Bored To Death: 5 things to do in Lethbridge over the next two weeks

Pretty sure I haven’t mentioned publicly that I am now an “arts and culture” columnist at the Lethbridge Herald (specifically their re-launched/re-imagined Lethbridge Journal), where I will be doing a bi-weekly rundown of things to do in Lethbridge in order to keep from offing yourself. As I will assume (probably rightly) that most of you won’t get a copy in time to act on the events that I am so sagely curating, I’ll post my column here too.

Welcome to Bored To Death, a shortlist of things to do in Lethbridge to aid in the “there is nothing to do here” blues, because the truth is that there is mostly nothing to do here.

Bored To Death September 30 – October 13

1)   “Cereal Gen” at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (Until October 24) FREE

University of Lethbridge Art Gallery's Cereal Gen Exhibit

The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery has been exceptionally good over the last few years, and the gallery’s latest exhibit “Cereal Gen” is no exception. Edmonton artist Lyndal Osborne’s installation Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which displays alien-like “enlarged seedpods” in the process of being genetically altered, is a must see. It’s time to change the conversation from what the University gallery doesn’t do, to what they are constantly doing so well.


2) Art Days (Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2) FREE

Lethbridge Art Days

Even though Art Days sounds like the least fun thing ever, there is no better time to celebrate the world-class art that happens here in our own backyard. The highlight of the weekend is Artwalk, which is an excellent opportunity to see the works-in-progress of some of our local art-stars. Plus: performances in Galt Gardens from our best local musicians and every carb-a-holic’s favourite two words: “pancake breakfast.” Remember to wash the syrup off your hands before you run your filthy paws over everyone’s artwork!

3) Ghostkeeper w/ Michael Rault at The Slice (Saturday, October 1) $10

Come for Calgary’s Ghostkeeper, one of that cities most entertaining live rock and roll bands, but show up early enough to see Edmontonian one-man-band Michael Rault, whose Buddy Holly-esque rave-ups will completely lay waste to The Slice.

4) Randy and Mr. Lahey at Average Joe’s (Thursday, October 6) $20


This event sells itself: Randy and Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys doing some kind of comedy routine, a Trailer Park Boys look-a-like contest (which should be fiercely competitive in Lethbridge), and a cheeseburger eating contest.

5) Uncle Bad Touch w/ Ketamines at The Owl (October 11) FREE

Montreal’s Uncle Bad Touch is the latest project from Priestess lead vocalist Mikey Heppner, and their self-released album is one of my personal favourite records this year.  Uncle Bad Touch might be one of the worst band names of all time, but their combination of 60’s arena rock and 70’s folk-rock is completely worth checking out.

On: More tales for an Accelerated Culture

Douglas Coupland published Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture in 1991, which was basically pre-Internet, so it is easy to think of 1991 as virtually prehistoric. It’s hard to imagine people in 1991 feeling the effects of an “accelerated culture”, per say. I just watched the concert footage of Nirvana playing live at the Paramount right after the release of Nevermind, and it all feels so quaint.

Which is to say, I’ve been suffering from acceleration sickness again.

If 1991 was accelerated, 20 years later we are in hyperdrive and it feels like the engine is glowing red hot.

For me, acceleration sickness comes, in part, from information overload, though that is only part of the story here. For the most part, I’ve adapted and my information capacity has expanded (though don’t tell my gmail inbox that). The other part comes out of that increased capacity to process information, quickly, in that everything flows through and is incredibly hard to make things stick. So a lot more culture that I process a lot more quickly. Cultural diarrhea.

As a teenager with limited access to music, I would buy a cassette tape every month or so with the money I made from my paper route. I would get this tape and memorize the music on it, and even if I initially didn’t like the record (or only liked a song or two), by the end of the month the tape was in my DNA. When I got Nevermind the spring of 1992 at my local Sam the Record Man, I listened to that album a thousand times. I long for those days, as this still seems like the ideal way to process music, the right amount of time.

Twenty years later, I have access to and regularly check out (as opposed to listen) new music (and music that is new to me) all the time. Instead of experiencing albums, I experience the flow of new music. I imagine a river, and in this river are all the new albums/singles etc. and, from time to time, I get in and see if anything sticks while hours of music wash over me. As a result, it is incredibly hard for me to get into an album for any length of time these days. I love that Total Control record right now, but I am almost sad to admit that the fifteen or so full listens I’ve given the record in the last few weeks is enough. I’m anxious to get back and see what I’ve been missing. I’ll go to a few message boards and websites and see what’s new, what’s leaked, what needs to leak and continue the cycle. To fill the gaps, to stay relevant and ahead of the curve.

I’m chasing my tail so fast it’s a blur. It’s making me sick and I keep asking myself – what’s the endgame here?

Do we keep doing this forever? Can we keep doing this forever?

That question has been haunting me lately as I write my dissertation. Where does this go? At one point, I had high hopes for our digital future. These days, as those digital selves get increasingly ill, I can’t help but fear the worst.

The last three years

I started THE ANNOTATED EVERYTHING in the fall of 2006. It is now 2011, a full five years later.
During the initial chapter of this blog, I was at the start of a PhD program at the University of Calgary, and this blog went dormant in 2008, right around the same time as I successfully defended my candidacy to get “ABD” status.

Then things went weird.

The candidacy progress, which I rushed through, was pretty brutal on my psyche. I passed, but it felt like one of the most degrading and un-fulfilling events ever. Post-candidacy I had problems getting ethics approval – not that my research was going to be harmful to anyone (quite the opposite), but because of needless red-tape and bureaucratic hand-wringing. After finally starting the actual research phase of my dissertation in January 2009, I spent 8 months chasing down something which I eventually decided wasn’t there, and had to re-evaluate my whole dissertation topic.

It’s actually only been in the last eight months that I actually feel on top of my research and writing, that I’m finally on to something real, and the result is a dissertation that is slowly taking shape. I am making steady progress towards completion, and I think what I have is actually pretty good, but it took me a REALLY long time to fully embrace it and commit to finishing. In fact, up until last December, there wasn’t a week that went by that I wasn’t considering quitting.

There were many, many months over the last three years that I was hiding (I’m not sure how well) a deep depression. Crushingly heavy. Many factors contributed, and it took everything I had to climb out. Scary, looking back, at how awful I felt almost all of the time, and the lengths I went to insulate the people I love the most from this. Lots of late nights sitting alone quietly losing it. Music helped (a theme throughout my life), but maybe actually prolonged everything. Things got ugly.

I’m pretty sure I’m on the metaphorical “other side” now, as if it were so easy. For better or for worse, I’ve still managed to accomplish a lot in the last three years, and I think, in the end, the depression and period of deep introspection will pay off. I never want to go back, but in a sick way I’m glad it happened. Is that weird?

The Annotated Everything is BACK!

First to delete SO MANY embarassing old posts, then The Annotated Everything is Back.

1) Because I’ve been writing a lot lately and I have too many ideas in my head
2) Because I’ve thought about doing this for a long time, you know like “losing weight” and “learning how to play guitar”
3) Because…