This is the sort of shit nobody likes to read: I was paralyzed for most of today. And it’s only Day 2 of recording my experience. Paralysis is sometimes the result of not reporting to or being accountable to anybody else. You sit there thinking empowering thoughts like, “There’s no point to this.” I believe various tricks can get you out of such a state, such as making an appointment with somebody even though you don’t have to. Sadly, I couldn’t find any interviewees through my short effort to make such an appointment. The other sting of the day (although I give myself 1 point for traveling there): I went cold to visit a business manager at one of the businesses nearby whose problems I’m ultimately looking to solve. He refused to speak with me, using words like “private” and “busy” and “no” repeatedly. He didn’t like me. I left his business with my tail between my legs. Notes to self: 1. Dress better for a cold call. 2. Get more recommendations so you can open with something like, “Hi Raymond, Bill said you might want to speak with me.”


Post title indirectly thanks to Dr. Wayne Dyer‘s Wishes Fulfilled, which I’m currently listening to in audiobook format.

I was triggered to re-launch my blog today (and re-title it — it was called “Anticonformist Everything — Dyniss the musician who complains a lot”) as per an automated email from Success.com, where it showed Darren Hardy’s own blog entry about some other successful blogs. What the heck. My story will be interesting to me at least.

I could re-cap the last few months where I focused on my Christmas website, but now I need to kick my entrepreneurship into high gear. Today, as part of The Lean Startup method, I hosted my first interview as part of doing some qualitative research to identify my customer and my customer’s problems. The interviews will be a challenging process without obvious short-term rewards, but it should have medium- and long-term benefits by not wasting time creating something nobody wants. The rest of the day was spent trying to find contact info and reaching out to a few other professionals to ask for interviews. No luck yet. Tomorrow: Ambush one manager at his work.

New song created

In Canada a few months ago we learned that the famous long-running CBC “Hockey Night In Canada” theme song would not be renewed or heard on the network again. There was much passionate public debate over this development. So CBC created a music challenge to find Canada’s next hockey anthem. Yours truly wrote and recorded an original anthem and submitted it. Semi-finalists will be decided upon in coming weeks. It was mega-fun to make a quick instrumental new song while keeping the quality high.

Breathing Deeply

Toronto buses.

The older buses sometimes leak fumes from the diesel they use into the rear half of the bus, which is where I’m often seated. The natural rejection from my lungs and a mild sense of panic means I don’t need a scientific PPM measurement to prove that the fumes aren’t healthy.

Recently on my usual route I said to myself, “I can’t take this any more, I’m going to complain to the driver.” As I exited the bus, I kindly reported the problem to him. The look in the driver’s eyes and the sound in his voice said, “I will do nothing about this.” I walked away in disappointment.

Later that week, I reported it a second time, on the same bus and route, to the same driver. But he got defensive and again left me with an impression of inaction.

So a few days ago, on another bus route, I was breathing the fumes again. They were so strong that I nearly gagged. But I had already been walking around downtown, irked by fumes and garbage smells on the street. Exhausted from my work day, knocked-down by the environment, I decided to remain where I was.

I breathed deeply, and embraced the fumes as they entered me. I was the city’s victim, relieved in some sad way to give in.

Software updated

Fought for 2 days trying to upgrade this blog from WordPress 1.5.2 to 2.1.2. It was an extremely exciting process.

February 2007 update

I started getting reams of junk comments/e-mails here a few days ago, and solving the issue isn’t my priority with the dwindling traffic. This blog is just going DOWNHILL, man! I’ve disabled comments until I care to figure it out.

Hmm, while I’m here, what’s new? I upgraded my aging G4 Mac with a new processor, that was fun. I was actually responsible and backed up a whopping 160 GB of data before I swapped processors in case something went wrong. WHY did I get a new processor when everything technically runs fine on Mac OS 10.3.9 (which I must continue using because of my old soundcard)? I’m winding up to do a new record and need to get compatibile with some new plug-ins.

December 2006 Update

Good golly, I cannot believe that I haven’t written here since February this year, and this only became apparent when a co-worker quoted me the date. Interesting that February of this year is when I received a promotion at work. I have indeed complained about not having as much time for my music since being promoted, and the interval is the proof!
I’ve spent most of my last months writing new stuff, and putting video-songs together for some of my tunes. I spent *some* of that time on the computer assembling the new songs, but it’s not going toward a new album or anything official yet. The way I look at it, I should just be playing more shows, with focus on new material and the video-songs. But in the last couple of weeks a new excitement rose in me, probably brought on by the orders that have been rolling in for my Christmas song. Speaking of which, just what am I supposed to do with the 1,200 blank CD-Rs I still have left for that darn project? At this point selling them in bulk (with custom screenprint on them further de-valuing them) would be a financial faux-pas, so I suppose at this rate I’ll have only 6 years to get through all the discs at current sell-through.
I wonder if we will we still have CDs in 6 years…

Office Activism

Up until today, not playing shows has made me feel somewhat restricted from being an activist. This is because many of my songs have activist angles to them, and I believe people can potentially begin thinking about new things when they see/hear the songs.
But recently, I’ve had some micro-results in the mega-corporation office I work in — which has given me some solace. A guy I work with today told me he purchased his first organic produce — oranges. “It was tastier!” he exclaimed. I know his purchase took place in part thanks to my blabbering about the benefits of eating organic food. We discussed the topic a little more after he told me.
When I conveyed this phenomenon to an organic-eating friend of mine she said, “I try to tell people things like that, but they frown or want to discontinue the conversation.”
I replied with sympathy, since I used to receive the same responses as well (and still might), but I’ve been learning how to “work somebody up” to my heaviest thoughts over a period of time.
At work, I have had some other micro-successes, including having our shoes people consider buying non-leather shoes for our stores (we are a retail department store chain) after my mention of it.

