Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday Memories

Monday nights are unusual.  I never know what will come.

I’m home (aka “not sailing”), Wife is working.  It’s my “me night.”  I texted a friend that lives nearby, to see if her and her boyfriend wanted to meet up for dinner, but they were having some time alone.

I got home, and made an early dinner.  I finished watching Season 3 of Breaking Bad.  I tried watching ‘Super 8’, but had to shut it off 30 minutes before it ended.  The script and acting were insufferable.
Then I went downstairs, took the doors off our washer and dryer, realigning the hinges to the other sides.  Wife asked me to do this months ago, and I only just remembered.

Then I spent over an hour learning Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren” and working out my own arrangement of it. 

I went up to bed, turned on “Mighty Ships” on the Discovery Channel, and fell asleep waiting for Wife to get home.

Today I feel great, and I think it’s partly because Monday night was so good.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Last Night

Yesterday afternoon, my band played a fun show.  Afterwards, I went to a nearby bar with a friend.  I forgot to eat, so I was running on the can of soup that I had for lunch.

I don’t remember a lot of last night.  Apparently I was a jerk to Wife and insulted her family, and I smoked a couple of cigarettes.  I was a nasty drunk, and it worries me.  Mostly because I really like Wife's family, so I really didn't mean what I said (unlike the usual "drunk blabs the truth" syndrome).

Today I feel like crap, both physically and emotionally.

[edit]:  More memories are coming back.  One of those cigarettes was actually a joint, but I didn't realize it until I inhaled.  That might explain my unpleasant state.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Friday blog.

Do I comment on how much damage Mitt Romney can do outside the United States?  That by insulting England (a major US partner overseas), the Brits don't think 'what a fool' nearly as often as 'bloody yanks'!  Right or wrong, US politicians are usually how the rest of us see America.  And it is not a good image.

Do I talk about how fun it was to learn Prince's "Kiss" on the ukelele last night while watching Breaking Bad?  It really was.

Do I address the weird dream I had last night?  One of my sailboat-racing team got into an argument with me, so I whipped it out and peed on the back of his head.  I don't have any issues with this guy, and urination isn't really one of my standard techniques.

Do I discuss my plans for the weekend?  Spending Saturday morning with Wife, then staying home and studying all afternoon and evening.  Then playing an afternoon show on Sunday.

Do I just keep it quick and head to the pub for an early lunch today?

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Morning Drunk

I stayed late at the club last night, trying to wait out the rainstorm before biking home.

I drank beer while I waited.

I don't know what time I got home, but I'm still a little bit drunk.

This will be a looooooong day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All Thumbs

My hand’s a bit sore.
I nearly had my thumb ripped off at the base last night.  I was undoing a line that was attached to one of the sails.  I’ve been taught that this is a dangerous move, but didn’t think of it at the time.  I stuck my hand into the mess of rope to untangle the mess, and as soon as I thought “oh, this is a bad idea” I felt the line tension around my thumb.  I instinctively yanked my hand away, and with milliseconds to spare.  A huge gust of wind came along (winds were 20km/h gusting to 50km/hr) and jerked the sail and ropes with tremendous pressure.

I wouldn’t have had time to consciously think of removing my hand from the danger zone.  I was just VERY lucky that I realized the danger right before it happened.

Complacency on a sailboat can be a very dangerous thing.  Wind and waves have much more power behind them than human beings can withstand, and we often forget that.  I got a hell of a wake-up call.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Coulda Been A Drifter

As you know, last year I started sailing.  This has become a time-intensive obsession, covering at least 3 nights per week, from April to October.  That’s not counting the courses, studying, reading, that happens outside of that 7-month sailing season.  Really, it’s all I ever want to do.  Every day, every weekend: sail, sail, sail.

