As Makeshift As We Are references

 




"...You're a complex dune, I'm a cloud of octopus ink"

Fun with cut and paste, because I'm lazy:

"The ink of the octopus, or any cephalopod, is composed of highly concentrated melanin. This is the same dark pigment that we humans have, and which is responsible for skin color and the color of dark hair. It is a natural dye that cephalopods manufacture in an ink sac. Most, but not all octopuses have an ink sac and produce ink, but a few, such as the deep-sea octopuses, have lost this ability.

When the need arises, octopuses squirt this ink together with a jet of water and are able to guide the direction of the squirt. The result is a cloud of ink, which is used defensively as a visual screen or a distraction to predators. The ink also contains a compound, tyrosinase, which irritates predators' eyes and paralyzes their sense of smell temporarily."

"...From memory tension springs we were gunsmoke and the truth"

It's not capitalized, and the fact that the album was recorded in the west may be it's only tangible link, but I don't wanna piss off the powerful William Conrad lobby. So here's some stuff about the legendary TV program "Gunsmoke" via wikipedia:

Gunsmoke was an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories took place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. The central character is lawman Marshal Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad on radio and James Arness on television. When aired in the UK, the television series was initially titled Gun Law, later reverting to Gunsmoke. The radio series ran from 1952 to 1961. The television series ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and stands as the United States' longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes.

"...Let's shake some snow off of his shoulders
Let's shake some snow off of the roof."

I found that this line, and the whole song actually, was an unexpected but very popular crowd pleaser during the initial outdoor tour in July, 2004. Folks seemed to get a kick out of a uniquely northern image of someone brushing, or shaking some snow off of the top of their head.

"...You can't take your shots back
I have to watch them miss
The basketball rim
Shook like a tambourine
Not an unlikely event
In a game that means nothing
In a game that means nothing

Shane Kroeker added the following:

I was listening to a radio interview with Ian Thornley of Big Wreck discussing Gord Downie. He said that their kids were on the same basketball team together, and how it was nice to see each other at the games in a casual fatherly role setting. Making small talk about how tall your kid has grown, etc. Thornley goes on to say how Gord always had his notepad along with him at the courts, penning lyrics. Given these facts, I believe that the highlighted lines above in As Makeshift As We Are, were spawned from one of his son's inconsequential basketball games.

"...Weaklings make trouble, you played on your guitar."

Hip Head Chris Janzen points out that the line may be borrowed from E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web:"

"Fern," said Mr. Arable, I know more about raising a litter of pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble. Now run along!