Monday, January 31, 2011

Blow It Off

Sometimes, I just don't want to do the work. I don't. And I don't care
what people think of me. I just won't put in the time necessary to
complete a task. In fact, with booking bands, it's become such an
unrewarding endavour that I find I'd rather get a deposit from a band
and then go through the hassle of refunding them down the line -
because I just don't care enough about the whole scene.

Today, I played a lot of Scrabble online against my friend Caleb. He
is a very challenging partner and always finds a way to screw me
over at the very end. After that game ended in a flurry of triple word
scores, I played some NHL 97 on my Sega. The thought of exercise
or going outside in -26 seemed excruciating. I then ate dinner for
free at the school cafeteria and went on a house outing (me, Sarah
and 20 screaming high school girls) to see Barney's Version. It was
a great film with a lot of tie-ins to Canada (half of it happens in Mount
Orford, Quebec and Montreal) and Paul Giamatti gave a tour-de-
force performance (if you can suspend your disbelief due to the
fact that the hot women that go for him in the movie would never
do so in real life). Dustin Hoffman was also incredible. Mordecai
Richler was a smart man.

Bussed home on the 401 with the girls. Played some more scrabble.

On the cold, crusty highway, I stared way east - and thought about

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shut In

Last night, Sarah and I took a sunday night and just released the throttle
and put everything into neutral. Once you get past the cabin fever boredom,
you actually move to place of enjoyment where you realize that there is
nowhere else you need to be but right where you are.

We played some serious scrabble and drank some wine (well, I didn't -
I was still post-booze from the cantankerous Headstones show). We did
dishes. We ate banana cake. We relaxed.

Deep into winter we all must go.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Life Is About The Adventure

Last night, I got to see a vintage piece of Canadiana Rock on display in
Peterborough - The Headstones. My friend Derrick's band (The Gentlemen
Husbands) put on a killer opening set and will no doubt be making their
mark very soon as they are now managed by Bernie Breen (manager of
The Hip, The Headstones and many more). GH are a super-talented band
and it was an honour to see them perform for their biggest crowd to date
(800+ and sold out).

But the real stars of the show were, without a doubt, The Headstones. As
Hugh Dillon has become a bit of an acting celebrity, it was amazing to
see a shiny, head-shaven representation of a once-mohawked badboy.
The lack of mohawk, however, did not detract from the image as the old
Hugh was definitely present. He walked on stage quickly, with the rest of
the band members, and as some house music (I think it was country) was
playing lightly in the background, Hugh grabbed the mic, pointed up at
the soundbooth and said 'Turn that fuckin' shit OFF!' The audience
erupted and was in his hands from that moment forth.

Leading off with 'When Something Stands For Nothing', Hugh pretended
his harmonica was a 9 mil as he aimed it at different members in the
audience and picked them off. A true entertainer and showman to the
bone, Hugh and the boys did not disappoint as the stage was lacquered
in spit and sweat by the end of the night.

Back in 1997, I saw the Headstones play live at the Ottawa EX. (I also
rode the teacups for way too long that day with Steve Gray and later
yakked in port-a-potty.) As Steve and I were in line for a rollercoaster,
we looked over through the metal security bars at the coaster that was
boarding and in it was Hugh Dillon. Mohawked. With girls on both
arms. And probably on something. As I poked Steve and told him that
it was the lead singer, Steve didn't seem to care or was distracted by
something so I decided to yell 'HUGH!' as loud as I could through the
bars. He looked over at me, and in a flash-instant, smiled, pointed and
winked and said 'How you doin?' in a super cool manner. Oddly enough,
this was right after 'Smile And Wave' had come out and so, in a sense,
Hugh smiled and waved at me.

In an interesting and time-warpy moment, I raised my bottle to Hugh
last night, during Smile And Wave (as we were only feet away from the
stage), and he looked right at me and gave me the exact same 'smile,
wink and a gun' as he did in '97.

I wonder if he remembered me. I doubt it - but it's nice to believe.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Depression Is Undesirable

I watched this video tonight. I remembered.

In the moments where we feel sorry for ourselves, we can always remember.

In the times where the winter closes in and we feel claustrophobic, we can remember.

I have done the things.

I have lived a life.

I have played live on a stage in Halifax with Joel Plaskett's drummer.

I drank with Al Tuck in Saskatoon.

I took my music from Halifax to BC in the same year.

I drove for hours in a snowstorm between Golden and Saskatoon and nearly died.

I have incredible friends - and an incredibler family.

I am rich in spirit even when I am poor in the bank.

I have interviewed Hollywood actors.

I have written for CTV.

I worked at a kids camp for 10 + years.

And I say...

Boat drinks.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Step By Step: Little By Little

Sometimes, you gotta push on through the sludge. The Dulcimer
may pluck - but the Jester must whistle. Decode that reference!

My friend and banjoist Ben came to Port Hope last night so that
we could finish up a few add-ons for the new 'Cottage Rock' record
coming out this winter. The above picture displays the set-up we
had going (although a little embellished - we only used one
laptop - it just looked cooler.) For some reason, I felt sore this
morning (possibly from sitting in a weird, flexed position while
tracking the acoustic).

