Saturday, January 31, 2009

Whirlwind Saturdays

Saturdays are always nutty for me. I have very little time to
do anything if I am, in fact, in Ottawa. I work every friday
night until around 3 am, hopefully fall asleep around 4,
and then commence saturday morning with Sarah around
11 am, consume coffee and some sort of brunch type food
with her and then repeat the cycle starting at 3 pm Saturday
afternoon. I basically have a window of about 4 hours 
before I have to work again.

I can't do this forever...but I can do it for now. 

Gotta go repeat the cycle.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fast Times At Zaphod's High
Last night was a gas. Some Ottawa artists and friends of mine were 
both playing at Zaphod's last night and so I went to support them
(and found out I was on the guest list! I felt pretty special). 
Meredith Luce was opening for Matt Ouimet's cd release party.
Her voice and band sounded great. My homie Dean was rockin'
the mad bass with his brother Tim slammin' the skins.

I don't feel that great today. I had some wine with Sarah for 
dinner before the show and then a few strongbow at the show. 
My stomach feels unsettled. I didn't get anywhere near close to 
being drunk but I hate this feeling. Mixing alcohol is bad.

I'm pretty sure that Eugene Haslam grabbed my left hand 
last night. I bumped into him at the bar. He smiled and said 
'Hey bud!' and grabbed my left hand in an awkward shake. 

Maybe I'm famous?


Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Death Of Bridgehead And The Birth Of Laughter
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I don't like Bridgehead. I really don't. I know that everything
good and right within me tells me that I should go there but
I continually have layers of bad experiences when I buy
coffee there. My wife loves it (and it's not like I hate the mission
that they have as I'm speaking about one store in particular)
but as much as I can help it, I will no longer go to Bridgehead.

Here are a few key contributors to my dilemma:

1. The smell - there is something about the aroma of the
store that is unlike any other coffee shop that I enter and it
almost makes me vomitous. It's like a deep, penetrating
scent that smells like espresso that was shat out of an old

2. The service - Sure - okay. The staff are friendly but
they don't care about 'doing business' (which is part of their
main manifesto) so they end up hiring hip, non-chalant
types who call you 'bud' instead of 'sir'. (Please don't call
me 'bud'! I don't know you!) The lack of
business etiquette also allows them to take their time
getting orders ready (like today when pouring 4 coffees
out of giant vats for the customer ahead of me took 7
minutes. I'm not kidding) and to sort of stare at you
when you ask a question (like today when I asked for
more cream because the dispenser wasn't working but
as I fixed it on my own, and said 'I think it's working now',
the young girl behind the counter said 'Oh! Okay!' and
smiled. It might have been ideal for her to come and
check the dispenser so as to not have to deal with that
every time someone pours cream - just a thought.)

3. The Coffee Temperature - Their coffee goes colder
quicker than any other coffee I drink. I don't know what
it is that they do to the water or the beans but for a
place that claims to be 'all about renewable resources',
I don't how renewable it is to have customers dumping
out half of every coffee because it goes luke too fast.

4. The fog - I have been to many different types of coffee
joints. I have a friend that works at Starbucks, another
friend who works at Second Cup and another friend
who worked at Planet Coffee in The Market. At none
of these places have my glasses ever steamed up so much
and so quickly than they have at any given Bridgehead.
Granted - any place with steam machines on a cold day
will give a bit of lens-fog but at Bridgehead, it's like an
instant cloud that covers my lenses. This wouldn't be
that bad but they have new coffee names every damn
day and I only like certain how the HELL am
I supposed to see what I'm ordering?

Anyways. Enough about Bridgehead. I'm done. Sure -
I'll get the odd Hazelnut Latte for Sarah at the one near
my house but my main pet peeve is this:

Everyone in Ottawa raves about it so why would
they ever change
or listen to my concerns?
There are a million other places I can go. So I will.

I was also thinking about laughter today. I used to
think that only laughter about certain issues was a good
thing...but really, when your body laughs, endorphins
are released into your bloodstream and there is so
much natural good happening in your body. Even if
one's sense of humour is super-warped and twisted -
is it really bad to laugh? It's a natural response. It's
not like you can help it. Sometimes, it sneaks up on
you and what is funny or chuckle-able to you is totally
serious to someone else. It's almost a higher power.

When people laugh (and I mean really laugh), every
wall comes down and they are exposed to the enth
degree. There is an uncontrollable force being emitted
from their bodies that shows the utter enjoyment of
a moment.

I think any type of laughter is a holy thing and that
we need to seek things out that will make us laugh.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Electrocuted By A Fence and Attacked By A Cow

I just had lunch with this guy. What a nutbar! Xander
is one of those guys who gives you a constant stream of
consciousness as opposed to the usual get-to-know-ya
chit chat. He's pretty hilarious and very intellectual.
Luckily, I've been able to get to know him a on a bit of
a deeper level this year as we both work part time for
Ecclesiax Church. He told me a funny story today
about being attacked by a cow and getting repeatedly
zapped by an electric fence while trying to get away from
charging cows (in the darkness of night). I won't
say where this happened so as not to incriminate
poor Xander or any of his electrocuted cronies.

God bless his little heart.

It hasn't stopped snowing since I left for work this
morning. I feel a bit of a winter malaise. My sickness/
head mucus has been drained out (for the most part)
but now I sort of feel helpless to the drone of winter.
It continues to beckon. Window ledges fill with cold,
white fluff. I long for patio season...but there's a long,
long way to go before that gets here.

