October 30, 2009

A Musical Week


It's been a fun few days. Rehearsals, gigs, concerts and parties. A little too much beer.

Okay, a LOT too much beer. I spent a good chunk of today cradling my head in my hands.

But hangovers aside, it's been great. Here are some photos of the festivities!

The first one was taken at Raw Sugar's anniversary party. When my BH and I arrived, a few people were in costume, so I happily put on my wrestling outfit. Mask included. Then all the costumed people left and I looked like a nut job, but that's cool. (I am a bit of a nut job)

This is East of Gatineau, a fabulous bluegrass band who shared the bill with me Thursday night.

Brian and I playing our set. I like how my head just disappears into the background.

Some of the instruments from rehearsal.

Julie Doiron!

Herman Dune!

And that's a wrap. More soon, with actual pictures of my costume.

October 28, 2009



My Halloween costume is almost done. I've got tights, short shorts, a suitable t-shirt, shoes, and a wresting mask. I'm finalizing a cape. Don't worry... There will be pictures when it's all ready.

I had a rehearsal with my cousin last night. I was so tired and so irritable when I arrived, but Brian has a knack for making me chill right out. He also fed me ice cream, which probably helped me cheer up. I'm lactose intolerant, but last night I didn't seem to care (I cared as soon as I left his house though, because eating ice cream when you can't digest lactose is kinda dumb. My bad.)

We played my new song, Stuck in Lowertown, several times over. It seems destined to be eery sounding no matter how I play it. I think we've settled on banjo, guitar and two vocals. I tried to switch up the tempo and key, but it still sounds haunted and depressing. I quite enjoy haunted and depressing songs, so that all good. We'll probably be recording it this week - if I can figure out how to post music on this here blog, maybe y'all can hear it too!

I mentioned last week that I wanted to slow down the gigging as winter arrives, but of course, that's when the gig offers started pouring in. Now I have to decide what I want to do about it.

Tomorrow night is the gig at the Elmdale Tavern, 9pm sharp. Hope to see some of you bloggy folk there!

I stayed up far too late last night, but it was worth it. I was standing right in front of the stage at Babylon, watching Julie Doiron and Herman Dune play their sets. What a great lineup.

It was a quirky evening. My BH and I bought a Herman Dune mug, because I think it will make those cups of tea even more enjoyable. We had friends to hang out with, and we didn't get kicked out by the management, so that's an improvement from our past experiences at that venue......

Anyway, it got me thinking about my life. It's a good one - I know that. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many good people. But how do I measure my life? How do I decide that I am doing well, and by what standards? Milan's post reminded me how differently everyone weighs their successes and failures. When I think about it, many of the people I know use wildly different ways to measure out their lives. Here are some examples off the top of my head:

Carbon footprint: I have a few friends who measure just about everything they do by trying to calculate how harmful it is on the environment. Some of them do extremely well, integrating their lifestyle with the pressures of a materialistic society, and some of them struggle to find a reasonable balance.

Money: Many people I know spend all their time trying to accumulate more money. A lot of these people are miserable, but don't tell them that - they will point to their bank accounts to prove you otherwise. It's kind of depressing.

Sex: Some people tie their life's worth to the number of people they date. This can range from perfectly happy and stable adults, to people with very low self esteem, to people who really don't want to commit to anyone. Some of them are just lost.

Lifestyle: I have some friends who pay very close attention to how their lifestyle matches up with those around them. House, car, babies... All achieved because, y'know, isn't that what you're supposed to do? Sometimes they are genuinely happy, and sometimes you can tell that they're wondering what the hell they are doing.

Social life: We probably all place some weight on our friends, our social activities, our life outside the home. Some people are extremely gifted in this area, and don't seem to be drained by the constant demands of having a huge social network. Some people, like me, push it too hard and then hibernate for months at a time.

Work: I know a few people who have very good jobs... And that's it. Life is about their position in the hierarchy of the workplace. Everything is measured according to the possibility of promotion.

Art: There are a lot of artists in my family. Some do it casually, but some are completely engrossed in their art. Usually they maintain a good balance, but I do know of some examples where the art came before family, friends, and grocery bills.

Health: Understandably, I think people who have had major health scares place this much higher than society at large. It's easy to forget about your health until it fails you. I am starting to see this more in my own life, because I know I won't be young and spunky forever.

So the question is.... How do I measure my life?

