Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tangentia

How often does our deterrence from a straight line affect our
outcome?

How many times do we need to ask a question before we realize
we already know the answer?

Why do people die?

When does it get better?

Where have the seasons gone?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Set Me Free

















Out of Port Hope today and working a little bit to start off tax season.

This set-up will be my life over the next while.

T1's and T2202's. Machines. Paper.

Yes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Blog Void

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Live Graven Experience
(A Short Film by Chris Olson)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rows And Rows Of Shows


















Life is a whirlwind. One day, I'm bombin' around North Ontario in a
Dodge Sprinter with Plaskett and the lads, the next, I'm in Nicaragua -
and two seconds later, I'm back in the homeland.

Two shows this weekend - one in Kemptville at the Branch and
another at The Elmdale Tavern in Westboro (Ottawa). It occurred to
me last night, while driving back from the Toronto airport at 1145
pm after a 6+ hour flight from Nicaragua, that time truly is fractal.
It is a frayed beam pouring into a jagged prism. We never see the
full picture - but what we do see is pretty beautiful.

Kemptville was fine but I wasn't a huge fan of playing during
Earth Hour. No electricity = shred your vocal chords. Still, it was
nice to see Norris, Bruce, Timbo, Meg, Ben and the whole crew.

Beau's Beaver River tastes like glory from the heavens after
tasteless Nicaraguan beer.

Damn, it's good to be home.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Homeward We Go





















Again - I must repeat; NEVER. FLY. AMERICAN. AIRLINES.

Not only did they lose our bags, but they also CHANGED our
departure flight from the 25th to the 28th. Really? Really AA?
You wanna go there? We could have been seriously screwed and
stuck in Managua for a few nights (which is the least lovely place
in Nicaragua).

After a long and galatically boring wait that had the counter clerk
trying to get us on to three different airlines, she got us a seat on
Continental. Not only did the flight get us in ahead of schedule,
but it provided us with a hot chicken sandwich and a salad.

Free food on airlines? I thought that was a thing of the past.

Bye bye, Nica - you tempered mistress. You muse.

I'll see you again someday, to be sure.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Granada Deux





















Delicious homemade preserves and biscuits to start our day
before heading to a lagoon. The hotel we stayed in last night is
little more pricey ($40 US per night) but it has AIR CONDITIONING
baby. I am living in the lap of luxury's loins.

Lagoon bound in the afternoon. Sitting and soaking.

This is our last day in Nica.

Buenos Tardes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Granada





















The city seen through a window.

As old and as Eastern-Europa as it gets, Granada is a city
full of interest and hectic streets. Our bus ride here elevated
our stress levels as we had no idea where we were being
dropped off and the bag-throwers were basically heaving our
belongings on to the sidewalks.

Luckily, we found our room and made it to a cigar shop.
Dona Elba. A sweet afternoon smoke has calmed our nerves
while a crazy parrot with staples in its head bawked nearby.

What a wild city.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Take It Easy




















A cold Tona and a book = the secret of my success.

The latest Coupland was a bit of a disappointment. I felt like the ending
dragged on for far too long and that the mini-stories inside of the main
character's own stories were only a delaying of the inevitable.

I need to find some cheap sandals. Sarah's having a hard time finding
bathing suits. Bathing suit. What a weird coupling of words!

Heading for Granada tomorrow. I'm starting to miss ol' boring Ontario.

Monday, March 21, 2011

On Top Of San Juan




















Unrelenting beauty like I've never seen. I think they put the Tonas in a
deep freeze before serving them to you in San Juan because they taste
like 'glory glory hallelu'.

San Juan Del Sur. A sleepy tourist haven - and a welcome change.
We are going to eat breakfast at the Iguana bar tomorrow. Yikes.
The hostel is a spacious and clean $25 US per night room with a
working shower.

A statue of Christ gazes upon us from the hilltop at the ocean break.

Lots of backpackers.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Off The Island





















For the first time since arriving in Ometepe, Sarah and I (with our
friends and hosts Laura and Gary) will be leaving the island to
check out other terrain in and around Nica. I will miss the din of
the air conditioners in the internet cafe. I will miss the Americanos.
I will miss the luxurious quarters we were able to sleep in at night
and arise out of in the morning.

Heading for Playa Gigante and then Sarah and I are off on our
own adventure for a few days.

Catch ya.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Beer By The Buck


























Nicaragua has many perks. One major one is the overall monetary value
of consumer goods. Beer? 1 dollar per bottle. A litre (una litro)? 2 bucks.
Slammin'.

