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    The volcanoes of my soul are just about to blow!

    2011 - 11.19

    I was told yesterday that I listen to “girlfriend” music. I suppose that’s true in a few senses – I usually enjoy the most accessible songs in any given genre, and I’m very inclined to listen to whatever weird genre the person I’m dating enjoys.

    A prime example of that is Steven Wilson, whom I was lucky enough to see in concert on Wednesday. I am only familiar with his work through some of my dudes – Ethan, for example, has called Porcupine Tree one of his favourite bands for years. I didn’t actually listen to their music until a few songs of theirs appeared on a birthday mixed CD. The maker of said mix explained that he chose their most accessible, poppy tunes (Drown With Me and Blackest Eyes) because he wanted to ease me into a Steven Wilson fandom easily. Normally I enjoy being thrown into the deep end, but it was a smart move.

    My talent crush on Steven Wilson grew the more I heard his music. I even watched a PT concert DVD, which is something I never do. I started to love his more meandering solo material (though his cover of Momus’ “The Guitar Lesson” is creepy like whoa). He’s just so CHARMING, you guys.

    Now imagine the second-most charming English accent you’ve ever heard coming out of that mouth. (This, by the way, is another Girlfriend Rock curse – there’s always a bit of a crush on the frontman)

    I have had this fantasy about him since I first heard about him, wherein I sell him a REALLY NICE pair of glasses. I worked the day of the show, but alas – he never came into my store. Should he ever read this, the offer stands. Steven Wilson, your next pair of glasses are on me. It’s actually a lot more likely at this new store than my old place of work…

    Anyway, I was very excited for Steven Wilson’s show, and I wasn’t disappointed! I missed the film beforehand (though I hear the reviews are very mixed about that section) because I had a closing shift, but I made it in time to meet up with Logan about twenty minutes before the show started.

    Let me tell you – SW fans are not nice people, from what I can tell. There was so much snarking and pushing and tall people moving to stand right in front of short people on purpose. Luckily, I was able to find a nice spot from whence I could see the man as he sang and conducted and played his LED-lit guitar. Songs that didn’t grab me on the new record, Grace for Drowning, were much more lively when seen firsthand. A highlight for me, of course, was “Postcard.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show where there was that much SOUND. The drummer was an absolute madman. The reverb of SW’s vocals made every hair stand on end. I couldn’t tell many of the songs from one another, but it wasn’t about that. I loved how the band was able to make the sound feel like it was washing over the audience. I was grinning and loving it from the first note to the last.

    Also, kudos for the classiest exit ever! He had the names of his supporting band projected onto the wall at the back of the stage and a “thank you, goodnight” message to the fans. He really ought to be known as the gentleman of progressive rock. Other people will have more technical reviews, but I’m not enough of an authority to try. I had an amazing time, and I would go see him again in any incarnation.

    Bonus points for running into Ethan, Pogo, Rob and Ali! Good dudes clearly have good taste in music, too. Ethan and I haven’t been spending as much time together since the Dwayne residency ended, and I seriously miss that guy.

    We move like caged tigers – we couldn’t get closer than this

    2011 - 11.14

    Saturday was Worn Fashion Journal‘s Black Cat Ball. I was particularly excited for about a hundred reasons. I got to dress up, see friends I hadn’t seen in FOREVER, dance with a well-dressed man… admittedly, though, I was more excited than I should have been to cover my first cool party since the blog launched.

    The party didn’t disappoint at all! The Wornettes threw a classy, unpretentious and genuinely fun ball. Everyone was pretty and dressed in theme, booze was plentiful and inexpensive (not for me, though – No Drink-November), and the music flowed really nicely. I don’t think any of the smiles I saw all night were faked.

    I talked to a few people about their fabulous glasses (just confirming that I NEED to visit Rapp Optical ASAP) but mostly Harold and I danced ourselves into a frenzy, enjoyed the people-watching and saved a few pretty blondes from one creepy old man who clearly didn’t belong.

    I got to catch up with a few friends from high school, too. I hadn’t seen Cayley or Vix in forever, and they both look like they’re happy and doing what they love. Cayley is working at Worn now, which is really appropriate. I remember wanting to do clothing swaps with her in grade 10 – if you’d seen how High School Allegra dressed, you’d understand why Cayley always found nice ways to say no.