I think my values continue to change and shift as I age. Maybe my answer to this question in a year's time will be different. But right now, this is it:

I'm starting to value quality over quantity.

Quality in friends - I know a lot of people, but I'm more interested in the people I keep close, and purging myself of bad influences. I've got less and less patience for assholes, and I've noticed lately that I trust very few people. This seems weird to me, but it's true. Quality in home life - I have an amazing partner, a wonderful dog, a great family. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything. My life would be very empty if I didn't have them around. I also try to find balance in my impact on the outside world, but this is tough to manage: I try to keep a diet that is less harmful than most, I travel by plane every few years, I don't own a car, I walk to work, I buy locally whenever I can... But my well-being and happiness still dictate to what extent I follow these things. There are some things I won't give up, like travel, buying books, imported wine, and some foods. I also don't respond well to preaching - I tend to tell people to go fuck themselves if they get all holier-than-thou on me. As for my art, this is an area where I feel like I'm failing. I simply haven't made space for musical growth the way I would like to. This will be a work in progress, I suppose - and hey, I'm actually recording some new songs in the next couple of weeks! As for money, work and lifestyle, I strive to be debt free and stable. I will likely never be rich. That's okay with me.

How do you judge your own life's success? How do you know if you're doing okay? Are there areas you'd like to work on? Tell me all about it. I'm listening.

October 26, 2009

A Busy One

This weekend was a busy one. List after list of errands to run, a night of sexy readings and music at Venus Envy, a whole lot of people on the Hill for a climate change rally, and lots of Bones.

A great weekend, actually. My mood was a bit volatile for parts of it, but I am managing it better now. I'm going to try shutting down instead of erupting. I'm really more of an erupter, but this time I'd just rather be quiet. Jury's out on how that will work.

I'm amazed, and a little scared, that October is drawing to a close. It's okay; it's been a good month, but man, did it ever fly.

While I realize that Halloween hasn't even arrived yet, I've got a confession: I'm planning for Christmas / Hannukah. In fact, I've got over half my gifts bought. NO, REALLY.

Here's my thinking: As this year progresses, I will become more and more broke. I'd rather stockpile Christmas gifts now and leave December for family, friends and baking. I'm not over-spending on anyone, but I am trying to pick things that are thoughtful and unique. We'll see if I manage it.

Meanwhile, my BH and I are going to a concert tonight that promises to kick so much ass, I can't even explain it. I'm a little behind on the concert scene lately, so I only found out about the show a few days ago. I read the lineup, got out my credit card, and bought the tickets within three minutes.

Oh yeah, baby.

October 25, 2009

True Story


I was walking Morty this morning, and we stopped to chat with a man who lives around the corner from me. He seemed to really like Morty.

Him: Isn't he lovely!
Me: Yes indeed.
Him: What a sweet face.
Me: I agree!
Him: Did he take on your personality traits? They say that happens you know.
Me: Well, we are both pretty stubborn.... And I'm sure we've got some other similarities too!
(we both laugh)
(at this point, Morty jumps up at the guy, and shoves his face in the man's crotch)
Him: Ummmmmmm.
Me: Uhhhhhhhh... I swear I have no idea where he learned that.
I started the weekend off in a terrible mood, but I feel great this morning. The weather is amazing! My BH and I rented some of the fourth season of Bones, so we've got a fun day ahead of us. Hope you all have a lovely weekend.
To those of you not on my Facebook.... Come on out to the Elmdale this Thursday to see my cousin and I play some tunes!

October 23, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

Today I passed the War Museum and saw the folks on strike doing the dance from Thriller. It made me want to hug them all. Here's hoping for a resolution in their favour, sooner rather than later. It's getting cold out there.

I've been having some pretty bad hip pain lately, so I decided to get some new orthodics in case my crappy feet are aggravating things. I saw a new chiropodist, and dude, was she ever neat. She told me that the orthodics I've been using for the last couple of years are not really right for my feet, which made me see red for a minute or two. I know people make mistakes, but my experience getting my last pair of orthodics was so stupid that I'm even more annoyed with the defective final product (especially considering the sheer cost of the things, and the fact that due to an insurance blip, I wasn't covered).

At any rate. I'll have some new orthodics in December and we'll see if the throbbing pain goes away. Here's hoping.

My gig at the Elmdale is in a week, and I have neglected to do any real promotion. Today's task will be to make a Facebook event and maybe send out a little e-mail about the show. If the plan is to slow down gigging this winter, I'd better make my current gigs especially fun.