Overall, it's sounding great and we are all pretty happy with it.

Having a visitor was a nice change as I often have to leave Port
Hope in order to visit friends or family.

Little by little, I will make it through this winter, consarnit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Downs

Yesterday, I was in a place of abandon. No ship. No anchor. No
compass. Just floating. I felt out of touch with everyone and
every thing. Maybe it was because it was day 1 of my anti-coffee
kick, but I'm not sure. I just felt off. I felt suffocated almost by
the everwhite surroundings of winter and a tiny apartment.

Last year, we were spoiled in this region (and through a lot of
Ontario) by the ultimate lack of winter. Muddy patches of soil and
grass pushed up through thin snow blankets - reminding us of
the ever-charging spring. Right now, though, there seems to
be no spring in sight. Everything felt like a chore.

We go through all of this for a reason. We have waves so that we
appreciate still waters.

It would just be nice to have some still water very soon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wine And Zombies

This past summer, I logged a lot of hours on a video game that my friend
Shane introduced me to - Nazi Zombies. It's basically a separate level or
game within the Call Of Duty platform wherein you are trapped in a
building and zombies continue to attack you. The goal of the game is
to basically keep boarding up windows and keep killing zombies.
Pretty simple. The only problem is, they grow in their quickness and
ability to withstand gunshots and stabs each level. Shane and another
friend named Taylor (the three of us make up the Mancation team)
and I bonded a lot of over many hours of playing this ridiculous but
highly addictive game.

Last night, I had the chance to play it again with a new friend here
on the Trinity campus. My new friend's name is Pete. Pete was a
student here at Trinity and now works here part time as a 22 year
old dorm-parent for high school boys. Pete's dad also owns a Wine
Store here in Port Hope called 'Fresh Off The Vine' and gets a lot
of free homemade wine as a perk. Last night, Pete and I had some
deep and intellectual discussion while drinking some nice, warm
merlot and slaying mutant, walking dead troops of the fuhrer. It
was a nice escape from both of our heads and a welcome retreat
from the sick-a-tating winter.

And suddenly, while playing the game with Pete, I was in a good
place. I had achieved Nirvana (even though the setting of the
game is quite morbid). I was instantly in summer mode. Relaxed.
With family and friends. With good folk.

It really doesn't matter in what venue we engage people - it just
needs to be done to further our existence. To grow. To learn.
To adjust. To learn compassion. To study. To pour out. To take in.

So tonight - why not crack out some red and play some vids with
a friend? I guarantee that it won't become about the game. It will
become about much more.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music Makes Me Lose Control

There is a time and a place to be conservative - but there is also a
time to let your monster off its chain. Music makes the people do
things they don't want to do. It transforms. It shifts. It smile. It
cries. It coughs. It sleeps. It loves. It hates.

It lives.

To read about some of my album picks of 2010, please go to my
other fine blog and music zine 'And The Hits' for some seriously
ethereal and brain-bazooka-ing shit.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winterize Your Heart

'Don't let it get ya down, Matt' is what I said when I looked out the
window this morning. Cold. And more cold coming. Frost creeping
in from the outside and lacquering my door seam and windowpane.
A solid 2 feet of snow of the grass. Signs nearly buried. Plows
unable to find pavement under their scraping steel teeth that spark
the angry concrete.

I'm in a place of indecision simply because I don't have the means
physically to get anywhere. We're in for winter. And a harsh one.
Commuters are risking life and limb for a measley 12 bucks an
hour (after tax and gas comes out of their cheque). Double knit
mitts and toques don't seem to do the trick, warmth-wise.

I'm reminded lately of a phrase that Ollie and I found one summer.
We were out in Chateau bay, fishing for beer bottles from some
folks who decided that pitching their empties into the lake would
be a good idea. 3 staff were fired from the camp for drinking on
property of a Christian premises and Ollie and I were hired to be the
cops. We found all of the bottles - all but four or five. Ollie waded
out further than me with a snorkel and flippers yelling 'Got one!'
and holding high, with a resounding splash, each brown glass
container he found. We giggled at the absurdity of what was
going on - but still understood that something needed to be done.
Drink off property? In a bar somewhere? At someone's house?
Sure. But on the property - with young kids around - and kids
who could step on the shards of the glass in the bay - it
seemed a bit much. Still - I've done worse.

After we rounded up all of the bottles, we went inside the
Chateau cabin for a look around at the oldest and creepiest
building on the whole camp property. It was the first cabin ever
used by the camp back in 1956 and it's a pretty desolate,
dilapidated structure. Upstairs, on the old wood paneling walls
that were painted hospital white back in '55, a phrase was written
in black permanent marker (probably from an angry leader-in-
training who hated being cooped up in such a tiny shack all
summer) that read:


How fitting. How fitting indeed. For all of us.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Before You Leave

Thrush Hermit at Lee's Palace
Wait - don't leave - I'm still here. Finishing up this domestic beer.
I know you're ready to go - but this bottle of 50 holds me close.
Like a warm winter hug - filled with movies and laughter
Let's all rent a cabin - we'll jump as high as the rafters.
And party 'til the call of the loon.
Under that cold winter Wolfe Lake moon.

