Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Small Victories

Ever slogged away at something only to feel fruitless in your endeavours?

That's kinda how I've felt over the last couple months. Each step forward seemed to be met with two or three back - or even more confusing, sideways. Every so often though, I'd experience some kind of victory, however small, perhaps just enough to encourage me to keep going.

Today I had one of those days - a Small Victories day. All the phone calls I made or took seemed to yield good fortune and forward motion. Email traffic was similar in nature, and what breaks I took were enough to refocus and return to moving forward.

I've spent the day working away at the University - away from my home office. I think it's a good move to work here since the space I work in ISN'T my home. In fact, working in a computer lab with upwards of 60 other people at any given time puts me in 'work' mode, but also around people. I need that; it puts a whole new spin on my day. Also, since I'm not in a position to take a class this term, it keeps me motivated and excited to get back to class in January... maybe.

Not everything has been Rosy, but with today's positive vibe, the mix is easier to take. I'm on my way home to find out what went crazy-wrong on Friday to effectively take out three speaker cabinets at an event.

It smells expensive.

Dance as you go!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Since you asked...

It's been one of those days -- you know the times when one thing after another seems to complicate your progress?

I'm finding a great deal of inspiration in music. It seems I'm not the only one who's "been there". As a small business guy, I'm convinced this song was written for me.

I know you think if you take that leap
You'll be in too deep, at the mercy of the current.
Winds are high, the cliff is steep.
The sharp drop-off acts like a deterrent.

Walk out into the great unknown.
You'll never finish if you don't get started.
How about you take that one small step
Into the world that's still uncharted.

I know you feel if you sing your tune
You'll be doomed to being a one-hit wonder.
Burn too brightly, peak too soon;
Gotta get out from the cloud you're under.

Some folks are gonna do you wrong
Because you do the things they wanted to but couldn't.
They'll try to cast doubt, that's their siren song.
You'll be tempted to listen, but really you shouldn't.

Every now and then just let it ride;
You'll be a winner if you just survive.
You can't miss what you never had;
You never had a chance this good,
And that's too bad.

You're gonna think you've got it all worked out,
But something takes you down,
Makes you holler "uncle!"
Even though you're on a mission to civilize,
You'd better have a cushion
If you're pushin' back the jungle.

I know, you're tired of breaking trail.
Every small detail is hampering your vision.
Fog descends like a twilight veil.
If you push on,
you'll get what you were wishing for!

Somewhere you've got a small reserve:
Tricks up your sleeve,
Chips you haven't cashed in.
If you want to get the things you deserve,
Throw caution to the wind: stick with passion.

I know you're scared to make the leap,
You're in too deep.
I know you feel if you sing your tune
You'll be doomed.
I know you're tired of breaking trail;
Every small detail...

-James Keelaghan, 2008

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Missing the mix

I decided to spend the day working at the University today. There are no classes, and most everything is closed down, but the computer lab in Social Sciences is open, and makes a great place to work when it's quiet.

I've been in a bit of a rut as of late - routine, actually, and I realized yesterday what it is that's bugging me. Over the last number of years I've been quite diligent to inject a variety of interests into my life... probably triggered by my short attention span? Dunno. Recently, I haven't been partaking in a lot of that variety which is the spice of my life. I've been spending a great deal of time keeping the very basics of life going - head-above-water, as it were. I'm in this routine of what seems to be "work, work, work" with very little variety injected into the mix.

I met with my advisor in the English department a couple weeks ago to map out some course possibilities, and discovered that at this rate I'll get my degree in 20 years, not the 8-10 that I had anticipated. Sucky. I thought to myself, "well, maybe I could set life up so that I could take time off from the regular work thing to hit school full time for a spell to catch up". What would that take? More people, more time in and more money. I'm working on that - part of my "routine" as of late.

In the mean time, I'm NOT taking a course this term, and it'll be a stretch to get in for the Winter term, but I think it's requisite and necessary. I'm also not going to pottery. *sigh* I miss pottery... terribly. I have, however, taken up the guitar at my leisure, at home, simply picking out some favourite tunes by ear - learning from chord charts and just messing around between appointments, after dark, just whenever I can.

Sitting here at the U today makes me miss school that much more too, but what I really need is a plan - which is in the works, and contrary to my nature, I must learn the art of patience.

SIDEBAR - This last Monday was Monday Night Scotch with my aunt and Dwayne. My Mom joined us this time and we took in Dwayne's video footage from his trip to France and Spain back in August/September. We toured Paris, mostly, which delighted Mom to no end. I think she quite enjoyed her wee dram of scotch, too - not to mention a good visit with her cousin. It was quite an adventure getting Mom out of the Bethany since one of the elevators was out of service - the only one that went to the rooftop parking lot where I'd parked out of habit. The Main doors were occupied with ambulance transfers, handi-bus drop offs and the like, so we used the South entrance which meant a fair amount of running around for Turtle! On the trip down south (which coincided with rush hour) Mom and I listened to a James Keelaghan mix I'd made up... her comments? "He's easy to listen to..." Complimentary, but I'm not sure that she'll ever be the die hard fan that I've become. He's, I must confess, at the top of my list of "guitar gods". With his influence, I may even be motivated to play at the upcoming pub night in February. (Can't remember if I've blogged about past ones, but they're quite amateur-professional, and a lot of fun.)

I need a coffee - then back to the books... business books, that is - for now.+

Monday, November 02, 2009

House of Cards: James Keelaghan and David Woodhead perform with Grace

James Keelaghan's latest album, House of Cards, was released recently and being the fan that I am, I couldn't miss the show on Friday at Grace Presbyterian Church. It wasn't a packed house, but the floor was a good 3/4-sold-out.

Anyone who reads here knows that I've been a Kelo fan for years. My friend Henry from Rosseau introduced me to James' music back in the early 90s. Every time I go to a show I think of Henry (who passed away a couple years ago) and I thank him for broadening my music horizons away from mainstream contemporary pop and rock - the world in which I do much of my work.

Folk music is all about the stories, and as James pointed out on Friday, the stories continues to evolve. Years ago he wrote the song, "Kiri's Piano" - about the Japanese internment in Canada during the Second World War. A while back he was touring through the States and played a town where he knew the organizers of the folk club who sponsored his show. Sadly, I don't recall the details precisely so I hesitate to say with any degree of certainty exactly whose connection it was, but the uncle of one of the organizers was a soldier on one of the first boats sent out of Pearl Harbour. The ship was attacked, the uncle was killed, and when his personal effects were returned to the family, they included his guitar.

James was asked to play Kiri's Piano on the very same guitar, and later the guitar was gifted to him. He seemed really rather proud of the fact that he now owned a guitar that had been at Pearl Harbour - and what a wonderful offering of appreciation for his musical work!

I, for one, adore the song in all its painful realism.

"House of Cards" is the title track on the new album and it speaks quite frankly to the current global economic state. I encourage you to take a listen to the album. It's available on iTunes at .99 per song or $10.00 for the album.

Me with James at the CD signing following the show

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.