It looks like my BH won't have final exams in April. You know what that means? We might be able to make it to Japan during the cherry blossom season after all!!! I'm collecting airline sites like crazy to figure out what the damage will be. Please send along your fave cheapo travel pages if you've got them!

Hoooo boy, do I ever get sentimental watching Before Sunrise. Holy mother.

That and Lost in Translation are the films I used to watch obsessively with The Colombian - they were pretty much the only two films we agreed on. Otherwise, he liked movies about war, and I liked foreign comedies. It's really a wonder we became such close friends when we spent most of our time arguing and angrily waving history textbooks around to make our respective points.


I still get all nostalgic every time I watch either of those films. Then, without fail, I fire him off a quick e-mail that says something to the extent of, "COULD YOU PLEASE MOVE BACK HOME NOW?? You've been away forever."

Just one of the perks you get when people move away, I guess. Nostalgic drivel.

Wow! This post sounds like such a downer. What I really came here to say is that I'm tickled pink. I've finished another song! I kept humming the little ditty I made up for the Morty video, so now it's totally rewritten, transposed, slapped onto a guitar, and singable. I'm so excited. After struggling with writer's block for so long, years really, every song feels like a huge victory.

It's called Stuck in Lowertown. I actually adore Ottawa's Lowertown neighbourhood, so I don't particularly understand why I chose that title, but hey. The words stuck. I liked them. That's reason enough.

So. Any sentimental movies you'd like to share so I don't feel like such a shmuck?

October 19, 2009

The Breakdown


Well folks, here it is. Some of my highlights from the OCFF conference.

My favourite band of the night, The Gertrudes! There are several banjos in there, and I counted four accordions at one point. Amazing. Wonderful. And packed into a tiny hotel room. At one point I heard someone say, "Now I know what a salmon feels like."

The charming Peter Katz, singing with Emma-Lee. Right after this song finished I tried to clap while also holding a styrofoam cup full of wine. Looking smooth FAIL. Lucky for me, nobody noticed the mess, and my dress was purple anyway. Wardrobe WIN.

Annabelle Chvostek, being awesome.

Trevor Alguire with my buddy Thom. I stand at about Trevor's hip height, but we still manage to chat just fine.

Trevor singing his lovely songs.

Karyn Ellis! I love her. She's coming to Raw Sugar in November, people! Let's go!

Another huge highlight for me.... The United Steelworkers of Montreal. Totally nuts... Just the way I like 'em.

The crowd at Sultans of String.

A blurry Tara Holloway. She's got a voice like a tiger! Amazing!

The wonderful Craig Cardiff. He did a very clever version of a Dan Bern song where he inserted the line, "There's a new Walmart in town, and it's pretty much the greatest thing." I laughed because, y'know... He's a funny dude.

C'est tout, babies. It is now 7pm and I'm going to bed. Time to catch up on some sleep.

Well darlings, the conference was great. I am wiped. WIPED. My body doesn't respond well to 4am bed time, but again. It was worth it.

I have so many pictures to share and so many great bands to talk about. I'll try and upload them tonight so you can get down with the funky music.

As for the aftermath... Well.... My throat is sore, and I've lost my beloved capo.* Not a bad haul, overall. HOWEVER.

That is the fifth capo I've lost since I started using, uh, expensive capos. They are $30 each. With tax, I've thrown away about $200 on clumsiness. Sad. Ironically, I had a leatherworker friend make me a custom guitar strap with a capo holder built in for just this situation.

I still lost the fucking thing.

Most unfortunately, I only noticed my capo was missing at 2:30am in the middle of a set. I had finished all my open songs, looked around, and realized that I was screwed. Luckily, when your audience is drunk, it's easy to pretend that you know what you are doing when your gear craps out.

I met one of my favourite songwriters this weekend, too. Turns out he's actually very funny. I'll tell you about my dorky conversation with him in the next post. I think I used to be a lot smoother when I met people I was crazy about. Those days are gone. It's like someone turned up my dork factor to maximum.

More later, but for now, I have to make sure I don't fall asleep in some random place before the day is done.

*A capo is a little thingy you put on your stringed instrument to change the key. It's very useful, and about 80% of my songs involve capo usage.

October 16, 2009


So many things to say.

