Monday, July 01, 2013

More thoughts on blogging

Here it is, Canada Day; a little over a year since my last post. It's obvious that I haven't been inspired to write. Lately I've become reserved toward writing publicly about my life and daily ramblings. I really enjoy blogging though, and years ago I had developed a following of a diverse and eclectic crowd. I love how the whole blogging community spiderwebs: you read a blog, comment on it and sooner or later someone else with an interest in that blog is reading yours and it snowballs - especially if you post something noteworthy. Perhaps that's the key: noteworthy. I know my sister used to look to my page for an update on my life, especially if I'd been out of touch for a spell. I'd heard that there were several folks who would lurk the blog (read but leave no indication of having been by) and that sometimes made it worth writing something - anything. The last year has been full and rich, happy and sad, fulfilling and disappointing. Much like any other year, I suppose, with the exception of my Mom. She passed the day after her 87th. birthday. When one year rolled around last Friday, I reflected on what was happening then. I had taken some contract work with another firm. They were keeping me really busy at 40 hours per week. In fact, there was so much going on in all facets of my life, Mom's passing seemed something of a blur at the time. I guess that was something of the landmark event of 2012. So far, this year has been filled with a lot of catch-up. Painting, cleaning, organizing, building. I have, finally, what seems to be a normal workload, offering me a chance to give back to my house, which I have been neglecting (aesthetically, anyway) for some years. In February the laundry room got spruced up with a fresh coat of paint and some neutral, but new and refreshing colours. My office (currently located within the furnace room) is sporting a bright orange hue these days along with new LED dim-able light fixtures. Quick update - I moved downstairs a year ago to enable more passive cash flow by way of rental. The downstairs dwellers moved upstairs, and I took a University student room mate for the other bedroom downstairs. It's working out rather well. My current downstairs tenant is a linguistics student from the U of C who has, not so surprisingly, had a prof. through his undergrad that I know. That made the interview process comfortable immediately. Recently, with Calgary's flood fiasco, I've been putting in time at the Command Station set up in Montgomery. After they moved the station to Bowness, I worked an evening at the University. We signed in to the residence buildings several evacuees, mostly from the south end. The story seems to be the same wherever you go: there are more volunteers than positions to fill. That night at the U., they'd put out a call for 10 people. 22 showed up. They were expecting 150 residents - 25 showed up. I had my van handy, so they put me to work fetching bottled water from the nearby Brentwood Safeway. I felt useful, if only for a half hour or so. I'm glad, in a way, that the numbers were down. One can hope it was a sign that the need for support was less than expected. We're gearing up for Stampede Week, and this year it should prove interesting at the very least - given that downtown Calgary has been all but shut down as of late. The water restriction was lifted this weekend, so I managed to throw some water on the vegetable garden, which is something else I've not kept for some years. That's it for today's update. Happy Canada Day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I made it to Davefest!

I'm sure you've experienced it, regardless the career you're in. There are aspects, jobs and contracts that seem to stand out from the regular and everyday. I was forced to think about this a couple weeks ago when I was faced with a conflict. One of my suppliers offered me a week's wages to work on a project out of town - 6 hours north-east, actually. It meant possibly missing one of my favourite events, Davefest. I had been anticipating the 12th. annual ever since last year. What was especially exciting was that I was prepared to play... er... and sing. So along comes this opportunity for some significant work, and for a company that I know and love - not to mention a company that seems to have a real interest in establishing a long term working relationship. It appeared to be, quite literally, an either/or choice. It's sad in a way, but really the money trumped the freebee. Trouble was, I really, really, really wanted to do BOTH. Turns out that we caught up to the other trades at this project and couldn't proceed, quite literally until they'd built another wall which wasn't going to happen for another week. My wish came true. I made it to Davefest! What's more exciting is that these photos were taken, and all I had to do was show up! I'm lovin' the Yamaki nestled in with various other guitars! From my perspective, at the back of the theatre. When you're new at something, it's a really nervous feeling that comes over you when you present it in front of the masses. My Mom came out too, which really pleased me because I haven't had a chance to play and/or sing in her presence for some time. One of the stories she often tells is that of when I was in my early teens. I was to sing a solo at the church, and I flubbed it. Not miserably, but it was highly embarrassing. This, I suppose, was an opportunity to avenge a memory. My sister's family came out, too. My BIL made a point of saying, "Who knew David could sing??!" Some days I surprise even me. OK, Editor's note: My last post was published after Blogger went to this new format, and A/C mentioned something about my absence from blogging affecting my sense of paragraph form. I just had a quick look at a preview, and although I have spaces between all paragraphs, the entire text appears to be fudged into one big block. So much for organizing my ideas, but I think you get the idea. Any ideas on how to fix this??

