Monday, August 31, 2009

These Are The Places I've Lived
Camp Iawah (Godfrey).
St. Catharines.
PEI (only for about a month...but it counts!)

...and now...
Port Hope.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inglourious Basterding All Over You
Whoever said that Tarantino was washed up can now go hide under
a giant boulder in the Mohave Desert for 900 years. I have to admit
that I, myself, thought he was on his way out with such bores as
the Kill Bill sagas and Hero. His newest offering is the most
well-made piece of cinema that I've seen in probably close to a
decade. The man does his research and recruits actors like sports
nerds collect Gary Carter's homerun stats from 1983.

I just watched it, for the second time, in Cobourg last night with
Sarah and her sister and bro-in-law. Even on a smaller mall screen
with very normal sound amplification, the experience was just as
fruitful. This is a film for film lovers and historians. Much like
hearing a great speaker, you always learn something from QT

A walk downtown and a shower is good for the soul.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quick And Painless
Luckily, good friends helped the move to be very smooth, indeed.
For some reason, whenever I write or type the word 'smooth', I
want to spell it 'smoothe' because it actually looks smoother.

My life is in boxes. This apartment is a lot less dusty. I feel like
eating chicken wings tonight.

Port Hope. Here we go.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Packing It In
It's hard to believe that packing tape could actually create
something so beautiful.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday's Gone
Moving out of Ottawa on the weekend. I wish I could fit everything on
a flying magic bed. I could sleep as I moved, complete with pillows,
sheets and comforter. Maybe I would never stop moving. Maybe
I would just move/sleep all the time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tonight was a great night. The sun was just going down as James Street
took the field for one of the last games of the season. After a short burst
of runs from the opposing team (a really nice Italian team called 'The
Bada-Bings') in the top of the first, we slowly chipped away and levelled
out the score to 7-5 for the other team. In what was to be the final
inning (due to almost a complete absence of light), we put on an 8 run
rally and won the game 13-7. I almost hit a home run but it was snagged
at the fence, Neil hit for extra bases (opposite field, yet again) and
tinged one off the fence, Jon and Caleb were both on second base at the
same time but still hit and pitched in stellar form, Adam had some
solid cracks and awesome speed on the bases, Con-Swiz cranked
one deep and was robbed and fielded like a champ, Courtney played
awesome in the field and had some clutch hits, Jane was a great sub
for the night and took one off the shin for the team, Chrissy had some
clutch plays at the plate and hit well, Steve had some solid cranks and
biked like a hero to get to the game on time and we all came out
victorious. We shook hands with the Italians and huddled up for a
final cheer that rang through the night: 'WINNING STREAK!'

What a way to go out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Party Pooper
Mr. Deeds is a film of comedic genius and anyone who wishes to
argue that will be wrestled and weiner-pulled.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Out on the water, my ship treads so deep
Staring into leagues, I feel the night breezes weep
I listen for the sirens in davey jones keep
And sail for the coast with mountains steep

This old ship and I, we've been through it all
Maybe someday her hull will be in a great hall
And patrons will pay and say 'Come one, come all
to the sea-goin' vessel that beat every squall'

Her sails are getting weathered and tired from storms
But the wind sure has beat them into all kinds of forms
But they always dry out - that old sun dries and warms
And they shine out the brighter and become re-born

Under the deck, I dream of the coast
My heart longs for mountains and a swarthy outpost
A spigot of wine and potatoes and roast
But for now I'll make for due with dried berries and toast

Somedays, I think I've forgotten the shore
This bed is too small and my back's always sore
I'm wonderin' if the mountains are only folklore
I still have memories but I know I once had many more

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When The Man Came To Town
And so it had come to be the final night of the Ottawa Folk
Festival. Largely scaled back due to budgetary issues, the
festival seemed a little smaller this year...or so people said.
I didn't really notice. Sarah and I found
Graven co-guitarist Owen Edwards and a few of his lady
friends on a sweet, grassy spot close to the main stage so we
nestled in with them, on a few blankets.