First, OCFF is this weekend. I'm playing twice, both tonight at completely ungodly hours in the morning. When I know I'm going to be low on sleep, I get this deep feeling of dread in my stomach. I'm a bit nuts when I haven't slept. Then I just dive in and everything is fine - when you're surrounded by so many great musicians, a little sleep is an easy trade. That being said, I will probably sleep until noon tomorrow.

In other news, I have joined a choir. A church choir, no less. Background story!

When I was a kid, choir was a huge part of my life. I rehearsed twice a week, sometimes more, depending on how many groups I was in. This continued throughout my teenage years when I studied music at my arts high school.

But when high school was done? No choir. No classical music at all, actually. I played in bands, and that was the extent of my musical activities. I've been missing choir like crazy these past few years. Last week, I looked up different choirs in the city to see if any of them peaked my interest. The best ones all have scary-looking auditions, which makes sense, but not something I want to subject myself to at this point. I decided to leave my choir yearnings on the back burner until next year.

Then the universe handed me a big present. My high school music teacher sent a mass e-mail asking if anyone would like to join his church choir. They are singing all seven movements of this piece for their Christmas concert, and they need some reinforcements. I wrote back expressing my interest, and he called me back about a minute after I pressed send. He and I always got along swimmingly, and we chatted for ages before we started talking about the actual choir.

Last night was the rehearsal, and dude, it's SO COOL and also SO WEIRD to be in choir again. This time it's a little different, because I am the youngest person there by about, oh, forty years. Okay, maybe twenty. No, maybe forty. Also, as I mentioned, my high school music teacher is running the choir, so I feel like I've been sucked into a time vacuum and spat out when I was about sixteen. He hasn't changed at all! His erratic hand movements, his goofy falsetto, his pencil throwing, his bag of grapes.....

There was one other girl at rehearsal who I went to school with, and halfway through the practice, we both turned to each other at the same time and said, "SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE."

Anyway. I'll be in this choir until Christmas, and then I may join my high school alumni choir in January. I've got to say... I've only got one shaky rehearsal under my belt, but it is so nice to be surrounded by choral harmonies again. Like a big, warm blanket. So worth it.

On an unrelated note... I think I should hibernate this winter (besides choir practice, obvs). I'm feeling a little over extended with my gigging. For whatever reason, having regular gigs seemed easier when I had classes and a few part time jobs. I don't know why I find it so much harder now that I work full time. Technically, it should be easier, because my schedule is more predictable. But it's not, and at this point, it would be better if I took on fewer gigs so that I can spend my spare time writing and learning new things. Nothing sucks worse than a stale song.

I'll still be gigging... I'll just be a little pickier about when shows I take on. My fabulous cousin Brian has offered me full use of his home studio, so I may even get a bit of recording done. YES PLEASE.

October 13, 2009

Real Thanks

Something lovely happened over the weekend. Well, something other than the happy combination of eating, drinking and family. That is also lovely.

My BH and I went to visit the house where we used to live. Our cousins live there now - we just got to hang out in the house while they were out of the country for a few years. I digress.

I have a lot of great cousins. Is it possible to have bad cousins? I suppose so.... But I've always been spoiled with choice. I have eleventy million cousins, all of whom I like.

We walked in the door and greeted my cousin's wife. The phone rang and someone asked for her husband. "He can't come to the phone right now," she said. "He's meditating."

Like I said: great cousins.

Anyhow. I was chatting with said cousin when he finished meditating. He asked how I was, and I sort of blathered on about my stressers, my plans, how I was stressed about my plans, how sometimes things are stressful.... I said "I'll probably need to wait at least four years to get [my plans] started."

And here comes the lovely part.

He said, "Four years seems like a long time. Why don't you just start sooner?"

He took my shocked silence as a sign to elaborate.

"For example, you could just [do this clever thing] and [do this clever thing] and have all your bases covered. And then you can get on with life."

You know what? He was right. I CAN do those things. A lot of my dreams are projected into the future, to commence at some unknown time, if I get a lot of other stuff done first. But waiting endlessly to start living your dreams can, for lack of a better explanation, suck a lot. You feel like you're in a holding pattern. You wonder if you'll ever get to live your dreams at all. You lose purpose.

My cousin has led an extraordinary life, largely due to his attitude. He's a "yes" kind of person. He dreams big, and then follows through. He is calm, but driven too.

It was nice of him to nudge me along. I'm pleased to report that my dreams are well within reach, and in the name of seasonal appropriateness, I'm giving some serious thanks.

