I know I promised to try and post some odds and sods that didn’t make it in to my Maple Leafs Annual article.  I haven’t had a chance just yet to go digging through the digital archives, because I’ve been working almost literally all weekend (aside from a spin on the lawn tractor and a brief visit with my family) on this charity event that’s coming up in two weeks.   Spouse and I have helped with the organization of this event every year for many years now, but this year’s  a little different:  for one reason or another, we’re down several members of the organizing committee, so much of the work has fallen directly on our (Spouse’s) shoulders.

We’ve also been crazy busy at work, and it’s been very difficult to manage to find the necessary time to put together an event like this during working hours, and to remain focussed on the necessary details.  For example, I did some work a few weeks ago to get some media exposure for us, and managed to get a live radio interview with our Honourary Chair (a young woman who at one time made use of the very services we’re fundraising for) on a local station.  It took a bazillion phone calls and emails to get it all set up and to arrange for another committee member (someone who knows the necessary details) to participate in the interview too.  The last thing I had to do on Friday was confirm all these details for all the participants – and I came damn close to completely forgetting to do that.  I was so busy with other stuff in my real job that it very nearly entirely slipped my mind.  That would have been bad.

Anyway, cross your fingers and hold your breath.  Here’s hoping we can pull this together and raise some money for the kids.

I’m donating a signed copy of the Maple Leafs Annual to the charity auction, in case anybody is interested.  I’m going to sign it with my hockey player autograph (#17 inscribed beneath my name).

Escape Plans, Folsom Prison Style

Busy, busy, busy like a bee this week.   It has been a heavy week at work for both Spouse and I, and we are starting to go into maximum-overdrive-on-the-border-of-but-not-quite-panicking (because that’s not productive) mode about the charity event we’re organizing.  We are members of the committee charged with putting together the silent auction/kick-off party for this year’s fundraising campaign.

I play in a band with a group of fellows that I know through work;  every year we take the stage and play some music at this event.  I have played enough live shows to be generally comfortable with the idea of standing in front of my microphone and opening my mouth to see what comes out, but as this particular event occurs in front of an audience of my peers, many of whom I am certain are there only to see for themselves that I remain capable of making a fool of myself while pursuing both vocation and avocation, it is a little bit more intimidating than the garden variety gig.  Despite the best of intentions – hearty agreement among band members when meeting one another on the street throughout May and June that rehearsals ought to begin imminently – the reality is somewhat abstracted from that diligent ideal.   Thus, in contrast to our aggressively discussed and much endorsed plan of action, the actual truth about our active preparations is that, as always, they are rather last-minute in nature.  Our first rehearsal was last week.  I would prefer not to comment on the quality of the musical performances involved in that evening, particularly where the lead vocals and rhythm guitar is concerned. Suffice to say that neighbourhood cats and dogs can be cruel critics.

The success in general of our noisificating and melodization during tonight’s rehearsal was best described by our lead guitarist, who observed following one particular song:  “That wasn’t anywhere near as appalling as I thought it was going to be.”

Our drummer is a gear-head, and he’s got a Disneyland-type setup in his basement;  it’s a home studio with some really nice equipment, including one of these.   Junior likes.

With all that technology so close at hand, though, it was impossible for us to resist the temptation to mike the instruments up and run the whole she-bang through various wires, plugs and gizmos in to Cubase, where our rehearsal was then digitally recorded for posterity.  One thing I have to say about that is that the microphone is a harsh mistress;  she is unforgiving, callous and stubborn.  Make a mistake with her and you will never hear the end of it.  For me, it’s been so long since I played with any regularity that my old nemesis – playing and singing at the same time – is coming back to haunt me.  Having to concentrate on what I’m doing with my fingers means I can’t devote sufficient attention in the thinking-centre portion of my coconut to recall the proper lyrics* with sufficient alacrity and then propel them through my lips with some sense of a melody that is related to the musical context.   My initial plan for performance night is to claim, loudly and often, that I am conducting experiments in contrapuntal atonality and dissonance, and to warn listeners therefore not to be alarmed by what they hear.  If this does not work, I will fake a leg injury and flee the building.


* at one point during tonight’s performance of “Folsom Prison Blues”, my version of the lyrics had the rich folk on the “fancy dinin’ car” behaving rather oddly;  according to me, they were “smoking coffee and drinkin’ fat cigars”.   Let’s you and me fire up a mocha while sipping Cojibas some day…


It’s been a busy few days;  Spouse and I are readying the Nation for the First Annual Founder’s Day Celebration and National Holiday, including Festivals of  Sport and Competition and particularly the Juniorvanian Open Championship of Par 3 Golf, which takes place this weekend.  We are expecting the whole family to gather to partake in fun and games.   We are also both busy at work, and – to boot – we’ve been busting our butts trying to get this charity event that we’re involved in all set to go.  Time is running short, our silent auction night is September 18th.  I’ve been busy coding a website/blog for the event, and Spouse has been burning up the phones trying to gather auction items and other donations for the charity.

We were actually on the way to one donor’s business premises this evening, to pick up a generous gift for the charity, when the subject of what was planned or wanted for dinner came up – hurriedly, and in between our discussion of all of these other matters.   I asked if Spouse had anything in particular in mind to eat, and she said, “No, maybe we can just pick something up that’s on the road.”

I looked at her and assured her that I was not interested in dining on roadkill raccoon this evening;  I would much prefer Italian.