Friday, July 27, 2007

an overdue nod to the Great Lakes Swimmers

about a month ago, i had the great fortune to see the Great Lakes Swimmers perform in a very tiny bar/club here in Madison. i've quite enjoyed their previous 2 albums, and their latest, Ongiara, is no disappointment. their music is quiet and understated, with winding lyrics and a country/folk influence, but there's still something modern and polished. they remind me a little of one of tony's favourites, pinetop seven.

what i didn't know is how amazing they would be live. while their performance was pretty true to their albums, hearing the songs live in a small, intimate venue made them so powerful and moving that i couldn't bear to have it end. again i must praise madison for being small enough to have such great bands play such small venues; something i'm sure to miss dearly when i eventually leave.

a great review of the show (and a few downloadable extras) is available from local Madison music blogger Muzzle of Bees. i highly encourage you to check them out, especially their song "various stages", which can be heard on their myspace page.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

garden of horrors

my co-worker, MG, and her partner, gwen, have a small garden in their backyard, and each year they have troubles fending off rabbits who are lured by the freshly-planted flower shoots. they hate using industrial pesticide products, so they usually buy a spray of all-natural-things-that-are-stinky (garlic and the like). usually the first night is the worst; the rabbits start advancing even before they've packed up and gone back in the house.

this year, after planting their new flowers, they realized that they had forgotten to buy any spray. it was too late at night to run to the store, so they formulated a new plan...

what you see there is a protective line of destroyed dog toys. their two dogs (munkee and maks) are very fond of destroying dog toys in the most painful of ways - they rip off their eyes and then pull out the stuffing from the eye sockets. occasionally, they'll also take off an arm or leg, especially if it's really dangly or floppy.

now, as most dog owners know, do we throw these destroyed animals out? of course not, because in a few months our dogs will become enamoured with them for a few more days (and then loose interest after receiving another toy with fresh eyes and limbs). what an ingenious idea to give a new purpose to all these sad stuffed toys, which are covered with dog spit and slobber!

here are some close-up shots of some of the guardian toys...

fortunately, the vigilant toys were able to protect the flower beds that first night, and no plants were eaten. but, not wanting to chance a refocused bunny invasion, MG and gwen bought some more spray the next day and relieved the toys of their posts, returning them to their life of leisure inside the house.