Sarah and I spent the night inside - watching LOTR Return Of The King.
It was a night well deserved and well needed. Popcorn was made (along
with a lot of jokes about Faramir).
The above picture represents (in a fair light) what we were dealing
with tonight at our softball game. Muddy shyzen. Fields of absolute
cow manure. The other team really weren't even that good - but
somehow, we lost 12-2. We have lost our spark - our zeal. We are
all tired and barely showing up to games.
Oh well. We'll get 'em next week. Anyone around Ottawa have any
loaded bats they want to lend us?
Tuesday was a weird day. It made me realize how odd it
is to have a day off two work days into the week. I slept
in til about 10:30 and then woke up to an empty pad as
Sarah was out with my mom (checkin' out some weird art
downtown). I cruised youtube for a while to see if I
could dig up any hilarious videos of Norm Macdonald -
success! (look up 'the best of Norm Macdonald') At about
11:40, I got a call from my friend Steve. I don't get to
see Steve that often (even though we live in the same
city) and I took the opportunity to pop
out to Kanata and see the old poop nugget. We threw
a few lunch steaks on the barbie at his new house,
played some Rainbow Six Vegas and drank some
Lucky Lager. All in all, it was a great afternoon.
Last night, I sat around in my backyard (again as a
loner as Sarah was at Volleyball) and played acoustic
guitar on an old picnic table. There was an airplane
cresting the Ottawa skyline as a few puffy clouds
moved very slowly in the evening blue. I thought
about the fact that a bunch of us moved to Ottawa
to sort of start a community - and now a good chunk
of us are leaving. That thought hit home. Luca chased
a bug with fierce intent around the base of a tree.
I wrote a few songs.
Creativity is a fish-filled light bulb.
A New (And Stormy) Week Begins
I don't live in Toronto, but I found this cool pic and virally stole
it for my blog. I am a viral hacker. I invade your chat rooms and
virtual living rooms. I copy and paste your usernames and
passwords. You can't stop me.
Had breakfast to start off the day with my lovely companion,
Sarah, at Ada's Diner. This place has been an Ottawa breakfast
dive for eons (and hopefully for many more to come). The food
is great and CHEAP and the service is always great as Ada
herself circles the restaurant and makes sure your coffee mug
is full and that your day is bright with her smile. We sat looking
out on to Bank Street at the muddy and virtually destroyed
terrain of the landscape. The skies cracked and poured out
piss from the heavens all around us. As we tasted hash
browns cooked with a little onion and pepper, we realized
that we had it pretty good. The feeling of being indoors
on a rainy day (preferably drinking coffee) is a great and
Now for a laugh, watch THIS
It's in the works, people. When I was talking to someone I deeply respect a
while ago, said person was telling me that you need to be '3 albums ahead'.
Well as far as Graven goes, I am fully one ahead with the one after brewing
in my mind. That 'one-after' is going to be all about cottage country and
Lanark County in the summer time. Anywhere along County Road 10 has
been something of a mystical spot for me, over the years, and I figure that
it is time to write about that mysticism and magic.
I don't know what will come of making music. I don't know if we'll go
nowhere or end up as reputable artists in a non-reputable industry. I don't
know where all of my bandmates will be in a year. I don't know if I like
being the one with all of the creative control or if I love collaborating
Enjoy 'Valley Theory'. It's our latest and newest offering, in e-stores now.
A Bursting Scene
It gets kinda tiring doing music on your own when there are
record labels out there with teams of people who push the
artists' music for them 24/7. On that note, a little shameless
promo for me and my musical cronies never hurts and every
little bit helps. If you've never checked out any of these bands,
open up your iTunes and google windows and please do:
James & Blackburn
Dave Norris & Local Ivan
The Withering Pines
The Gentlemen Husbands
Water Shed Summer
The rain has come down with a reckless abandon this summer.
Although it has kept things green and lush, it's been hard to
enjoy those green and lush places due to the amount of wet
slop falling from the sky. It's a real downer, at times.
Last night, I heard the rain in full force while I slept. I awoke
many times throughout the night to hear it reminding me
that it could change its rate of flow and really make noise
in the tiny alley between our house and the next one over.
