Winter in February?

I woke up to a blanket of snow across the city this morning. Plow trucks rolled past on Main Street and I feel as though it’s Christmas again. When I first moved to Vancouver from Alberta I made a point of going camping in late February when it started warming up again. In Alberta you have to wait until June to get reasonable camping in but on the West Coast you can generally camp year round although December and January are usually too wet and cold for staying outdoors overnight.

I haven’t camped in Feb in a few years but this is the first time I remember it being too snowy for camping. Maybe March will bring a good weekend to go over the water to Rathtrevor for a night or two.

Yesterday Sharon and I wandered into Performance Works at Granville Island to see a band called The Crackling who are fronted by Dan Mangan’s drummer Kenton Loewen. Gord Grdina, who also plays guitar in Dan Mangan’s band, adds his guitar genius to the band too. I first saw them open for Dan Mangan last year and it was cool to see them again. Kenton’s a pretty funny guy on stage with his growling voice and dry humor.

Today we’re going to see another Gord Grdina band called East Van Strings at Performance Works, again at 12:30.

First, I think we’re going to take a little walk in the snow since it’s such a rare sight for us.

I’d Better Develop a Taste For Cigars

I don’t travel very often. At least, I rarely leave BC unless I’m making a quick trip over the border to Seattle to see a band. The only time I’ve left North America was in 2003 to go see some relatives and friends in Germany. So when our friends decided it was time for a group trip to Cuba in May to celebrate Shan’s 30th birthday I jumped right in! I’ve officially booked my tickets this evening. Now I need to find a Lonely Planet guide and maybe learn a few words of Spanish.

My Grandfather used to say that you only needed to know how to ask where the washroom was and how to order a beer and you’d be fine. Seems like good advice.

?Donde esta el cuarto de bano?

Quiero dos cervezas por favor

I’m all set!

Wailin’ Waller and the House Rockers

My old friend Clint, who I’ve known since prison high school, made the trip in from Nelson to hang out with Dave and I for the weekend. It was a lot of fun. Friday I whipped up a pizza to enjoy before we met up with friends at The Ayden Gallery in Tinseltown where they were having some sort of anniversary party. Cool artwork. Surreal, which is the way I think all art should be. That was followed with beers at Reilly’s pad and then sleep.

Saturday we wandered around the convention center and then picked up Sharon to go to Squamish where Dave had cooked up a big tasty dinner for everyone. Salmon and some other kind of white fish (I am no fish expert so I don’t know what it was, except delicious).

I abandoned Clint in Squamish for Sunday while I got together with Reilly and a few of the other people that belong to our building’s photo studio to go out and shoot around Gastown with a stack of film cameras. Reilly gave us a rundown on “breaking film” which means to use or develop film in ways it wasn’t intended for creative effects. Then we went off and shot stuff! I had my Dad’s old Minolta film camera that he’s owned since we lived in Summerland in the 80’s. A new battery at London Drugs and it was good to go.

Reilly posted some photos of us on the photo studio website if anyone wants to see what I look like trying to shoot on a manual film camera for the first time.

Clint rolled back into town, we hit the Black Frog for a bite to eat and a last beer, and then he was off in the morning.

When the Going Gets Dark – Quasi

Sharon said I was like a kid at Christmas when we saw Quasi last night at the Rickshaw Theatre. They were opening for Sebadoh so we got in early and were right up front with a handful of rabid Quasi fans who were equally excited to be seeing them. We were rewarded with a rocking set with Sam (the singer/guitarist) giving us his best goofy poses and loads of squealing guitar feedback. Halfway through Sam switched to his keyboard and the band dug out a batch of songs from their many past albums. Janet, as always, thundered on her drum kit which had a see-through cutout of the band’s name and Christmas lights stuffed inside to illuminate it. One day I want to do that to my drums.

I picked up a shirt and a couple of records from Janet at the merch table after the show. We chatted briefly and I asked her about the album that’s been┬árumored┬áto be coming out of the new band she’s in with Carrie Brownstein called Wild Flag. Janet said it’d be appearing in August and that they’re planning a 7″ for Record Store Day in April. I really need to buy a turntable.

So yes, I was very, very happy last night and the buzz is still making me smile this morning. I love Quasi :)

Janet Weiss