All entries in the personal category

Workin’ for a Livin’

Today I started my first shift at a new job. Finally, the bills we be paid. I can’t say it’s the job of my dreams, but it’s a necessity. I’m driving a van around for a catering company. I’ll be spending most of my time loading and unloading it for local events that we’ll cater, as well as stocking it with things like utensils and coolers to also be used where the food will be. The only rough thing I encountered during my first day was the kitchen. As I entered the kitchen (where I will often be), I was bombarded by the sight and smell of many freshly dismembered chickens. I was mildly disturbed and uneasy. I’m not used to seeing that.
How brilliant it would have been for me on my first day to say, “(Ahem) Um…you know, I’m vegetarian, and I don’t really approve of all of these dismembered chickens lying around. There are other alternatives, you know?”
The prompt reply might have been something like, “Aha. Let’s think about that for a moment. Hmm. OK. You’re FIRED!”
But the boss and the owner seem like good fellas — they’ve been working the business for about 20 years. A small crew cooks in the kitchen, and there’s an office assistant. That’s it. Nice little biz. As my mom said, “You can think about your music while you’re driving around!” Indeed, that will be a major benefit.

Busy in the City

After a week of unpacking boxes here I’m still unpacking boxes. I’m trying also to set up my little studio in the basement, but there are problems — the walls are paper thin — I can hear a house mate pretty easily in the next apartment. All the pipes down here hiss and squeak. It’s not that the pipes are old or anything, just that they’re shuffling the house’s fluids around a lot. There are 5 apartments in this one house! I’m feeling shy about making too much noise in order to not disturb the house mates, which doesn’t make for confident recording. Luckily, my album is near completion and not just getting started. But the basement itself is kinda nice. I’m also seated better between my speakers and the room itself sounds nicer than my last room.
In the last week, I played squash with my old studio buddy Joao Carvalho, met with the owner of Long & McQuade‘s Burlington store about starting up a new audio class for them, talked with and e-mailed lots of old friends as they kindly welcomed me back to Toronto, and looked for regular work as well. It’s quite a jump start from the last few months of my life. I even landed a tiny gig for tonight. Busy week!

Howdy Toronto

Ah, finally. Here I am in Toronto. What insanity it was, moving from one city to another with a 7-hour truck rental (no companies rent for a full day any more on weekends so they can make more money). My girlfriend’s family was late to help load, and she accidentally mowed down our car with the rental truck (nobody was hurt, but our car bumper was destroyed), and we had to dump all of our belongings in a mad frenzy to return the truck on time in the alleyway behind the house. Then we didn’t have space to walk anywhere. There are still boxes everywhere. Yikes! Meanwhile, I’m job hunting again. I’m way over-qualified for all the “dumb” jobs. Damn! I watched Dr.Phil yesterday. There was a dude who had been looking for work for 15 months, and refused to take a “dumb” job because he was earning 100k before. Well, I wasn’t earning THAT much, but as I said to my friend Mike today, now hunting for “dumb” jobs definitely feels like I’m stepping backwards. I want to get back into my music (finishing the album is pretty close), but reality must be tackled first.

Hallowe’en Hamilton

This’ll be my last entry for at least a week until I’m settled into my new pad. (Switching internet providers, etc.) I spent 3 days commuting to Toronto to clean my new place and run errands. My girlfriend can’t stand chemicals, so I cleaned with nothing more than water, vinegar, and baking soda. Yeah, the place is clean now. We’ve pitched as much crap as we could before we move in so we can fit into this smaller and yet more expensive apartment.
Still no job (unbelievable), but whatever. Of course Bell disconnected our phone a day too early. I did some bass recording with Bobby Hebert during the week. The band I’m playing with is now called “The Fortunates”. I like that name! We’re rehearsing more regularly, which sure helps. I laughed a lot during our rehearsal last night — just one of those funny, care-free, mistake-ridden rehearsals.
As my girlfriend was explaining to me that she was worried about crime in Toronto, some dude egged our car windshield pretty hard while we were driving here in Hamilton last night. I screeched the car to a halt, but everything was fine. It just goes to show, there are always people who aren’t looking out for your best interests in ANY town.
For my last nite here, I’m going to bike in the pro-environment Critical Mass ride for one last time. I’ll be wearing a witch’s hat! Oooooo!