In the distance, a church bell chimes. An old man
stumbles as he searches for the curb of a snow-lacquered
sidewalk. Snow falls lazily beyond the frosted glass
of my window. I can hear a metal band recording some
sort of loud vocal track in the basement. My
calculator is broken. My sides are constantly itchy due
to scaly winter-skin dryness.

We all want redemption.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rap Music

What happened to this medium of music? Yes - at one point
in my life, I was a rapper. Okay? Do I have to answer that
question forever? But seriously - rap music used to be a
medium that voiced the ills of the world, the wrongs of
society and the death of caged-in musical stylistics. Now,
it's a whore of a thing.

Some of my housemates (the homies that live 2 floors up)
recorded some of their own rap recently and it's so
horrible that every time I hear it, I want to release a full
length album of rap music and let them know what it was
really all about back in the day:
1. The problems facing our world
2. Dissing other rappers
3. Using the power of words to overcome

Some people say that Snoop and others found a free form of
sexual expression in rap music and put it on display. I'm
calling bullshit. In fact, there are so many rappers now (my
housemates included) who can't even rap on BEAT! That
used to be the whole POINT! To be able to rap rhythmically
and poignantly was what that art form stood for...

It's trashed. There are many who have tried to steer it back
on course...but there are so many more who continue to veer
it off course.

Do I dare try?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Voice Of The Village
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I've been thinking a lot about community in the past day or two
and what that over-used buzz word really means. What do my
immediate surroundings require of me? How can I best impact
my immediate surroundings with both positive and creative
force? I'll put that on hold for a minute.

The above picture is an overhead shot of The Glebe area
in Ottawa (which is where I spend 20 hours a week and also
a few minutes walk from where I live in Centretown). It is
a special area for me as it is where I spent many hours, evenings
and weekends growing up as my Grandma Betty and Grandpa
D.F. inhabited a house in the Glebe. When I was younger, I
always saw it as a bit of a safehaven - a refuge. Growing older,
though, I saw that the area seemed to be filled with more of a
prosperity vibe and was mainly inhabited by younger couples
with young children, doctors, lawyers and general upper-class
types. Does that mean this area is a write-off because there
are very few homeless people around? Definitely not.

I've been sort of smuggled into different wavelengths of a
Christ-based belief system that is largely based on
a few key elements:
a. the importance of growing together with others
b. making an impact where you live and not in some foreign,
sunny country that I know little about
c. showing Jesus to others in the way that I act as opposed
to the way that I talk (due to the meaningless nature of
d. being supportive and receptive to others, no matter
what they believe or understand and walking alongside
of others in life.

This new blog
represents something I've been passionate
about and involved within for a while, now. Somedays,
I love it. Other days, it annoys me and I wish it could be
different. Most of the time, I think it's going somewhere
but I don't know where. I think in order to really 'do'
community, everyone involved has a massive requirement
to grow up and get beyond their general beefs and shit
with certain people. Community often starts organically
but then turns into 'Oh - I don't want to be there if THIS
person is there' and so on. Our childish and territorial
human minds lead us from where we should be. Maybe
we have too many choices as North Americans and the
choices overwhelm us - whereas, in remote villages of the
Amazon, you live, sleep, eat and die with your
community. That's just the way it is.

A community can look like a lot of things and can be many
different shapes and colours. One thing that I don't think
it can be, however, is half-assed. Community needs
commitment in order to go anywhere. It lives and dies
in the ability of those within the community to say 'I am
going to make this work. I am going to step in the bucket
and make a choice to really try this out for a designated
period of time'.

I just want to make the most of whatever time I have
on this giant ball of mud, grass, snow and water.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Greasy And Gross

So I just back from Montreal and I'm finding out that haters and non-
believers have posted undeniably ridiculous comments on my blog
about A. microphone etiquette and B. how I've 'failed in my quest'
because I haven't 'written' a blog every day.

Ya know what? In the words of Rob Lowe in 'Tommy Boy': "Screw you. 
Screw all of ya!!" I never set any specific parameters about what type
of blog I would submit and by my calculation, I have not failed in this
quest because I have blogged EVERY day this year (yesterday's blog
was posted on gabcast via phone at 9 pm and was uploaded before it counts!).  I'm not saying that I won't fail - but I
haven't yet so start believing, alright?

Montreal was eventful and joyous (as per usual). Graven is getting
tighter with each hour spent blasting out sound epiphanies. Even
if nothing happens with Graven (in terms of success), I have zero
regrets about the time and trips spent with my wife, great friends 
and creating music together. McKibbon's Pub was a gloriously dark
atmosphere for all of us to unwind within last night (and they
also provided a few frosty flagons of Smithwick's and other 
Irish brews). An acoustic cover band opened their set with Neil
Young's 'Heart Of Gold' (I feel sorry for that man due to the
amount of Canadian bar-goers who have butchered that song)
and we all sat in enjoyment of one another. 

Right now, I feel greasy and gross. I need to shower but I'm 
doing nothing to take care of that need. Our apartment is messy.
The sun is staying out a little longer. The tie that I wore to the
bar on friday night is strewn on the arm of the couch. Luca is 
falling asleep on the army crate that is our coffee table. 

Thanks Dad...for days like these.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Late Night Dans Le Montreal

Gabcast! gavinoids #4

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gabcast! gavinoids #3

Click the above picture to hear an audio version of today's blog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Sick Of These Dolphins...
Steve Zissou makes yet another guest appearance on my blog.
Today, I'm just sort of fed up. I'm sick of everything. I'm sick
of blogging. I'm sick of feeling like there is a medicine ball
inside my head made up of phlegm and disaster. Out with it!

