Sunday, October 31, 2010

See Ya Round, Pals

Sometimes, for the sake of sanity, we all need to do the thing that
makes the least amount of reasonable sense. I'm also convinced
that as we get older, we start to become more comfortable and take
less adventures and get mortgages that we don't need.

I'm hittin' the western trail for a while, friends. I hope that you all
find ways to enrich your lives in the next couple weeks as I won't
be on this blog much. To hear more about the tour and get updates
on my trip, you can go here.

So I'm steppin' on this railcar to see what the next town will offer
me. Never been to the prairies or anywhere between BC and
Ontario - all expectations are out the window. Thanks for your
support in the furthering of this journey. Know that as a friend or
a family member, you'll be thought of in the annals of my
warm memories. Winnipeg HO!

All aboard.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rob Ford Rants Inc.
(People Get What People Want)

Alright, Toronto - you called down the thunder. Well now, you've got it.

By now, it's no secret that Rob Ford (nicknamed 'Fix Or Repair Daily') is
the mayor of Toronto - and mayor elect, at that. If you've been anywhere
near facebook, twitter or heated email chains in the last few days, you've
heard much about it. And yes - he seems sorta like one of those junior high
whiny, fat kids that doesn't get invited to the party and then pouts to his
mom about it. He even looks identical to Chris Farley's dad in the movie
Tommy Boy (played by Brian Dennehy) - and he really doesn't like

But before I launch into any sort of anti-Ford tyrade (and honestly, I don't
live right in Toronto but I'm there enough that this affects me, too), I think
it's important to study the facts of democracy - the vote. According to
Toronto Media Co-Op, there are some stunning bullet points about this
story that cannot be glazed over:

'While Rob Ford won the Mayoral election with 47.12 percent of the vote, only 
15 percent of the city's population voted for him. Some of those who did not vote 
choose not to, but others were not eligible to vote or chose not to have sufficient 
“Toronto is ... home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people” read a 
press release sent out on election day. However, only 813,984 people voted in 
the election, that's 32.46 percent of the population. Of those 383,501 people 
voted for Ford.'

Wow. Somewhat stunning? I think so. Let's dissect.

This story that is sucking up all of the headlines and media and personal
anger of the GTA (and ostensibly Canada-wide) is based on what? A city
where not even half of its population shows up to vote or had the proper
ID to vote? And then whines about the decision afterwards? 

Oh, man - just you wait.

Toronto is the 4th largest city in NORTH AMERICA. It's a major 
universal player in the arts, tourism, sports & rec, culture, ethnicity - it's
basically a massive mosaic of many things. Democracy and free-thinking
run rampant in Toronto (save for the suburban sprawl of the outskirts) -
and to think that all of this posturing is postmortem is a little depressing
in such a massively diverse and beautiful city.

People have retorted with 'City-dwellers didn't want Ford - suburbians
wanted Ford.' That's actually untrue. Ford actually gained a large
percentage of his vote from downtown inhabitants (specifically in the
blue-collar and immigrant demographics according to CBC) - so that
wasn't an excuse either. Come on, Toronto - give me somethin', here.

Another common retort has been 'only half of the city VOTED!' - 

Even more shocking than the co-op stats is the fact that this year's 
election of 47% showed a dramatic improvement over the last mayoral 
vote under Miller (which drew in only 32% of the population's vote) - 
so it's not that, either - and it's obviously not that people didn't care. 
In fact, it could be said that they cared much more than previous
voting years.

In a nutshell, I'm not saying that I'm any sort of Ford-supporter. I could
really care less about most political powder-kegs but it was more the 
cultural reactionary knee-jerks that intrigued me. But where was all of
this Anti-Ford propaganda BEFORE the election? Who were the OTHER
candidates? If Ford is so BAD, who else was good enough to take his
place? This sort of 'I-won't-do-anything-but-when-something-bad-finally-
happens-man-I-will-get-pissed-and-the-world-will-hear-about-it' attitude
is horribly stereotypically Canadian.
Like him or hate him - this is a clear democratic choice that cannot be
ignored or whined away.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Everybody Loves It Here

Prairies -- Alberta

There are a lot of things going on. But then again, there always is a lot
goin' on...isn't there?

For starters, I'm heading out on a trip to the Western side of Canada - a
side that I've never truly experienced or seen in any great detail (save for
the popular patches of British Columbia). On this trip, I will be playing
acoustic/harp-driven folk music (that you can read more about here) with
an old friend who now goes by the name of JD Edwards. We are playing
8 shows in B.C. (all over the interior and exterior), 3 shows in Alberta
and 3 more spread across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

So that's big. I leave on Sunday. I don't know what to expect - mostly
because I've never really played on my own (without a band) AND I've
never set foot in any of the prairie provinces. I'll be sure to drop some
updates from time to time (at the above link).

For seconders, things are busy on the homefront with writing, taking in
as many shows as I can before I hit the road, artist and actor interviews,
packing, random laundry, pub trips with old friends, and just trying to
stay more positive about the Northumberland region. I'm also keeping
an idea frying in the hopper about documenting and compiling a film and
book about somewhat successful musicians in Canada and what makes
Canadian artists stand-out performers in a competitive scene.

I'm not sure how it will pan out. Therein lies both the excitement and
the stress.

Keep me in your thoughts, dear friends and fam. I know I am being
selfish right now but I am thankful for all of you.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hard Eight

I've never seen the aforementioned film by PT Anderson (starring the
incredibly talented Philip Baker Hall) but from what I've read, the term
'hard eight' refers to a bad roll of the dice in the game of craps. This fall
has seemed to be somewhat of a hard eight for me and as much as I don't
believe in luck, sometimes, it seems that you're meant to go through what
you're going through. Still though - the game presents a tough table:

Doubt. Anxiety. Frustration. Angst. Loneliness. A feeling of constantly
being misunderstood.

It's all there.

I find myself less and less motivated to meet new people, make
connections, promote my own music or really just make anything work.
I want to watch tv on the internet and piss the day away. I want to drink
instead of interacting on a real level with others. I want to throw away
what I have and start new.

I guess an upside of all of this is the fact that I don't feel like ending it
all. I really actually do want to see how it all pans out - even if it's a
depressing or unsatifying ending. I have a desire to see the plot unfold.
So that's good.

We need to give thanks in these times for family, friends and the drivers
that keep us on the course to see how it all comes out in the wash. I've
been blessed to have a lot of good folks in my life. I'm going to start
making efforts to let them know how special they all are.

Hard eight or not - the dice gotta roll.

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