The taste and hoppy flavour that I love so much is not always there but
it does the trick on a dry, hot afternoon or evening.

Time ticks by as the ferries come and go from this enchanted island.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Morning View




















A morning Americano to start the day from a gas powered Gaggia.

Friendly Spanish hellos.

Cool shade and a hot sun.

Mango smoothies.

Hammock time in the afternoon and Douglas Coupland.

La Punta.

Buying litros from the bar next door and bringing them back to
the pad to play cards.

Dogs barking ceaselessly.

Loud engines on bikes and cars; more noise means more coolness.

'Sup' shouted halfway down the street from Rock.

Weird expats with good hearts.

Concepcion's rise.

From here, the day can only darken.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bag-less

We made it to Ometepe - safe and sound. But we have no bags.

Never fly American Airlines. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ometepe and Eggs Benny



























This island has some healing powers, to be sure. I'm not quite sure what
they are and I can't quite pinpoint them - but they are real. A freshwater
lake and two volcanoes within spitting distance is something that the
brain takes a while to adhere to - and our hosts (Laur & Gar) have been
amazing.

Laura makes an incredible Eggs Benny and although I have been off
coffee for some time, I decided to hop back on the wagon for this trip.
They have a gas powered espresso machine that steams and makes
magical coffee smells every morning (using beans that are fire roasted
by friends on the other side of the island) and it has been heavenly.

Everyone should see this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ni-Ha-Raw-Whah




















Ain't that somethin'! One minute, you're careening around Northern
Ontario with a rockin' band from Halifax and less than 20 hours later,
you are smack dab in the middle of a freshwater lake in Central
America. From a snow sheeted North Bay street to a dirty town road
leading to the guts of Moyogalpa.

Even more special than the beauty of this place is the fact that I get
to see a good friend in the process - Laura. Laura and her man Gary
moved to Moyogalpa over a year and a half ago and run a little
hostel/resto in the village core. They have the only cappuccino
machine on the isle - and the best damn food for miles around (if
you ever go, ask for Laura's eggs benny).

This place is pretty dang beautiful. Waking up each morning with
a massive volcano in your vantage point is something to be breathed
in and expectorated metaphysically upon.

We made it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ontario Road Show




























Traveling. Curtains. Lights. Soundboards. Plaid. Jeans. Smokes.

These are the things.

Breakfast. Whiskey. Songs. Rock. Credence. Zeppelin. Stories.

These are the things.

Sprinter. Dashboard. Coffee. Holism. Schedules. Hotels.

These are the things.


Make me aware. Give me what I need.
Everything ends. All skin must bleed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

North Bay Bound




















5 straight days of touring around Northeast and Southwest Ontario with
a Juno-winning musician. How did life ever get to this point?

North Bay was a fitting end to wild and woolly couple of days. Starting
off at the Dakota in Toronto on a cool March night and ending on a
snowy Saturday in North Bay. A family feel began to set in - along
with feelings of annoyance, weird smells and feigning odd behaviour
to get attention while driving in a big white Sprinter. We stopped to
find breakfast on the way back from North Bay - no dice. All we
found was a Kelsey's in Huntsville.

It's amazing how an odd and almost otherworldly experience can
become almost mundane as the days go by. Waking. Eating. Driving.
Setting up. Playing. Eating & drinking. Sleeping. Repeat.

The cycle lulls you into a subconscious state where you sort of morph
willingly from one activity to the next. The schedule becomes god.
Adhere at all costs.

It was a fun and educational trip. I ain't no Pennebaker - but I am a
McKechnie.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

North West and South





















To live a snippet of the life of the main character of Almost Famous (the
enemy) really makes you understand the life of a band and being with
that band. To really love music and to not get sick of hearing the same
songs 5 nights in a row says something of the core of a songwriter. I
went into this wondering if my admiration and respect for Plaskett and
The Emergency would wane - but it didn't. It grew - and grew and grew
(to be Three-like).

If Journalism is really all about objectivity, then I'm not sure if I'll ever
be an amazing journalist because I love certain things and I want that
love and passion to flow through my pen and be portrayed to others. I
think that if you can back up that love, with facts and interesting stories
and relational thought, then it still makes me a good writer. For what is
writing without love?

I learned a lot about the industry from this trip - and the dynamics of a
hard-working band - and some of the hardships involved. I'd like to say
that I became better friends with Marsh and especially Joel - and I
think that I can.