I want to lodge my head into a vat of steam. I may even try
eating a clove of garlic. The x-factor about all of this that is
extra flummoxing is that I never get sick. It's really annoying
to feel normal. And yet, my sickness is so small compared to
some of the great ills of this world and at least I live in a
country where I can have access to a number of drugs that
will speed up my immune system. Still, though - I complain.
Complaining is easy.

Does complaining have its root within people who have an
overabundance and are never happy? Who lodged the first
legal complaint? Why do we whine so much as humans? I'm
sick of myself. Shut up!

We'll see if I live to survive the weekend upcoming. I'm
heading to Montreal for a Graven practice and to hopefully
connect with some old friends. First, though, I have to work
all day today and then tonight at the bar and again friday
night. Awesome. Complain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh Yeah...And This Guy Got In!
As somewhat of an addendum to yesterday's post, I wanted to relieve the
blogging world of bloated references (for one day) to President Barrack
Hussein Obama and save any political commentary for today. First,
though, before jumping off the deep end of any lectionaries or essays,
I think it is important to answer a few questions...even if only
for my own peace of mind.

Do I think he's being made into a knight in shining armour?

Most definitely. I guess, though, that view is only a negative one if he
never slays any dragons. Here's hoping his sword is sharp and that his
shield is worthy.

Do I think he will truly be an agent of change?
I'd like to think so but as we all know, the crooked world of politics has
many facets and many illusions. Many have bucked for change and
many (oh, so many) have failed.

What does Obama's U.S. presidency mean to me as a
To be honest, most Canadian citizens are more involved
with the American political world than the Canadian one for a few
obvious reasons:
1. It's like watching a massive religion of hysteria and speaking in
tongues when you are used to a quiet country church with a white
picket fence around it.
2. The American political game is more fun to watch than our
3. Stephen Harper is made of wood. Let's be honest, here.
4. I know Obama could give many NBA players a serious run for
their money on the basketball court (Have you ever seen footage
of him playing? Unreal).

One thing is for sure, though - as far as spreading hope in the
hearts and minds of many, Obama has already won in that
department. I haven't seen an event where so many were
inspired and hopeful (at a massive throng where millions were
gathered) in a long, long time. That's got to be worth something.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Good To Feel Like

It's funny how a quick skate on the Canal can cure what ails you. I hadn't
skated before tonight in over a decade (needless to say I was a little
nervous) but it went alright. I had been feeling kinda sick all day until
Sarah, Landon and myself decided to go for wings. Fancy that. Some
extra hot wings and a skate on the canal helped my system to normalize.

Overall, today has been a good day. I don't get days off too often which
makes tuesday into a very special day. Sarah and I slept in, made some
seriously dark coffee, watched most of The Royal Tenebaums 
(which I just bought on ebay for $10, shipping included), bought some
new skates at Play It Again, ate a tasty sandwich at a place called 
'Nuts About Life' on Bank St, picked up Landon, got some fiery wings
at the Arrow & the Loon, got a phone call from Caleb and hit the

I forgot how sore your feet first get after skating. 

I better go upstairs and watch some lame-ass American Idol. 

Here's to those of us who aren't scared to let our birds out of their

'Go, Mordecai!'

Monday, January 19, 2009

Soul Junk
Sometimes we all need a day or two to clean out the pipes,
put 'er into neutral and just chill the feck out. Whether
it's a cycle of eating too much meat (guilty), staying up
too late or drinking too much beer, it is important to
break away and cleanse from time to time. I think it's
in those moments that we see the clearest as the storm
has subsided and a new day is coming. I used to have
this spot I would go to at Camp IAWAH where I could
think clearly and connect with the Good Maker.
Sometimes I needed to shut up and listen but other
times, I needed to vent and get things out. When I was
inhabiting that place, though, that's all I would do.

I cleansed.

No video games. No internet. No cell phone. No bank
account. No shopping malls. No coffee shops. No
debt consolidation. No car payment. No traffic.

It was me and Pure nature in its truest form and

It's the start of a new week and hopefully the dawn
of a new outlook. Sometimes, I don't do so well at being
an adult. Sometimes I just want to be a kid. Reality,
though, is much like Morgan Freeman's depiction of
of geology in Shawshank; 'a study of time and pressure'.
Time and pressure continue to build in every waking
hour and I am one step closer to the end of my life in
each breath I draw. When it's all said and done, will
I have made even a slight difference? Will I make it
count? Will people have seen Good in me? In the
way I loved my wife? In the way I connected with

Time will only tell.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sneaking One In

Dan Larocque. When will you unleash the creative forces
from within you? I hope that on that day, when the planets 
align in sonic glory, that I will still be your amigo. I hope
to play poker with you soon and enjoy your company.
Where is this picture from, anyways? 

Landon was sitting beside me, making weird faces. Sunday 
night is community night for the Village People. Sundays are 
insane for me. But in many ways, I look forward to the 
experience of connecting with a variety of people all at once. 
There was a good turnout of very different people there
tonight. Kathleen did a great job of putting together an
idea that drew out more ideas.

I almost forgot to blog today. Will I be able to do it every day 
of this year? I don't know. It's a tough call. No one can say 
for sure. I guess we'll have to cross our fingers and hold 
our breath. 

So this blogdrive almost died 19 days into the 365. That 
would have been really sad.

Adam hasn't been at the bar in a while. Next saturday, I'll be
in Montreal. I don't want Monday to be here yet. I'm not
really upset that Willis Magahee is injured. Will Graven
ever go anywhere or forever remain a side project? Does
anyone care about the homeless? Do churches still try to
look nice for any particular reason? I've eaten way too
much meat in the last few days. I need to remember to take
out the garbage tomorrow. 