    There was a wall of shame – we could write our fashion faux-pas on a post-it and confess our sins. Mine involved socks. Harold’s had everything to do with his unironic appreciation of dark brown corduroy. Doesn’t he know that cords are back in a big way? There was also a raffle, from which I won a prize pack courtesy of Nathalie-Roze:

    (Arm warmers, winky kitty hair pins, fishnet tights)

    I was going to wait until the official pictures were posted before writing the post (Dan Levy told me at a party once that waiting for pictures is one of the worst things about blogging), but She Does The City has some really nice ones up on Facebook already – though none of us.

    I wore my Vaudeville & Burlesque dress I bought in Scotland in September (I remember being hesitant to spend £40 on it, and I am SO GLAD that I did) and my favourite black bell hat (which was a gift from my mother).

    I really wish we’d taken more photos. This is the only one I have of the two of us from that night. It just means I’m that much more excited to see the official pictures.

    I loved the party. I would go to anything hosted by the Wornettes at this point. (Aside: PUG THEME?). The best part of any party, though, is the company. It’s so refreshing to be with someone who is up for any event, is willing to dress the part (see: Fake Prom) and will dance with me. My dudes are always down to shake a tail, but I’ve never dated anyone (guys or ladies) who was willing to hold me close and sway to the music. I always said, “SOMEDAY I’LL FIND SOMEONE WHO’LL DANCE!” to myself after each breakup, and it really is as good as I thought it would be. When Harold agreed to fill in as a last-minute Fake Prom date in August (my then-girlfriend was sick), I knew. I’m pretty happy, you guys.

    In other news:

  • Today I go to pick up a DVD copy of an infomercial I filmed when I was sixteen. I reserve the right to watch it and then burn it forever.
  • Also today I get to have dinner with my favourite Natalia.
  • Ke$ha, whom I love unironically, announced her next single. I am VERY pleased. Then again, I may be biased.
  • Also, hey, Christmas is coming soon (if you don’t know what to get the Allegra in your life)
  • All that I want is always to push forward

    2011 - 11.12

    A mixed CD is my favourite gift to give or receive for any occasion. My friends are mostly students, and therefore mostly poor, and a mix is one way of guaranteeing that they’ll expend at least half an hour’s worth of energy on my gift. Being a broke student myself, I return the favour. Any birthday to which I’m invited requires hours of playlisting, designing album art, shuffling and organizing. After all, I can’t give the wrong impression. No breakup songs to the person I’m dating, no sexy songs to the dudes in the friend zone, no cliches and no repeats.

    As I’ve been a little short on time these past few months, I’ve just been too busy to make birthday mixes. Unless you’ve saved my life more than once, I probably didn’t make you a mix this year. It takes about six hours to do everything, and the results are usually awesome (if I do say so myself). Particularly time-consuming (and rewarding) is the album art. I am really inspired by Mandelbrot sets and other rainbow fractals, and I love spending hours drawing similar designs with Sharpies onto coloured card stock.

    The evolution was quick. The earliest example I can find is this one, made for a then-boyfriend’s sister:

    My next few attempts at album art were full-out embarrassing. I wanted something colourful and abstract, but just wasn’t quite there.

    An engineer friend of mine showed me pictures of Mandelbrot’s fractals, so I decided to make one for my favourite engineer, just to try it out. The results were overwhelming.

    What followed was a whole series, culminating in a record-sized art piece for #HaroldTheHerald.

    And some non-Mandelbrot stuff that I still thought was cool:

    (Ruhee’s was probably the most complicated one so far. I don’t even know how it turned out that way)

    A few days ago, Maddie had her 22nd birthday. Known for her awesome birthday gestures, Maddie and I have been really close since we met on the coolest night of my life in 2005.

    Yesterday I mailed this to her. It’s a little different still – plainer, more emphasis on colour rather than shape. I wanted a 1970s feel… I think it will be the last Mandelbrot-inspired album art I’m going to make. It feels like the end of an era, but I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the 10th and final Mandelbrot Mix. Hope she gets it soon!
    Here’s the title track, for those of you who aren’t Maddie:

    Here are some other highlights since my last post:

  • Harold and I are going to be attending this tonight. I will be wearing a Vaudeville & Burlesque dress I bought in Scotland in September. He will be wearing his tightest black skinny jeans.
  • I busted out my winter coat for the next six months or so. (Thanks, Canadian winter!)
  • There were free cupcakes at work thanks to The Cupcake Shoppe. This is very significant. OM NOM NOM. They were very much enjoyed.
  • I finally chose which glasses I’m going to get in January when I have some money.