The other day, I was wondering how my life would be different if I’d discovered this sport 20 years ago.
20 years ago I was living in Hometown and anxious to get out.  I was living with an awful woman who I was trying to break up with (every time I tried, she threatened to kill herself.  I had to finally tell her “do what you’re going to do.”).  I had a crappy full-time job making minimum wage on the midnight shift at a gas station.  I had no money, 3 or 4 close loyal friends, and a family that loved me but we couldn’t live together.

20 years later I’m nearly 40.  I live in a great city and love it here 6 months of the year.  Non-sailing season sucks, it’s too cold.  I’m living with an amazing wife who I am trying to retain for the rest of our lives.  I have a crappy full-time job making good wage during the sunlight.  I have almost no money, 6 or 7 close loyal friends, and a family that loves me but we can’t live together.

I have built my life for me.  I love Wife and couldn’t bear to work away from her for extended periods, the type of thing you’d need to do with a maritime career. 

But if I’d discovered sailing in 1992, things could have been very different.  I lived in a town that actually has a decent yachting community where I could have learned the basics.  I could have gotten a formal education after that, obtaining all the Yacht-master and Captain’s licensing (etc etc etc) probably by the time I was 30.  I could have then taken a low-paying job delivering and sailing yachts around the world.  Avoiding cold winters, living on the sea.  Literally a Drifter I suppose, but an employed one.  I could have made a life around this surprise fascination.

I do feel like there’s too much of a cost to do it now.  I’d have to spend far too much time away from Wife, I’d have to really dig into professional-grade sailing courses for any chance at a low-paying-but-pleasant job, I’d have to give up the “treats” in my life – the holidays, the expensive clothes, the guitars…  And I’d probably be pushing 50 years old before I could actually be qualified for a proper position.

I don’t regret my life - in any other path I’d have not met Wife.  And any life with her is better than any life without her.  But one never knows what one misses out on – I’d probably not have known what life would be like with her, so I’d probably not feel anything lacking.

I wonder…

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Recap

Wow, what a weekend.

Friday night had huge waves and just enough wind to plow through them.  LOADS of fun.  I had 2 “beginner” sailors on board.  They were a bit hesitant at first, but seemed to really enjoy themselves once they acclimated.

Saturday and Sunday were spent on an ‘overnight race’.  We didn’t actually sail all night though; we raced to another marina all day, opened our beer as we hit the dock, BBQ’d dinner, and hit a local pub until closing.  The end of the night involved my climbing on the sailboat’s boom to get to the hammock I’d rigged up the mast.  Woke up Sunday morning after a relaxing fresh-air sleep.  I didn’t want to climb down, but bathroom and food were the notifications being sent from my torso.  Breakfast was prepared by the hosting marina, so we relaxed and gorged on dead pig, potatoes and eggs, showered, and then headed out back on the water for another day on board.

We spent so much time sailing that I was “land sick” last night.  That’s when a sailor walks like he’s drunk because he’s used to anticipating the rolling swells underfoot.

The only casualty for the weekend was my sleeping bag.  Unloading on the dock last night, it rolled off the pier and into the sludgey marina water.  If it had been out in the clean lake, I’d have simply hung it up to dry.  Unfortunately the marina water has a sheen of oil over it, and is smelly and disgusting.  I dropped the cheap sleeping bag into a nearby garbage bin.
I was surprised to see a homeless man pull it from the bin a few minutes later.  It made me feel better though – it’s not toxic, it’s just not clean enough for my pampered ass.  I’d rather spend another $40 on a cheap replacement. But for him, it’s an integral part of his home(lessness).

Then I headed home and tried to stay awake long enough to cook my pizza.  What a weekend, I want to do that ALL the time.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Taxi vs Dickey vs 911

Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to blog yesterday.  I was tired from being up late Wednesday night thanks to the Toronto Police Services.

Taxis in Toronto have a little yellow light on the back, next to a sticker that says "Call 911 if this is flashing."  It's a discreet panic button for when they get robbed or assaulted.
I was biking home last night, and a taxi went through an intersection with its light flashing.  So I called 911, saying "a taxi just went past me going east on Queen St with its "panic light" flashing.  I saw it at Queen & Sherbourne streets, and it's probably at Parliament St by now.  It's a red/yellow taxi, Co-op I believe, plate number ****."  I gave a few more details, the 911 operator took my information, thanked me, and I rode home.

