Three Tracks: 2014

Three tracks that defined my year:

Sun Kil Moon, “Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes”

Chilling, intense. One of the best-ever songs about death of all sorts. “And I remember just where I was/When Richard Ramirez died of natural causes.”

Cloud Nothings, “I’m Not Part of Me”

One of the best shows I saw this year. “I’m learning how to be here and nowhere else.” And: “I’m not! I’m not! You.”

(I included the audio-only YouTube link as the official video is just distracting.)

Spoon, “Do You”

Song of the summer, and it’s been a while since we had one this great. The wistful ending—sort of like the end of summer, come to think of it—puts it over the top. “Do you want to get understood?”

See also Three Tracks: 2013.

Three Tracks: 2013

I had this in mind a year ago, but never got around to posting it (see Three Tracks: 2014). Three tracks that defined my year:

Jon Hopkins, “Open Eye Signal”

The track is a journey, a revelation (and the video is actually pretty great). Saw Hopkins in November (and again in July 2014), and it was brilliant.

The Knife, “A Tooth For An Eye”

It rocks. “I’m telling you stories/Trust me.”

Vampire Weekend, “Ya Hey”

Like a 21st century Paul Simon; the whole album is great. “Who could ever live that way?”

Nk’Mip 2013 Dreamcatcher

This is a blend of Riesling (73.3%) and Chenin Blanc. Pale gold, medium-whiff citrus and sage. Off-dry, high acidity, intense lemon and apricot, distinct from the aroma. Full body. Good length. Very nice overall. I want to try their (100%) Riesling.

$20.90 at Crosstown.

I visited Nk’Mip Cellars in Osoyoos last summer and it’s a worthwhile trip.


Brian Francis Loch Ryan, 1931-2014

Note: I planned on submitting this to papers in Vancouver and Queensland, but the quoted costs made me laugh out loud (e.g. $1700 for the Brisbane Courier Mail). Posting it here will probably make it more accessible to people who actually knew him, anyway; and it will not expire.

Brian Francis Loch Ryan, age 83, of Vancouver, BC, September 19, 2014, at St. Paul’s hospital, from general infection and complications of Parkinson’s disease. Rugby player, teacher, poet and jester; husband, father and friend to many. Finally at rest after an interior psychological revolution and what he called “the best years of his life.” He loved life, animals and the great outdoors. He will be missed.

Born in Blackall, Queensland, Australia, March 27, 1931, to Dorothy Madge (née Loch) and Francis John Ryan. Grew up in Goovigen. Educated and abused by Christian Brothers, St. Brendan’s, at Yeppoon.  “Best and Fairest Player,” 1954, Past Christian Brothers Football Club. Teacher’s College in Australia, completed degree at UBC. Moved to Canada in 1957 and taught high school physical education, science, social studies, and library in Kamloops through to 1987. Retired to Halfmoon Bay in 1994. Pilot and home-built airplane enthusiast and member of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Poetry enthusiast and writer; onetime winner of the Globe Challenge limerick contest. Loved skiing.

Married Diane Joyce Frederickson, July 21, 1962. Survived by children Chris and Jennifer, and granddaughter Karina; and three of four sisters in Australia, Jacqueline, Dorothy, and Veronica; and in-laws John and Marg Frederickson and their children. Predeceased by wife Diane in 2007; his sister Pat in 2013; and his beloved dogs Scout, killed by a snake November 23, 1943; and Chester, 1994.

Donations to Parkinson Society BC appreciated.

Robin Williams

He’s been remembered in recent days for the obvious stuff: Mork; Good Will Hunting; Doubtfire; and so on. All great. But for me, and I think my daughter Karina, it’s his reading of “The Fool and the Flying Ship” that is most memorable. All of  his manic inventiveness is here. The voices, the enthusiasm, and what I assume is a good dose of improv are hilarious. He was one of a kind.

Meyer 2013 Riesling

I visited Meyer August 9, 2014 and picked up two bottles of this Riesling along with a couple of their great Pinot Noir releases. It’s well worth visiting their tasting room.

This Riesling is their first, and produced in small quantity; I believe it is only available at Meyer. It’s clear, light gold in the glass, with medium intensity aromas of citrus and minerals, along with subtle ripe apricot. Off-dry, strong but well-balanced acidity, and a medium body. Stone fruits dominate; there is a lemony acidity which develops nicely in the finish; this wine has good length. Overall very good; I’m looking forward to future vintages. 11.5% alcohol. About $20 at Meyer.

See also the winemaker’s release notes and tasting sheet (PDF).


Tightrope Riesling 2012

Clear, pale gold in the glass. Medium nose of citrus and apple with a slight floral quality. Dry, strong acidity, light-to-medium body. Lemon, mineral, tart apple. Good length, with a crisp though slightly muted finish. 12.6% alcohol. Overall good.

$27 at Steamworks Wine Thief. See Tightrope Winery.


Joie “En Famille” 2011 Reserve Gewüztraminer

Clear light gold in the glass, with medium-intensity sweet floral aromas. Medium-plus body with a slightly oily feel in the mouth. Off-dry, with very nicely balanced floral, spice, and agave nectar flavours. Good length with a nicely evolving finish. 13.5% ABV. This is probably the best B.C. Gewürz I’ve yet tasted. Definitely recommended.

See Joie Farm.