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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Something Beautiful From Something Kind

There was a benefit tonight for the Hurricane victims at thy local comedy club. It was nice. People were in such good spirits. Much of that was the spirits themselves, but something special seems to happen to people when they work together for the greater good. Doing good deeds makes you feel good. Makes me wonder what makes me feel bad sometimes. It was nice. I have an uncanny ability to find the the dark spot in the sun, but no such blot appeared tonight. It was good vibes and good energy for a good cause - somebody else. Much enjoyed from this perspective and perhaps amplified by the fact that I didn't perform. It couldn't have been purer or better.

I feel an explosion of creativity churning within. I want to paint, make music, write and continue with the comedy, which is my first love. I'm learning finally to do it at the level and proficiancy that I expected from myself making it all the more fun. So much more to do. In so many ways, I have just begun.

My creative passion now reminds me of a love from another time in my life. Hockey. I used to play. I was even good at it. I stopped at 16 becuase I ceased to enjoy it. I found girls, cigarettes and pot which as a 16 year old are pretty good discoveries. I wish I never met smokes, but hockey was bound to lose anyhow. I left my hockey heart in Winnipeg.

I moved to Calgary in mid-season 1994, also known as January. I was on what was to that point the best hockey team I'd ever been on. Up to that point, I'd been on average teams where winning was a treat, not the norm. I never really enjoyed that. I loved playing the game, but winning is why I played. I was the best player on some of those teams, but it meant nothing because the teams as a whole were not champion calibre teams.

My last team - the team who has my heart still - was the Lord Roberts Terriers. I was 14 and on top of the world. It was the first time I had made the 'A' team and the promotion to the 'Big Time' was one I took seriously. The thrill of playing in that league paled in comparison to the concept of excelling in it. We had a wonderful coach, Mr. Bodnarchuk, who instilled in us the belief that when we were on our game, nobody could beat us. At 14, I was part of a gang of world--beaters. He was right, too. We were unstoppable when we showed up, which was almost every night.

I was not the most naturally gifted player on the team. I was not the fastest skater, nor was I the most popular guy on the team. What I was, though, was the heart of the team. For all of our intense desire to win, mine was foremost. Nobody wanted to win more than I did. Without being aware the time, I was the glue of the team. I was centering a line of far more talented hockey players, but I was leading them. Mr. Bodnarchuk coached Mike Keane, an NHL'er, and informed me I had all the same tools as he did and that I was very reminiscant of him at the same age. We were in the hunt for the division title and a run for the Manitoba Provincials. We were, even in youth, a great hockey team. Maybe I could have made it if I didn't leave Winnipeg. But I did, and with that, my life path changed forever; Maybe it became what it should.

Once I moved to Calgary, I didn't care. My team was my life. I wanted to win the championship with them. They were my team, not my new one. I was on the SouthFour Rebels or something like that. I didn't care. They had their unit and I was only on the team because of geography. Lord Roberts selected me. The Terriers were one and SouthFour were spare parts. And violent. It wasn't hockey anymore. It took me a year and a half of Calgary hockey to find women and things I could smoke far more interesting.

My father, who remained in Winnipeg for employment reasons, kept me abreast of Lord Roberts progressions, and a funny thing happened. They started to fail. They plummeted. It hurt me to see. My team needed me as much as I needed them and there was nothing either of us could do. As they faltered down the standings, I fell into a world of darkness. It was a terrible experience to experience.

Then one day the phone rang. It was my Dad. The news was not good. Marcel Sousa, a teammate of ours on Lord Roberts, was killed. He was at a crosswalk and was hit by a car. Died on impact. The question was asked if I could go to the funeral. It was not something to think about - it was then that I was back with my team, the moment when we all needed each other the most.

We were pall-bearers. All of us. 15 heartbroken 14 year-olds wearing our hockey jersyes in a funeral that caught the attention of the entire city. Seems Marcels' death struck a nerve with all of Winnipeg. Front Page News. There were on-lookers and some media. It was as sad a time as I can recall. I can't say I lead my team through that, but I was as much a teammate at that point as I ever was. We were there for each other, just as we were on the ice.

