day of the tradeshow and actually being in the booth. I was so incredibly nervous at first, trying to explain exactly what MusicIP does, but after a little bit of practice started to become so much easier and I could start to see exactly what was making people say “ooohhhh, I get it!” and what left them wih a puzzled look on their face. I’ve never actually been in a tradeshow booth before, but it was such a good way to test my understanding of the company. Nothing helps you understand something more than trying to explain it to someone else.

I was going to do a whole narrative about the bands that we saw, but so far there have just been waaaaay too many, so I’ll just give a quick rundown and point to Rachel’s blog where all the photos are.

Wednesday, during the day we went to the Ioda party where Apostle of Hustle was playing, who I missed at Canadian Music Week due to a lame badge policy. They were great, but the band that played before them should have been called “you look better in the dark”. The antics on stage were just a little too much for the light of day. Wednesday night we wanted to see Lily Allen, but got there way too late and the line was obscene, so we took a walk along 6th and stumbled upon the cutest little folk group called The Hudsons. Absolutely adorable and great music. After that we went to the Parish and saw a group whose name escapes me, and with good reason. We left after the first song.

Last night we had planned to see the Besnard Lakes, who we had never actually heard of before, but had taken a tip from someone at the tradeshow and again, a ridiculously long line, so we jumped into Stubbs to catch Aqualung, who were awesome, reminds me a lot of Coldplay. It was a good thing we had earplugs because we were so close to the speakers our bodies were vibrating. We ran over to Maggie Mae’s for Montreal night and caught Karkwa (never heard of before, but doing some googling when I get home, they were great), Mobile, Champion (crazy band with 5 guitars, 1 singer and a DJ, the whole place was literally jumping) and Malajube.

Tonight we caught White Ghost Shivers, which was completely different than most bands at SXSW, they had a double bass, clarinet and banjo amongst other instruments. They put on a great show. There’s a label based out of Toronto called Arts and Crafts that has some great bands on it that you may have heard of (Broken Social Scene, Feist, Stars) and they were putting on a showcase tonight, so we obviously had to see it. There was Persephone’s Bees (not on the label, but performed before the showcase), Young Galaxy and Amy Millan there that we saw. I have to admit, by this point I was getting a little exhausted, so I wasn’t rocking out and enjoying the music as much as I usually do. They were still great nonetheless. To top off the evening, we dashed across the street to catch Teitur performing in a lounge at the Hilton, which was perfect music to listen to before heading home for the night.

There’s still one day left of the tradeshow and another night of music. I hope I can survive this, I’m feeling like a bit of a grandma when I’m working all day and not in bed by 10pm.

Canadian Music Week

March 9, 2007

After moving across the continent to take a job in California, one of the very first assignments that I’ve gotten is to come to Canadian Music Week. In Toronto. Right back where I started from. Stepping out of the airport on Wednesday morning reminded my how much I didn’t miss the climate here, as I froze my ass off in the coat I bought at the H&M in Pasadena, which was clearly meant for temperatures above 0 degrees, and not the -15 it happened to be that morning.

Today was the first real day of the conference and Rachel and I had a day of solid panel hopping. I felt a bit like a kid on the first day of school when you’re completely overwhelmed by the amount of information that you have to learn in a seemingly short period of time. For the past two years I’ve been cramming everything travel related into my brain and it’s been the major paradigm that every new source of information fit into. Now, working for a music company, my whole way of thinking is changing and I have to build a completely new basis of information that new pieces can then be laid on top of. It’s difficult at first when you’re just learning the buzz words and it takes a bit longer than most people to absorb what’s being said because you have to mentally calculate things like DRM = Digital Rights Management. Listening to these panels is an incredible help to me. It’s awesome being able to hear right from the experts about important issues in the music industry that I need to know about.

Rachel also spoke on a panel today about music recommendation engines. I must say, she was incredible. Totally poised and well spoken, she was the smartest person on the panel. She made it look so easy, I can’t wait until I get a chance to get up there and do the same thing.

I need the following items…

March 4, 2007

  • A car
  • A phone
  • A home

A lack of the list above made for a very interesting day and night yesterday. I’m not quite sure what people did in the days before cell phones, but there must have been some seriously mislaid plans.