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Landmark Day

Indeed, it was. As we gear up for the 12th. Annual Davefest at Sir Winston Churchill High School for June 2, I'm cutting my teeth in a new realm: that of on-stage musician. Since last year's Davefest, which I apparently didn't blog about whatsoever, I have been inspired to play. Like... in front of actual people; an audience. As the story goes, there's this fundraiser held at my old high school. It's called Davefest in memory of David Elton - a graduate of Sir Winston Churchill who died in a water rescue attempt in California in 2000. His parents started the David Elton Fund to support outdoor safety programmes. Last year, my friend Dave B. encouraged me to help them with the sound production end of Davefest. It sometimes weirds me out a bit that my friend Dave introduced me (also a Dave) to Davefest - which has nothing whatsoever to do with being a Dave. Stranger still, I've extended an invitation to my industry friend Dave D. to do the mixdown for the video they shoot every year. Tonight, however, I broke some new ground. After getting myself on the Davefest planning committee, I was invited to an open stage jam tonight which involved many of the Davefest folk and to my surprise, George C. and his wife C. whom I know through the AWA. For the past year I've not-so-secretly yearned to play at Davefest, and tonight I got my first taste of playing in front of an audience. The open jam was hosted by one of the musicians who played Davefest, N. I found out through a telephone conversation that N. also knows A. who plays in another band I mix fairly regularly. Small world! So I showed up at Varsity tonight, prepared to play. They sign 10 acts, 15 minutes each. Once the list is full, that's it. Or is it? I arrived early, only for some reason I didn't get to the list until it was practically full. Lsat spot, and there was a young girl who wanted to play and had also never played for an audience... or as I found out after the show, had played only at the previous open stage last month. I told her to take the slot and that I would play if time permitted. N. put my name on the list, then promptly asked if there was anyone willing to shorten their set to allow for 11 performers instead of 10. Two acts generously offered up their shortened sets. I was in. There's something about first-time performing that manifests a shortened memory, quickened speech and sweaty palms. The combination never yields favourable results, and tonight was no exception. There, in front of 40-some people - about half of whom I know - I proceeded to kick off my song... in the wrong key. Some very blue words passed through my mind, but I calmly stopped, made some witty remark about being a newbie, and started again. Ooopsie. Funny though - as I made my way through the song, my confidence grew. By the end of the first chorus I was back on track and the rest of the tune was a piece of cake. Applause, compliments and handshakes followed - far more than I felt I deserved, but it made the awkwardness go away. Some of the more accomplished musicians complimented me on my "save". Several even complimented my voice - something I've never really thought about, just kinda gone with since it's really the only voice I have. I think it helped that I avoided milk products today. The coffee this morning was dull, I must say! What's more, in my introduction I mentioned that I'm a sound guy by trade, not a musician. Well, the two fellows running the sound quickly flagged me down after my tune and told me they wanted my help with the sound for future open stages - just when I thought I'd found an event that I could attend in a different capacity! We chatted more over beer and pizza after the show. Now these two fellows who also play very well, want to sign up for Davefest! What a small world this has become.
A shot I took in a mad hurry during rehearsal at last year's Davefest. N. (at the back playing bass) organized tonight's open stage. M., playing lead electric guitar and vocals was there tonight to play. Had a chance to chat with him after pizza and promised to send him this pic. He too is scheduled for Davefest, June 2. The next open stage is May 11 - a couple weeks away. I've promised to do something of a redemption tune. Suffice it to say, Bob Marley is not on my set list. About 5 weeks to Davefest and I have to pick yet another song to sing in front of many more than 40. Wish me luck...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Birthday beverages and haggis

As I write this I'm sitting outside Starbucks enjoying the free birthday beverage they offer up. Today it's a peppermint mocha. 