At the wake after the funeral, spirits were lifting. Pizza and catching up can do that to young people. I was told of how the season just went wrong after I left. Sad as I was to hear it, it was nice to know I didn't suffer alone. They scraped into the play-offs and were eliminated in the first round. I stopped trying and didn't care for hockey anymore. We needed each other.

It was then that a strange coincidence was realized. It was April and the team was in the midst of the seasons wind-up tournament - the biggest one in Winnipeg. In a twist of fate, they had managed to pull it back together and found themselves, to the surprise of all, in the finals the following day. Only one problem - they were now short a player due to death. It was realized that in fact they weren't, because one of them returned, and the ball began to roll to dress a full roster for the finals.

It was frantic. An elbow pad from Bens' older brother. An extra shin pad from Geoff. Skates from Jamies' dad. It all came together quickly. As rag tag and tinged with tragedy as it was, it was ideal - the final game of the year and I was back to help get us the win.

Life is sometimes so perfect. All the shared pain that we experienced over the course of the previous days, weeks and months was now cast aside. There was a task at hand. Win. The arena was electric. Marcels family showed up, along with his little cousin, who was wearing his jersey. I was back in my proper uniform - the only one that ever fit. We were cheered by fans who never existed until that point. Our little story had become known to all in the community and there was a feeling of redemption in the air.

We won. Ironically, we beat the city champs, a team we once owned, and the team that elimianted us from the play-offs. It was syncronicity in it's finest form. I remember the uncomfortable equipment and my tired legs - I hand't played in over a month and hadn't used my heart in any capacity since I left the city. We won. We did it, and for a brief moment in the history of all us, all the pain we had felt was wiped away; it was wiped away with the lifting of the trophy; it was wiped away with the hugs and smiles; it was wiped away when Marcels cousin, in Marcels jersey, took his rightful place in the heart of us at center ice for a picture I'll treasure more than you can imagine.

It stands as one of the best memories I will ever have. It also stands as a motivator. As I enter now into my new love, my new passion, one which finally rivals my days as a Lord Roberts Terrier, I make this vow: I will raise the trophy again. I will win. And I will remember everything that took me to that place. I have the heart once again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hey - That's Mine!

I remember when I was in England I went to this burger shack near Victoria Station in the wee hours of the morning for some late night grub. As I was waiting for my feast to be cooked, and older british man began to berate the burger chef for being Scotish. This was apparantly too much for the old English fellow to handle so he let be known that Scots are the evilest, vilest creatures on earth. My main problem was the burger was not too good.

This is indicative of a much bigger problem. People. Everybody hates everybody. Every localized tension is just a manifestation of the same beahviour that happens everywhere. Conservatives hate Liberals. Arabs hate Jews. Albertans hate everybody while I loathe bad burgers. Humans being animals.

Much of it is territory. What you may percieve to be a political slight is nothing more than a possesion battle. Whereas animals will urinate on posts to mark their territory, humans send their concept of God to regions to mark it as theirs. Yes, Religion has as powerful a stench as cat piss and has killed far more people. When bloated white people see black people as dangerous, they are really just defending the territory that is in reality nobody's to defend, because it is, in all reality, everybodies.

One day something very big, bad and funny will happen and those who survive it will have to look defeatedly into one anothers' eyes and realize it was all a mistake - there was no line - we shared it all the whole time. Mine, yours and theirs was always ours. At that moment, a cat will come and piss on our newfound collectiveness and it will be killed, beheaded and put on display as a warning to all the other cats not to touch what is ours.

ha ha ha ha.......

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Turning The Corner

"I can't get a life if my hearts not in it"

Noel Gallagher - The Importance of Being Idle


Back on an upswing. Somehow througout all the recent onslaught of good fortunes I was riding a low. Boredom the primary feeling. Boredom is boring. I'm starting to feel a little better as I look up at this mountain - the biggest one I've seen yet and not an ounce of fear in me. Determination bordering on rage is closer to accurate.

A friend of mine once told me I was I either going to kill myself or become rather well known. I never fully understood how either would come to fruition, but always found dying at my own hand the more likely of the two - not because of self-loathing, which I have in no grander levels than anybody else, but because the pointlessnes of life. I figured the only way I could deliver on the positive side of that prophecy was to discover existence as not pointless. That has not been the case.