Just when I was getting home, the police called me back.  Apparently the driver denied having the light flashing, and the cops hounded me, insuating that I’d made a false 911 call!  They kept me on the line for a long time arguing, and I didn't get to bed until around 1:30 because of it. 

How annoying is that?  You try to help, and get more trouble!  It's even worse than when I gave that abused topless girl my t-shirt a few weeks ago, and my friend went to the police. 

Why do I bother?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I’m in a bitchy mood today and don’t know why.
I had a good evening last night, got home early(ish).  Had a full night’s sleep.  No stresses today….

I’m underwhelmed today, and bored.  I have lots of energy, even after a 45-minute run at the gym.


Hasta Manana.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Call Me Daddy

Roaming around on Facebook this morning, I discovered that a friend’s daughter just got her driver’s license and a car.

Way back in the early 1990s, I had a massive crush on this friend.  I was far too shy to ever approach her – she was an absolute knockout, what would she want with me?  We were friends of friends, and it took a while to build a friendship of our own.  But it happened. 
One winter night, a bunch of us were at the house she lived in with her brother and mother.  There was a really bad snowstorm, and it was decided that I shouldn’t leave the house.  Driving to work would be too dangerous.  Hesitantly, I agreed to stay overnight.  Funny, weather has NEVER stopped me from driving other than this night.
Eventually, we decided to settle down for the night.  The other 2 friends were a couple, and they took my friend’s room.  This left her and I sleeping in the living room.  Well, we were curled up on the floor and things happened.  Amazing things happened.  Then her mother walked into the room, saw us “in the middle of it,” turned around and rushed back to her bedroom.

The next morning I awoke, arms around my beautiful friend.  My cigarettes were in the kitchen, and I was horrified to realize that her mother was sitting in the kitchen having coffee.  I quietly got up, dressed, and skulked into the kitchen unsure of what was to happen.  “Pour a coffee,” she said.  “We need to talk.”
“Sure,” I replied.  I liked her mum, but knew she had a temper and was very protective of her children.  I poured a coffee, lit a cigarette, and sat down ready to get murdered.
“Her boyfriend’s a waste of space,” she blurted.  “The piece of shit is always in and out of jail.  She deserves better.  I like you.  You’re a good guy, you’re going somewhere with your life.”
I was in shock.  This was not what I’d expected.
“Do you want a relationship with her?  Because if you do, I’d love it.  I'll do anything I can to help.”

Of course I wanted a relationship with her.  And she did too, we had discussed it.  She was going to break up with her loser boyfriend and her and I could start dating!

A week later, I was invited to their house for Christmas.  I showed up, also driving her young cousin to the house.  I walked into the living room and saw my “girlfriend” sitting on the couch beside Loser Boyfriend.  They were holding hands, and she looked very guilty and ready to cry.
Unable to breathe, I rushed to the kitchen as calmly as I could.  “I hate that dick!” her mother spat.  “He got out of jail the other day, and managed to talk her into staying.  We couldn’t get hold of you to warn you he was here.”
Crushed, I made my excuses and left the party.

A month or so later, she phoned me.  She was pregnant.  I nearly had a heart attack.  We’d used protection, but nothing is 100% safe.  “Don’t worry,” she told me, "it's his.”  And it was.  The poor thing looks just like her father.

Not long after this, I left Hometown.  We haven’t actually talked since.  I understand why she did what she did, she was already a single mum (my scare was daughter #2) and wasn’t sure I could commit.
I don’t know how long they lasted as a couple, probably not very long.  A few years ago she met a seemingly great guy, a single dad, and they married.  This I’ve learned from Facebook, and her and I have emailed maybe once a year for the last couple of years. 
She’s very happy.  As am I.  I doubt we would have been happy together.  I probably would have stayed in Hometown and never even glimpsed my life potential.  She might not have met her current husband.