A new friend and job-hunt comments

I met with Hamilton musician / man-about-town Bobby Hebert here a few days ago. I got to know him when I did this talent hunt thing some months ago. What a positive fellow! We hung out for a few hours, played each other our recordings, and ate vegetarian food from he and his wife’s Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. Deee-licious, it was. Bobby will probably be playing some bass on one of the new songs I’m working on before I leave for Toronto.
Tomorrow I go visit a temp agency I used to work for in order to try and land some work. Apparently they want to re-test me after my 3 year hiatus — as if I’ve forgotten how to type or something. That should take a half-day in itself.
What an ego-drain this whole work search thing has been these past months. It really does make you question who the hell you are, and what the hell you’re doing with your life. I suppose that’s what you get after selling your soul to rock ‘n roll. I have been under-qualified or over-qualified for everything out there. All of my similarly-aged friends have done the responsible thing and found responsible jobs for responsible futures. But so many of them also complain of not making enough money, and endlessly compare themselves to their big-buck-earning comrades like they’re in a competition. I have my fingers crossed for a superb opportunity I applied for at U of T coordinating volunteers for all the things I’m into: social justice, environment, and other minority movements. THAT would be something — a day job with a real purpose!

Hamilton Music Scene

Aha, over a week since I wrote. Well, in terms of shows, I played as part of the Hamilton Music Scene Festival this weekend. There were lots of people about, since it was also the last weekend of the 2003 World Cup Bike Races here. My show was fun. Had my friend Mike play with me on some songs, and I played with my CD player for a few songs. No sound person showed up. I had to do the sound for me and the two other acts. I also met a drummer I hadn’t seen in years. I appeared on CFMU on Friday night with Ric Taylor to promote the show. Ric had researched me through this site and had a lot of poignant questions which were unexpected… …A sign of a good interview. He invited me to return there around Christmas to promote Hey Michael.
My girlfriend and I got that apartment in Toronto for Nov.1st. We’ve already got 20 boxes of stuff together. I’m job hunting 8 hours a day, including weekends right now. Great cover letters, decent resumes. It’s rather frustrating. Too bad I’ve already used up my “I know people in Toronto” resources to land me work. However, for the record, I’m actually quite sad about leaving Hamilton here! I got to know some people, the community, the sights, etc. I felt I could handle a city of this size with ease. I lived here for one year.

Looking 4 Work

I am now spending a lot of time looking for new work in Toronto. I might end up moving there. The need for cash is strong, and the draw of the big city is sucking me in.


Ooo, I already feel like I’m not keeping up with my blog. It looks like I’m going to move back to Toronto after living in nearby Hamilton for a full year. This means I will have to get some new work with decent income to pay the higher rent. How shall I do that? Hmm…a new job in the music industry? Har, har. I learned that it’s virtually impossible to just walk into a good job in the music industry, regardless of experience. You usually have to start at the bottom and work your way up. I might end up working some dumb job. Such a senseless waste of talent! La dee da, we shall see.
Word on the street is I might play the Ontario Green Party election night party on Oct. 2. We’ll see about that, too. It’s amazing how much effort I’m putting into things to make them happen. Offering to play only one song (specifically written for the Green Party) at their election-night party for FREE involved some research, almost a dozen calls, messages, and various e-mails, and even then I don’t know what’s going to happen. Mind you, the Greens are super-busy now, but this is pretty common everywhere.

My First Entry

Welcome to my first blog entry. Seeing that the blog has become somewhat of a trendy thing to do on the internet, and considering I’ve wasted a lot of time meandering through other people’s lives this way, I thought it would be a neat idea to get my own going. This isn’t the first diary I’ve ever kept — I used to keep a diary in a laptop before the laptop was stolen. It was super-detailed and pretty interesting. It was something, however, that I was too shy to share with anyone — lots of private things and thoughts. I suppose that’s why the classic little diaries came with keys (which you could easily pick, though) to keep prying eyes away.
How private shall THIS diary now become? Nowadays, I always say, “I don’t have anything to hide”, which I believe to a great extent. The problem, however, is that what is on your mind can always hurt other people. The reality of raw thought has a blinding and painful quality to it. We have to filter what comes out of our minds and mouths to protect other beings’ feelings. Self-censorship. Sometimes people even tend to take what you say and can possibly hurt you with your own thoughts by criticizing them! Hmm…