Life is pointless in the grand scale. Look at the size of existence. It is infinite. The Milky Way is just a speck, making earth much less, and me even smaller. To think I actually matter in the grand scheme of everything, as long as it's been around, is foolish at best. But that got me to thinking another way.

Since none if it does matter, the world I see can be crafted to my whims. There is no point but to enjoy it - and I'm finding that might be enough for me. The world can be molded as your vision sees fit. If you can fathom it, you can do it. Morals play a giant part in the possibility of that vision coming to fruition and seeing the kind of world that lives in your mind become a physical reality as seen through your eyes.

What am I saying? Nothing, I guess. Everything, maybe. The plain of existence I had been living was boring me to absloute tears and the thought of death seemed rather quaint. I had no desire to pursue it but if it caught up to me, so be it. Living was dull. The world I lived in was not mine and I had no desire to continue in it.

No longer. I'm just going to live in mine now. That may mean that more people are going to throw bottles at me. More people may think me an egoist, an arrogant young man. Fine. So be it. I am living for you. I am living for me. I am living because I am here. Kurt Cobain once said "I'd rather be dead than cool". I now have no desire to be dead and an equal yearning to be cool. My only desire and the prime reason for waking up is simply to be alive and play it on my terms.

My heart was not into living. Not the case anymore. Soon my heart, mind and soul will be equal parts and perhaps at that point a prophecy or two will become true.

Don't worry - I don't plan on killing any of you. I'll include myself in that group.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Scenery is Changing

If I were to tell you that as I write this sentence that I have any clue what the next one would be, I would be lying. I have no clue what to write, which is peculiar, becuase I am feeling so much. It's finding that line of what is apporopriate to share and what is approporiate to keep, and the gap betwen is what I should say, what I should write and what I should yell to the hills, yell so loud and clear that there can be no doubt of it's emotional authenticity. Or, I can ramble on about not much at all. Not much at all....

There's a meeting today with all the comics and the owner/founder of the company for whom we work with. Should be fun. Meetings of the minds are always good things so long as people remember to bring their minds.

Did a show last night. Was fun. Samll bar. Got to the point of total isolation with people in the audience. Felt nice. Made sure to tell the comics at that point that that was comedic Nirvana. Welcome and play if you may. When all else is lost you might find that all is finally found.

My Dad think the Flames might not repeat this year. It put some fear in me. No, can't think that way. I think he's right. They will not repeat. They will win this time.

My cat is still here. I'm going to miss her. I know she's ready to go at any point, but she still likes to wake up and poke around. That I can see. That I can feel. I know she feels less than great, but still wnats to live, wants to feel love. Funny I can feel these things. I am becoming quite intuitive.

All this I'm writing seems trite and trivial compared to that which I can write. That which I can say and should. And will. I feel like a man now and this here has been the prattle of a boy. No more. Everybody - it's time to stand up and take account for (y)ourselves. The fog of ignornace has cleared and has left a landscape of things that are galring, a land of sore thumbs and nobody is pointing them out. My eyes are adjusting now. Soon, they will be clear and everything will be as it is soon going to be.

ha ha ha ha........

Monday, September 19, 2005

Another Day in Another City

It's Monday and I'm back in Calgary. Do you know how many times I have written this sentence? In the last week, I have been in Montreal, Edmonton and now Calgary. I go to Saskatchewan on the weekend. Nomadacy, if it is indeed a word, is trying yet quite the adventure.

Edmonton went really well. Not only did the shows go great, I also began to learn how to do something that to me was as foreign and difficult as I could imagine - I started to be smart with my money. Money has always found a way to burn a hole in my pocket and land itself in some cash register. I have been of the mentality that money is like a cement brick in my pocket as I swim across oceans. If I got cash, I spend it. I'm trying to change that and it's working.

Since I was a kid I was like this. Every Christmas, I would get cash from uncles, aunts and grandparents. I would quickly lament the fact that stores were closed on Christmas day. That money HAD to go! If there would have been a jewish corner store, I would have bought menoras and bagels until I was broke. The wait to Boxing Day was a tough one, and a sleep that as a kid was just as troubling as Christmas Eve. This money had to go!

