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Month: April 2010

More “Web-Like”

Jason Kottke on Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Flash:

Jobs sort of circles around the main issue which is, from my own perspective as heavy web user and web developer: though Flash may have been necessary in the past to provide functionality in the browser that wasn’t possible using JS, HTML, and CSS, that is no longer the case. Those open web technologies have matured (or will in the near future) and can do most or even all of what is possible with Flash. For 95% of all cases, Flash is, or will soon be, obsolete because there is a better way to do it that’s more accessible, more open, and more “web-like”.

Bluesfest 2010: Lineup impressions (so far!)

Let’s start with what I called:

Iron Maiden – I can’t really say I called this, it was all but confirmed weeks ago..  Going to be a legendary show, and a great way to kick off the festival!  Ottawa, start your decibel meters!!!

Crowded House – Another that was all but confirmed well before the official announcement, these guys should put on a solid show.

Weezer – YEAH!!!  Didn’t see their name popping up much on the rumour mill the last few weeks, but I had this gut feeling about them… I am so excited about this show!

Rush – This one seemed pretty likely based on their summer schedule, and now it’s confirmed.  I must admit I’ve never been a big Rush fan, but I’ll be there to catch these legendary rockers.

Arcade Fire – I wasn’t totally convinced they were going to make an appearance, but I had high hopes – glad to see their name on the official list!  This show’s been a long time coming!

Santana – My dad called me this morning to tell me Santana’s coming.  Guess I know what to get him for Father’s day!

The rest of the list I published last week was basically rumours I was busting and really long-shots.  Keeping in mind that Bluesfest organizers usually hold back a couple big names to announce between now and the festival, I’d say my batting average is pretty good:  Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, U2, and Stevie Wonder were all rumoured to be coming to town, and I said they were all pretty unlikely.  The only rumour I didn’t completely bust was Neil Young, although I didn’t really commit either way on him – I was just really hopeful.

And now for a sampling of the rest, along with at least one huge surprise for me!

The Flaming Lips – I saw that they were on tour, but their schedule seemed a bit tight, and I really didn’t think they’d have much of a draw in Ottawa… but man, am I ever glad I was wrong!!  I have been dying to see these guys for so long!! This is #1 on my list this year, for sure!

Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles – I love The Hip.  I wish The Hip was coming.  I just heard the first single from Gord’s latest on the radio, and I’m not in love.  I really hope the rest of the record will be better.

Great Big Sea – really?  again?  man, this city really loves these guys…

Joan Jett – NICE!  I love Rock ‘n Roll too!  We  have so much in common…

Keith Urban – blech!

Kevin Costner and Modern West – ok, this is weird.

Matthew Good – Always a ‘good’ time.

Mayfair Theatre Presents Night of the Living Dead Live – GO SEE THIS!  Saw this up at The Mayfair a month or so back, and it was amazing!!  They screen the classic film but cut out the soundtrack which is then filled in by a live orchestra, foley artist, and actors!  One of my favourite things ever.

Metric – Wow, these guys just keep coming and coming and coming… not that I mind!

Passion Pit – Caught these guys last year at Zaphod’s – was a really fun show!

Roger Hodgson – I was always a huge Supertramp fan, so I guess I should feel obliged.

The B52s – Last time I saw these guys was at SuperEx in the early 90s.

The Hold Steady – LOVE ‘EM!

The Lost Fingers – should be pretty entertaining

And a smattering of other interesting acts:  Alexisonfire, Amos the Transparent, Big Jeezus Truck, Gipsy Kings, Good2Go, Great Lake Swimmers, Ken Workman & The Union, Loudlove, Rural Alberta Advantage.

And lots of names I didn’t recognize – guess I got lots of music learning to do!

We know from past experience that Bluesfest holds back some announcements so they can keep a trickle of news releases coming from now until the fest, so there should be some more big names coming.  There’s also the Byward Blues yet to be announced, which should have some good names as well.

One thing I note is a distinct lack of big Hip Hop acts on the bill, or am I missing something?  Interesting…

What are you looking forward to?  What’s not on my list that I should be looking forward to?  Happy Bluesfest Lineup Day everybody!

Crashed on Quit… agan.


Crashed on quit again.  I’m confused by this.  Why would quitting the app cause a crash so frequently?  This would be like if you worked in an office from 9-5 and every day at 4:59pm  you became filled with rage and ran around throwing chairs and breaking windows.  Then you went home and came back the next day acting like nothing happened.  Only a psychopath would do this.

Bluesfest 2010: Lineup Predictions, Wishes, Hopes, etc…

Bluesfest is set to announce their lineup next week, and as always, there has been much speculation around the major headliners.  Bluesfest announces their lineup relatively late compared to other summer festivals, which drives a lot of rumours and discussion around the bands on the festival circuit or otherwise that may drop by our beloved Bluesfest.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of rumouring and speculating myself, so here are my predictions/hopes/wishes and impressions of the current rumours floating around:

Iron Maiden – this seems to be pretty much in the bag.  The band is touring this summer, they’ve got dates in Montreal and Toronto right around that time, and then there’s this bit of evidence.

