The Thaw Before The Spring
From January to September, the light lasts a little longer each day.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Yesterday & Today
Some days, things work out.
Yesterday, after a few crazy debacles, Sarah and I managed to make
it to Toronto Island to see the 'big rock' show. I'll write in more
detail about this in a few days when I put up a spread on Thick
Specs. It will be epic. Just you wait. For me, it was a
pretty massive thrill seeing Pavement (who have rocked in my
headphones for decades but never on a live stage until yesterday) -
I even got to see the band blow up at each other a few times when
Malkmus started whining about something and Spiral Stairs gave
him a 'don't be a baby' look. Priceless.
The jewel of the day, though, was BSS. They rocked in a way that only
they can and there is something comforting about seeing a band you
like live. It's almost like visiting old friends. The sun set on a day
when thunderstorms were expected to rain down in bounty and
it seemed the tides were reversed. We heard 'Shady Lane' being
played as we boarded the ferry to avoid the massive hoards of
crowds, ushering us off into the luminous cityscape of Toronto
via the cool waters of Lake Ontario.
Today, though, I'm in a funk. Yeah, I hit the ultimate hard - but
there is something down deep I must get to and I'm delaying it.
I'm unsure. I'm uncertain. I'm nervous. I need re-assurance that
I'm doing the 'right' thing when in reality no one knows what the
'right' thing is. I wish there could be an easier way.
I really do.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Winds Of Change
In 1993, I played a gig in the basement rock venue in Ottawa which at that
time was called 'The Pit' (I believe it was located beneath the old On Tap).
I was in a band called Natural Bridge with my friends Jeff, Mark, Brian
and Jason. We played mostly AC/DC covers with a few originals thrown
in. The weird thing, though, was that this was mostly a folksy venue as
the act before us (which featured my old school friend named April)
was an acoustic duo. They played a song called 'Winds Of Change'. I don't
remember the tune - mostly just the title. It has always stuck with me.
During our set, Jeff tried to be funny and pandered to the folk audience
saying 'this next song is an Arlo Guthrie tune'. A few cheers rang out from
the back and Jeff turned red in the face and started rocking the lead
riff to Jailbreak by AC/DC.
Right now, the winds of change are blowing for me. Things just may hit
the wall in a little while, in many ways, but I can't speak directly about
In time, it will all become clear. I had a great weekend hanging with my
friends Aaron, Matt, Mitch and Nic. We were celebrating Aaron's voyage
into marriage (which happens later this summer) by drinking at the
Mill St pub in Toronto (in the very cool distillery district), eating
a Michael Scott-sized plastic tub of cheezies, playing super mario kart
for the Wii, and eating massive steaks and uber-long double smoked
sausages. I may die soon...but I'll be happy.
The weekend was capped with a brutal ultimate game last night wherein
we were destroyed completely and I am left with aches and soreness
from dry-heave sprints. Hopefully, I will get some tennis in today.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Ultimate Frisbee and Gentlemen Broncos
It's been a full day.
Played some ultimate frisbee on the Cobourg fields and worked
up a good sweat. I'm in my comfy leather chair, currently, watching
a little Jared Hess piece called 'Gentlemen Broncos'. I saw the
previews for this film for a long time and I think it was barely
released in Canada. It's one of the weirdest films I've EVER seen.
It's slow. It's weird. The characters are like nothing you've ever
seen. You're sort of in amazement, while watching, because it seems
like something from the dream of an acid addict.
Regardless, though - I'm into it. Quite odd. Quite head-shaky.
These summer nights are getting a little constricting.
I need to write some more songs.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
On sunday, Sarah took off for a few days for OFSAA with the
rugby team to Sarnia. I took this opportunity for a little something
my friend Jason Talsness referred to as 'a man-cation'. That's
exactly what it was. I have a bearded friend named Taylor who
likes to farm organically, play guitar and hitchhike all over Ontario.
I've known Taylor since he was a young, spaced out lad who strolled
the fields of Iawah with a beachtowel around his neck. I also have
friend named Shane. Shane has an older sister (who is closer to
my age) who used to work with me at Iawah and I always knew
Shane as a smiley-faced, goofy and quiet-but-funny kid from around
the way. Shane enjoys video games, hockey, Tim Hortons, frisbee
(or 'friz' as he calls it) and being generally conservative/republican
in all things.
Shane and Taylor have been friends for a long time - and
it's one of the oddest friendships I have ever seen - but it has stood
the test of time. I consider myself blessed to know them both and
to have known them better over the past few years.
On sunday, Taylor was attending a socialism conference in
downtown Toronto and decided to take the GO to Whitby so I could
swing over, pick him up and head to Kingston to visit Shane.
As I took the thickson road exit in Whitby on a steamy sunday
evening to pick up Taylor, my phone buzzed and so I pulled off to
answer it - it was Taylor. Here's how the conversation went:
T: Hey Matt-
M: Hey man, you gettin' off the train?
T: Yeah so...(sounding nervous)...the doors wouldn't open...and so
it looks like I'm going to Oshawa.
M: (laughs) Weird. Ok. It's only three k's away so I'll see ya there
in a few.