Joy. One word. One syllable. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Rapid Decline Of Nicolas Cage

Okay. Friends. Countrymen. I pose a question:

What happened to this guy? 

His newest venture 'Bangkok Dangerous' (which is
actually a remake of a popular 80's asian film by the Pang 
brothers) tanked in both the box office and the critical world
but his last few years of film-making don't seem to show any
bright spots. Nicolas Cage is one of those actors who seems to
dip into two worlds: He either makes a horrible choice and
goes for a big budget money-grab OR he completely morphs
into the character he plays and wows viewers everywhere.

In 'Matchstick Men', Cage gave one of the best performances
I have ever seen as an OCD con-man (accented well by his
side-kick Sam Rockwell). I guess this is the sort of line you
have to tow as an actor - make a living but also go for roles
with a little substance. And who really knows Cage's private
battles and stories? I'd like to believe (because I really do
like him as an actor) that he's been suckered into a bad
contract with a crooked Hollywood production company
and has to make ten blockbusters before he does his own
thing again.

Wherever you are, Nic - we need you back.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Coffee With Pearce And Community Chords

This morning, after a nice long sleep-in, I got the chance to
chat with someone who I don't get to chat with often. His
name is Pearce. Pearcey is a great guy but I wouldn't consider
us to be super-close. The great thing about talking with Pearce
is that we can cover a lot of bases pretty quick and pick up
where we left off. He's one of those summery-looking, surfer
snowboarder dudes who has had a ripped body since the age
of 2. One time, late at night, I spat on his chest from the bunk
above him and he didn't even notice for about 2 minutes, until 
he stood up screaming 'AWW! Who SPIT on my CHEST!!'. After
a few seconds of being grossed out, Pearce was over it and eating 
Nutella out of a jar with his fingers, while saying 'Sometimes, I just 
love eating Nutella.' I wish the best for that guy as he has been
through his share of struggles in life. He is becoming more and
more passionate each day and it's a cool process to watch.

God bless that wacky little dude.

I'm thankful to have a city in which I can invest my time into
a different array of people. But what the hell does 'community-
building' really mean? Building a community is sort of like playing 
a chord on the guitar. A bunch of fingers come together, in the same 
space on the fretboard, and make a melodic sound. If even one finger is 
out of place, the entire chord sounds either totally different or
out of tune. We need to devote ourselves to the chord.

I also need to send a shout-out to my homie Liz who I got to see
briefly the other night after spending time with an old, old friend.
Liz is going to do great things (and is doing great things already) and
I hope I still know her when she becomes a world-famous

Time to practice some Graven stuff and get ready for work. If you're
ever thirsty on a Friday or Saturday night, you know where to find

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Term 'Stone-Cold' Doesn't Cut It's-Night%5B1%5D.jpg
In walking from Starbucks to the office this morning, I decided
to keep my gloves in my pocket. Within 30 seconds of being
exposed to the frosty temperatures, my hands began to tingle
and feel as if they were made of rock. I could barely hold
my coffee.

And yet, as much as we whine about the weather, it could
always be worse. Apparently, in Sault Ste Marie, the mercury
has been dipping down into -40 territory. Good gravy. What
do people do? Wear 7 pairs of pants at once?

Some days just clog you right up like a brick of cheese.

I hope to have something pretty inspirational tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Talk It Out & Old Friends

It's the way we live, today. I have a lot of Dave Marsh music in my 
noggin. It might be because I am interviewing him tomorrow. I am
excited to speak with the Wizard of Whap (I'm going to call him
that and self-dub the name and become a pop culture, name-dropping
guru) and talk about music with him.

I got the chance to meet up with a very old friend last night. This
friend is so old, in fact, that our relationship dates back to being
born in the same hospital on the same day. How is that for weird?
Anyways, in the conversation, we were able to really lay out how
we feel for each other after a little prologue of usual jibber-jabber.
Mark is a great friend of mine and has supported me through
a lot of endeavours in my life. He is smart, focused and has good
things to say about most things in life. We were in a band together
at the age of 17. We shed a few tears but sucked them back in,
exhibiting a manly strength. It was a good night. 

I also got the chance to talk with someone else today who I
really needed to talk with about some issues in my workplace. 
Maybe it's just me, but I think that many problems within the
human psyche manifest from bottling things up and not saying how
we really feel about one another. Get it out there, man. When
we do get the proverbial 'it' out there, we will feel that much
more ease and flow with whatever we are undertaking.

In Dave Marsh's new album, he talks a lot about the streets
and what was going on during a ripe time in Halifax Music 
History. It is enriching to listen to (and, as always, the snare
and cymbals make your eardrums bleed) - I highly recommend
picking it up. His album is called 'The True Love Rules'.

Sarah and I are headed out for a night on the town together.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Word From The Baltimore Doctor
(This counts because I started it at 6 pm)
(A Post Written From The Imagined Mind Of A Friend)

So I'm here in Baltimore...and the more crash victims and burnouts
I see only makes me realize two things:

1. I should have brought my guitar

2. I question the realm in which I chose to live my life.

I once saw this kid, back in Toronto, throwing pitches at a nearby
baseball diamond. The kid was 14. Every time he threw the ball,
you'd think it was a propeller and not a human arm. I mean, this
kid had power. There was something weird about his throwing
motion, a slight click, or a pop, at the end of the
pitch release. He seemed fine but there was something a
little off. The more I watched him pitch and the closer I came
to this diamond, I realized that the reason why this kid was
throwing with such thunder and force...was because the
growth plate in his elbow had never properly fused. It's
a medical anamoly. It happens all the time. Kids are put
into little league at a young age. His elbow was not properly
connected, allowing his arm to act like a catapult when he
threw a baseball.