As I stopped to grab a quick beer before Joel's set, I popped
backstage (gotta love the power of the press pass) and found
him in 'hustle mode' with his dad, getting ready to take
the stage. I talked to him really briefly and he remembered
me from my interview with him in Cobourg and through our
mutual friend Charles. He told me had been stuck in
La Guardia Airport in NYC for the last 2 days and that
it was a 'total fucking nightmare'. I wished him well and
told him 'Have a good set - I'm sure it'll be awesome'. He
and his dad thanked me and Joel said 'Come have a drink
after the show, maybe!' but we didn't. Sarah and I were
pooped and I knew he was just being nice and was probably
wiped out from his long trip.

He and his dad took the main stage and 'rocked out' with
only two people, a few acoustics and a four-stringer. They
managed to fill up the soundspace quite nicely. Joel had
some sweet rhyming banter and played through some
pesky mosquitoes, making good light of the situation.
It was good to see him come alive in his on-stage persona
once again. It always feels like seeing an old friend.

A great bookend to a well-read weekend.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big Bad Bruce
So, I spent another day at the Folk Fest and seeing that I could
get in for free, we decided to get a pass so Sarah could get in
too (2 for the price of 1 ain't bad). I had the chance (in the
mid-threaten-to-rain afternoon) to speak with and interview
The Good Lovelies. I had heard much about this triple-lady-
assault but I had never seen them live (and seeing as Kerri
is a mutual friend, I figured I could slot them in for an
interview). We had a good time talking about Cobourg, the
Durham region, Port Hope, Christine Bougie, making videos
and all things good and lovely. They are really cool and
down to earth folks and kicked serious ass in an opening
slot for Mr. Bruce Cockburn. Their vocals pierced through
the night and shot out harmonic sweetness.

After the ladies left the stage (even after a standing O) , it
was time for Bruce. To this point in my life, I had never
seen Bruce live but I can't say he hasn't been a background
influence as he's pretty much been making music for as
long as I've been alive. The man is a Canadian Icon and
a folkloric figure of sorts. I was eager to see what he would
be like on stage. I guess I pictured a full band - but no. It
was just him and his amazing guitar (and a really bright
pink shirt!). I've never heard someone fill up a
festival-sized space so well with only an acoustic guitar
and a voice. The sound was so full and colourful. He
finger-picked and spanned ranges of twenty years
between songs (and even played the song that was
somewhat made famous by The Barenaked Ladies called
'Lovers In A Dangerous Time'). It was a sight to behold.

It was weird to think that this man, on stage, had been
a close personal friend to Bill Mason and that I was
sitting about 50 yards away and had known Bill through
my family and had been to Bill's house. I wondered how
much Bill's life had influenced Bruce in every strum and
song that came out of the beautiful sound system.
I thought about talking to him after the show...but we
left early and I sorta chickened out.

I mean, come on...he's Bruce!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Folk Fest Friday
Today was a day of intrigue, oddities and interesting stories.
Somehow, as a freelance journalist and interviewer, I got a full
press pass to the Ottawa Folk Festival and spent the afternoon
listening to Amy Millan sound-check with her band. Before I
arrived, though, I was a little leery of interviewing someone in
an outdoor setting due to the fact that at 2 pm, the rain came
down in sheets and bucketloads. I actually had my windshield
covered completely by cars passing me on the queensway and
hitting puddles. Anyways, upon arriving at Britannia Park, I
was greeted with some sun and friendly festival folks. They
pointed me in the right direction and seemed relieved that the
rain had ceased. I went to a section labelled 'VIP entrance'. I
was already feeling important. I told these people my name and
they scrambled through a plastic bin and found a press pass
with my name and credentials on it. Wow. I entered the festival
grounds and found Amy and her band warming up on stage.
I wandered backstage. No one cared. They saw my pass and
looked on. I actually remember thinking 'I feel like an impostor!'
as I strolled around amongst festival organizers and musicians.
The impostor sensation came back again when Amy and her
band were done the sound-check and there was a girl from
CBC waiting to interview her. The CBC interviewer seemed
very uninterested in me and walked right up to Amy. For some
reason, though, the CBC interview was being delayed due to
technical issues. The tour manager Eoin (pronounced 'Owen')
looked at me, seemingly frustrated with CBC and said 'How
long will your interview take, bud?' I responded 'Uh - probably
only 10-15 minutes'. He gave me a thumbs up and sent Amy
my way. We found a nearby picnic table area and had a great
little interaction. She was really relaxed and friendly. I thanked
her for her time and headed back to the VIP parking area (VIP
means you don't pay for anything) and left the grounds,
shaking my head at the weirdness of it all.