First thing's first: it was hailing today. I was in the Glebe running errands, and then ice pellets fell from the sky. ICE PELLETS! Did any of you see it? I even have photographic evidence!

I was so surprised that I barely got my camera out in time.

How is your Thanksgiving weekend going, Canadian folks? Mine is going swimmingly. Last night, we had dinner with my parents, my Bubbi and my Uncle Keven (biologically not an uncle, but family nonetheless). We perused my mom's Joy of Cooking from 1973, which included recipies and instructions for cooking squirrel, beaver, woodchuck, peccary and wild boar. Please note the nasty pictures on how to skin all these animals.

Amazing, and maybe a little bit creepy.
Morty parked his fine ass right next to my Bubbi, because she is the only family member who feeds him at the table. He is her great-grandog, after all.
Note his affection:

Oh, Morty. You are shameless.

My parents backyard was beautiful, especially their crabapple tree.

Morty was excited to play in a backyard, since we don't have one at the apartment. He licked some grass to show his approval. He's pretty much hilarious no matter what he does.

We admired the apples.

Morty devoured a stick.

And chased my BH around (can't say I blame him).

Morty eventually found an apple of his very own. We advised everyone to let him have it. He had that look in his eye...
"Don't touch my apple, bitches."

Oh! Morty's bum! How did that get in there?

Wishing y'all a happy Thanksgiving!

October 9, 2009

I'm Out


Even though I had that disastrous gig not long ago, things have actually been going pretty well on the music front. For one thing, my music web site ran out of CDs!

(Granted, it took three years of pretty infrequent sales, those are details I'll gloss over for the moment. It's still exciting.)

Right now, I'm putting together a little package of albums for my distribution company so they can keep mailing them out to the kind folks who order. I still don't know what my iTunes sales were like following the radio broadcast, but eventually I'll get to take a peek. I'm hoping it will be enough to let me take my BH out on a hot date, which is my motivation for a surprising number of things. I'm also squirreling away funds to cover Christmas expenses, which isn't really a hot date, but still worthy.

My gig at the Elmdale is coming up soon too: October 29. Mark it down, folks! I'm playing first, which is good for you (early night, should you choose) and good for me (post-set drinking). Maybe I'll take the next day off work. That would be wise, no?

There are so many holidays coming up. Thanksgiving totally caught me off guard, but it will be fun because (I'm hoping) there will be pumpkin pie at one or all the meals. Halloween is always fun, but this year will be especially good... My Venus Envy gals are throwing together another Certain Sort that night! And Christmas / Hannukah.... Well.... I know it's too early to plan it in detail, but I do love those holidays.

Something should really be done about the vast expanse that happens after Christmas. It's like a fun vacuum. Valentine's Day is hardly enough to bridge the gap. Maybe a national Bulldog Appreciation Day is in order? Who am I kidding. I do that ALL THE TIME.

Okay, I've got some stellar Morty pics coming your way soon... Happy long weekend to the lot of ya.

October 7, 2009

New Obsession

My BH and I have a new obsession. Well, it's not so new for me, but it's way more exciting now that he's into it as well. Bento boxes!

Bentos are Japanese-style lunches, usually packed into containers that have dividers or different sections for your food. I grew up with a fairly typical lunch box meal at school, and while it does the trick, packing a bento has more benefits than I can count.

1. Portion control. Bento boxes are not usually that huge, so the chances of totally overdoing it are lower.

2. Packing diverse, healthy foods. Bentos seem especially well-suited to a little bit of starch or protein with a lot of fruit and veggie. I can easily eat bread with bread and a side of bread when unchecked, so it's good to have some encouragement to branch out a bit.

3. Ease. Bentos are designed to be eaten at room temperature, so packing it up (when you have the right supplies) can be pretty speedy and mess-free.

4. Compact. I've gone from having three or four bags or containers to having one bento box. It's lighter, easier and smaller to carry to work or school.

I could go on, but learning about bentos has already inspired me to make better lunches. I'm saving a lot more money too, because I'm actually excited to eat my lunch and not tempted to go buy something elsewhere. Plus, I got all my bento supplies in Ottawa's Chinatown! It's great to have the basics nearby. I'll get the fancy stuff when I'm in Japan next spring.