The other day, here in Baltimore, I felt kinda sick. My
staff supervisor blamed a problem on me that was not my
fault. Maybe it was the copious amounts of dark beer and
whiskey in my system from the night before but I let him
have it. I stood with my arms crossed and refused to talk
to 'an imbecilic jerk who wouldn't let me get a word in,

A lady who lives two floors down from me, in the same
building, got shot in the leg yesterday. I saw her pass by
me in a stretcher as I was on my to assist with another
surgery. Our eyes connected. I looked away.

I've been here for months. I've been working my ass off.
The longest stretch of time I've had to myself was 36
hours. 36 hours, man. You don't know whether to laugh
or cry. In that 36 hours, a friend came by and we closed out
a local watering hole and saw a hundred more. I don't care
about blood. Some doctors smoke - I drink. Everyone has
a vice. Everyone has a breaking point.

Sometimes, our septic is full but we think it's a different
problem. We try to flush...but it WILL NOT go down.

I miss the sushi bar I frequent (with my lady) where the
owners give us a free bottle of asian wine. The
recession has affected all of us.

Jim Bryson is an unsung hero of this age. If I could play
more of his stuff to depressed patients, I would.

I hope I get out of Baltimore alive. Thank God for friends
and blogs and mental vacations.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blitzen Trapper and Modern Music
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Maybe it's because I'm sort of associated with Portland, Oregon
(in some weird, distant way) but I am starting to appreciate this
band more and more. If you've never dabbled into their
catalogue, I suggest a long, hard listen to 'Field Rexx'.

The guy in the green shirt in this picture looks a heck of a lot
like my cousin, Ben. Weird.

I've been thinking a lot about music and to be honest, I don't
like the thoughts I have. I'm going through a circular phase
where I visit record stores and (with gift certificates in hand)
and can't find a lick of anything that I want. The music
marketplace is a sick and perverse beast. Most thriving
artists are switching to more of a grassroots, community-
oriented type of record label.

Even Blitzen Trapper (and other bands like them), although
they are good, are coming out with a sound that's mainly
been done before. It's a sort of Simon-and-Garfunkel-ish
acoustic-based, jangly hippie rock that seems like it's been
slammed on a wash-board on a cabin porch in the woods
of Arkansas. I like it - but I yearn for originality.

Bands like Wilco have shown that radio hits are okay as
long as your catalogue runs deep into the wilds of
experimentation and genre-crossing.

Music is a fickle mistress. Those who experience success within
its realm often only experience it for a short time and then
fade into anonymity. Some people would argue that there
are keys to solidifying a spot in music history. I would
largely disagree as pop music tends to be a lot like fashion;
rooted in personal preference and taste.

What is taste or preference based on from one day to the
next? Many factors are at play, here. There's nothing solid
about it. It's like serving drinks at the bar. The vast majority
of drinkers don't come in knowing what they want UNTIL
they see someone else with a caesar that is salt-rimmed
with a fresh chunk of cucumber. At that moment, they
say 'I want THAT!'

Maybe there's a bigger question here. What dictates trends?
Where do they originate? Why does most music suck?

Any thoughts?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

NFL Sunday

Just taking a needed day of rest while watching a little Giants
vs Eagles action. I don't like the Giants. Eli Manning is a whiner
and an overrated quarterback. Soon, all of his bandwagon fans
will be looking elsewhere and realizing the mistake they made
in ever praising him. Sarah is eating some fruit. Holly might
do some baking. Owen is tucked into a warm quilt beside me.
Landon is online gaming in his nerd-dungeon.

All in all, this is a good day. Go Eagles.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blue Box, Black Box

Sometimes I wonder what we do when we actually recycle. I know
there are studies and plants and environmental-friendly systematics
that tell us it's a good thing...but is it really? Where the heck is all
of this non-perishable stuff going?

I picture an old man, smoking a corn cob pipe, who is sitting atop
of a gigantic heap of recycling somewhere...probably in Southern
Vermont. He is obsessed with plastics, newspapers, glass bottles
and the metal lining in chip bags. His family forgot about him long
ago. He sits atop his heap and he chuckles at the world: 'HA!
Recycling' he says, as he takes a puff from the pipe. 'What a
sham. Thank you Al Gore. Thank you tree-huggers. Thank you
green party. Because of you, I can sit up here and view the
world from my mountain of junk.'

Moral of the story: Let's keep recycling. The man from Vermont
never has enough.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Today was a good day. This morning I was lying down next to my lovely roomie, Owen the Cuddly, and some things just didn't seem the same. I remembered the night before and the delicious taste of the taco I had eaten amongst friends in a mexicana restraunt just several blocks from our house; however, I no longer longed for taco. I longed for a nice juicy foot-long sausage - something I could just put between two white buns and enjoy, from my friendly neighbour hood vender: Sanchez. I couldn't help but notice his friendliness the other day while he squirted a collection of his favorite condiments inbetween two hot fresh buns. There was something in his smile that made me tingle from my head to my toes. Sometimes the smile of a stranger is warmer than a fire - a fire on the coldest of days.

