la bonne vie

Pink Champagne

When I lived in France for the summer in 2010, I kept mostly to Strasbourg. Unfortunately, I never visited Lyon or Tours or Nice. But I was lucky enough to see Paris, Bordeaux and Champagne. My visit to Champagne started – as with most travels in France or Europe for that matter – by TVG/le train. I generally really like trains; it’s like taking a road trip without having to concentrate on the road. And you still get to play mixtapes! Below is the one I conjured for the weekend passing the vineyards and little antique french towns.

Wild Horses – The Stones

Golden Skans – The Klaxons

One More Night – Stars

Superfast Jellyfish – The Gorillaz

Kick In The Door – Biggie

If Only – Sondre Learche

Low Rising – The Swell Season

Music For Life – Talib Kweli

Te Quiero – Stromae

Even in the Rain – Fiery Furnaces

Try Honesty – Billy Talent

Sleepwalking – Whale Tooth *

Prissy Prancing – Eagles of Death Metal **

Disclaimer – The Dears ***

French Countryside Champagne

*I really love this band. You should also check out Hibernation Song and Clever.

**This whole record is great but in particular; Now I’m a Fool is also excellent for road trips and High Voltage is the song I imagine would be my stripper song (you know, in case things became dire…this economy and all…</tragicomedy>).

*** The Dears also featured on my Australia West Coast roadtrip mix tape with Meltdown in A Major. See also: Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Day of the Dead

Cancon count: 4.


And so you’re back/from outer space…

I Will Survive - Cake

It’s been more than a year since I last posted and then abandoned the wordpress suburbs for the new and wild jungles of tumblr. While the safari was fun, tumblr (for me at least)  is not suitable for long form text. You can see a semi-successful attempt here at the travel blog. Which in reality is a photo travel blog or more specifically a food photo travel blog. In the course of my recent travels, one of the many things I have learned is that the wifi connection is never as good as you hope and uploading photos or posting long text is a time suck. And so with my handy little tumblr app, it was easier to take and post photos all on my iphone with little commentary. Looking back at the France trip and now the South East Asia trip I almost prefer the simplicity of a single photo and caption. For me the minimalism evokes greater sensory recall. Pour moi ca marche.

But now I have come back to wordpress. I actually lost the blog; I forgot the name and hadn’t bookmarked the login. In finding it again I’ve reread old posts and have decided they weren’t all that bad. It’s strange that I’m in a completely different place than that girl of a year ago but I still have this need to collect my internet findings. I attempted to do that at tumblr but all it is a smattering of images on a page. Here the minimalism doesn’t work for me and I feel that this presentation of my curation requires more context. And so I’m thinking of reviving the blog. Yes, this one. I suppose tumblr can act as a sort of farm team. ps. I’ve changed the name from wtfalia to the more classic sounding Arts & Crafts & Internet.

So what’s new in alia world? Well lots but for now I only give you one. I am crazy obsessed with this song. It is the theoretical love child of Peter Gabriel and Fleetwood Mac if that child was born in Belgium and grew up in Australia. I am also into guest artist Kimbra’s new album Vows. Specifically; Settle Down and Cameo Lover (check out those music videos too! Artsy!).

Also (ha! I lied. I give you two!) since I’ve found my library card I’ve been reading comics again. I will probably write a post about The Fountain on its own because I think it has some interesting aspects about storytelling and filmmaking. For now please enjoy Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks (creator of Demonology 101, a nice cross between Buffy and Harry Potter and one of the first webcomics I ever read) and the current run of three panel comics that Warren Ellis is running on his blog. Also: Annie Wu.


21 Days and Travels

Oh hi blog! How’s it going? I didn’t see you there. It has certainly been more than 20 days. My bad. This is what I started writing on the 21st day:

And so it is the twenty first day. I didn’t quite make my deadline but – like spilled milk – there’s no point in crying about it. So, after all that talk about tumblrs and not having something to say I’d decide to keep the blog as it is (albeit with a new layout). Now without the pressure of readings and essays I can find more time to simply write down my thoughts and internet findings.

Less than 24 hours ago I finished writing my final paper for my undergraduate degree. I’ve moved back home to the sounds of trains and dogs. I’m living out of boxes and sleep on a pullout. So feelings of triumph aren’t really flowing. It’s not at all as glum as I make it sound but I’m surprised I feel no different. I was hoping for elation or relief or at least accomplishment. Maybe those feelings come at convocation but I may not be able to go to mine. I really shouldn’t be anything but ecstatic. I’m going to France.