I remember seeing a movie when I was a kid about a group
of children locked in a house/castle and it always rained
outside. For a moment within the film, though, the sun came
out in a piercing blindness. One of the kids ran outside to
play while the others warned him not to do so.
I can't remember what happened. It was just a weird movie.
The above picture (of a lovable cartoon character named
'UpChuck') represents how I feel today. I feel somewhat
green all over and ready to vomit at any instant. I think
it is the accumulation of late nights catching up with me
(oh yeah - and beer, too.)
I'm going to try and go off beer for a while and just eat
non-fried foods. I have a feeling this will help me to live
The date is July 22, 2009. Where has it all gone?
The Woes Of An Ailing Softball Team
The season has been one of turmoil thus far, for the James
Street Juggernauts. What looked like a killer roster has
shaped up to be a bit of a struggling dynamic. After barely
beating another team out for last place in the spring
(which gave us our first real victory aside from a default
win earlier in the season), we have started off the summer
season at a repugnant 0-2. Although we only lost the
first game 5 to 4 (against a much older team), we
managed to get blown away last night by a score of 22
I think a lot of it has to do with team charisma and fun
on and off the field. Although we have hung out as a team
many times, a lot of us don't really know each other that
well. We know each other in a sort of likeable way but
not in any sort of deep bond. We also can't hit homeruns.
Although you would think that efficient play, tight D
and a consistent rally of base-hits could help you win,
a lot of the time, it's all about the dingers in this league.
Almost every guy on every team we've played can hit
the ball out with the thunder. It's actually kinda
At any rate, the James Street Juggernauts press on to
finish the season with vigor and passion. With an overall
record of 2-8, we will continue to strive for the elusive
Wingdings And Summer Flings
Had a chance tonight to frequent an old school local haunt (and
when I say old school, I mean last winter). The Arrow and the
Loon is somewhere that I have come to know and love, seeing
as I've worked super close by at Ecclesiax for almost a year, now.
They always have average service but very decent food and the
owner has always recognized me (even if he doesn't remember
my name) and almost always gives me a discount.
I had some hot wings tonight (with Sarah and Dave Norris) and
I have to say - these are probably the best wings in the city for
the amount of money you pay and the product you get. The
wings are substantial (not massive because when you go
massive, you have to pay top dollar) and always covered in a
savory, tasty sauce. There is also no minimum amount so you can
order 1 for 35 cents or 100 for 35 bucks. You only need to buy
a drink (a coke or a coffee will suffice) to get in on the goods.
Sarah and I took a nice (yet bloated) walk home after meeting
our friend Dave and digested. It was a picturesque summer
night and a perfect night for wingdings. If you're gonna kill
yourself slowly, chicken wings are the way to go. Thumbs up!
Over-Reading The Putting Green
Sometimes, you don't need to put as much thought and analysis into
life as much as you do. An example of this can be found in the game
of golf. There is something that is centered around terminology
which says something to the effect of 'For as much as you read the
bumps, lines and hills on a green, there is only a straight line
between your ball and the hole'.
I found this theory to be ever true yesterday as I had the chance
to golf at The Mill in Cobourg with Sarah's dad and brother-in-law.
Putting is easily and without question the worst part of my golf
game. I've always been decent at chipping and hitting with irons
while maintaining an okay grasp of driving off the tee. Putting,
however - awful. I did find, though, that during the holes where I
four and (yes) five-putted, I was often over-thinking the lay of the
land and how to read the putt and all that crap. I found myself
improving a great deal when I just eyed up the line between my
ball and the hole and just givin 'er.
Although golf is a pretty bourgeoisie, white-collar game, it was
an interesting lesson to learn first hand. Do I often over-think
seemingly windy paths that are often a straight line from A
to B? Am I wasting time in the over-thinking process instead
of jumping out of the airplane of reckless abandon?
I've been playing bass in a side project band for my friend Dave
Norris and Local Ivan for a while, now. I really like the shift in
musical direction in filling a gap and knowing my role. Sometimes,
when I run every aspect of artistic direction, it gets tiring. It's
nice to be able to shift gears, instrumentally, and just do what
Dave is a great song-writer and I've been privileged to be a part of
'Local Ivan' (his band). One of his songs (which he usually just
plays solo with an acoustic) is called 'Wolfhead' and it has been
stuck in my head for a few days. It has a lazy, summery,
sentimental feel and I love the way it flows so simply.