What does this mean, this feeling of freedom? This feeling is new to me. I intend on seeking the core of this feeling which has been erected deep inside of me. Like a ground hog peaking its head out of a hole after a long harsh hibernation, this feeling is good. I think that something we need to all remember is to keep looking for those new experiences that thrill us and keep us young, flexible, and vulnerable. These kinds of things stretch us out, and make us bigger and better people. Let's face it; L-Dog is gay.

Ever changing,
Landon (blogging on behalf of Matt who asked me to blog for him at work. I am SO gay!).

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Here It Is - The One You've Been Waiting For

Top 10 Albums of 2008

10. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
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They're Death Cab For Friggin' Cutie, okay? They had to
sneak in there. Honestly, I think I fell in love with the
bright, melodic riffs and hooks of this well-produced album
in the first few months after it was released. Since then,
though, I've found myself becoming more un-stunned by
its plain nature. If I wrote this list back in May, though,
this album would have made number one. There's something
that becomes a little 'ho-hum' about this work the more
it rotates in my stereo. But still - come on - they made
the cut. They're Death Cab For FREAKING Cutie.
Who releases an 8 minute song as their first single?
I'll tell you who - Death Cab For FU*KING CUTIE!

9. Mark Knopfler & Emmy Lou Harris - All The Roadrunning
I've had a bit of a 'thing' for Mark Knopfler for some time, now.
I have always had a deep respect for his style of guitar-ism
when he was with Dire Straits and although this was a choice
of my wife's when she was cruising through some new releases,
this album deserves a little street cred. Emmy Lou sings
her blessed little heart out and Mark rasps along beside
her and plucks away at his tempered, steely guitar sound.
This album is a little short on depth but long on listening
pleasure. It is served best on a highway (preferrably an
interstate) with long stretches of flat, prairie land.

8. Sigur Ros - Meo Suo I Eyrum Vio Spilum Endalaust
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Despite some hilarious personal references to album art
on the cover and the fact that this album came out in the
summer (ahem), Sigur Ros (though they intimidate the heck
out of me with their weird, non-existent Icelandic
dialogue) continues to do what they do best. They build
soundscapes and life theme-songs that are unparallel
with any other artist of today (save for maybe Radiohead).
My wife bought this album and although I have only
heard its full spool-through a few times, it is a conceptually
beautiful collection of music. I just wish I could understand
whatever it is that they're talking about...but maybe I
don't need to? Therein lies the beauty and the mystery of
Sigur Ros.

7. Stars - Sad Robots (EP)
This was a bit of a difficult album to put in my top 10,
seeing as:

a. It's not really an album - it's an EP

b. I don't even know if anybody heard about it
it was released super-silently.

Regardless, though, seeing Torq Cambell and Miss Millan
live a few months back at the Bronson Centre made my
decision as clear as day. I hadn't heard any songs on this
EP before seeing the show...and that's what made them
as bold and intense as they are. 'A Thread Cut With A
Carving Knife' is, in my opinion, on the best Stars' songs
of all time as it builds, changes and thrusts into an
oblivion of textured instrumentation and passionate
vocals about living for today. As soap-boxy as he can
be at times, Torq Campbell is a prime performer who wants
his listeners to notice their surroundings, as opposed to
the 'sad robots' whom we all know and come into contact
with from time to time.

6. Sloan - Parallel Play
The boys are back in town - or were back in town with the
release of this new Andrew-heavy disc. After interviewing
Jay Ferguson back in the spring about Sloan, where they've
come from and where they are going, I couldn't help but
appreciate this well layered work that basically sums up
the band's existence to date. Chris Murphy drives the
balls-out rock train, Andrew labours and crafts away
intensely at his weird yet wizardly songs, Patrick blasts
his arena-rock fuzz for all to love and wave their arms
to and Jay Ferguson carefully plucks flowers in the field
of his mind where he smokes out cinammon puffs from
the candy cigarettes that are his songs. All in all, for a band
I've admired for over a decade now, this is a 'piece de
resistance' from Sloan to date and it worth a
serious listen.

5. Weezer - The Red Album
True to their form, Weezer continues to be a curveball or
slider pitch of the music world. You just never know what
you'll get with these guys. Stepping back from being a
creative control freak, Cuomo actually let some of the
other bandmates write some songs of this album...and
they're actually decent! Honestly, though, the song that
sold me on this disc was 'Pork And Beans' as it pretty
much sums up Rivers Cuomo's entire philosophy about
the music industry:
'I'm gonna do the things that I want do/
I ain't got a thing to prove to you/...'
I just love how millions of music-snobs look at the way
these guys do their thing and say 'What the...?' and yet
they still remain successful. Go get 'em, Weez. Whenever
you finish your tour of primary colours for album names,
I'll still be listening.

4. Brendan Canning - Something For All Of Us
I know - Broken Social Scene brain-washed me and pays
me to write good reviews of their music. Ha ha. Funny.
The reality is that seldom few can create such an anamoly
of and array of sound like these folks can. Brendan
Canning, too, stepped up as more of a background bassist
and released a front-man batch of very well-crafted songs.
Sometimes, the feel of this album rests a little too heavy
on the shoulders of older Girls Against Boys tunes but
that's just fine with me. Most of the songs are driven
by terse, driving bass-lines (sometimes distorted,
sometimes not) but they all usually explode into some
epiphany of sound. Canning's disparate and patchy lyrics
are all about community as he truly doles out 'Something
For All Of Us'.