Later that night, after a birthday dinner for my mom, Sarah and
I decided to go back to the festival and catch Amy's set. After
thinking about trying to sneak Sarah in, we bought her a pass
and headed into the grounds. We actually caught almost all of
Amy's set in the cool, starry summer night. And then, when the
day couldn't seem any more surreal, on a festival stage in front
of thousands, Amy says 'So I was interviewed earlier today by
this very nice gentleman named Matt...' and went on to mention
how I'd asked her if she was from Thunder Bay which led into
an anecdote before a song. I felt pretty privileged. After the set,
I went backstage, found her and thanked her for the shout-out.

Today, the Good Lovelies and Bruce Cockburn take the stage.
Tomorrow - Joel.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday's Gone
Today was a nothing day. I know that there are things about it that will
stick out in my cerebral passageway but it really felt like a feather in a
stack of bricks. Sometimes, life is mundane and uninteresting. Today
was that sort of day. I was supposed to have a music practice with
Dave Norris but that was called off due to a few people feeling
'buggy'. I went to a fairly uneventful board meeting for Ecclesiax which
was a nice departure...but still pretty low-key. Sarah and I got to spend
some time with Dan and Em which was fun (and filled with some sweet
Mario Kart action) but it still wasn't super-amazing or really that
noteworthy. The rains have hit now and the heat dropkick has
subsided into the wrestling floor of weather systems. Luca coughed up
an 8 inch long 3 inch wide hairball today. Our apartment is becoming
only boxes.

Ho-hum. Hum-drum. Twiddly-thumb. Bob for plums.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Night Provides Balm
The last few days have been insane and the pace shows no signs of
slowing anytime soon. I'm shifting out of the world of musical
production and into the arena of journalism. Press passes, exclusive
interviews, editing, editing and more editing. It's a nice change,
actually, as most writing and interview re-production takes place
in quiet zones as opposed to loud rock bars.

A good friend of mine had a baby recently. This is a cool thing. I
have many friends who have either had babies this year (2009) or
who are having them before the end of December. I am still
nowhere near the mindset of being a parent...but I guess none of
my friends where absolutely 100% in that mental zone, either.
Sometimes, it just kinda happens and you play the hand you're

It's shaping up to be an interesting week so far. The heat dropkicks
have stopped (for now) and the cool winds of the even-star have
settled into Souther Ontario. The sun still shines but with a
lessened effect.

I hope I hit a homerun at softball tonight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heat Dropkick #2
Once again, I awoke to a blazing sun. It seemed so far up in the
sky that it was hard to make out the actual shape of the light
beaming down as it jutted out in messy lines of brightness.
Sarah had already been awake for a bit as her spot beside me
on the bed was vacant. I looked at the clock - 11:30!! I can't
remember the last time I have slept in for that long but I
suppose the fact that tuesday is my day off makes it alright.
I trudged upon our cool, laminate hard-wood floors and made
some coffee. Seattle's best is really the best coffee I've ever
had. I think that's a line from a song, somewhere. This
morning felt a little cooler as I wasn't caked with sweat but
I still felt grossly irritable. We decided to clean a few areas
of our apartment that long deserved attention - under the
tv in the bedroom (an area filled with old Mudhoney cd's,
dust bunnies and defunct NES games) and in the living room/
sitting area. We went to task and noticed that cleaning in
an already hot apartment makes one hotter. I breathed in
dust and dead bugs. Sweat beaded on my brow. Afterwards,
I decided to wash some dishes. In an already heated state,
the mercury of my body temp rose as I put in some serious
elbow grease and sunlight power on a massive stack of
dishes. At 2 pm, I was still in my boxers and sweating like
an escaped pig. The shower beckoned. I slogged soap all
over myself and on the bottoms of my feet. I shampooed.
I exfoliated.