I don't why the song is called 'Wolfhead' but the lyrics speak of
a wolf's head that hangs over the singer, in a sort of comforting
fashion. It seems juxtapositional but maybe that's why I like it.
Artificial Blogospheric Sweetener
So I've been offline for a few days, having a laze in the shady
elms of Northumberland County. It was a sunny day this
saturday and though the beckoning of dollars and cents
called with a monk-like vigil, it was too nice a day to stay
The road needed to be hit. Sarah and I surprised all of her
immediate family on saturday and chilled out Cobourg-style.
After a 3 hour trek of cranked Wilco and Wintersleep (newly
acquired albums), cards were played and bowers were laid.
Sometimes, it's good to get the hell out of town and remind
the map that you are not a pinhead - but a living, breathing
entity of mission and vision and that nothing can stand in
the way of tires and fuel.
The above pictorial display represents me today. I need to re-charge,
rest and relax.
Unfortunately, I have another show tonight in Ottawa.
Rocked hard tonight.
No time for even a pictorial display.
It is now 5 am.
Sometimes, I weep over some of the stupid crap that I do.
It makes me wonder about redemption. I think about the
cyclical stupidity that I go through, in any given day or
week, and I wonder if I've gone too far.
I've laughed at people who I should have helped.
I've wasted my time and energy on useless pursuits.
I've pretended to be somebody other than myself.
I've broken the law, time and time again.
I've lived inside a fantasy world for too long.
In truth, there are some things I have done which I will
most likely never tell any living soul about because
they are so warped.
And so, if I truly believe all of this Christly stuff I preach,
I have to believe in the concept of grace -but even though
I feel relieved, I have this sneaking suspicion that all of
my malicious deeds will be broadcast on a silver screen
for all of my loved ones in the next life.
I guess, though, having things out in the open and ugly
and exposed is better than having them locked up and
decaying in a closet in my soul.
...it has been written...
39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the
Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while
you’re at it!”
40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when
you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes,
but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”42 Then he said, “Jesus,
remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in
paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43, NLT)
Sometimes, we need to be more like dingleberries.
This Game Haunts My Dreams
I can't get it out of my head.
So 2 dimensional.
Feels good, don't it?
This is a shout out for Ollie and the homies, cookin up shiznit
at Boys Camp at Summerland. Ollie - keep it real and don't
let Jim's oatmeal clog your colon.
The summer is speeding by but I think I'm slowly grabbing
on. Tonight, Sarah and I and HP are going to see Broken
Social for free in the Market (if we can get near the dang
stage). The weather is pickin up.
Baseball. BBQ. Beer.
That's right - I used the word 'chet' in a sentence.
The rain is pouring down in soupy abandon, right now.
I want to quit the bar job soon. I better get on that.
It's starting to give my soul too much weight.
Always Challenge The Challengers
I've met a lot of people in my life who like to push and give people
personal direction. Some of those people have been amazing spirits
in a dead world because comfortability is really a drug sometimes
and we all need to be 'challenged' from time to time - to have our
worlds shaken up.
But it's a funny thing about those pushers and challengers - often,
they are so good at expanding boundaries and pushing limits that
they cannot take the very same challenge when it is directed back
at them because they feel that they are on a higher plane. It's sort
of a 'do what I say - not what I do' motto. Often times, those very
people are incapable of personal change even though they spew
ultra-intelligent diatribes of mind-expansion to others.
When I think back to the roots of the word 'challenge', I think
back to a tradition that used to happen in the depths of old Iawah
lore. At evening campfires (at what was then called 'Indian
Council'), someone could contest another person who had a
known record in a certain activity. Those activities included
such manly pursuits as 'leg-wrestling' or 'arm-wrestling'. If you
issued a challenge to someone and won that challenge, you
could earn points for your 'tribe'. Mostly, though, I think of
younger boys (usually skinny) approaching bigger burlier kids
with fear and trepidation and issuing challenges.