Here’s how I suggest trying to micro-influence others positively in the workplace.

1. Don’t mention heavy-heavy things in a topic the first time a topic comes up. In my white-collar environment where people usually only talk about the weather, offering a strong set of beliefs to anybody usually gets received poorly.
2. Make stereotyping your advantage. I am quickly stereotyped when I give somebody even relatively harmless info on a touchy subject like meat eating. I don’t begin with, “Meat is bad!” or, “You know animals suffer needlessly everywhere, right?” Such strong statements upset people and shut them down. Instead, I approach people with something like, “I enjoy being vegetarian.” Such discourse is very non-chalant, very downplayed. I might even try to steer the conversation AWAY from the topic thereafter and return to the exciting topic of weather.
3. Give your co-worker heavier info (but friendly) at the next comfortable encounter. People will often without my encouragement ask me more about the topic I had opened. This is thanks to the “friendly” stereotype of me they created. And by empathizing with the person, I can determine just how little I should say, and ALWAYS favour saying less over more.
4. Give your deepest thoughts on a topic by the 3rd or 4th encounter. Only do this if it feels right. There may of course never be such an opportunity, and some people will reject your information no matter what. But more often, people by now have an open mind and do not reject the information. Things that are unusual can be intriguing to others, and your activist perspective is unusual, right? Put yourself in a curious person’s mind and approach them with this awareness in your own mind.

Convincing somebody to buy organic oranges for the first time may not be a big deal to some people, but I’m trying to feel good about succeeding small where I think it will help the planet.

Two Corporate Years = One Dwindling Green Guy

I recently accepted a 2nd promotion at work, which means I must be doing something right there. But my artistic activities continue to dwindle as my focus shifts further toward my job. There has been increasingly less time for songwriting, recording, show bookings, or website maintenance.
When I first started at Corporation X, I had trouble adjusting to the culture. Take the average worker’s attitude toward green thinking. I could not believe how my white-collar co-workers disposed of so many coffee cups every day. 1 or 2 per worker? And not even recycle them? So I strode around with my travel mug, quipping about its benefits, and dutifully/proudly bringing it to the coffee shop myself each morning, hoping everybody would notice and catch on.
(insert loud buzzing game-show loser sound here)
I’ve always said to people, “Environment supports itself” — meaning that if you’re surrounded by people who like to walk around picking their noses, they will likely continue to pick their noses. If somebody says to a room full of nose-pickers, “Hey, you know that’s unhygienic,” they will tend to ignore the upstart because majority rules.
Here is the sad part of my story: I have joined the corporate majority in various ways, and I justify it regularly. Thanks to two years of influence, I now buy my tea from the coffee shop in disposable cups. I do recycle the carboard body of the cup, but the plastic top — which I at first out of guilt carried regularly to the plastic recycler — now gets thrown in the garbage.
How can this change of attitute be?
My hypothesis:
1. Desire to earn money through stable employment;
2. Willingness to join corporate environment;
3. Subsequent desire to increase work output to increase rate of earning money;
4. Loss of personal time as a result.
I believe that it is the shortage of time that has ultimately sucked me into the herd mentality.
There is an expression that says, “time is money”, which I am living now, as do most people I work with. You can never do “enough” work in the sort of job I’m now in. Anything that distracts you from your work is a bad thing.
In the good old days after university when I had erratic/fewer hours producing audio, I had the time to be the Green Guy I wanted to be. Hey, I could wash that travel mug! I could make that extra walk to the recycler! I could ride my bicycle instead of getting on a motorized vehicle, or I could participate in more pro-environment activities like clean-ups or marches, and I could have more personal time to do creative things.
My focus on money has sucked me into the part of society I always wanted to avoid. I even catch myself looking at people like the “old” me with a bit of, “Oh, grow up”. Unbelievable! I don’t believe I have only grown up.
So — I still want to follow point (1.), even after my personal debts have been eliminated. But I’m not willing to work for peanuts just to do something eco-friendly, and I’m not willing to work so hard that I can’t have the extra time to be the responsible creature I want to be.
Oh Green Guy, how will I revive you?

SHOW – Green Party Rhino Bar & Grill

(back-dated to night of show)
I was surprised and pleased that the Rhino Bar & Grill donated a large upstairs space to the Green Party cause, specifically for Canadian Federal Green Party hopeful Mark O’Brien. In addition to being a good speaker, he danced, he sang, and he played live Andean folk music as well! His band of 7 was decent and musically honest. The massive pan pipes blew me away — no pun intended.
As for my own performance, I performed a new grand total of 6 slide-show songs. They went on basically without a hitch. I noticed several people puzzled with my unorthodox presentation, including Provincial Green Frank de Jong, who was a very pleasant fellow and conveyed the usual good qualities of a leader.
I chatted with various other people there, including Alex, Andrew, Sam, Gary, and others. There were quite a few South Americans at this show, definitely due to Mark O’Brien’s ties to the band and his family. Those of us Canadian-born would not have hit the dancefloor were it not for their easy dancing, especially this wee little fellow (Mark’s son I think) whose bundled energy kept him running and dancing around all night. Pretty cute.
Anyway — good show, good times — good luck to the Greens on Canada’s Jan 23 election.