I am re-born.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Heat Dropkick
The morning crested in a wave of laser beam heat that soaked me
through the night. Luckily, a different fan placement helped things
to even out and allowed me to even sleep from about 3:40 am to
8 am. I rose from the bed and felt dizzy from the heaviness of the
weather, while making sure not to hit my head on the lower ceiling
of the bedroom. I stumbled through a sea of dirty clothes and my
energetic cat who saw me approaching and bolted for the door,
so as to say 'Let me out, a-hole. It's too hot in here.' I opened the
door and watched her graze around on the backyard, searching
for a shady spot to lay down. She barely kept her eyes open
due to the blinding sun. I grabbed some Crispix and chucked a
spoon and some milk in the bowl and devoured my breakfast.
Sarah continued sleeping in the fan-blown room. I left my bowl
on the counter, got dressed and headed out into the sloggy soup
pot of the outdoors. I trudged to work and watched some nearby
construction workers cop some shade under a lifted garage door
while wiping their brows and cursing the heat. I saw sweat stains
on businessmen and perfectly fit bikers fighting to catch their
breath while barely even pedaling. I looked down Bay Street and
saw heatwaves of condensation rising from the ground and leaving
the atmosphere. I moved my glasses up on my sweaty face, feeling
them continually slip down my nose. I arrived at Starbucks and
decided to go for an Americano instead of a coffee as I felt like
something different than the norm. The steam machine bellowed
and whistled as the barista wiped his brow. The Air Conditioning
of the whole coffee shop was sub-standard and I only felt
mildly cool. I grabbed my finished beverage and sugared and
dairy product-ed it. Carrying the hot beverage out of doors only
made me feel heavier. I felt wet all over and irritable. I arrived
at work opened the doors of Ecclesiax and felt a cool wave of
artificial air. I closed the office door, punched on the window
AC unit and wondered how many other people are doing the same

All AC units must be blazing in Ottawa. I wouldn't be surprised
if we have another eastern seaboard shut-down.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Help! I'm Alive!
Why do we do what we do? What is the inner force that drives us?
Is it hate? Is it passion? Is it fear of being homeless? Is it fear of
boredom or awkward conversation? Why do we run from those
who love us? Why do we distance ourselves when closeness is
what we need? Why do we spend so much time on our bodies
when they all become dilapidated sacks of cells?

I had the chance to ask questions with some old friends last
night in our backyard - a backyard that we can only enjoy for
a matter of days before we move out of town. I awoke in the
night last night absolutely caked with sweat. The sheets were
a tangled cacophony of sarcophagi. The heat made us irritable.
The temperature of the breath leaving my body as I exhaled
seemed cooler than the temperature of the air in the room.

'I'm lovin' every minute with this damn crew!' -Royal Tenenbaum

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Big Rideau Dreams
It was great to be near you again, old friend. Your cool touch
was absent for far too long from my dry, old bones. I baptized
myself in your deep and felt the wood of the dock round the
ball of my foot, nearly slivering me as I jumped into you.
Your view is always clear and serene. You help me to cast the
rod of my vision into your waters. Boats grazed upon your back
trying to navigate the greatness of you. You reflected smiles.
You glimmered the sun in your waves and ripples, seeming to
smile back.

Thank you for always accepting me with open arms.

Friday, August 14, 2009

First Friday Not At Friday's
Kickin' it.
Today was my first friday not working at Friday's.
It feels weird.
I want it and I don't.
I love life and I despise the struggle to get from A to B.
I love the adventure and hate the routine.
I love the message but hate the preacher.
I am so many things.
I am three sheets to the wind.
I am a used up dixie cup.
I feel hot and pressured, unable to fully write.
I feel real.