I love the cover of the New Porns album because it re-visits
that image - the sort of underdog flexing for the fight. At times,
though, we must remember that those who spend their lives
flexing and approaching giants also need to be brought
back down to earth.
It's time to play some rainy softball.
Who is in?
This summer is flyin' by in full throttle gearshift speed.
A Day To Clear The Etch-A-Sketch Head
Sometimes a day off does the mind and body good. Other
times, more than that is needed. Today, it was just what
the doctor ordered. I kinda like having a day off mid-week;
it gives me a chance to ponder while everyone else is just
So far today, Sarah and I slept in, saw Transformers 2 in
the theatre (with a massive popcorn between us), ate a
pile of pasta, salad and bread at eastside's and then came
I heard some bad news yesterday about a long time client
of my dad's who has recently been diagnosed with terminal
lung cancer (given 3-6 months to live). I didn't know the
client but always heard decent things about her. It must
be awful to have to leave voicemail messages for people
telling them you need to 'get your affairs in order'. I
thought about trying to find out where she is staying in
the hospital - but I shyed from it.
and sometimes, we are destined to walk alone. though we
surround ourselves with lovers, family and friends, there
is often a dark night or two or three where we must bear
the horrific weight of wrestling with our own demons.
we struggle to pacify our thoughts when we show such
signs of growth and yet, in the same motion, such signs
of imbecility and ignorance like dogs returning to their
the lonely road is cold and often blocked with various
obstacles. though the community road is filled with foliage
so green and floral zenith, we must all venture down the
lonely road from time to time. some dwell there in
permanence - some only pass through for a short time.
whatever the case, we all must traverse it.
but the greatest truth i've ever experienced in this semblance
of a life is that darkness is only the absence of light.
for even if we feel completely alone...
we are Not.
So the show happened...and it was good. Duck's Roadhouse was near
packed to capacity with new Iawah staff, old Iawah staff, country
bumpkins, local yokels and people who looked like they were from
the cast of Deliverance. It was awesome.
Aside from a seriously feedback-induced sound system that had
a screamy/whiny mind of its own, the show was golden. Our
friend Dave Norris started off the evening with authority and
rocked some sweet folky melodies to gathered listeners.
Graven took the stage and lit things up. The shots were tight
and the feeling was right. Even an opening song broken string
by Owen couldn't hold us back. Afterwards, the Ducks
after-party posse headed to my buddy Joel's cottage and had
a massive diesel fuel bonfire. I stayed up with a few friends
and watched the sun rise for the first time in years.
All in all, it was a glorious weekend in the country.
Here We Go
It's time to get tricky.
Westport - get ready.
The Day Of Her Birth
26 years ago, on this very day, she was born.
Happy Birthday Sarah.
Here's to a few more trips around the sun.
Big Weekend A-Comin'
I don't know who this guy is...but he sure as heck reminds
me of Westport. Sarah, myself and some friends are headin'
up that there way tomorra'. Should be a pip-teddy squeal-
bunny of a tyme, thar. I'm gonna high-falute my root-toot-
tootin' rock band and smash some bottles on tha barrr!
Happy Crappy Canada Day
It's over. Another year of too many people in the streets of
the nation's capital, passing out, puking in garbage cans
and taking off their puke-covered clothes. I had to work
tonight so I actually missed most of the action but when
I came out on to Elgin Street after my shift, the hoards
were gathered watching the fireworks above parliament.
One thing I noticed about these fireworks (that everyone
goes ape about) is that they are not really all that exciting -
IF you are sober.
A friend called me after my shift and asked if I wanted to
meet him at a pub on Elgin but in a tired and unenthused
state, I thought 'everywhere on Elgin will be packed - and
I have a car with me and won't be able to find a spot' so
I declined. What a buzzkill.
In fact, Sarah and I came home and watched a re-run of
Just Shoot Me online.
Hooray for Canada Day.
Last night was a great set at The Rainbow (especially
considering our regular drummer was replaced by one
of our guitarists Paul) and a good time was had. We
could have used more practice and a better sound guy
but people had good things to say.
On to the next one.