It never really changed. As I got older and started working, that money found a way to get spent quickly, too. Smokes are a great way to spend money every day. Food, too. Money comes in one hand and goes out the other.

Last weekend I found myself budgeted and similarily, my quality of life unaffected by it. I always equated spending with happiness and hording with sadness. Now, I see neither facts are facts. If I want something, I'll buy it. If I want to read, I'll read. No NEED to spend randomly, but I will still buy that which I wish.

Sometimes, these entries can be filed under 'Entertaining' or 'Dull'. I know where I'm puttin this one. My mind is diffirent places and I am having a great deal of trouble getting all my senses and understandings in sync. So much new has been happening to me that it's been trying to take it all in, and not having a home of my own to sort it out in is proving a tad difficult, but worth it. I suppose this is how it's supposed to be right now. Change is a wicked force that is pointless to resist, especially when you're the one who called it on. All this thinking is pissing me off - I'm going to go sit in the sun with my cat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Back To The World

Things change. Let that be the lesson. That, and for not much longer shall this blog be a chronicle of MY life. There will be other things to write. It will become a deeper inquiry into living itself.

After having written my last entry, I never did leave that panicked headspace. I was very worried about being fired. I couldn't sleep, couldn't rest and was very anxious. I finally got out of bed at 10:00am after a night of no sleep and walked the street of Montreal. It calmed me down. Bought a Che Guevera book - figured he stuck to his guns, too. As the day went on, a feeling of pride and joy filled me. I did what I wanted to do. I followed my code. Fear aside, in a bind, I knew I had defined myself.

I went to the club that night waiting to get fired, and saw quckly it wasn't going to happen. Nobody actually noticed what I had done. Only me. Made it better. The problem at that point was that I was psyched out and unable to foucs on the new challenge - being in that room at that moment. I was a million miles away from reality AND the moment. I had no idea what to do, so I found a friendly face and said hi - I really need to talk to somebody. It was then that I met my new friend. We started talking and haven't stopped since.

I was to leave Montreal on Sunday morning and it's now Wednesday night and I am still here. My new friend and I get along rather well. I have been brought back not just to the moment, but to a place I haven't seen or been to in ages and I seem to have the same effect on her. Feel I've cut ties with alot of lies that I've been living in.

I don't really want to leave. I don't want to return to the world I knew, so I'm not going to. I will, however, go with the same flow that brought me here and that flow is in Edmonton this weekend, departing way to early tomorrow morning in the shape of an airplane. It will not be the world I knew, because the moment you change, the wolrd changes, and that is revolution. That is evolution. The world I knew is gone and I'm excited to catch a glimpse of this new one.

Go with flow - the queens of the stone age said it best. It was their CD and that song I listened to before I went to the club and talked about a stupid storm. Go with the flow - it's trying to take you somewhere. Go with the flow - I think it's flowing me back here before I've had the chance to leave.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Now What?

Just got back from the gig. I talked about the hurricane. I had to. Just had to. It was not in disrespect of anything. I just had to, I was terrible tonight. It was in my head the whole time. I felt so constrcited. I couldn't find any flow. I felt held in.

So, I talked about it. I was scared, I'll be honest. But the minute I did, I was right-in to it, Got some applause, too.

So, maybe I'll get fired, which if you look at it from one side seems like a very bad idea. But, you know what - I can look myself in the mirroe and know I am the kind of MAN who stands up for what I believe in.

I never figured it would be like this. Perhaps my path is not what I envisioned - or maybe it's exactly as it should be.

Friday, September 09, 2005

This is what I wrote listening to Queens of the Stone Age 'Songs For the Deaf'

I am at my home for the moment - a condo on Ste. Catherines in dowtown Montreal. Weird to be without a home, but it's only strange when I think of it, which isn't as often as you'd think. Figure I'm going to land somewhere. All roads are open and I can go as I please. Blah, blah, blah - no heart yet, eh?

Can't help but think of the irony of being displaced at the same time as New Orleaners. I feel like I'm one of them in away. I even recently got some free cash from bank people, too. They want it back, I'm sure, but....