In all things, I am mostly thankful.
No one can take You away from me.
Others try to break me down in filtered thoughts of psychobabble.
I know You're coming back.
I have talked with You on the mountain top and heard Your voice.
I have plumbed the depths, fearing I only dreamed you up.
I have cursed You but You only smiled back.
Why do I see things through this lens?
Why have you allowed the idiocy that is me to see you so clearly?
It makes no sense but I guess You are above sense.
And I dig that.
Because most of the time sense makes no sense.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Patio Daze
Having the summer as dark and miserable and cold as it
has been so far, the last few days have prompted many
impromptu patio visits. Apparently, dark beer is the most
fattening type of beer one can drink but it is definitely
the most tasty and deliciously refreshing in my books.

Anyone up for a Smithwick's?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Welcoming The Long Lost Friend Of Summer
Where have you been, Summer Dear? We've missed you.

Apparently the weather is forecasting days like today
until next tuesday. Wow. I'd buy that for a dollar. I
couldn't ask for a nicer day to play some night softball
under some big lights.

The sun feels today like it did when Sarah and a few
friends were in Florida back in May - hot and
unrelenting. It feels like another season has passed
through since then - but definitely not summer.

Welcome back. Better late than never.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wing Night
Need I say more? It's off the usual haunt with the usual
suspects for me. Sarah is off playing volleyball and probably
winning many more games than she would on our softball
team (which has its first night game tomorrow, by the way).

I saw the new Harry Potter film today and I must say, in
all honesty, it was much better than I was expecting it to be.
I think each movie has progressed in depth and writing.

This is a pretty lame, basic post but it's all I can muster
for the moment. Glebe wings - here I come, mama.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Groove Is In The Fart
I don't really have much to write about today. I just thought
I'd make a humourous title so as to attract comments.

Please describe the worst fart you've ever had and leave it
in a comment for all to read.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Laminate Your Face
There are days where I just want to listen to Beck, for hours on end,
and write books of poetry from the bizarre lyrics of his songs. Today
is one of those days. With the rain barely spitting outside and the
ever-looming gray, Sarah and I made it home in the early mists of
what looks to be a long rainfall. We grazed around upper Bank and
looked for something to keep our attention. Used CD stores smelled
like incense. Street construction stifled the already humid air. We
settled for a Starbucks and sat at window seat and watched people.
A girl in the back of a Quebec-plated blue Camry looked uninterested
in her situation. Her window was the only one open. The two older
guys in the front seat talked with their hands and laughed. She was
in her own world.

Oh Ottawa. You silly town, you.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Last Call For Friday's
Above is an old, historical portrait that someone painted of the
Grant House (now called 'Friday's Roast Beef House'). I worked
there from October 08 to today. Although it was a strange and
somewhat haunted place, I suppose there will be parts about it
that I miss.

Actually, I won't miss any of it. I just wanted to sound sentimental.

R.I.P. Friday's. May you be better managed, owned and operated
from here on in.

May the greed from within be cast out.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Death Of A Legend
John Hughes made movies that mostly centered around
teenagers in the sleepy midwest of the U.S. but within that
formula, he created characters who touched on important
issues and resonated deeply within every viewer. Ferris
Bueller's Day Off (1986) is still a cult classic to this day
and no less socially valid than it was in the mid 80's. The
Breakfast Club (1985) was the first real major screen drama
to look (with any semblance of sociological and psychological
depth) at the lives of modern teenagers and the issues that
they have to deal with.

It's a shame that he was only 59 when he died today.

I realize that Edgar Wright (director of 'Shaun Of The Dead'
and a new Toronto-based feature starring Michael Cera)
talked about this today and that I am a little slow on the
up-take, but hopefully we can all take a moment, in the next
little while, to study one of his masterful films.

