Winnipeg, Noise, and the Canucks Are Canada’s Only Hope!?

Winnipeg

Theresa, my sister, arrived in town last weekend to collect her and her husband’s stuff which landed in Vancouver after being shipped over on a container from Dubai. We got to hang out all weekend, which was nice, and then on Monday, with the help of Dave, she loaded everything up on her Ford Ranger for the drive out to Winnipeg. Dave said it was about as much as the truck could carry and they used several tarps and 200′ of rope to tie the whole load down! Then they took a test drive up to Horseshoe Bay, adjusted a few of the ropes, taped down some loose tarp corners, and she went on her way. I got word that she made it back alright and now has a mountain of stuff to unpack and sort out.

This was probably the last time I’ll see her in Vancouver for quite some time but I’m planning on going to Winnipeg in the next couple of years to check it out. I’d like to spend a few days exploring the culture out there and I’m going to try and tie it in with a show happening there. Maybe the Weakerthans will do another performance at the Burton Cummings Theatre.

She even brought me cookies from The Tall Grass Prairie Bakery! They were some of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. The bakery is obsessive about quality ingredients to the point that they mill their own flour. So I need to go there and sample more of their goods.

Noise

Reilly and I jammed downstairs on Thursday night sans singer since Shan’s enjoying Thailand where Josh’s brother is getting married. Reilly and I have occasionally been making noise under the guise of making music in the jamspace downstairs. We have one song which is about greasy bar hookups. We started writing another one and we had an idea about another greasy hookup gone wrong. Then this morning I had a flash of inspiration about another song featuring greasy people hooking up at the bar and I’m hoping this leads to a third song!

If anyone’s wondering how sleazy people hook up at bars then consider our music your formal education minus the STDs.

The Canucks Are Canada’s Only Hope!?

Montreal and Ottawa are facing elimination which leaves Canada’s playoff hopes pinned on the Canucks. Pandemonium! Dogs and cats living together! When I first moved to Vancouver I tried to root for the Canucks but I found they would fizzle out in the playoffs every season. So I formally said, “stuff it” to the Canucks and trumpeted my love of the Calgary Flames to all who would listen. I was born in Calgary so the Flames will always be my #1 despite this season’s poor showing.

But the Canucks!? Art Ross trophy for Sedin and Luongo taking Canada to gold at the Olympics! It seems too good to be true. I’ll believe it when I see them enter the 3rd round. Long way to go until then.

Matt Anderson and Wil!

Last Thursday Sharon and I went to the St. James Hall in Kitsilano to see Matt Anderson’s show. Sharon was excited about this dude named “Wil” who was opening. I’d never heard of him (aside from her mentioning his name) and was surprised at how good he was! Near the end he was getting so intense that he blew out a guitar string, which he ripped off and kept rocking out. I discovered later that his website is at ibreakstrings.com. Fitting.

Matt Anderson is this huge (physically — he’s a big dude!) blues singer from New Brunswick that we were lucky enough to see at the Atlantic Canada House during the Olympics. This time he was doing a solo show and I wasn’t sure it was going to measure up to the last performance he did with a small band. Thankfully, I was wrong! He’s funny, and pokes fun at himself with songs about breaking up with ex-girlfriends and jokes about his size.

I’ve got a ticket to Folk Fest this year and I hope he makes an appearance. Dude’s one singer I don’t want to miss.

Spoon!

Last weekend Sharon and I rolled over to the Orpheum with Mark and Melanie to see Spoon perform. Spoon first came to my attention in 2005 after Gimme Fiction was released. There was one song that I liked but the rest never caught me until recently when I began listening to them again. Now I think they’re “the best band ever!” (I say this about a different band every week so don’t take my proclamations too seriously)  That album in particular is huge for me and I kick myself remembering passing up the opportunity to see them when they played smaller club shows.

When the show was announced I nearly peed myself and made sure I was on Ticketmaster’s website to buy tickets at precisely 10am when they went on sale. What I didn’t realize at the time is the opening band was going to be the night’s highlight.

Deerhunter opened and I quite liked their sound. After a few songs, the singer jumped down into the front aisle and started rocking out his guitar. One girl jumped in beside him to bounce around and this triggered an avalanche of people piling in front of the stage to dance. When the guitar solo was over everybody stayed in front and kept the energy up for the rest of Deerhunter’s performance, which continued to be awesome.

Spoon was a more muted affair and I enjoyed their show but found myself nodding off halfway through when they got into some of the slower stuff. It was cool to hear my favorite Spoon songs live though. The problem with Sunday night shows is I have to be up early to run on Monday morning and don’t usually have much energy for late nights. On the way home I was talking to Mark and crashed right into one of the new low-level benches they’ve installed on Granville Street. I shoulda had more than one beer that night. Then there would have been an less-embarrassing explanation than sheer clumsiness. Doh!

It’s Been a Quiet Week

I wrote this a couple of weekends ago and am finally pushing the “publish” button. I’m going to attempt to write up more recent events in the next few days. It’s been busy. Without further ado:

This past week has been chill. Last night was the first night I spent at home for the whole week since Sharon and I have been spending our evenings at her place. She’s up on Main Street and it’s a nicer area to go for runs in. I don’t pass people shooting up in doorways in East Van nor do I cross paths with hookers stumbling home after their evening shift. Not to worry, those things don’t happen regularly, but they have happened.

Speaking of running, this past week I completed the Couch to 5k program so I’m consistently running 30 minutes, three times a week. I put two gym workouts in between and I’ve got a solid week of activity! I feel great and it’s nice to have the cardio worked into my routine. I’ll be ready for the Grouse Grind when it opens up in a couple of months.

Upping the level of activity has left me a little tired at nights. I’ve found the past couple of weeks I’m wiped in the evenings and I end up going to bed early and sleeping like a bear in hibernation. So it means I haven’t done a whole lot and I feel like I’ve retreated from the world. Between people visiting, my new activity level, and spending as much time as I can in the romantic bubble of a new relationship, I’ve been a little disconnected from everybody I normally hang out with.

All’s been quiet on the music front the last couple of weeks too. We’ve all been busy so meeting up for jamming has been tough. With everything going on in my life I’ve let drumming slide for the past month and it was only Thursday night that I picked up the sticks for 15 minutes and banged around. I am planning to work drumming back into my routine, starting this weekend. With my practice schedule back I’ll have everything in place and will feel like I’m accomplishing the things I want to do.

Cooking is something I’ve begun to get into again. Last night my friend Dave, who I’ve known since high school, and his girlfriend Amelia came over for a BBQ. Dave’s taking a Home Inspectors course over at Ashton College downtown and has just moved into a new place near Denman Street. I’m looking forward to spending time with him now that he’s close. We’ve only managed to get together once or twice a year since he moved out to Tofino some years back.

But back to cooking! I used to eat out quite a bit and it would cost me a small pile of cash each month. I’ve scaled that right back and now I barely go out at all. Feels good to be making my own stuff again. It’s something I did more of before I moved to Vancouver 10 years ago and now it feels like it’s time to jump back in. I’ve mostly been focused on getting my dough figured out and I’ve made a few pizzas and some buns. They’ve turned out ok so far, but it’ll take some time before I get things dialed in.