I have a stop to make at the Goodwill to drop off some household goods from my recent downsizing and move underground. 

Family lunch today promises lasagna and haggis - the haggis in celebration of cousins visiting from Ontario - from the Scottish side of the family. 

I'm meeting 42 with a degree of uncertainty, to be honest. Financial commitments surpass my income at present and that weighs heavily on my soul. 

Perhaps 42 will bring with it some unforeseen prosperity. 

Fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top ten ways to annoy a gifted child

I picked this up over on Facebook... certain members of my family should enjoy this one!

Click HERE

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"I want to have enough money I don't have to worry about it, but I don't want so much money I have to worry about it." -R. A. Rogers III, 1987

When I asked my friend Bob about his view on money, he replied with these words of moderate thought.

That was back in grade 12 when I really had very little concept of the value of money. At that point my only real reference was almost abstract in nature. I had been raised to believe that it was better to give than to receive; greed being next to the root of all evil - a love for loot. Abstract because for all intents and purposes i had everything i ever needed. To quote Dylan Thomas, I was living "golden, in the mercy of his means". (Fern Hill, 1945)

My then 17-year-old brain would, as it learned in electronics class, "take the path of least resistance". As a result, I didn't really 'get' why one should save some shekels...after all, if it's just sitting there, it's extra, right? Having extra when others have less, or none seemed to me to be greedy. After all, to sit on mass wealth just to have it IS greedy, right?

I grew up in a time of prosperity. Right before the crash of the 80s, we'd moved. The house we sold fetched more than the house we bought, so we never experienced the "21% mortgage". I was 10. After that, for the most part its been easy... downhill.

I was 38 at the time of our most recent serious economic plummet.

I was il-prepared, to say the least. I'd never experienced "no cash flow", and hence learned the hard way WHY you should have a stash of extra cash. The cash can and will stop - eventually.

Two years of little-to-no income put me in a sad state - economically and emotionally. It has been a good lesson to have learned - driven home far more effectively than had i simply read about it - however it would have been better had I paid more mind to the advice given me by those who had either been there, or were wise enough to understand that economic downs are indeed real, and do indeed affect far more than your own personal standard of living.

I've been slow to blog about this, and reluctant to share the more personal side of it, for obvious reasons. But what's more, I've generally been sharing less and less of even the happier moments in life - which is yet another consequence of an economic struggle. (My best guess is that so much of my energy is directed toward resolving matters of economic survival, very little remains for much else.)

On the upside, there is a plan in place - one that goes against my grain of following the "path of least resistance", a painfully slow and seemingly plodding repair.

My biggest personal challenge is to keep on the radar the less-immediate: other people, recreational pursuits and those things spiritual that are indeed requisite and necessary for the good of the soul.

In closing, to address Bob's concern about having "...so much money I have to worry about it", I simply feel that at this point it's a problem I wouldn't mind having - after all, first-hand experience far outweighs casual observation.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Flying high

About this time two years ago I blogged (or rather, bragged) about my trip to Vancouver - specifically Chilliwack for coconut cream pie, just prior to the Olympics.

Since then, life has been - as Mike McDonald put it - "a series of ups and downs, with brief interludes of happiness." This of course applies most specifically to my work life and cash flow.

Since I have no plans for travel (summer vacay this year consisted of a day trip to Golden, blogged (or rather, bragged) about HERE.) I thought perhaps a little airline humour would be in order. I was trolling through old emails just now and came across this forward from back in August 2010, so many of you may have seen it already.

The search continues for multiple income streams. WIth my most recent application to WestJet, I consider this most blog-worthy. You'll want to click on the images to enlarge. (CTRL + SCROLL if you play on a Mac)


Kulula is a low-cost South-African airline that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Check out their new livery! And have a read about their Customer Relations.








WHAT A PITY KULULA DOESN'T FLY INTERNATIONALLY.

WE SHOULD SUPPORT THEM IF ONLY FOR THEIR HUMOUR - SO TYPICALLY SOUTH AFRICAN.

About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.