I've been rerading alot about what's happening down there and it's pretty sick. Not sick in what the Hurricane did - that's how it goes, fellow earthlings - but in the reaction of people. It has never been more obvious that government in ANY capacity serves nothing other than itself. Perhaps this will be the first step towards dismantling the modern day concept of government.

If you don't understand it, please let me make it clear - They do not want us. We are in the way of them making more money. We aren't even worth a vote anymore, they can fabricate those. It is more important to the American government to develop Oil fields in the middle east than to save it's own people from certain death. Those of you who believed in the sanctity of the political system can't help but to now see it as it is. Self-serving businessmen who's chief and prime reasons of being is to hoard and pillage from all. They are the pirates, my friends. The criminals are not just running the banks, the criminals are printing the money.

Untold amounts of people died for no other reason than because nobody cared to save them. Yes, there were people who were willing. The people who have real heart and real minds, the people who see that life is a gift, not an entity you can buy or steal. But they don't hold the reins of power for some reason. The ones who do didn't care. Condoleeza Rice was shoe-shopping in New York three days after the storm ended. When your cousin was drowning, George Bush was sleeping.

If, at your job, the roof started to leak just before you were to go home, and you left rather than mopping up, you would get in trouble from your boss. That the same standards are not applied to supposed 'leaders' is sickening, and I blame everybody.

What's worse is the finger pointing for political gain. Yes, in politics, this is an opportunity to sound like a leader of men. Good time to get your picture taken with a black kid. Hell, even in Canada, our leader Martin I did a press conference in Nova Scotia declaring his allegiance to blah, blah, blah, vote for me.

Yes, somebody is to blame for this. Not Mother Nature. Storms happen. Doesn't help to build cities under sea-level beside the sea, either (listening, Amsterdam?). It is a much broader problem.

This is everybody's fault. Your fault. My fault. EVERYBODY"S FAULT. We have allowed this happen right under our eyes. We never yelled loud enough when an election was stolen. We never stopped and said 'What?' when we were told that there are terrorists running around trying to blow us up. The greatest source of fanatsy is not Hollywood or Winnipeg, it's the belief that compliance is the way. Observe no law that is isn't yours. Make no mistake - it's us against them, and they don't care how many die.

Now, here's your question, reader. Are we gonna die in the next one, or are we going to change it? The answer is yours to give.

Yup, pretty heady stuff today. I'm constipated with good ideas in my head. I'm not allowed to talk about the Hurricane onstage here. Being censored and I don't feel to good about it. I am in a moral dilemna about it. I'm also censoring myself as a result. Been thinking too much about too much.

Not tonight. No way in hell. I got a microphone tonight and I intend to use it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Calgary Flames Season Preview

Shilling out for 'The Man'. Read it if you like hockey, pass if not.


And so it begins, the much anticipated return of the Calgary Flames. After having an entire season wiped out due to a labor disruption, the green light is finally on for the defending Western Conference Champions to take the last step they were unable to take last time there was hockey played: To win the Stanley Cup.

Never has a season been met with such optimism as this upcoming campaign. The parched mouths of play-off starved hockey fans in Calgary were finally quenched with a dream run that fell just short of the ultimate goal of hoistings Lord Stanley's Mug; A goal, that to that point in Southern Alberta, was just as far-fetched as having a Liberal provincial government. The Calgary Flames managed to capture the heart and minds of it's citizens with their hard-nosed style, garnering for themselves a Western identity that fans and non-fans alike could relate with.

That was then and this is now. The onset of the most anticpiated NHL season in recent memory is upon us, and the Flames have stocked up to ensure that last season's sucess is not a one-shot deal. Armed with a new Collecive Bargaining Agreement, the Flames went shopping in the off-season, adding talent and experience that, under the old rules of hockey businees, were simply un-attainable. Joining the already formidable team is proven goal-scorer and Daryl Sutter disciple Tony Amonte; Power-play quarterback and Defensive stalwart Roman Hamrlik, as well as gritty power-forward Darren McCarty. Those, combined with last off-season acquisitions Daymond Langkow and super prosepct Dion Phanuef have Flames fans thinking that those once foolish dream of hosting a Stanley Cup Parade down 17th avenue may not be so far-fetched after all.