Here are some of my favourite bento blogs, in case you want to have a peek:

Vegan Bento Pool (just pictures, but total eye candy)

Not Exactly Bento

Bento Lunchbox

Boston Bento

LJ Bento Lunches

Just Bento


And now for something completely different! It was my old roomie's birthday yesterday, and her beau threw her a surprise party in the Legion. It's been a long time since I've been to a surprise party, and it was just as fun as I remembered. Some pictures for you!

Sparklers! Thankfully, we didn't set the streamers on fire.

Are they pretty or what?

Then we played a game that involved passing a balloon from one person to the next, using only your neck or knees. It got obscene pretty quickly. My kind of game.

And great tunage. Who knew the Legion could be so much fun? (I know... It's possible that my friends bring the fun with them wherever they go, but still.)

That's all for now folks....

October 5, 2009

Tap Tap

The past two days reminded me why I need to get better sleep during the week. The weekend arrives, and I feel so drained that I pretty much want to nap the hours away. I fell asleep three times yesterday in completely random places! Not cool at all.

I still got some fun things done, exhaustion aside. There were two birthday parties, both of which allowed me to catch up with some friends and consume tasty snacks. One party featured the ever-popular unexpected queer dancing (I've had Prince in my head ever since), while the other featured unexpected adorable baby cheeks.*

I also cleaned parts of the house, which is no small feat when you're *this close* to passing out on the couch. I've officially put away my summer clothes and I've taken out the Rubbermaid of hats and scarves. My BH and I did a grocery shopping at the Superstore, which is madness at any time, but especially on a weekend. Oh well. We're fully stocked up on black beans and white vinegar, at least. What more does a person need? (plenty more, but I like those two things)

Lately I've been fiddling with our finances, since this is the last year (I HOPE) that we'll be splitting one salary into a billion different directions. Basically I'm going to spend the next eight or nine months just trying to make things work: paying bills, paying debts, putting aside for a trip to Japan. Then I'll reevaluate and retool again. This is about the only time I actually enjoy doing math.

I've also tried to encourage myself to stay organized by overhauling my system of keeping lists and notebooks. I may have mentioned that I am joined at the hip to my notebook. It's a hard cover, lined, ring-bound book and I keep track of my life in it. Recently, I decided that I could change my unmovable system, which I've been using in some form since high school. I needed the rings and hard cover when I was in university or shuffling between part-time jobs - this made sure the book didn't bend when I threw it in my bag, as well as letting me open the book all the way around for ultimate list access.

Now that I have a grown up, full-time job (and have for several years), I think I can be a bit more flexible. Gone are the days or morning class, afternoon shift, evening shift, homework until 3am. Now I'm using a black, lined Moleskine for my lists, and a bright green Moleskine for my finances. It even sounds grown up. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised at how well it works. I was just so attached to my ringed babies, I suppose...

So... Are you all asleep? *tap tap*

What can I say? I find notebooks almost as exciting as organizational shelving. Y'all are just lucky that I don't have any more room for shelving in my apartment, or you'd probably all be comatose by now.

*I was hoping to put up a picture of said queer dancing, but most of the pictures feature my boobs or somebody's fine booty. My camera has a mind of its own! Totally not my doing! Promise!

October 2, 2009

It Was A Sports Bar


I guess after the monumental high that was the Vinyl Cafe show, it's good to be reminded that not all gigs run smoothly.

Last night's show was a good example of how things can go awry, even when the people organizing things are lovely. Can I blather on for a while? M'kay.

I only tend to take unpaid gigs when the benefits seem to outweigh the lack of cash. I need to feel that there will be a good crowd, good publicity, a good cause, or free drinks at the bar... Something to make it worthwhile. I also pay the people in my band, so if there is nothing good coming from a free gig, then I'm simply out cash. I can't afford that.

This gig last night was a freebie, because it was a benefit, and also because it looked like it would be good exposure for me. I hoped I could sell a few CDs to cover the cost of paying Brian, and maybe help cover the cab ride home with all our gear.

Now I can tell you about how things went wrong:

First, we got lost getting there. Terribly lost. We knew the name of the building, and the room number, but that didn't seem to help. As with most campuses, U of O is confusing and badly designed. We finally found the right building and hopped in the elevator. Do you know where it took us? OUTSIDE. We took an elevator to nowhere and had to go back to where we started.

Anyway. We finally found the bar. It was a sports bar, and the hockey game was playing. There were tables full of drunk jocks. I've got nothing against jocks, but have you ever played a gig when a hockey game was on in the background? I have. I don't recommend it. Not only will nobody listen to you, but you will also get the shit scared out of you when the whole bar shouts "YEEEEEAH!!!! GOOOOAL!!!!" in the middle of your chorus.

