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Monday, May 23, 2005

One Year Today

One Year ago today, I landed in England with a huge bag, a pile of cash, and no real idea of what I was doing or how I was going to do it. All I knew is that at various points in my life, I recieved messages from the great-unknown, telling me to go for it, do what I had to do, and it would all be. That was it. Not exactlty the best roadmap or mission statement to land with in a Country and Continent that I'd never really been to. All I knew is I had to do it, whatever it was, and the only way I knew to find it was via a sign. That was my instructions - look for a sign. So, freshly checked into my hostel and giant bag dropped off, I wondered into the heart of the Urban Jungle that is downtown London to find my destiny.

I walked around Piccadilly Circus looking for whatever. I knew it was there somewhere. I was hoping for an agent, a beautiful woman, something, anything that could help ease my journey, but I never found that. I did, however, find my sign. It was an hour into my walk, and I knew it was it. It was a scraggly guy holding a sign that read 'Stand-Up Comedy Tonight'. With that, I knew I had found the starting point, and it was then that I was introduced to Phil Klein and my first glipmse into the UK Comedy Scene.

The Comedy went well for me there. I was happy with myself. I went there completely unsure of myself, aware only that I can do something - maybe this would all be it. As I look back now, I was a kid, unsure of myself in so many more ways than I originally thought, and performing alone there was great. I even managed some great shows. I did The Comedy Store, had a rough one, yet still got booked for another show out of it. My goal at the time was to go and kill. Be the best they had ever seen. That, at that point, was not possible from me, and I know that now. Learning.... What England ended up being was a giant lesson, a lesson in my strenghts and weaknesses, a lesson in confronting my fears, a lesson in humility and a lesson in being me. What I thought would be my crowning comedic glory was not, but it was a starting point for me. It is but another floor on the adventure of my life. This desire to get to another level and pull from within me something that is bigger than I have ever done before. I am still working and learning toward that, even as I write this now.

The Hostel was great, too. I will never forget Amir, the Pakistani Doctor from Dallas who was there to meet his destiny as well, in the form of a potential arrainged marriage. Anna, the young student from Wisconsin who just was so scared to be away, but blossomed in a matter of days. Jozef, the Slovakian dishwasher, who liked to wake me up really early and make soup and noodles and try to speak English with me.

Watching the Flames play the Lightning in The Stanley Cup over-seas was an experience I will never forget. It was 1:00 am local time when Game One started, and I entered this bar a block away from Piccadilly and found the game on. As soon as Jarome Iginla scored, I roared, and my heart jumped with pride and joy as I looked across the bar and found, lo-and-behold, Flames fans on the other side of the bar. Getting hammered with Calgarians in London watching the Flames take Game One can never be topped. Drunken stumbling by Big Ben at 4:30amm sun rising, me drunk, having watched the Flames win a Stanley Cup game is a high that can never be topped unless someone brings paint.

But likely the most defining part of my trip was something that never seemed a big deal until time went by. Brandy was in her early 20's, from Ohio, quiet, stunning and very comfortable to run into at the Hostel. We never really spoke at first, but I felt her warmth and always sensed her presence. One night - Game Three - I was in the hostel basement watching the game, and she came down. We chatted. She was so calm and quiet. Wise and experienced, and younger than me. And cheering for the Flames. We hit it off, and as fate should have it, she was leaving the next day for Malaysia to be nurse assistant. I wasn't sad, just miffed I couldn't get to know this person better. I said my peace as I left for sleep, thinking I was lucky to have met her. The next day, I sauntered down the stairs to go pursue my next step in the unknown journey, and she was there, bags and all, ready to go to the Tube Sattion. I decided to walk her there and help her with her bags. We walked, chatted, laughed and I felt so damn weird that this person, whoever it was, was leaving, and I felt dearly that this one, more than the rest, had some meaning. Some reason for this connection must exist. So, as we got to the fare booth, we exchanged friendly good-bye's and best wishes, and that's when it happened. The defining piece of simple wisdom given to me in the calmest and wisest of demeanors. I was so worried in preparation for The Comedy Store show and my search for my destiny and how it could be greatness or immense failure. Sensing it all, she looked at me, so calmly, and said "It will all land somewhere in between". Something about all the factors in her statement that stopped me in my tracks.

And it was that, as time passed would teach, that I needed to learn. Now, everywhere I go, I recall that, and realize that my England trip was just that - Somewhere in between - and no better metaphor exists for my life to this point.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Patches, My Cat

I have a pet. Not here with in Toronto, but back home in Calgary. Patches the Cat. She is the family cat, and according to our best guesses, she is 19 old. Might be 20, nobody can really nail it down. I love that cat - still do. But, as it tends to go with existence, it must end, and my beloved kitty is seeing some sickness now. Apprantly, she had a stroke of some sorts. I felt much more sad by it than I was hoping I would. It's amazing what your pet can do for you.

I lived in many houses in a couple of cities. I went to 6 schools in 12 years and had a constant revolving door of friends and acquaintances. All this change, and the only constant was my family and my cat, Patches. Everywhere I went, there she was. Always waiting for me to come home. A great temperment with me, too. I can remember crying and she would come into my room and sit next to me, and in some bizarre act of nature, actually make me feel better. As if to say "Brett, you better stop crying. The girls will never think it's cool and I'm pretty hungry, so let's get off the floor and feed me and let me out". That's why I always loved my cat - similar priorities.