Crowded House – another one that seems like a fait acompli.  With a new album coming out in June and a US/Canada tour kicking off on July 12th, they seem a pretty likely candidate.  Oh, and of course there’s this.

Weezer – I haven’t seen this name come up in many rumour discussions, but let’s file it under my wish/hopes.  The timing seems right – they’re on the festival circuit and are playing Sarnia Bayfest and Osheaga in Montreal around that time.  If they don’t play Bluesfest, I guess I’ll be hitting Osheaga – I’ve been dying to catch these guys live.

Black Eyed Peas – This name came up a couple of times – they’re currently on tour and are also hitting the Sarnia Bayfest on July 18th.  But they’ve got a date at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on August 1st, so they probably wouldn’t want to cannibalize sales from that show so soon after.  Unlikely.

Lady Gaga – This was the big rumour that hit last week.  I don’t really care either way, but she’s got two gigs down the road in Toronto on July 11 and 12th – but the schedule seems a bit too tight for her to make the trip here – she’s only got a day between New York and Toronto, and a day from Toronto to Cleveland.  I think this one’s pretty unlikely.

Neil Young – I came across this rumour for the first time last week as well.  I really hope it’s true, but it’s hard to find any evidence to support.

Kings of Leon – Another persistent rumour, but I think this is more wishful thinking.  They’re on tour, but at the time of Bluesfest they’re cruising around the western states, so I think this is pretty unlikely.

U2 – HA!  I doubt it.  Yes, they’re in Montreal at the right time, but really?  Not exactly a festival-circuit type band…

Rush – hmmm… another strong possibility – they’re on tour, playing outdoor venues and festivals.  Also playing Sarnia Bayfest and there’s a rather glaring 4 day gap between that show and Toronto where they could take a jaunt down here.

Arcade Fire – hard to say… they’re doing a European Festivals tour and are playing Oxygen Festival on July 9th, but they have nothing else booked until Osheaga at the end of July.  Would love to see these guys!

Stevie Wonder – has been a pretty persistent rumour, and would be an amazing get for the festival.  He is playing some festivals this summer, but I can’t find any single listing of his currently booked dates.

Those are the big rumours, and of course the best thing about Bluesfest is that over the 10 days, there are so many acts to catch that the headliners are really just icing on the cake. Word is this year’s festival received a record number of requests from local bands to play, so Ottawa should be well represented as well.

The other great bit of news is that the Byward Blues concert series is going to be expanded and will include free outdoor shows over both weekends, as well as lots of club shows through the week.  Two of my favourite experiences from last year – Arrested Development on York Street and Peter Murphy at Mavericks – were a part of the Byward Blues series, so I’m really glad to see it back.

UPDATE: Just spotted another rumour that seems pretty likely:  Santana.  He’s on tour playing basically every day or two and then there’s a rather conspicuous gap between Toronto on July 11 and Montreal on July 15th.  hmmm..

In The Kitchen: Mom’s Easter Bread

Originally posted on


Last year around this time my sister and I got together to do some Easter baking with the intention of writing up a post on our adventures for this site.  As with many of my intentions for this site, this post kept slipping through the cracks and just didn’t end up getting written up in time for a proper Easter post, and now that it’s come back around again, I figure I ought to get something up.

Our family has Ukrainian heritage on our father’s side, and while we got to experience a lot of the wonderful Ukrainian Easter traditions through our Baba (grandmother) as we grew up, much of that has faded away as we’ve all grown into our own lives and adopted our own traditions.  This delicious traditional Easter bread is a vestige of our heritage that has survived and been passed down.  Our version turned out a touch lopsided, but it was yummy nonetheless!

Mom’s Easter Bread

¼ cup warm water
2 tsp dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
Glaze:  1 tbsp water
White from 1 large egg

Sprinkle the yeast on the ¼ cup warm water and leave for 3 minutes.
Add sugar, salt and 3 ½ cups flour.
Stir the yeast mixture; slowly pour into the bowl and stir in.

Add the 2 beaten eggs to the milk.
Slowly pour the milk, eggs and melted butter into the bowl.
If the dough is very, very sticky, add the remaining ½ cup flour, a little at a time, until the dough is just a little sticky.

Place in bowl and brush all over with melted butter and cover with a damp tea towel.
Place bowl in oven with light on and let rise for 1 ½ hours.
Remove dough from oven and pound it on a floured board until it is flattened.

Divide the dough in half and roll each half  into a rope about 28 inches long.
Twist the ropes loosely together, braid fashion.
Place the twisted dough on a greased cookie sheet and bring the ends together so they won’t separate during baking.
Return dough to oven with light on and leave for 40 minutes.

To Make the Glaze:  Stir together the water and egg white.

Remove the dough wreath from the oven and brush it with the glaze.  Heat oven to 325°F.  Bake wreath on the middle rack for about 28 minutes.