3. Coldplay - Viva La Vida/Prospekt's March
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Coldplay! I KNOW! I'm such a massive sell-out. It's disgusting.
Despite being pegged by Pitchfork as 'yet another band who
sold out to sound engineer Brian Eno to change their creative
direction', say what you will - but we all know that Coldplay
has it where it counts. I was expecting to be VERY
hum-drummed by this release but I've found that it gets
more play in my iPod than many other artists. The intricately
digitalized songs of this album have an unparallel sound that
I crave a lot of the time. Chris Martin and crew are incredibly
good at what they do and they have done very well to evade
any sort of traps of the music industry. Ask anyone who has
attended a recent liveshow and they'll all say the same thing -
'The quality of sound made it seem like a live playing of the
album except way louder and WAY better.' There may
not be much room for live improv...but to have millions of
people say the same thing about their live performances
is pretty friggin' incredible.

2. Silver Speakers - Streetlights And Stars

Conflict of interest? Reviewing an artist who is on my record
label? I don't give a DAMN. Yeah, that's right. Suck it.
Tyrone Warner is a great song-writer and deserves some
just desserts. In a tiny Toronto beer-garden-like pub, back
in September, I got the chance to hear the live cd release
of this album and it has vacuumed my sub-conscious ever
since. Each word drips with meaning and the songs are
rife with faith-searching 'meaning of life' type stuff. 'Are You
Only In My Head' is one of most hauntingly beautiful songs
I have ever heard as the guitars and keys cascade the listener
through a valley of sound and light. The only reasons why
I couldn't give SS the #1 nod are...well...obviously, he's a
friend of mine and that's a little bias...and because he was
forced (due to resource restraints) to use a drum machine
which draws away from the magnificence of the songs, at
times. Better luck next year, T-money.

1. Matt Mays & El Torpedo - Terminal Romance
I know what you're thinking and the answer is 'No! - I don't
only review East-Coast artists or musicians I've interviewed'
okay? Back off. There just really wasn't a massive number
of albums released this year...but THIS one by THIS dude
takes the cake of rock and eats it, wholesale - candles and
all. Pulling a reverse of what 'Narrow Stairs' did to me,
I didn't really care much for this album when I first heard
it. The fabric of Great Canadian ballad-rock, though, weaves
this album together into a finely tangled mesh of sweaty shirts
and plaid-jacket, pine-tree highway visions. Matt Mays
has shown, once again, that he is a superbly talented
songwriter and speaks of the traps that are romances
which have become disastrous diseases. What I love most
about this album and MM&ET, though, is that Matt is never
trying to be something he is not.
He is a rocker - through and through. In an interview I
conducted with him (that he later invited me to the show
afterwards), he said 'I just love guitar riffs, man. Is that
wrong?' This album blasts out of the gate with the throat-
ramming riff that brings 'Building A Boat' to life and
trucks full throttle right into the Springsteen-esque
ballad mid-point of 'Terminal Romance' and keeps a-rollin.
This album is not for the folky hyper-instrumentalized
Sufjan lovers or for the indie-whistling 'everyone-wants-
to-be-the-flaming-lips' listeners either. It is heavy like
lead - and it will change you.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Weathered Walking And Driving
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This is an actual picture of me from this morning. I'm not
kidding. Well, okay - it's not actually me but I felt like that
guy. Today started with an early rise (after a very short sleep
and watching Back To The Future III while being wide awake
at 4 am) and the driving of a friend to work. He works out by
Albion and Hunt Club. It took me about 25 minutes to get there
and I dropped him off at about 7:52 am. I arrived back at my
house at 9:45. A drive that took 25 minutes one way took 2
hours the other way.

What the hell is going on with this city and these...people?

After arriving home and having coffee with Sarah, I walked
to work. After getting to work, I basically toppled inside
into warmer, temperature-controlled air. Somehow, there
was more snow on the inside of my hood and on the inside of
my glasses than there was on the whole exterior of my
body. It's as if the heaven-rejected sleet was being
concentrated into a small tornado, encompassing my entire
facial region.

It was great to have Dan and my bro over last night and
to swill a few brews.

On the way to work, I had this sort-of short story narrative
going on inside my head. It was from the perspective of
a man talking to a woman (presumably his wife) after
they had just moved to South Dakota. The narrative
consisted of the man communicating with his wife in
the form of a letter from another part of the world.
The wife had become clinically depressed after moving
and had done little more with herself than sit under
a blanket on a couch while consuming pills. She mostly
just read Farley Mowat books or watched game shows.
The man felt confused about his wife and wanted
everything to be okay and was trying hard to
understand her. By the middle of the letter, though, his
frustration comes out and he is berating her and
blaming her for her own condition. The reader learns
that the wife has done many attention-seeking things
and has tried to leave the man a few times, however
unsuccessfully. At the very end of the letter, though,
the man reveals that he is on his way home and is
pleading for her to give their love another shot as
he writes:

'I know I haven't been around. I am a shell of a man.
I live in shadows and hotel rooms. I want to be better.
I know that you are the way you are mostly because
of me. I need to work on accepting you and not wanting
you to change. No matter what drugs you consume, you
are still you. The you I chose to be with. The you
who chose to be with me. I'm coming home to you
now. I will never leave you again.'

I don't know what the narrative signifies but it just
came upon me. I felt I needed to share it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Day Off

No picture caption needed. For some reason, I just feel off
today. It seems as if the cars of my mental train are not
attached and are going different directions, on and off the rails.
I suppose that writing about it should help.

Everything should be fine today - the sun is shining and the
weather is as agreeable as it has been in a long while - but
it's like there's been a curse or hex placed upon me. I have
faith that it will get better.