Sorry I've been laggin' behind - you're dressed for success and
I can't even find
One pair of decent slacks - I tend to hang out with folks who
dress like lumberjacks
They don't wear business vests or shiny suit jackets
They smoke like banshees and they make loud rackets
With guitars and drums and bass, too
Under that cold winter Wolfe Lake moon.

Under that cold winter Wolfe Lake moon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Post Mancation Wrap

Mancation was a success and a definite temporary stress alleviating bomb
of sound, light and a snowy jaunt down Princess on a thursday night. It
started out with some billiards at a local haunt that a few of us have come
to love (in the 'closet' sense of love) and rounded off with a dirty dance
club in the heart of downtown K-town. The town of Kings.

There was crying. There was confession. There was laughter. There was

There were $2.50 rye and cokes flowing in a heavenly bounty.

And the Lord said 'It was good'.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gimme Clarity

No one gives you a handbook on life. No one gives you the right advice
for every situation. Most of the time, we forge our own way in the hopes
that we are going 'the right way' - whatever that is. Is there a mysterious
force guiding all things - or is that a pacification of real thought and
discovery? I tend to believe the former but sometimes, what to do gets
very foggy.

Things are changing. Sands are shifting. Tides are coming in. Friends
who I thought would be lifelong battle partners are slowly subsiding,
switching sides or joining forces with people other than me. I'm tired.
I'm tired of being fed bullshit when I know the truth. I'm tired of people
who can't grow up and get honest with their emotional and spiritual
state. I'm tired of waiting for people to get back to me.

This life is a slow heartbreak - but sometimes, in those downer
moments, there is a gleam through the crack of the dismal prison of
depression. I know that the gleam represents something not in this
life - but beyond. I long for the day when that gleam overtakes all and
when the clouds of doom are dashed.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All The Small Things/Mancation #2

I know that living for the temporary is not always a fix for issues, but man
I am looking forward to tonight. A getaway. A vacation from problems and
issues. Tonight = Kingston. Tonight = friends, beverages, billiards in a
hillbilly bar, boatloads of dancing cougars (sometimes not even on the
dance floor) with two of my hilarious co-horts - Shay and Tay (Shane and

On the tour, I learned to live for the temporary as a means of finding
joy and extending the trip in a mental capacity. I mean, if you're on a
vacation and all you do is plan for the future, what good is that? Tonight,
I will be a temporary soul. I will let the beats of idiom pulse through
my rusty, mortal shell. I will shelf the conservative rabbit I've become -
and let loose the wild badger within me that is so often shackled.

Right now, the sun is shining on the snowy fields of the school turf.
The sky is a cold blue that brings with it pacification for many. I
am going to make coffee and be in this moment. I am going to look
forward to seeing silly friends. I am going to play Sega Genesis.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What To Do With These Evenings

Sometimes I wish that the day never ended. When the sun is bright
and when the day breaks, just past the morning, into an endless spora
of opportunity - I'd like to stay there. I'd like to dwell in those moments
where my mind is clear and where I'm feeling redemptive - and
forgiving towards my wrongdoers - and understanding of those who
have left me in the dust for other things and different lives.

I see clearly. I can do even the most menial tasks with excitement
and enthusiasm. I eagerly push forward. I do dishes. I clean my
bedroom. I send emails I should have sent days ago. I exercise. I
smile more.

When the night comes in, though, all bets are off. I feel the rush
to do things before I turn it all off for a few hours and hit the reset
button on the video game console of my life. I feel scattered. I have
trouble focusing. I feel irritable. I have anxiety before falling asleep.
The shade of night brings with it uncertainty and worry and serious
concern. If I'm lucky, I'll have some booze nearby to warm my liver
and keep my mind from jumping around. If not, I'll try to dull the
senses by playing NHL 97 on my Sega Genesis.

Many poets and writers have described life in terms of a day. St
John of the cross wrote 'In the evening of life, we will be judged
on love alone'. If that's true, I think I'm okay because I sure have
loved a truck-load. I have loved people who have never dared show it
back over decades. I have loved where others have told me not
to love. I have loved those out of my reach and let the least friendly
person in my life occupy warm thoughtspace. I have loved others
without question when many have told me to turn away. I have
loved shallow, self-absorbed people. I have given. And given.
And given.

And I'll keep on giving if I make it through this night.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I'm faced with a decision right now...and it's a toughie. Life
seems to bring constant uncertainty and it doesn't show any
signs of slowing soon. This decision I make will greatly alter
things and I fear that it must be made even though it will be
one of the hardest things I decide in my entire existence on
this spinning ball of mud.