T: Oh okay (relieved) - it's not out of your way?
M: Dude (confused) the Oshawa stop is further east - closer to
Kingston. It's completely ON the way.
T: OOhhh. Okay. Cool.
After collecting an aloof Taylor (who walked right past my honking
car and me screaming 'Taylor! Hey Taylor!'), I went inside and found
him coming out of the bathrooms with his backpack. We made some
small talk and headed back down the 401 so I could make my first
ultimate frisbee game in Cobourg. We got to the field with exactly
1 minute to spare as I met my brother in law (Peter), Ian Sheffield
and a few other people I did not know at all to run around like
headless chickens for two 40 minute halves with a 10 minute
breather in the middle. The game was arduous, sweaty and a lot
of work for a big, old lad like me but it was fun in the end.
Buckaroo and his lady friend Christina showed up to cheer us on.
After the game, Taylor and I booted out of dodge as the sun set on
the Northumberland plains - we were K-town bound. After a quick
bite at Wendy's in Belleville, we were in K-town by 1030 and met
Shane at his humble abode for some late night Zombies (a game
wherein you are basically trying to kill as many Nazi Zombies as
you can while boarding up windows and keeping them out of an
old abandoned building). Considering the fact that Taylor is
basically a pacifist, he can sure kill zombies like a motherfucker.
Afterwards, we decided to grab a late night drink (after we were
shooed out of Raxx for an 11 pm last call) and hit up one of my
new favourite haunts in Kingston - The Mansion. Not only did
they have many excellent brews on tap (including my current
addiction - Mill St Tankhouse) but they had $7 meals that we
ordered PAST midnight. Shane got a chicken stirfry and I had
an amazing daily curry. As if the evening couldn't get any better,
the bartender switched the channel on the big screen from some
minor league sports game to Spike's Star Wars marathon.
Empire Strikes Back was 2/3 over and Luke was getting ready
to get de-handed. The bartender shouted over to us and a few
other guys in the room 'You guys don't mind if I put this on?'
which basically stirred up a nerdy cheer from everyone.
'Good!' he said smiling 'Because Jedi is comin' up next!'
After a deep but insanely hot sleep (in the apartment that
Taylor and I swear has secret heating vents placed
throughout), we grabbed some breakfast at Tim's after a
sleep-in and decided to throw the frisbee around for most
of the day. We developed a little game that involved a push-up
penalty for either a bad throw or a bad catch - so if the throw
was bad, the thrower had to drop and do 2 push-ups and
if the catch was bad, the catcher had to do the same. At times,
both the thrower and catcher were doing push-ups. My arms
are still sore.
In the evening, Shane's fiance Katie and a few other friends
(Amber and Liz) collected for a night of imbibing and hitting
the downtown dance circuit (something that Taylor hates with
a passion but also secretly loves in the same breath). After a
few beverages were consumed, we reluctantly hit Stages for
a memorable and safe evening.
Later on, Zombies and Halo were played. Shane giggled.
After another very hot sleep (which had my neck swimming
in sweat when I awoke), we hit up the land of Tim's once again
by way of the traintracks. Unfortunately, it had rained the
night before and the bushes that you have to machete through
to hit the tracks were sopping wet (thus, in turn, making us
sop with wetness as well). After being unsure of what we wanted
to do, we decided to take a little trip to a place that was special
for all of us but distant at the same time - Camp IAWAH. It
is the actually the same place that united the three of us back
in the day - and so we decided to trek up hwy 38 for
about 40 minutes and take a stroll around the 'wah. We saw
some old faces (Jo Pops, Matt Starra, A Broad, Linds, Friesen,
Lapp, Pete, Rose, Ben GRESIK!) and some new additions - but all
in all, it was a solid but short trip. Like all classic Iawah moments,
we chatted whilst throwing around a frisbee on the tilebed (a
field that once contained a sewage system beneath it in the most
central area of the camp property) and breathing in the fresh
country air under a sunburst, picturesque blue fluff-cloud
sky. We dipped our feet into Wolfe Lake and commented on the
clarity of the waters.
We left after a hearty roast beef dinner and felt like kings.
Back in K town, we played more Zombies and met up with Liz,
A-Mart and Davey Olive. Aaron, Taylor, Shane and myself grabbed
a few imports from a local pub and made fun of a middle-aged Jays
fan who talked really loud on his ridiculous looking bluetooth
with a group of other middle-aged Jays fans.
Last night was pretty low key as we were all tired from a few
nights of silliness, dancing, debauchery, disc-chucking and
Today, Taylor and I said our goodbyes to Shaner (whose
apartment we always manage to mess up severely) and hit the
401 as Taylor had planned to head up to an organic farm in
Marlbank, Ontario and I offered to drop him off close to the
Flying J in Napanee. We said our goodbyes and as I did a u-
turn to get back on the highway, a farm truck had already
stopped to pick Taylor up who only had his 'Marlbank' sign
up for a matter of seconds after I dropped him off.
Off into the distance, we all go.
As the rain falls steadily and softly here in Port Hope, I'm
reminded of the places and friends that make our lives
colourful snapshots in the album of existence.