Real Tea Party


So clearly I was on the path to continuing this blog but – as per usual – failing to flesh out my ideas clearly and on time. I’ve enjoyed this little experiment in my last semester of my last year. But for some reason I feel the need to move on. Thus, this is the end of this venture as I move to a tumblr blog for my France adventures. Au bientot.

Canadian Playlist Addendum

So I’m an idiot and forgot to include Controller.Controller. Even through they’re broken up I still put them on almost every playlist I make. Actually, that’s a lie. Controller.Controller would be out of place on a soul mixtape. Gun-to-head favourite track: Silent Seven.

New favourite track from new favourite band: Misteur Valaire – …et si c’etait un veau?

After a huge and delicious meal at Samurai Sushi, we wandered around Hockey Place Stadium before the game started. At first we were tricked into standing in line and going into the Saskatchewan Pavilion. There was great music and what appear to be a bouncer checking IDs. This was promising. The line moved quickly and we got inside to find no free tables but worst of all no micro-brews. If you are suppose to be representing your province should you not also represent your breweries? It would have been nice to see how Great Western Brewing stacked up against Big Rock Crafters (Grasshopper Ale (on tap) being one of my favourites). So in search of a more unique experience than Molson we headed for the Quebec pavilion or La Maison du Quebec. Not only did they have microbrew – Archibald – but they had creme brulee. Yes, it was ridiculously overpriced but there was no line (this was one of the first and only times I did not wait in a line) and apparently there was music in 20 mins.

The set up seemed odd. Turntables, bongos, saxophone, trumpet, drum kit, bass guitar, guitar, and other various percussion instruments. This could either be really, really good or really, really bad. When the band came out they looked like a hipster boy band (in a good way?) and I was still unsure of how this was going to go down. But then they just started playing and I slowly began to realize that not only was this not so bad but I kinda really like the music. Go to their website. You can listen to all the tracks and download their album for free. The only downside to finding this new band is that they seem to rarely perform outside of Montreal. Road Trip?

ps. I also really like TKO.

This one time in Vancouver I had…

Back from the Olympics in one piece. Hurray for me. While there were too many experiences to simply write in one post I thought I’d start with food. Here are the top five places we went to eat while in Vancouver (in no particular order).

1. Black Frog

Stumbled across this place in Gastown trying to find The Diamond. We instantly liked it: the food was reasonably price and there was micro-brew but mostly it reminded us of our old local pub The Alex P. Keaton (which sadly is no more). We really liked Granville Island Brewery’s Lions Winter Ale and the artichoke dip was pretty solid. Grasshopper Wheat Ale was also pretty good but it’s from the prairies.

2. Go Fish Ocean Emporium

All the cheap food guides had this place listed and it was near the Public Markets on Granville Island (which is also great). The fish and seafood was ridiculously good. I loved the green thai curry seafood chowder, the scallop sandwich and the fish and chips with salmon. All of which we bought for $27 taxes in.

3. Samurai Sushi

The sushi place I originally planned on going was in the process of being demolished (this is something google maps does not tell you). Across the street was a Hilton so we decided to ask the concierge. She directed us to this place that was just around the corner. I’ve eaten a lot of sushi in my life and I would say I have a pretty good idea of what good sushi is. While some of the maki rolls are monstrous in size – like the california roll – it doesn’t necessarily take away from its flavour. The sashimi large and delicious. The prices were affordable. Although it is no Toshi, Samurai Sushi was the best sushi experience I’ve had in my entire life.

4. The Diamond

This place is tucked away in the middle of Gastown. I like the unusual tapas, the small menu and the retro modern decor. I imagine the vibe is a little different at night but overall it’s a pretty chill place. I don’t think the rest of the gang was really feeling it but it reminded me of places in Toronto like Spoon, One and Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice Restaurant.

5. Belgian Fries

This was one of the few places that wasn’t completely packed on a Saturday night. It was our last night and we simply wanted a night out. We tried Black Frog at 7pm but there was a line. We tried St. Augustine’s place but they turned us away (because we were tourists?). The atmosphere wasn’t ideal but they had Winter Ale on tap, TVs with hockey and the most awesome fries ever. The place is promoted as the best poutine outside of Quebec (according to CBC Montreal. My roommates did not disagree) but it also has regular fries with a large choice of mayos. I picked hot garlic but was close to choosing wasabi or tangy Jamaican. If the vegetarian chili hadn’t been so filling I was going to chance it and try the deep fried ice cream and mars bars. There is no salad here but there is deliciousness.