I can, however, dwell for a while in the land of indecision.
It's ultimately an impasse - I can go no further but I can
rest and make mental progress. It's a valley between two
stones. Here in the hearth of these huddled rock masses, I
will sit and wait. I will ponder. And though action is required,
I will not act - for action requires energy - and I have little.

Rest with me.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Sunday With Cliff

Today was a good day. On one of the coldest days yet this winter, I
went to the first AGM for the Shelter Valley Folk Fest. Everyone was
in good spirits (for the most part!) and ideas and motions were carried
forward for this coming year. It's difficult to think about a late summer/
early fall festival when there is 15 cm of snow on the ground and a
lingering wintry coil that causes your car to curse at you in plain
English when you start it up.

Before and after this meeting, though, I had to chance to spend some
time with Cliff. I met him at his house and though he is somewhat
sick at the moment with a typical January head cold and raspy voice,
that didn't stop him from laughing. We laughed a lot. Most of the
time, it's about things that I wouldn't share with the general public
because humour is a touchy subject. Some people think that humour
should be all unicorns, rainbows and soft puppets and that it should
all be 3 year old friendly. I believe that humour is humour - what
makes you laugh reflects how you are wired up. And in laughing,
as endorphins are naturally released into your bloodstream, how can
there be anything wrong with that response?

Cliff and I drove our usual route from Cobourg to Grafton. Last year,
the dead heat of late summer, we drove that route multiple times a
week to set things up for the festival. Some people find Cliff to be
odd and a tad off-putting - but I think he is a well-journeyed man
with stories and humourous tales that ooze out of him in an
infectious manner. And to be honest, I really don't think that he
gives two shits about what people think of him. He is done playing
that game - and finished that facade a long time ago.

We drove and swapped stories about odd people we come across.
Cliff is virtually always in trouble - whether in the eyes of a Shelter
Valley committee member - or by his lovely wife, Deb. In one of
the serious moments of the meeting yesterday, he decided to flick
some pistachio shells across the table, only to have one bounce
back off of someone's coffee cup making a loud 'ting' sound.

We need more people like Cliff.

'If it makes you laugh, can it really be bad for you?'

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Calm Blue Ocean

We tend to forget about what's underneath if what we are looking at is
pleasing to the eye. That's humanity for ya - in a nutshell. Easily swayed.
Rabbit-esque in our tendency to chase dangling carrots. Appearing
'put-together' on the surface while below the depths, we are tumourous,
bulbous and grotesque.

'Calm Blue Ocean' was one of those early 90's relaxation phrases that
hipsters and yuppies would repeat to themselves over and over in their
Wall Street offices before their stocks turned down half a point. We
want the quick fix. We want things to happen but we don't want to work
at it. We want to wake up and start making money as soon as our
eyelids un-crust. We want everything to be okay.

But a lot of the time, everything is not okay.

I guess I always wanted to be a role model to others. I wanted to get
married and live the white Christian dream. I wanted to start some kind
of ministry and even go to school for an MDiv or something of that
nature. I wanted to play worship music and work full-time in a ministerial

But more and more, I'm saw that this was not my dream - but a dream
supplanted in me by those around me in my university years. I liked
hangin' with a lot of hilarious people - and to their credit, those people
didn't need any drugs or diuretics to be funny. It was a natural high to
laugh. I laughed a lot. And I made some great friends with those folks.
And some of them are still good friends to this day.

What seemed unnatural to me, though, was the straight line. I was
always kind of a wavy guy. I liked making my own lines. As a good
friend once said to me during breakfast 'You can't put a fence around
McKechnie! You put up fences, and he'll just jump over them! He
needs to be free!'

Right now, there is a lot underneath. I'm dealing. Working. Thinking.
Talking. Dissecting.

The blue ocean is only really calm for stretches of days in the summer.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reality Bites And Friday Nights

I'd never actually seen Reality Bites until tonight. I bought it at a nearly
closed Blockbuster for 5 bucks and figured I'd probably like it because
my friends Mark Wallace from Guelph and Melinda from Kingston
always quoted it...and well...they are both quintessentially 'cool'

I liked it.

What was sort of sad about watching this great 90's throwback film,
though, was the fact that the core of the film revolved around 4 newly
graduated friends who are done their first round of post-secondary
endeavours and trying to figure out what to do with their lives -
The sad part was feeling like I could relate to all of their yearnings
and feelings and I've been done university for 8 years. 8 years, man.
You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I don't really like society a lot of the time. But, in point of fact, does
that mean I should move to a different culture somewhere else on the
globe just so I can fit in? What's the fucking deal? Why is everyone so
obsessed with money and status and career? In the post-modern world,
a career can be three years. In the post-war world of my parents, a
career was a job you chose for your entire life. My mom became a
teacher and my dad became an accountant 40 years ago. And they
still do those things.

Me? I worked at a call centre for 3 years, worked as a bartender for
a year, worked landscaping and lumber seasonally for about 5 years,
worked as an office administrator for a church for almost a year,
worked as a junior accountant/data entry lackie for 15 years on and
off, worked as a sound-tech/assistant manager for the town hall in
Cobourg for nearly a year, worked for pennies at a Christian camp
for 12 years in the summers and springs, taught guitar lessons for
a year, worked at CTV for 8 hours, worked in a daycare for about
4 years...but I digress.