So we sound check, and people start showing up for the benefit. We're still at about 80% jocks, 20% feminist philosophy students. The sound is very basic, but I'm assured it sounds great out in the bar. I have no idea, because there are no monitors. The bar is still pretty tame at this point, so I don't think the lack of monitors will be a problem.

I was wrong about that. Once we started our set, the jocks got loud. Really loud. With no monitors, I couldn't really hear myself play, and I had no idea if Brian was managing or not. The feminist philosophy students were hiding out near the back, but I think they were listening.

I guess someone scored in the hockey game, because all of a sudden, the tables erupted with a cheer so loud that I jumped a bit and moved my hand too quickly against the banjo strings. Ow. I looked down, mid-song, and noticed that I had stuck myself with the end of a string and was spouting blood.


I finished the song, but just barely. Thankfully I was able to keep the blood off the banjo. I wiped my hand on my set list.

We finished our set, and I bought both of us a beer. I was really hoping to sell a CD at this point, because the night had been a bit of a crap shoot. No such luck. I got a lot of shy smiles from the people who were listening, but they were obviously too scared to come say hi in person. I don't bite! Come say hi, please! Okay, maybe I bite, but not if I'm meeting you for the first time....

By this point I'm out the beer money, the money I used to pay Brian, and the money for the cab we just called. Plus I'm bleeding.

Two good things came from last night, other than being able to meet some nice people and support a good cause.

1. I was given a chocolate pussy pop by someone from the women's centre. As I've mentioned here before, I love those.

2. On our way out, we were invited to play a gig at Cafe Nostalgica, paid and everything. So somebody must have been listening.

I know these things balance out... I've had it happen before. I've certainly played worse gigs. I think I'm just tired and wondering how I managed to come out the other side poorer and more exhausted.

Tonight I'm supposed to go dancing, and I hope for the sake of my friends that I can squeeze in a nap first. This weekend promises to be much more pleasant than this past week, so here's to looking forward!


On a separate and painful note, my leg/foot/hip problems are getting so bad that I'm going to make a doctor's appointment to see if I need physio. My hip was so sore yesterday that I actually limped to the bus stop. Fucking hell.

October 1, 2009

Sleeping In, Again


I officially suck at waking up on time.

I noticed a slow slide downhill over the summer... A few more late nights, sleeping in a few minutes extra each day... But now? Colossal fail on all fronts.

This is what my morning is supposed to look like:

Wake up with alarm
Take a shower
Get dressed
Take Morty out for a walk
Feed Morty
Put Morty back in bed with BH
Eat leisurely breakfast
Make a lunch
Walk to work

This is what it looks like at the moment:

Wake up 45 minutes after my alarm has gone off
Take a panicked shower, or if there's no time, throw on clothes and hope they match
Eat panicked breakfast
Decide to buy lunch
Apologize to sleepy BH because I can't take Morty out
Run out the door
Either speed-walk to work, or cave and take a bus

THIS SUCKS SO BADLY. I need to turn this around before I stop getting dressed entirely. I'm a bit of a slob at work anyhow, but I can't imagine the reception I'd get if I showed up in yellow pj pants and a torn Canadian Federation of Students shirt.

Anyway. Moving on.

Tonight I have a gig!

I think it will be very fun, mostly because I like the title: Rocking with Feminists. I don't "rock" as much anymore, having ditched the drum kit, but I'm certainly a feminist. It's at the University of Ottawa in a bar called 1848. Has anyone been there? I'm not super familiar with U of O as it is... I hope I don't get lost. Brian and I had a very speedy rehearsal for it last night. We also laid down some vocal tracks for his new album. I'm so excited for him. His songs sound AMAZING.

Actually, watching him record his album at home with his own gear has got me thinking. If I don't get any grants for a new album, I may just record the thing myself. With help from my friends who know what they are doing, obvs. At least I've worked in radio and studios long enough to have a vague idea of what buttons to press. I could bring the tracks to my old producer for finessing.

I'm also thinking about a total (music) web site makeover. New press photos, whole new design, and hopefully an eventual new album. I'll chip away at my ideas bit by bit until things come together.

Until then? I'll just try to wake up on time.

PS, Thanks for the Morty love on the video. I don't know why my floors look that clean. Maybe because Morty throws himself on them dramatically to protest the singing...