She is so much more than a cat, too. Something like a younger sibling I never had, but she wasn't a human, thus explaining my grand affection for her. I would worry for her when she wasn't home, ward off other cats, do her homework. It was, and is, a great relationship.

I guess I just wanted to write this while she still lives. That somehow, however it does work, she can cosmically know I care, that it's ok, and if she needs to go and hang out in the next life, that's cool. I always feared that I could never value things when they were here. That by some dimented twist of fate, all things were doomed to be under-appreciated in life. But this is not the story here. This is the story of a boy, his cat, and how they both help add to one another, and how even though all things die, some things never go away.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Quick, quick, quick

Not alot of time. I'm sitting in downtown Toronto at a coffee shop on my friends computer as he goes Lord knows where. Maybe I have a free laptop now.

Things are ok. I am a little frustrated right now. I am at a amall gap between getting money, and as we all know, money buys things that us people need to live. Oh, I will survive, but I yearn to thrive, and I see that I must take my work to a whole new level now.

I have a TV show idea in my head. Have for awhile now. Maybe I should pitch it to networks here, I'm thinking. Why not me? Who else to bring in the new wave of comedy on the tube? I like my idea. I only need to convince people with money and a tv channel to let me make it and let the world decide it's true level of quality. All I know is fuck jobs. I may very well need to get one - this retiremtn of mune may be short lived - but why was I born? Not to do the normal. Not to do what' s been done. I want to stretch the limits of myself to somewhere I've yet to go, and if it happens that some mass of people come along, all the much more better.

So, I must go now. Peter is back,. The smoke is over, and you may all read this and know where I am, physically and mentally, at home in Toronto, on the cusp of something new and possibly exciting.

All my love.

Monday, May 09, 2005

May Ninth

It's May Ninth. Isn't that exciting? No. Only if it's your birthday.
I'm having a fair day so far here. It's beautiful here. Sunny and warm and full of life in the streets. It's so fine a day, I won't even take my habitual swipe at Toronto. Yet.
I start my Comedy Show tonight at local Irish Bar Fionn McCools. Something about me with Irish bars and comedy. Maybe the Comedy part is an irrelevant part to that sentence. Probably the Irish part, too. Either way, I'm a little hyped. It might suck immeasurably. It might be my single most potent failure to date. It might also be the best thing that ever happened in my life. Well, likely not. Funny how the extreme worst seems more true and probable. Anyways, as I've learned many times before, it will likely lay somewhere in between the two and make for a decent human experience.
I returned to my former site of employment last night. Hadn't been there since I was fired/quit. It's under review and we're still going over the tapes to see just what happened. It was a moment that I figured would effect me, but really did have none, except to note that it was nothing. I truthfully didn't care to see the people, felt no feeling of a homecoming. I felt detached and happy in my own shoes, shoes that could step in any old haunt and know that while the faces may not have changed, I have, and I have become myself and.....what? I still get free pop! Oh, Kristin, I'm so happy to be back? How are you? Does Lindsay still work here? How is Frank!
Yup, the new shoes fit. May 9th - The Best Day in the History of the Universe.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Name It Yourself

All is well here. I don't have any real complaints, which I find a little bothersome and perhaps complain-worthy in it's own right. I think I'll stick it through and deal with the inevitable trauma that will be happiness.
As summer nears here, I'm feeling something. It was a year ago I up and went to London and begun this journey to wherever it is I'm headed. I really didn't know where I was going or what I was doing - just knew it had to be done, and I still know I have to do it. Just what it all is remains the question, but I realize it likely doesn't matter - probably never did - and the path itself is likely the only thing that matters.
I am a diffirent man than one year ago. In many ways, it's hard to believe that all happened, that life of mine one year ago, everything before it, and everything since. I look back at what I was, and see myself in a new light of respect- I've never suffered from a shortage of balls - it doesn't mean I wasn't scared, but I still did everything as best I could.
And, as the circle of life continues to whirl, I am amazed to find how many of the old faces from one year ago and beyond are still around, and how nice it is to see them inter-twined with the bushy branches of today.
I guess this year has been good, but it's just that, a year, and in no way does it signify that I am anywhere near done. In fact, it just keeps going and going and going........

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I like to think of myself as rather spontaneous. It always turns out to be fun and well worth the adventure, and that's why I'm glad I had last Friday night.
It was an offf-night for me, and I was invited to go to Walkerton, home of mexi-water, to hang out and watch my two friends do a gig for 100 women. Touch choice, but I made the decision to go, then on the road I was to somewhere new.
It was an 8:30 gig and it looked like the car wasn't going to be in the parking lot anywhere near showtime. Of course, we sped. It's always good to speed when you're late. We arrived to see two worried women standing at the Legion entrance, crossing their fingers that this car was the comedy car. It was, they cheered, and they, minus me, enetered and apologized. It was brought up that since the show was late, perhaps as an olive branch, I could go on and enetertain. It was accpeted.
It was a 'F' word-free show, though. Can't remember the last time I had a show when I couldn't say the ol' 'F' bomb. I did it, though, it went well and felt great. I was in also in track pants and a badly unironed shirt. Felt great, went well. The guys kicked ass, too, and we left the gig feeling energized.
A night capper was held at the local tavern back in Toronto, and all were happy. We even met another comic at the bar. It was a happy night until a fight almost erupted. For some reason, I was ready. I even took my glasses off. Nothing happened, luckily, and I went home feeling great about the night that I had, for no other reason than becuase I decided to do something spontaneously. Good things can come from anywhere.