Decision is my biggest destructor.
Reality does bite.  

I need a job.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Other Eden

As the band says, 'Two hearts beat as one'. Last night, I took a walk.
I couldn't stay in my current state any longer and needed to get out of
my dwelling and experience the winter night. My feet crushed the
squeaky snow beneath me in my bundled and appreciative state. I looked
up at the moon and squinted. Its brightness cast a movement over the
tides of my being. I ascended on downtown Port Hope on a thursday
night. The streets were quiet at 8:30 pm and without movement.

I began thinking about the concept of 'hallowed ground' or land which
has some sort of supernatural vibe. I thought about a place called
Camp IAWAH. I couldn't shake the thought. It was stuck in my thought
wheelhouse like a broken bolt. Off kilter but still spinning, nonetheless.
No matter what you believe about Utopian ideology, there is something
different about that place and folks from many walks of life have
mentioned it whilst gracing the grassy fields and glassy shine of
Wolfe Lake. I thought about the people that are in place guarding that
land and trying to do what is best for it - and how in many ways,
over 56 years, they have both succeeded and failed greatly. And
although, many will be the first to say 'people are people' and 'you
can't blame' or 'you haven't been around lately', with the exception of
1 or 2 folks, I have been around IAWAH for 30 + years - on and off.

That's a long fuckin' time.

And I suppose that in some ways, there is a symbiotic relationship
between myself and IAWAH and that will always continue to be that
way. There is a special quality that goes beyond words when I am
present there. It gets difficult to explain without receiving weird looks
but much like Frodo's fate was tied to the ring, I think that mine is
slightly tied to the Camp.

At its worst, it is much like anything gone wrong at the hands of
complacent and greedy people; structure-filled, protective, closed
minded, not cared for properly, squatted on, closed to outsiders,
clear-cut for more buildings, business savvy, etc.

But at its best - Oh man. He has shown thee what is good. Kids
from any financial status can come from horrible homes and
experience nature and acceptance in a life-changing manner.
Good food can be consumed by many hungry masses (made ready
by a crazy but lovable Newfie Chef.) Still and calm morning
water can be sat beside, reflecting the phoenix of the sunrise.
Loon calls can serve as a sleeping aid. People can play ridiculous
and childish games in a massive field and experience unadulterated
joy, free of substance or artificial stimuli. Lazy kids experience the
power of a hard days labour either in a steaming dishroom or
a blazing hot field with a mower (or a fecal-filled wash-house with
a mop.)

I thought about all these things and on a very cold night, I felt
warm. I doubt if I'll ever be back there in any long-term capacity
but I visit it often enough in my dreams. Fields of long grasses
leading to water and bending in a hot, June breeze. I smiled
and walked up the steps to the Beamish.

As I reached my destination in downtown Port Hope where many
bodies were huddled inside over pails of stouts and ales, I looked
up at the store beside the pub I was headed to and it read:


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We're In For Weather

Last year, most of Ontario was treated to a mild winter. January felt
more like November and patches of snow landed only to disappear
quickly through grass and mud. This year, a real winter is upon us and
we are only on the cusp of an overflowing glass. Cold, cold temperatures
that make us feel like escaping the earth; crusted windshields; frozen
toes that thaw out only moments before heading back into the wickedness
again; virtually tapped noses; frozen facial hair; 24/7 toquehead...

All that good stuff.

But we are in for weather, regardless - there is no avoidance. Batten
down the hatches, Becky. Make the best of it. Strap yourself in for a long,
uncomfortable ride. There's something about the inevitability of winter
that is frightening and yet, at the same time, inspiring. It's a time of
pain and reflection. Self-examination.

I've done some stupid shit in my life. You don't even want to know.
Will it remain secret or will the depths of my pain be a picture show?
Time and time again to my own vomit I have run.
Will you still be my friend when you've seen what I've done?
The summer is a distant thought - a shoot through the snow.
For deep, deep into winter we all must go.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two Days Behind - Two Days Ahead
chasing time3
Time is a beast of relativity. It laughs when we laugh - but it also
smirks at our sadness. I'm trying to spend more days getting organized
and being creative but in those uphill battles, it seems like time is a
an ever-present gale force wind pushing me backwards.

Time stresses me out. I always feel like I'm not where I should be for
my age, even though there are no pre-defined barriers - only societal
myths and false truths based on comparison. It may be because being
a musician, I often think about fame as some far-off, elusive being
that just may besmirch me - or maybe I will never touch it and only
hear about it as a traveler in a distant land.

But if fame is a distant traveler - then time is the sun. Real. Visible.
Creating heat. Stemming tides. Tangible. Actual. Fame is some
party in an ice castle in Switzerland - it only lasts as long as the ice
can take the body heat and seasonal flux. Time goes on. Time is
here. Time never stops. For anyone.