    They’re grey handmade plastic frames by OGI and I’ve coveted them since I started working at my store. They WILL be mine.

    Now, to get ready for the party…

  • I met my love at Pizza Corner

    2011 - 11.10

    I’ve never been much of a traveller. I took my first trip when I was 18 and had an unfortunate time. Somehow the beauty of Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco were all shadowed by family drama, poor planning and being surrounded by people who obviously didn’t like each other very much. The flights (six in all) were so rough that I vowed never to fly again. Saying that seemed a lot more doable than vowing never to talk to half of my family again…

    As soon as I got back, I met a dude and fell in love (he won’t be named, but he’s in my blogroll). Though he was living in Toronto for school, he was a born and raised Nova Scotian. He knew I always wanted to visit Halifax, so he whisked me away to meet his family for our six-month. Halifax was everything I’d ever imagined it to be. For a nineteen year old girl, in love for the first time, nothing was more magical than the salty atlantic air. I felt like I was in a Joel Plaskett song as I found all the landmarks made famous by Murderecords artists. To his credit, the boy put up with my fangirling and was an adequate tour guide. Sure, I couldn’t eat anything at the Chickenburger and the weather alternated hourly between -5 and 40 degrees, but I WAS IN HALIFAX. TRUE LOVE IN CITY FORM. THE PROMISED LAND. THE MOTHERLAND OF EVERYTHING I LOVE AND HOLD DEAR. HOME OF DOUBLE BRIDGES, FERRIES AND THE HIGHEST-GRADE TAPWATER EVAR.

    I was only there for a long weekend, but in those three days I felt like my life had been leading up to my arrival at Stanfield airport. I didn’t get to go exploring for myself, but I wanted to come back as often as I possibly could. I got to see Sloan play for free; we walked hand-in-hand through the Public Gardens; we climbed cliffs overlooking the bluest water I’d ever seen. I saw the city responsible for producing Chris Murphy and Joel Plaskett and Rob Benvie and Matt Murphy. Everything about it lived up to the hype, which was such a feat considering it was the only city I’d ever wanted to see apart from my hometown. I regret that I didn’t take ANY pictures, but I remember everything so vividly.

    Okay, that was a lie. There’s one photo worth sharing…

    It’s not easy being this cool, even while riding an orange electric bike.

    It was even better the second time I got to visit – the same boy’s family brought the two of us back for an entire week the following August. Armed with my camera this time, I documented everything. We explored more of the nightlife, we tried more food and saw more sights and were just MORE. We weren’t really on a time crunch, so we relaxed and went EVERYWHERE.

    That guy and I broke up over a year and a half after that second trip, and I still haven’t been back. At least once a month I will look at Porter flight prices and sigh wistfully. It wasn’t about him, and it had run deeper than the connection to my favourite musicians. Halifax and I have a connection, and I feel a wanderlust so powerful that it takes all the self-doubt I can find to convince myself I shouldn’t.

    A good friend of mine, Bevka, just moved to the 902 a few months ago for grad school. I’ve been dying to visit her. I just spent a week in Scotland this summer, though, so I can’t justify it to myself yet.

    Sean Ward is not helping the situation at all – he’s in NS covering HalCon and posted this on my facebook wall:

    My wanderlust has officially been reignited. I have to get back to the sea…

    She Says What She Means

    2011 - 11.07

    Goodness, people on the internet sure are being nice to me today!

    When I woke up, I remembered that it’s the birthday of one of my favourite people of all time. Chris Murphy of Sloan (the bassist of my all-time favourite band, for those few who don’t know) turns [redacted] years old today, and historically November 7th is a day of small celebration for me. In the past few years I’ve gotten promotions, good grades and met some life-changing people. November 7th treats me well.

    In addition to hundreds (!!) of blog hits since the launch yesterday, a lot of people have been linking to me through twitter, facebook, and their own websites. I really do know the best people. If I don’t have you in my blogroll, leave a comment and I’ll fix that immediately.

    today has been so productive already. I earned another top mark in my favourite course (a practical, upper-level Institutional writing seminar), owned a quiz, and sorted out some academic and financial issues (Thanks, York Professional Writing Department!). Getting shit done (GSD for short) is one of the best feelings in the world.