I forayed into the world of So Cal PT yesterday and it wasn’t very pretty. Unlike in Toronto, not every type of person takes public transportation. The people here who take it are only those that can’t afford a car. Everyone drives. Most of the people that I met yesterday while shopping, or going out to the club were not even aware of the fact that Los Angeles HAS a subway, despite living there their whole lives. Go figure. It’s great that there is actually a bus that goes right from my work to my home (when I get one, more on that later), but of course it takes 45 minutes instead of the 10 it would take driving. That’s not really a big deal though, it’s just one of those things you deal with when taking the bus, just budget more time. The big deal was when I got off the bus.

I had 3 things on my to-do list yesterday, which I figured I would all get done while I was in Pasadena. What I didn’t realize, when looking on the map is that Pasadena is BIG and what looks like it would be a 5 minute walk on a map is really a 30 minute walk. Because of this fact combined with a lack of shoes that don’t give me blisters, I got 1 of 3 accomplished.

Which leads me to the first item. I need a car. Probably sooner than I thought I would. Which I hate saying because I’m so anti-car. I don’t like driving. I don’t like cars. I’d much rather take PT, but they make it so difficult here.

Also, I need a phone. Not having a phone made for an interesting set of events where the girl that was supposed to pick me up last night had the wrong room number in the hotel. Because she couldn’t get ahold of me there was a series of communications that led everyone to believe that I was lying in a gutter somewhere in Pasadena. Thank god for facebook.

Lastly, I need a home. The supadupa apartment that I was supposed to move into on March 1 is NOT READY. The upside is that they’re doing renovations on it, so it’ll be awesome when I do move in. The downside is that it might not be ready before I leave to go to Toronto. The other part of that is that my apartment contents, which were supposed to be in Pasadena on March 1 were still in a warehouse in Toronto when I called the moving company. Beautiful. At least I don’t have to pay for storage because the apartment isn’t ready. All the clothes I have? Warm weather clothes for Thailand and southern California. My one warm-ish jacket? Lost in a club in Hollywood. Great. The one task I did accomplish was clearing out H&M and Forever 21 of all the cold weather clothes they still had in stock (ok, twist my arm, I’ll go shopping).

I feel like a hobo. I will have moved around to different hotels and people’s couches for nearly two months before this whole debacle is finished. Aaaaahhhh, life’s never dull!

Thailand pics are up

March 4, 2007

Go nuts:

Thailand reflections

March 2, 2007

Bahareh left me around 4pm on the last day I was in Bangkok to catch her train and head down south. This left me with a few hours to finish up the last few gifts that I needed to buy and time to reflect on the whole trip. I went a little overboard with the retail therapy, because at that point I was pretty sad that the trip was ending. I sat down at a table on the street, had a couple final Singhas and fried cashews while people watching and thinking about the past 3 weeks. Some thoughts:

People come to Thailand to mend a broken heart. I can’t count the number of people who used the phrase “I just got out of a [3,5,11…] year relationship”. I had a few very long converstations about relationships, what went wrong, what went right, what people really want out of a relationship/life, etc.

Thailand is really easy to travel once you figure out two key things. First, unlike Europe, you take cabs. Public transit in Thailand (other than the skytrain) is very hard. In Italy you’d rarely ever grab a cab because it’ll cost you your firstborn. Tuk tuks are dirt cheap and crazy fun. Second, use travel agents. Again, in Europe you’d use travel agents only to take some cheesy day trip that you could do yourself for a fraction of the price. In Thailand, you use travel agents to book every boat, train and bus you take. As soon as you learn how to walk up and say “I want to go to …” and hand over a wad of bills, your life will instantly be made easier.

We live in luxury. When you fantasize about toilets that you don’t have to flush with a bucket and scooper and sinks with handsoap, you start to appreciate the amenities of home in a whole different way.

The best advice I got before leaving was to bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer and carry it everywhere (thanks Daisy).

You can’t ask Thai people yes or no questions. They will smile widely, nod their heads and say “yes, yes” to everything you ask. Everything.

Traveling alone is easier in Thailand, or harder depending on your personality. There are less hostels where you can book a single bed, so you’re forced to meet people and offer to share rooms to save money. I met way more people this way.

After the sun went down and I finished my beers and cashews, I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, went for one last Thai massage and said goodbye to Thailand as I crawled into bed and drifted off to sleep. What an amazing trip.