In The Watchmen, the philosophy of time is studied through the
character of Dr. Manhattan. His childhood memories are based on
images of assembling wrist watches and clocks for his dad and all
of the little metal pieces that hold it all in balance - in time. It's
interesting to think that time just may be all in our heads.

And to live in the freedom of that thought.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Zen Winter's Nap

The above is a short film I composed over Christmas break with the
help of my brother and two cousins. Putting it together from a random
smattering of clips made me realize that I really love filmmaking and
that it may be something I want to pursue down the road. Films have
always intrigued me and I've spent a good deal of my life watching
and obsessing over random ones (Soul Man starring C. Thomas
Howell and Ayre Gross was a childhood fave and still is to this day -
those guys shoulda been Hollywood superstars) and I enjoy a few
cinematic outlets from time to time.

The film is basically about the connection between our consciousness
and the supernatural - or in this case, ghosts. The main character
(which is basically a conscious soul) is surveying the idea of being
alive by staring into his eyes in a mirror. Meanwhile, in his living
space, there are a few other spirits that seem to dwell there - and at
one point, it's not even clear if the man is staring at himself or at
somebody else. The Zen Master, however, brings some reason to the
ethereal mind with mentioning 'coffee' (therein referring to caffeine
and the lack of alertness or waking moments) and later reading
over a series of natural scenes which seem to start taking over the
man's mind in a soothing, calming way.

My brother and my two cousins have toyed with the idea of making
small films & documentaries for a while and I think it is something
we are going to actuate in the near future.

Stay Tuned.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Quark Hunters

My friend Brad Huskins used to study a book for his high science
degree called 'Hunting Of The Quark'. It always intrigued me though
Brad assured me that once cresting the opening pages, I would be
turned off science forever. In a totally dummified way, I later
learned that quarks are one of the smallest elements of matter...
or something geeky like that. The most intriguing thing about
quarks though (from an artistic perspective) is the fact that they
are too small to be viewed as a group within a hadron.

Some days, I feel like a quark hunter - looking for something tiny
and elusive in a giant vat of messy life. Other days, I don't really
care what I'm looking for and I'm just trying to make myself fall
asleep so that I'm not wiped out the next day. I get a lot of sleep
anxiety - it's a strange form of anxiety that only arises when I am
ready for bed. I wake up 15 minutes after falling asleep and I
feel shaky everywhere. The shakiness usually leaves after a few
minutes of being awake but it's still annoying as hell. I think some
of it arises of a fear of losing control - when I sleep, I have no
control over my environment.

Most of the time, though, I think I search for belonging. I spend
a lot of time making others feel welcome. I've spent many years
listening to other people's problems and having people tell me
'how good I am at listening' and that I should go into counseling.
But only some people see that side. Others see a vindictive and
selfish sack who lives to please himself and do what he wants.

Whatever your quarks are, I pray that you may find them.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Weight

Day 2 of recording. Yesterday was Ottawa - today is Kingston. I'm
starting to feel a little dead to my own material and a little deaf to
my own voice. I don't know if it's good or if it sucks ass. Ben
drove all the way to Ottawa to get his gear and gave me a lift to K
town. Bless his heart.

This acoustic record we are working on sounds good but I fear it
may take more time than I initially expected. Without drums, it
sounds simple and good but it also illuminates other errors
elsewhere. We will take our time and make it good. We will push
on. Too many projects.

The weight is starting to build up. I feel tired in my bones - but a
different tired. Tired of singing. Tired of playing guitar and re-doing
takes. Tired of listening.

Oh Kingston Brew Pub. Revive my spirit.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Press Record

If you don't catch the double meaning there, there is not much I can
do to help you.

Friday was a manic day that started with Reh the drummer driving
through a Montreal snowstorm to make it to Ottawa. So a day that
was supposed to start at 9 began just after 10 am. Typical start for
Reh and I. Our big plans of punctual meetings always get dashed
on the 417 somewhere between Ottawa and Montreal (I'm blaming
Vankleek Hill).

We laid down bed tracks for another 3 songs that will be part of a
new sonic rock album coming out WAY down the road. As of now,
we have 7 songs with drums, acoustic and electric done. Another
session of that and we will be ready to lay down 4 or 5 more and
then get to the vocals. Dean was accommodating and hilarious as
usual and we slipped over the Oak for a few Creemores in for a
dinner break.

Whatever turn my life takes, I know that music needs to - nay -
MUST be a part of it. It is a life-giving force. It is a frustration. It
is an inspiration and a motivation. It is depressing. It is uplifting.

It is so many damned good things.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


When I was younger man, I worked at a bible camp. At this camp,
I helped to get a radio station off the ground and running in a fully
functional and movable van. And just like that, the JUICE was
born. The JUICE was the name of the station and it was a regular
hang-out spot for kids and made for some hot summer afternoons
crammed into an old, powder-plush-blue seated van passing mic's
around between myself and Dalton.