    In other awesome famous-on-the-internet news, TheGridTO did a profile on my karaoke crew, and guess who was singled out as a highlight?

    I’m especially excited when a girl—who might as well have been Parker Posey in Spring Breakdown—turns the place into a gay nightclub as she jams out Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R” while the crowd throws their arms up and encloses her in looks like a throwback to MuchMusic’s Electric Circus.

    Dudes. DUDES. I WAS JUST COMPARED TO PARKER POSEY. Let’s ignore that her character in that movie was a thirtysomething uptight office manager who eventually lets loose. Well, I guess I WAS in business attire…

    There are 7.5 hours left in the day. Let’s see what else I can do. Maybe I get to see James this evening after a million months. Maybe I’ll go play with some puppies. Maybe I’ll just watch Sloan videos…

    You’ve unlocked the Restraining Order badge!

    2011 - 11.07

    FourSquare is a handy stalking tool. I can’t imagine it having any other purpose. Ostensibly, it’s a fun mobile app that a person can use to keep track of where they go and where their friends are going. I suppose it can also be used as an advertising for businesses. I, as a recovering High School Stalker as well as a collector of neckbeards, see it only as a way to know exactly where someone is at any given moment. That, frankly, is terrifying.

    I have an account. I held out for so long for exactly that reason, but gave in when I upgraded to iOS 5. I have 26 friends who more or less could follow me wherever I go, if they so chose. I could return the gesture. I know where my friends live (“Moxie Crimefighter just checked in to The Moxie Mansion! She’s the mayor!”), when they’re home, and when they’re not home.

    This is one freakin’ step away from a seriously messed up episode of Criminal Minds. A serial killer checks into his victim’s house and posts “A stupid dead girl lives here!” as a comment before bludgeoning the victim to death with her own Blackberry. For bonus points, he returns to the scene of the crime every day in order to steal the mayorship. At best, knowing when people are or aren’t home makes burglary easier.

    I know people with 2,500 “friends.” People I don’t know try to add me every day. Why would someone invite that kind of invasion? People you don’t want to see can show up anywhere you are, and it might not be coincidental.

    Obviously, my house isn’t a searchable location. My boo’s building, however, is. I spend a lot of time checked in there, and even then I’m uneasy. I could take issue with 26 people (whom he may not know) having access to information that he didn’t reveal. He says it’s no big deal, but I’m not so sure. I am also the mayor of my place of work. Anyone who wanted to follow me there, though, would be sold a pair of high-quality glasses.

    I had a friend of a friend send me a request a few weeks ago. I said yes, despite only having met him once. Within a day, he showed up to two different spots that I’d checked into. When he followed me to a third, I engaged him in conversation and he left, awkwardly. I deleted him as a contact and all is okay. It could have been much worse. That dude was probably just socially awkward. Not every person on the internet is.

    I’m just glad that 4sq wasn’t around when I was in high school. I’d be in big trouble. Natalia joked that my high school self would have had the worst intentions and very unsubtle check-ins.

    The Allegra who uses FourSquare is not someone who ought to have the privilege. Therefore, for the sake of my safety, sanity, and battery life, I’m deleting my account. Farewell, fountain of too much information. I knew ye well.

    Welcome, dudes and mitches.

    2011 - 11.06

    The original title of this post was “Something clever to come. Or maybe I won’t.”

    So this here is my fancy new website. It’s got a real URL and a mostly-customized theme thanks to Gabriel, who saved me countless hours of pulling out my hair and tapping keys at random hoping to find the secret “MAKE A BLOG” button. He’s a pretty okay dude, you know?

    I’ve had about a hundred blogs in my life. Music blogs, rant blogs, quotation blogs… but dammit, nothing worth maintaining. Blogs are what make people cool, right?* The only really consistent thing about my web presence is my username, Capnallegra. The origin of that (which involves Unfortunate High School Allegra getting the better of some bullies AND pre-dating the pirate trend by at least a few months) is sure to come. If I’m good for anything at all, it’s a story. These opinions are mine, and most of the vernacular is mine too.

    Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

    The macular degenerate

    *Blogs may not make you cool, but they get you into parties.**
    ** Which may or may not be the goal all along.