Sometimes, I think it's because I place way too much value in
money and monetary longing. My mood (unfortunately but
truthfully) tends to depend on the status of my bank account.
Right now, everything is fine. I've been paying bills and even
saving money and making more than I ever have but my
hope needs to root in deeper soil. I know that God is with
me and as storybook or as sunday school-ish as that sounds,
it is a stark truth. He continues to show up in my life in 
interesting ways even when I try to ignore Him.

I need to value my wife more than any other person on this
planet and sometimes, I'm not very good at doing that. 

I need help to make it through...just like everybody else. 

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Grind

Ah, Laurie. What a sweet stache you had back in the day.
Ketchup catcher. Cookie duster. Mustard mopper.

Laurie Boschman's pic symbolizes the beginning of a battle
fought in the dark, dirty corners of the NHL boards - the
grind. It's obvious to me that this battle not only takes place
on the ice (when two or three skaters are battling for
possession of a loose puck) but also in every day life as we
fight the continual fight to pay the bills.

When will it end? When will I have everything paid off?

Who knows.

Despite the hard reality of the grind, though, we must also
never give up on our dreams. It's a constant struggle and
I've seen many a friend give up, throw in the towel and live
a sweet 'nerfy' life. As Darrell from The Office once put it so
succinctly to Michael:
'Sittin on your biscuit...
Never havin' to risk it.'

Never give up.

As soon as you give up, you're already dead.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

'Matt! I heard you're GAY!'

The title of this blog is an actual phrase that someone yelled to
me repeatedly, down into the staircase of my apartment, a few 
minutes ago. The person who yelled this phrase is a pastor of a 
church in Kingston. At first, when I heard someone repeatedly 
yelling that phrase, I was taken aback as I didn't recognize the 
voice. I knew that Landon was back in town and figured it was a 
friend of his so I went to investigate as the phrase had been 
repeated over and over. Upon ascending the stairs, I could hear
Landon's chuckle. Upon seeing the speaker of the phrase, I realized
that it was, in fact, Landon's dad - Mark Kotchapaw.


Today has been a good day. I made a decent amount of coin this
weekend at the bar (but not without a fair share of drama including
visit last night from the 'snow queen') and Sarah and I just got back
from a trek to the Fox and the Feather to watch the Miami/Baltimore 

I still have my toque on.

and for the record, I am not gay...well...I don't think I am.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I'm Feeling Pretty Basic Today...

Another day, another dollar. I'm not a kid anymore. Sing it,
Chris Murphy. Sing it.

I worked a near 11 hour shift last night and one of the 
servers had her wallet stolen with apparently about 400 bucks
cash in it. No matter the circumstance, my weekend stint 
always brings fresh stories of high drama. It is a castle of
dramatic royalty. 

My cat can't decide whether to stay awake or to fall back to
sleep as she balls up on the futon beside me. I can definitely
relate to her today. Sarah just cut up some fresh cucumbers and
carrots. They smell enchanting. 

I realize that some of these blogs may not be as exciting as 
others but I still feel that I should feed the basic need to write...
and to express myself.

I have to get ready to work. My cat finally made a decision and 
went back to sleep. I wish I could do the same.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Comfort Creatures

It's weird how we get set into our little, strange patterns. Us
humans are messed up that way. For instance, if I blog from
my new mac as opposed to my old PC, it's a totally different
feel. The keys on the mac are very soft and inviting and almost
caress my hand as I write. The little white keys are finger
pillows. My PC, on the other hand, has a clunky old compaq
keyboard and a monitor (that I picked up for free on the side
of the road) that randomly blacks out once in a while. The PC,
though, is still a part of my life and I am writing from it today.
My keystrokes create echoing clicks throughout the apartment.
PC blogging makes me feel a little more distinguished.

I have to work today. I will be leaving around 3:30 pm to get
to the bar on time. My other job starts back up next monday.
People everywhere in North America are assessing all of the
turkey, stuffing and buttered yams they've ingested over the
last few weeks and are looking to the long, cold road ahead.

The snow is falling lazily outside.

I hear it's raining in New York.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Harkening (featuring Pedro The Lion)

It's time to dig plant roots and set in for the deadly winter.
It's a new year and it's dang well time for new things. Although the
ground is covered in an icy, white-crusted mess and all things living
seem to wither, there is a life deep below. There is a waiting for new
soil. As the bleeding cymbals of Pedro The Lion's 'Second Best' perk
the pleasure centers of my mind, I have realized that in some ways,
I have fallen short - I have sold out.

I am speaking in terms of writing. 

I have written for many publications now and have taken up the side
career of a freelance journalist for a some time. All throughout 
university, I learned early on that if I only wrote within the equation-
based frame of what the professor wanted, I would succeed. This 
took no talent...and for the most writing was lifeless. 
A darkened void that only showed my pale reflection in every
tainted word. I knew it at the time...but I let it slide in order to
attain these things we call 'grades'.

Since university, I have found a few milieus to write within and
some of them have been amazing. Others, though, have been shabbily
organized, poorly managed and pits of A.D.D.-stylized, web-market
melodrama; soap-boxers and throne-shiners. Sure - volunteer 
writing should be about the heart. I've heard that argument many
times over. It's hard to find a pulse, though, when critical thought
and suggestions that pertain to how to help a specific web-publication
are taken as an attack by the purveyor-in-chief of that same website.

I'm done wasting my time. I'm going to write from the heart and
go for the jugular of 'what lies beneath'. It might get a little flowery
and muddled sometimes, but I'm hoping to come out on the other a place where truth will reign supreme.

Pedro will help me...along with many others. 

Happy New Year.

I am going to blog every day this coming year.
You have my word.

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