My main beef with the station, though, was the fact that everything
played on the JUICE was Christian music. Most Christian music to
me sounded much like Charlie Brown's parents - mwa mwa mwa
MWAAAAAA. I didn't like the shiny feel and production of 95%
of what we played - I didn't like the packaging of the artwork and
how it always showed smiley, shiny people with glossy faces - I
didn't like the fact that we weren't paying royalties to these probably
broke Christian artists...there were lots of 'unlikes'.

There were, however, a few gems that managed to find their way
on to the airwaves whenever I was in control. One of those was a
track by a rapper named John Reuben. This guy, in his simplicity
and humility, gift for gab and unpretentious style won me over
with a song I'll never forget. Hindsight. The song beautifully weaves
a tapestry of life in the regrets, highs, lows, questions, doubts and
revelations of the everyman. At first, I was surprised it was a
Christian song because I actually liked it and hated so many others.

One line of the well-written word-bomb of a song reads:
'Is it a must that I'm here - Is it a must that I stay
In order to move forward - must I look away...'
The song's eager yearning for truth and definition of this weird,
bizarre existence was something that resonated deeply within
me. But more interesting to me was the whole idea of a line that
Al Pacino spat in Glengarry Glen Ross (the cinematic version of the
Mamet play): 'This life is either lookin' forward - or lookin' back.
There ain't no here and now'. I wrote the entire lyrics out on one
of my older songbooks with a sharpie and they still serve as a
good reminder of the fleeting essence.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Hindsight and looking
forward and looking back and how I don't really exist in the
now. I've been doing a lot of looking back, lately - some
intense examination. We all must look back before we can
look forward.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting. 

(Psalm 139: 23, 24)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sosumi And Lights


So I missed a day. Sosumi. Inside joke from my childhood. You
wouldn't get it.

Last night, I had the chance to make my way downtown by
myself with only the aid of public transit. I caught the 86 from
my brother's place and landed in Westboro, only to stumble
out of the bus and fortuitously into the Bridgehead where
my friend Emily was working. What a pleasant happenstance!
Emily wasted no time in buying me a coffee as part of her
friendly spirit and her sweet Bridgehead employee perks. I
asked her what bus I should take from downtown and she looked
at me kinda funny 'Uh...95, 96, 97. Any of those, really. You've
never bussed downtown?' I conferred through my foggy glasses
that it had been a while. So with a warm, sugary Ethiopian in
my hands, I headed for Tunney's Pasture and caught the 95.

What stuck me about taking the bus again was how easy it
was (especially from the mini-underground city called Tunney's
Pasture). There are signs everywhere leading you in the
direction that you want to travel. Downtown (East), Kanata
(West) - it was all laid out pretty well for a non-busser like

I landed at Bank St and walked up to Elgin and talked to
my friend Eric on the phone. Eric recovered from a rare
cancer this past year that affected his voice and so it was
good to hear a fully functional set of vocal chords (and
happy ones, at that) on the other end of the receiver. I
popped into Rideau Centre to run and errand and headed
back to Elgin to meet more friends for dinner - Mer and
Matt. We had a sublime meal of choice food at the Manx -
one of the best beer & food spots in Ottawa. Hands down.

Before the dinner, though, and on my way back from
Rideau, I had a bit of a weird moment. An almost cinematic
moment. As the sun dropped like a stone, leaving a faint
strip of pink over the barely frozen canal, I looked out on
the long lane of water - remembering my year in Ottawa
and how I had some great skates from work to home that
winter. And though I have some great memories from that
year, It wasn't all peaches and I had some hard times -
but for the most part, I felt my heart getting really full.

I continued walking down the steps from the Rideau bus
depot to the pathway that leads to Elgin. With many multi-
coloured lights on many trees, I looked up at the sky with
Jon Brooks playing soulfully in my headphones. For the
first time in a long while, I felt happy. I felt real. I felt like I
was existing somewhere. My eyes got a tad misty. I
couldn't help but crack a bit of a smile. Why do these
moments come? It seemed so out of the blue - this joy

Whatever it was, it was a nice change. Images and
memories flashed before me of my cross Canada trip.
Mountains and prairies. Long cigarette drags to kill
the time. Hoppy beers of BC microbrews. And at the
end of the trip, after I'd seen and done enough, I
realized that I missed where I was currently standing.

And I felt full.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Buzzer Beater

365 days almost became 4 - but I made it.

For some reason, when I get into the zone of blogging and writing,
I feel free. I feel like myself. The keys are an extension of my
conscious and penultimately, my sub-conscious. I can say what
I want and some might read it - but really, it's mostly me who

I got to see some good friends and fam over the last few days.
Brother Dox, Dan, Tay, Em, Owen, Landon, Shuggy, Seb,
Danomite, Skip, Steve - and hopefully more are on the way.
Whatever I am going through in life, I find that spending time
with people is a massive downer-suppressant for my soul.
People open up my mind and the social interactions therein
stimulate my pleasure center. I need more. I crave more.

Some big decisions are on the horizon - and much like the
dunking of Darryl Dawkins (aka Chocolate Thunder who used
to break backboards on a constant basis in the NBA) -
whatever decision I make will largely affect the course of the
game and will probably shatter a few things.

