Archive for July, 2009

Post #48: Selfless Art

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Dear Alice,

I wish I knew who George Meanwell is/was referring to in his songs. I don’t know if it’s his writing I admire or his muse. Funny how that is. I’m listening to “Every Time” on repeat, but that’s not the only song of his I can and do listen to on repeat, given the chance.

Do I need to write songs? No, but music’s a funny thing like that. You don’t fall in love with your own songs… at least, not in the same way that you fall in love with someone else’s. You might feel pride or thankfulness, but never love or admiration. That’s what’s selfless about art. You fight for that touch of cleverness to take your listener off guard, (in a good way!) You smooth and refine your creation until its easy enough to swallow. I accept that some people create art for themselves, or simply as a form of release, but it’s much too intimate to me to be taken so lightly.

I was thinking about this stuff tonight. I went to the Red Room for the sweet soup + sandwich deal for $6. I blocked out the loud punk music they were playing with my own iPod music, and I brought two books to read, but I was only able to tackle one: “I Am A Strange Loop”. It’s a book trying to answer the questions of “Who Am I?” and “What is a soul?” etc. It basically argues for reductionism - that we’re the sum of our parts, and from that emerges the illusion of the self - but the writing is filled with unnecessary analogies and fluffy banter. Anyway, with all this stimulus, I revised a few thoughts on how the world works, and reconciled a few more internal differences, including whether I should become a musician or a politician.

Let’s not get into that publically, because my conclusions aren’t immune to major renovations. Music will always be my life, while politics are in every facet of life.

Man, I’m loving this George Meanwell CD. He knows his chord progressions. Beautiful. I’ll bring over the CD sometime and let you have a listen.


Post #47: No big deal.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Dear Alice,

It’s 7:15pm on Friday, and I’m at work. No big deal. I acutally stayed back to move a few projects forward. What for? To make room for the other projects I took on. Why did I take them on? Because I have skewed expectations of myself. *shrugs* I remember when my ex- used to think that I stayed at work because I was trying to avoid her, but I don’t think she had ever worked in an environment where your reputation precedes you.

This weekend’s full. Three birthdays to celebrate, plus a Saturday at Circa and an Ultimate Frisbee game on Sunday. I hope my body can handle it! I’m sure it can, give or take a few years off my life. No big deal.


Post #46: What Should I Do With My Life?

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Dear Alice,

I’m having trouble writing, so instead, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. There’s a book called “What Should I Do With My Life” which has 50 stories of real people and their struggles with figuring this stuff out for themselves. What’s nice is that, with 50 people to relate to, you’re bound to find a few similarities in their stories and your own.

The mesage I’m getting out of it is to trust your passion to guide you to your rightful place in life. You’ll inevitably bump and grind and twist and turn in life, until you find the groove that is yours to follow. Even more important was the notion that people who do find this groove rarely do so consciously. Usually, it takes an external factor which lights the fire - be it health issues, or uncanny coincidences popping out of the ether.

It’s 90% practice and 10% luck. Then again, you can make your own luck, if you’re smart about it. I started doing some writing in the subway, and the girl next to me decided to pull out her little notebook and do the same. After much deliberation, a simple question led to a contact with a band looking for members. We’ll see where that leads to. Most likely to nowhere, in terms of music, but that’s not the point. Open doors are potential for anything.

I’ve got to call my Dad now. I haven’t spoken to him it a while, so I hope it’s not too awkward.

Wish me luck,

Post #45: Nick, Dave, John

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Dear Alice,

I’m sorry you couldn’t make it to the show. The good news is that my friend, Sandeep, came out and recorded most of it on his fancy schmancy camcorder. The bad news is that I don’t know which ones I’m going to post, as I haven’t seen any of the videos.

The show started at 8:30 pm, or at least that’s what I told everyone. I meant it when I said it, but it was never to happen. Around 7:30pm, I was still at work, finishing up The Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever. The entire time, I knew that I had a show to catch, but I just had to finish the thing! I got the Congratulations e-mail response, and I charged out the door. (Would you believe that I wasn’t the last one out the door on a Friday?)

When I arrived, there was a Fringe lady at the entrance. Weird. She didn’t ask me to pay for anything, so I walked in. I didn’t see anything on the blackboard wall of the Free Times with my name in it. It said, “Open Mic” still, from Monday. Weird. When I asked the waitress about it, she said that there was a Fringe show going until about 8:30 pm. Very weird.

No, there’s no story about that. The Fringe show ended, Nick, John and I set up the stage, and by the time I started my first song, there were four people left. However, one of those four people got on Facebook and sent me a message! “I’m really happy to have caught your show last night after the Fringe performance. You and your friends are very talented.”

Thank goodness for the message, for I was feeling rather off-kilter after my unrehearsed set. There’s a wonderful TED talk about the fragility of artists. You should see it. It makes me want a genius.

TED talk: Elizabeth Gilbert on Genius

I was really happy to see Nick and John play. Nick has great banter. It nearly rivals the songs themselves. I like performing with artists whom I can learn something from, and they’re a good example of how a duo works. We met up on the Tuesday, and they were up for accompanying me on a few of my songs, including “Stop and Smell the Roses”, which was Nick’s tune in the first place.

[There was an open mic, which basically was a bunch of us (including Nick's friend, Jim, my friend, Adam, and a Fringe director, Erika) playing whatever songs we knew. "Hmm.. I don't remember the second verse to this song." It was fun and relaxing. The fourth wall was toppled over, and we had a tea party on top of it.]

I should write more, but I actually went on a tangent, while writing this, and then deleted it. I’ve got ten minutes to get ready and leave for Yorkdale Mall. My sister, bro-in-law and I are going clothing shopping, which is also an excuse to catch up on life in general. Nice.

Let me know what you think about the TED talk. I really liked it, and I was listening to it while I was typing this post up.


Post #44: Ultimate Deuces

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Dear Alice,

So, I’ve dropped my rock climbing membership. Ultimate Frisbee has taken over my summer and the rock climbing and yoga have both gone out the window. I’m more upset about having gone AWOL on yoga than on rock climbing because I feel like there’s more to gain from the former. I’m pretty satisfied with my tree climbing abilities, whereas sitting comfortably on a grassy knoll is quite the challenge! I’m going to try and fit yoga back into my life.

Our Ultimate Frisbee team is called the Flying Deuces. (Deu-what?) We’re mostly made up of U of T fencers and their friends. We joined the intermediate league, believing that the Toronto SSC website was accurate in its descriptions of the leagues. After losing every game, save the one we defaulted a victory, we dropped to the recreational league, in which the website claims that “Almost no players will have experience at an organized level of the sport…”. Untrue!

However, Ultimate Frisbee isn’t about victory! It’s all about team spirit, and my team has spirit! We have a friendly practice every week, we have an MVP cape rewarded at every game, and for a five-week stint, we would close game day with a dip in a rooftop hot tub! Deu-ces!

I must warn that the sport can get violent. One friend had his nose smashed at point blank range of another player’s toss. He broke not only the cartilage but the bone itself in the nose. In another game, I received a beautiful slice beneath my eye when a defender tried to swat the frisbee out of the air before I could catch it. His swat succeeded, and resulted in my thumb jabbing me in the eye. Ever since then, my right eye won’t stop twitching that twitch you get when you haven’t been sleeping enough.

Or maybe I haven’t been sleeping enough. Not sure.

If you’re coming to the next game, the team would love you if you brought orange slices.

David =B~)