Her daughter, who for a second I thought was mine, got her driver’s license today and a car to drive.  She has no idea who I am, and I know this is a connection to someone I don’t know, but it made me smile.  And it made me feel old.

Monday, July 16, 2012


It was a good weekend.
I sailed on Friday night.  Saturday I sailed, then went out for drinks with a few friends.  We hung out on the Rivoli patio, chatting aimlessly and peoplewatching.  It’s a great thing to do on a steamy summer night.

Sunday I was supposed to sail again, but the thunderstorm cancelled that one.  Instead I stayed home with a fan aimed at me, watched Breaking Bad, and studied my Coastal Navigation notes – I did the course 6 months ago, and should write the exam soon.  However, I kept getting distracted from the TV and notes, and wrote 2 more songs!  Well, one and a half I suppose…

What’s up this week?  Sailing, Sailing, Datenight with Wife, Sailing, Sailing, and Sailing.  Maybe I’ll take Wife sailing for our date.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Last night I took a couple of friends to see Wife’s play.  She’s directing and producing a play she co-wrote, in this year’s Fringe Festival.
I arrived early at the theatre and bought 3 tickets.  Unfortunately one friend was 2 minutes late, and they wouldn’t let her in.  It’s understandable – the doors are right in front of the stage, so anyone entering or leaving disrupts the show.
Right before the start, an MC told the audience that one of the actors was sick and the role would be filled by Wife.  That was a huge surprise, but a good one.  The role is one of the more dominant ones, and was originally written with Wife in mind.  Apparently she only got the “I’m sick” call 25 minutes before showtime, and had to rush to prepare.  I’m surprised she had time to get nervous, but apparently she did.
Anyway, the show started and shortly afterwards Wife entered the stage.  She totally OWNED the play.  Partially because the role was one that anchored (overpowered?) the rest of the cast, and partially because she’s just so talented.  I’ve seen her countless times before, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her shine so bright.

I’m a VERY proud husband, and more convinced than ever that she’ll build a career as a stage actress.

edit:  And did I mention - she made all those costumes by hand!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Blaze Of Blase

It’s a strange time at work. 
I’ve started my new job, given up my old one, but my new projects don’t start for a few weeks.  I’m currently doing some ridiculous online training – “Business Writing Skills,” where I’m being told about using past- and present tenses in the appropriate places.  Seriously.  Last week I took one course that informed me what prefixes and suffixes were.  This position is a white-collar job requiring a university degree.  And I’m being re-taught Grade 4 grammar.
I was bitching about it last night to a friend, and she pointed out that I’m paid quite well.  And right now I’m paid quite well to do virtually nothing.  She’s right, it’s just an unusual mindset for me – I’m used to working frantically to cover too many tasks.  Free time is weird.

Last night was also sailboat racing, as well as work-bitching.  Our team is getting better, finally.  Thankfully.  We’re one of the more inexperienced crews, and have made it to the middle of the pack.  I suggested that our captain be a little more assertive – we need to hear ONE voice, not FOUR all believing they’re right.  He agreed, he’s normally quite pushy but doesn’t want to become the aggressive guy we sailed with last year (he was NOT popular).

I’m not going to bother going to the gym today, I just don’t feel like it.  Think I’ll head downstairs for a pint instead.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pulling A Sickie

It’s Monday.  No, it’s Wednesday.  I’ve been off sick from work for 2 days.

Monday morning I woke up late and had a leisurely breakfast of coffee and toast.  Then I went down to the studio and wrote another song.  Outside having a beer and cigar in the sunshine, I finished the lyrics to another song I’ve been working on.  After a quick trip to the grocery store, I spent the evening reading, watching Breaking Bad, and eating pizza.