My suggestion? 'Pretty In Pink' starring 80's sensations
Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer and Molly Ringwald. It looks
hella cheezy at first but upon another view, there are some
great moments in this film.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

General Bummed-ness
These days, I feel a malaise. It creeps in from the corners and
just rests in my periphery. Maybe I've been watching too many
Harry Potter movies. Maybe my food intake is out of whack.
Whatever it is, I sleep and I don't feel totally rested. I do things
I shouldn't. I make re-curring mistakes and then make them
again. I point fingers and judge when I need judgment.
Friends fall off the map. The summer draws to a close. I have
arguments with loved ones. I fight for what I think is right
but not for what I know is infinite. I curse the ground and

I am misunderstood.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pitfall 2

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Back To The Rainy City
If there is no rest for the wicked...does that mean that
rain is an evil force?

Slogged shoes.
Wet feet from flip flops.
Bank Street is a muddied maze of messes.
Smells of BBQ smoke are covered under sky waters.
Tapping on my window pane.
Flooded basements.
Ceaseless Grey.
Broken rainbow.
Oc Transpo tires spray rainy shrapnel my way.
People look disgusted.
Patio umbrellas folded and soaked.
Homeless cardboard signs fold and wane.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Calabogie Dreamin'
I got the chance to spend the night with some friends in Calabogie.
I really haven't spent much time there but being so close to
Ottawa, it was great to get a free night at a pretty sweet lodge
with some friends we hadn't spent much time with.

Cards were played, bbq food was eaten and tequila was sipped.
All in all, it was a good time. I'm always amazed at how spending
some time outside of the city clears my brain. This morning we
even had a chance to swim in clear Calabogie lake. It was nice to
submerge in the waters.

Being in a city, a lake is something that you take for granted when
you have it at your disposal.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A True Comedic Icon
Growing up in Ottawa, deep into the winter months of High
School, there wasn't much to do on a saturday night when you
weren't 'of age' (and even if you were, chances are you didn't
want to venture out into the blustery, -30 winter night.)
Those were the days of hardcore SNL watching. Over the years,
SNL has seeded some fairly original comedians, but I would
have to say that Norm Macdonald takes the cake as one of
the most odd, unpredictable, hilariously awkward comedians
the show has ever produced.

Norm Macdonald has made awkwardness within comedy
an art form. With a slight glint in his eye or even by saying the
most mundane word, he had a way of making others around
him and the audience constantly ask 'What the hell is this
guy doing?'

Norm was one of those guys who could make everyone else
on the set (or whoever he was working with in a segment)
extremely hysterical. It was obvious in watching SNL that
Norm also didn't have much of a penchant for 'sticking to
a script' and that he would ad-lib and improvise on the
show frequently. He once even cursed out an NBC
executive by name when he was a guest on Letterman
(shortly after he was fired from SNL). I can remember seeing
him on Conan O'Brien and all he did, for his entire interview,
was talk about 'Kitchener Leslie' (a railway transit cop who
used to bust his uncle who was apparently 'a train-riding
hobo' of the Greater Toronto Area).

Once, my brother's friend Al went to see SNL in New York
on a night when Jim Carrey was hosting. Apparently, Al
somehow got backstage and bumped into Norm for a bit and
started talking about Ottawa. Norm then told Al to come by
later for the cast party. Al was pretty pumped, naturally, and
came back after the show but was stopped by security. At
that moment, Norm walked right by with two girls on either
arm. As Al yelled at him, Norm apparently smiled at him
and just shrugged as if to say 'Tough luck, kid.'

You could always tell that there was substance to Norm
and that, most likely, was what got him into the most
amount of trouble within a massive network like NBC or
FOX. In a recent roast of Bob Saget (who incidentally
directed Norm's first feature comedy film 'Dirty Work'),
you can see this substance in both his comedy style and
his praise for a fellow inspiration. Norm Macdonald is
a man about comedy - a man about Canada - and a man
who has inspired me to always break the 'norms'.

Be sure to watch the full clip of his odd roast segment

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Tired Of Being
I want to be like Max for a while.

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