So, as we begin all over again, we remember that every journey has its begining, and this ones' start is training camp. There are no gurantees in hockey, no birth-rites, and should the Calgary Flames take that last step, it will be one earned, not handed to them. We in the FlameNation eagerly await their progress and will do all the encouraging our well-rested vocal-chords can offer as we prepare for the winter and the ride they will take us on.

Influenced by Oasis

It feels rather weird to be sitting here in this house again. Calgary is good, it's nice to be here again, but this time I feel a sense of restlesness. I know that I gotta go somewhere - but where? Well, one step at a time. Off to Montreal tomorrow for some comedy and adventure.

Things here are fine, I suppose. I did an open mike last night at a bar that years ago hosted a show where me any my peers that began together played weekly. Weird to be back there. Quite odd to see how the future and the past can happen in the exact same place.

It felt VERY good to be onstage these last few days. That which I was lamenting about not so long ago has ceased to be a problem and I seem to have broken through it. Turns out all you've got to do is say what you've got to say. I am going to repeat that sentiment. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SAY WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. I am of the impression that that fact pertains to many other circumstances and scenarios than comedy.

Even in my dreams now I am free. I used to be tormented by a sick sense of compliance in my dreams. I was usally working against my will, which is not to diffirent from my reality or that of many others. Not so much anymore. Just last night, I quit the baseball team after I hit a monstrous homerun. I just walked away. I recall that I was being looked for but knew I would never be found - and not becuase I would hide well, but because there were so many places to go. That's a good dream.

It's sad when people aren't alive. When they live a life that isn't theirs on their time. My old roomate in Toronto was like that. He, of the house I left abruptly, is in 'Show Business', which, by the way, is the biggest crock of shit going. Mr. Darren, as I will call him, used his professional pursuits as his sole defining value of self. Many others in 'Show Business' do the same thing. Mr. Darren never saw the real world, the one which we all live in whether we are aware of it or not. In my time there, Mr. Darren would frequently ask for a demo-tape of my comedy, would show me resumes of people he knew who had done things that apparantly I was supposed to care about. All would be fine if we were in the business world, but we weren't. We were at 'home'. When you are at home, you ask how your days were and how you feel. It isn't a place to gauge ones' professional success or ones' worth to ones' professional pursuits. Mr. Darren is a shadow of a man who may yet succeed in his professional pursuits, and I wish him no ill-will, but the void he feels that always compels him to compare 'resume' sizes will always leave him on the short end of the stick, as will all others' who fail to see that life is the event ITSELF, not the pointless pieces that build it. The pieces are to be enjoyed, but never forgotten that none would be if not for the presence of life.

I am not in show business. I am not an artist. I am not a comic or a writer or anything by definition. I'm a man who is, until the day I die, just going to say what I have to say. Wonder how much cash is in this?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Out West For The Harvest

Back to the place I'm at my happiest - on the go. Looking forward to this one. It's a tad strange to be leaving this place, though. This house has been my favorite one yet and leaving is a little disappointing. Packing up my stiff didn't have the thrill that it usually does. But, I knew moving in here that it was only until September, and my stand-up work was right there to pick me up where this house dropped me off.

I'm leaving with a good perspective. Ran into my England friends, whom last I'd seen the night before I left London. Funny how life works sometimes. It reminded me of the one thing I had forgotten - the reason I came here. To get back to England. Seeing that made this leg of my Toronto days a complete succes. I am stronger, better, leaner and meaner than when I arrived here, and all this is beniffiting (fuck spell check, that's how I spell it) my cause. Much work to do and another Toronto leg is required, but the mind remembers the goal. And then, after England.....

Still, leaving here is, for the first time, not awesome. My departures are often sprints away from a mess I care not to tend to. This is not the case this time. All is well and on the way to being even better, and getting to the West - for work, nontheless - is hardly a step in the wrong direction. Unless it is, in which case I'm fucked.

So, see stay tall, CN Tower, you asshole. Check you soon Queen street, you dirty bastard, you. And stay cool, Subway gates that I often sneak past. I'll see you in a bit, and it's up to me the capacity in which that occurs.