Tuesday morning I woke up late and had a leisurely breakfast of coffee and a muffin.  Then I went to the pet store to buy some cat-pee-remover-from-carpet stuff.  Back outside for a beer and cigar in the sunshine, with a sailing magazine.  Heading back inside to read, I finished reading The Diary Of Anne Frank.  The diary itself isn’t really anything special, but gets heartbreaking as you read how close to Holland the Allied forces were when she was suddenly discovered, sent to the concentration camps, and killed.  Then I went out and had a great time sailing.

It’s been a solid 4-day weekend, but there must be some sort of karma at work.  For the last 3 nights I’ve been having bad dreams about work.  Not nightmares, just annoyances happening in my “dream” workplace.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Drama At The Performance

I’m beat.
My band played last night, and we had a fantastic time.  We only had around 10 people in the audience, as it was sweltering hot, and the back patio was full (but too far away for them to hear us). 
Still, it gave us the freedom to crack jokes and try new techniques in some of the songs.  We screwed up a few things that we usually have down pat, and we succeeded in a few points that we often fail.

After the show, I stayed around and had a couple of drinks with friends that saw the show.  One friend’s boyfriend is threatened by my friendship with her.  Unfortunately, last night he got pretty douche-y.  Telling me that he knows what I’m up to, and read me the first time we met.  What that means.  I think he thinks I’m trying to sleep with his girlfriend, which is not at all the case.  It was really frustrating because I’m trying to befriend him in the hope that he’ll see what’s actually happening: that we could potentially have a serious friendship, the kind that I only have with 3 other people in this world.  He wouldn’t back up his accusations, or elaborate on them.  I told him that was a “dick move” to pull that line and not say what he was referring to.  Why can't many (men especially) people understand platonic cross-gender friends???

I value my friendships very highly, and really hope that he doesn’t fuck it up for us.

I got home at 3:30 this morning, and was up at 7am for work.  My eyes are red, and I’m off to find some Red Bull.  Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Today is July 4th.  As well as being America’s birthday, it was my mother’s too.  Although she wasn’t born in 1776…

She was born in the early 1950s, met my father when she was 17.  Married at 19.  Gave birth to me at 21 and my brother at 23.  Moved to Canada at 27.  Realized at around 50 that she had become completely Canadian, no longer feeling “at home” when visiting Britain.  Passed away 4 months ago.  Now she’s buried in Hometown, Ontario, where she will remain.

Happy Birthday Mum, I miss you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Weekend - Wife - Withdrawl

I ended up leaving the city for the weekend. 
I wasn’t sure if it would happen, as it all depended on the health of a sick friend, but we went.  Three days of good food, drinks, laughs, and company.  Just what we all needed.
On Saturday, there was a wedding at the park where we were staying.  It ended up being quite interesting:  The MC, one of the two brides’ brothers, was supposed to walk his sister down the aisle.  He missed it because he was in the shower.
When he gave his speech, a bride asked him to hurry it up, and he told her (into the microphone) to fuck off.
We saw him later that night at the party and thought he was a homeless guy that had wandered in.  He was wearing a t-shirt, underwear, and leather chaps.  And was groping himself while talking to the women. 
We were glad to see him go.

Today is Wife’s birthday.  She’s swamped with work today preparing for her play, opening tomorrow in the Toronto Fringe Festival.  Last night we went out for dinner, had a great time, and actually got to talk for a few hours.  We’ve both been so busy lately we haven’t had much of a chance to catch up.  Hopefully that will change later this month…

Tonight I’m sailing.  I’ve had to cut down to 1 night per week for the last couple of weeks, and I’m feeling withdrawls.  The perfect windspeeds and hot sun aren’t helping at all.  I’m fantasizing of 18-knot winds, 1-metre waves, hot sun and excitement.  But no, this is Toronto in July:  2-knot winds, flat water, pouring rain, and a crew just sitting, shrugging, and bobbing towards the finish line.  And I’ll STILL enjoy it more than being curled up on the sofa with Netflix and a pizza!