I hate letting people down. I hate feeling like I'm letting people
down. I live for the acceptance and support of my peers and
family. I want to be liked.

'There are no easy answers - only hard decisions'.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Basement Meditation

Today, I got to do something that I hadn't done in almost a
decade. When I was 24/25, and fresh out of university, I would start
most of my days with a pretty basic practice - I'd wail away in my
parents basement playing electric guitar as loud as possible while
downing a few coffees for inspiration. Those days were fairly bleak
for me as I didn't know what was down the road - and in some
ways, I feel like I'm going through a time similar to that point in my
life (only I'm ten years older and I still don't have any money and
I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life).

But in that basement, where I can wail and play a sonic and
resonating distorted E chord and let the peavey special 130 ring
out into the massive emptiness, I feel at peace. I feel like I can
grasp the next activity with some source of belief and enterprise -
I can touch the music down there. It's tangible. It's thick and loud.

And though I'm still largely learning as a musician and as a student
of this life, I felt almost proud to see a man playing in the mirror -
who (since those confused post-school days) has held down a
marriage & several crappy jobs, recorded 5 albums in 10 years,
and toured the bulk of this country from one sea to the other.

It ain't much but it's alright.

It was a good start to the day.
May we all find our basement meditation when its needed.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Empty Your Cup

Though I know little about Zen Buddhism, some of the teachings
interest me in the sense of living a centered, balanced life. And
although I'm in no way renouncing my faith and belief in the
personal manifestation of Jesus (and remember - this is coming
from me - I'm not trying to convert anyone, here - so ease up
on those blame-holsters), I've realized that in all honesty, I don't
know what I believe.

Maybe, though, I should start out by displaying what I do
believe - and go from there.

I do believe that Jesus, in the life that He lived (and I write He
with a capital H both out of habit but also out of believing and
knowing, to an extent, that He is the most important glue and
centrifugal figure of my life), both historically and etherally as a
post-life being, showed people a way to live that makes sense.
It was one of action, for the most part - and when words were
used, they were thought out and calculated. And if I do believe
in the best-documented and researched idea of Jesus, I also
have to believe that there is a Force greater than Him of which
He continually spoke of and served. I believe (and know) that
I've experienced a personal manifestation of Him both in the
realm of that which cannot be explained by happenstance or
co-incidence and in the sublime peace I've found when
speaking directly with Him. (No - I'm not crazy. But yes -
I do speak to Jesus.) Most of the time I don't hear much - and
a lot of the time, I feel bizarre when walking down empty city
streets speaking to Him - but in the small percentile of time
when He speaks back, my soul has been awoken.

That said - I don't believe that the church, as it stands today in
North America and a big fraction of the globe, is 'the bride of
Christ' or something that I need to adhere to - because frankly,
it disgusts me. Though I have seen and been a part of some
communities who have understood the teachings of Jesus and
really studied these and taken them to heart in their lives and
positive communal impact, for the most part, I think church is
dead. And although good folks like Shane Claiborne, Don
Miller, Henir Nouwen (rest in peace) and Brian Maclaren will
do what they can to promote and uplift the vessel of the Christian
church, the detritus of the early church is all we have, now, and
what remains is a stodgy, prudish, well-dressed clan of naivete
and cult-ish hero worship.

Do I believe community is dead? Definitely not. Community is
what the definitive realm of the early church was - and I'm not
taking about some modern cliche buzz-word here, or a hipster
TV show - I'm talking about Community with a capital C.
Living together. Eating together. Families within families. Friends
that become families. The real rubber-hitting-the-road, day-in
and day-out 'I'm sick of this person, but I love them, regardless'
type of stuff. When Community happens in its truest form, I
believe that good things happen and that the modern world
both can't understand the selfless nature of it - yet desires it
inwardly in the same breath.

So that's a morsel of what I DO and DO NOT believe.

Recently, my brother was reading a Zen proverb about a man
who learns to 'empty his cup' to receive true blessing. And
though I'm not fully doing that proverb justice here, I have
been thinking a lot about the concept of 'emptying out' -
scraping the barrel. Starting fresh. Meditating.

Emptying the cup, first - so that it can be full again.

I don't give a shit what anyone thinks. I am who I am.
And you are who YOU are. So let's be those people.
Let's stop looking at what's wrong with the world - and look
at what's right.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Fear Of Honesty

I want to renew my vows. I want a second chance. I want to go back
and change things. And yet, in the same breath and space, I don't want
to change anything.

This blog has been a burden to me for a long while and I've never really
fully been able to place it - but I've discovered why: I'm afraid of being
honest. I'm afraid of letting something out that will shock and alter
everyone's thinking. I am massively insecure but I hide it well. I long
for acceptance from my peers and friends. I do know, though, that
these are things that scare not only me but many of my friends and
family. We are wired for acceptance.

I want to be honest.

I want to be real.

Come along with me for another 365 days of Blogdom.

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