I see a future of doing this more often. I see a future of support and
passion.

I point my compass - and I follow.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Night Stand In The Hammer




















The scene was set. The lights were lit.
Plaskett and Elkas rocked out their bit.
Long time friends playin' Halifax bands
named Local Rabbits and Thrush Hermit, man
That was ages ago - when the wages were low
compared to all the punk, the tempo was slow

Remained friends through many years
A few squabbles but not many tears
Lots of whiskeys and even more beers
They've done the things - they've faced their fears
Great songwriters in their own right
Catch em tomorrow. Catch em tonight.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gettin' Pretty Good At
Barely Gettin' By

Ok.

January and February seemed like the perfect months to get this blog
up and running again but March? March has been a cacaphonic
and catastrophic acid jazz song instrumental of activity.

On the road with Joel and the gang.

For more info, go here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Coffee On The Dashboard

















Sometimes in life, the punches roll and there is no way to block them.
The month of March has been a beast - but a beast of tough love
and rough goodness - like one of those big furry things in Where
The Wild Things Are. Rugged and massive but loving.

Touring with Joel and the gang has been pretty incredible and I'll
chalk it up to one of those experiences of getting deeper into the
things I love and making new friends AND connecting with radically
gifted musicians.

Meaford, Ontario - ain't no trip to Cleveland. A small burg in the
whitewash of this province.

Hold on to your caps, chaps. The lid is about to be blown off.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Down By The Dakota













Tonight was one for the ages. Plaskett. Elkas. Bougie. Petti.

Power-packed rhetoric. Solid-sack rubric.

Joel Plaskett performed a secret set on Pete Elkas' residency night
at the Dakota Tavern. The songs careened in and out the ether as
Joel played some old favourites (Make A Little Noise, Rollin
Rollin Rollin) and some timely new tunes.

Pete Elkas also rocked the joint along with Christine Bougie
(slide player extraordinaire) and Wayne Petti of Cuff The Duke.
The Dakota was rammed with bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Tankhouse flowed (along with every tap in the joint).

Thanks Toronto. I never thought I'd say that.

Monday, March 07, 2011

That's My Fun Day

Today is a day of relaxing. Refreshing. Reviving.

The wheels will start spinning this week in an uncontrollable and slick
manner but right now, it feels good to be in neutral. I have a bit of running
around to do before two major events:

1. Touring with and documenting Joel Plaskett
2. Going to Nicaragua for March Break

Yikes. Just when you think life couldn't be any less eventful, it is literally
full of events. The month of March is jam-packed. Experiential gravy.

Hope to see you on the other side.

Make today a fun day.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Get Up and Go On




















This past weekend, I went back to a place that is very special to me -
and I released some things. I released some anger. I released some hatred.
I released some discontent, worry and woe. I worked in the kitchen of
Camp IAWAH all weekend prepping food for a few groups that were
using the grounds for retreat-type purposes. Saturday morning at 7 am
came very early and a layer of freezing rain lacquered all of the main
walkways around the property. I almost bailed 3 times on my walk to
the kitchen. Once I was there, though, I found an old friend making
bacon on a sizzling grill.

Jim Lane.

Jim is from Newfoundland and now into his 70's. He has been a
mainstay of the Camp for so many years and his oddball sense of humour
coupled with his monstrous work ethic has been an inspiration to many
who have walked the grounds. Jim looked pleased to see me and gave
a bit of a 'oooohhh boooyyy, here's trouble' intro as I walked in.

I forgot how grueling a kitchen shift can be. Over the years, in my
leadership positions at IAWAH, I've always found some solace doing
the odd kitchen shift. It makes me feel real. You work hard, you cut
vegetables for soups, you make bread, you lift heavy boxes, you
investigate a freezer that sucks all of the warmth out of your body -
you earn your keep.

My wife and I had pretty horrible summers at IAWAH in 2008 -
the last time we worked there. There was a lot of garbage that went
on that year and I took a lot of the hit from the fallout of crisis
management. There's no doubt that Jim Lane knew about this - he
knows all.

I had the chance to have a good chat with the new director of
IAWAH. His name is Jeff. We basically buried the hatchet of that
summer and both admitted that we were both put in awful
circumstances - him by boards and higher-ups telling him what
disciplinary actions he should take (as it was his first summer in
2008) and me by receiving the blunt end of that action as a bit of
a scapegoat.

At the end of shift yesterday, I had to drive Jim Lane to the end of
the camp road as it had received a thick layer of snow after a night
of freezing rain and he didn't want to chance driving it. Jim asked
me about my chat with Jeff - even though he had said nothing about
it earlier. I said it went well. Jim said 'That's good, baie. Ya know,
we all make mistakes and wish we had done things differently and
blah blah blah, ya know, but in the end, we get up and we go on.'
I said bye to Jim and he thanked me for working with him over the
weekend. I burned a trail down Westport Road, and then on to 38,
crossing over Harrowsmith to Yarker on Wilton Road, and hit
the 401 to a picturesque pink/blue sky that occupied all of my range
of vision. I took the above picture yesterday.

We get up and we go on.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

In The Arms Of Acceptance

I really wish I didn't give a fuck about what people thought of me. I really wish that.

Because then I'd have an excuse. Then I'd be able to shut people out, dwell in anger
and become a hermit.

But that's not me. And I will always be the first one to say 'I'm sorry' even when I
don't mean it just to get the forgiveness ball rolling. I'm a doormat.

I'm at a place of figuring this weekend - a place of remembrance. A place of
yearning and learning.

I love it when people close to me dish out insults but can't take them back.

I love the double standard of people who isolate themselves, say whatever the
fuck they want, and then go back into hiding.

It must be nice.

It really must be nice.

The road is slippery. Check your tires. Bring carpet strips.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Lords And Ladies

In this age of distinction and fine revelry, I tip my hat to the masses.
For they are the ones who make me right. They are the ones who I
need to please in order to rise to the highest heights of status and charm.

By the ice swans and punch bowls, I have found my calling. A calling
of elegance. I care deeply for your admiration, friend - but it is lost in
ill-placed anger and milquetoast speech. I, in my finest suit, outlook you.
I outdress you. I outthink you. You are a child and I am a an adult with
razor sharp senses and wits. I will devour you. I will eat you whole.
With every smile, my hate grows.

But it's all a big facade. I've had too much punch, now, and I fear the
help may have poured moonshine from the still straight into the crystal
chalice and my head is spinning. My suit is unbuttoned. My gut stuck
out and heaving. My brow sweaty.

And all I want is your approval. I'm sorry.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Business With The Maker

So.

I believe in this God guy. Many might call me neurotic or extremely
fantastical but I do believe - because I've experienced Him.

But I've been on a dry run for a while. I also don't like church (in the
modern North American representation - maybe in China, I'd feel
differently) so I don't get into the venues that are 'supposedly'
representative of Him very often.

All I have are my book and my walks and talks - with the Maker.

There is one specific place where I've heard His voice loud and clear
and cutting to the point where my bones have been rattled. I am
going there this weekend to get some time in - some meditative
moments.

My soul is in need of some restoration.

He restores my soul.

May my ears open.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

From The Morning


This song has always conjured up an extreme sentimentalism whenever I've
given it a spin. It's almost timeless in its essence and strummy playability.
Nick Drake was a sad story of a human. A brilliant musical mind whose time
came far too soon - much like many of his predecessors. Give it a spin while
you read.

Time is starting to fly forward in a bird-like beauty, but the flapping of
wings comes with a sharp tenderness when we look back. We will never be 16
again and in love for the first time in a way that stings our stomachs. We
will always come back to the haunts we love, after not having been around
for a while, and exclaim about the smallness of it all.

In reality, though, those special places have not shrunk - we have grown.

A day once dawned, and it was beautiful
A day once dawned from the ground
Then the night she fell
And the air was beautiful
The night she fell all around.

So look see the days

The endless coloured ways
And go play the game that you learned
From the morning.

And now we rise

And we are everywhere
And now we rise from the ground
And see she flies
And she is everywhere
See she flies all around

So look see the sights

The endless summer nights
And go play the game that you leared
From the morning.




Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Lean On In

The time has come. I'm getting into the game and off the whiny sidelines.
I'm going where others told me I could never go. I'm doing the things
that most dream about.

I'm doing the work.

I have a secret to tell you. I'm not sure what I'm doing - but you know
what? I'm out there. I'm doing it. I'm living it.

I'm sure I'll figure it out.

On Tuesday March 8th, I'm heading off on a bit of a tour with Joel
Plaskett to do some filming, writing and documenting of his tour. From
a writing standpoint, it's a great opportunity (especially in the field of
music journalism) and a great project to undertake. What the end product
will look like - who knows. It's about the process.

It's about getting there.

It's about taking the step.

Never forget.

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