Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thailand, here we come!

We are quickly approaching the second anniversary of the holy union of myself and Mrs. Karen Merlin, formerly known as Karen Hudson, and we are going to bring in our "Cotton Anniversary" in style, soaking up the sun in Thailand. We have taken 12 days off of work for our trip to the "Big Mango" and we plan on filling every one of them up with rest, relaxation, scuba diving, sun-tanning, swimming, trekking and other such vacationesque activities.
Two of our friends from Taiwan, Phil (Philly-poo) Lawrence and Aussie Jim, co-owner of the best bar in Tainan, are currently kicking it in Thailand too. We are looking forward to catching up with them and enjoying an evening or two of the world famous Thai nightlife. I can hardly wait to get going.
We leave on April 3rd, a mere four days away, and we will spend the first night in Bangkok and then it is off to Koh Samui for a couple of days with quick trips over to Ko Tao for some Diving, (click the title of this blog to check out the details and some pics) After that we may head to Pataya for a day or two and finally round it all out in Phuket. ( These plans are subject to change without notice)
Immediately on our return to Nam I will be updating my Facebook albums with another country. I will do my best to take some decent video to post as well. All in all I think this is going to be one hell of an anniversary.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Third Trimester

**Warning*** this post is music related and written mainly for those I have played with and played along side of, and especially those who know the difference between the two.****

Music has been a huge part of my life for the last sixteen years. It has kept me out of trouble all through my late teens. While most of the people I grew up with were committing armed robberies and other such madness, I was jamming with Dave and Jay in the old shed on Albro Lake Rd. I have considered the past sixteen years and have come up with three distinct phases to my musical experience. There was the initial phase which was being taught Guns-n-Roses, Black Crowes, Lynard Skynard, Led Zepplin and LA Guns covers by Jay. This went on for a long time. It encompasses a period in my life from the age of sixteen to about eighteen. Then the second phase kicks in where I was actually playing in a working rock and roll band. Mr. Moneymaker and Lost Cause notwithstanding, Rainmaker was the first real band I was a part of. We were in the right place at the right time and we could have done a lot better than we actually did. What can you expect from a bunch of idiots that didn't even know what they were doing? I took a break from that for a while and started a family. That fell apart a lot sooner than Rainmaker had, and then I was back at it with a whole new bunch of people. Larry, Kelly and I started playing songs together and before we knew it we were a full band with the help of Ross Chapman and Jonathan "Twig" Taylor. Crooked North was born and was raised to be a fairly decent "bar" band that boasted a pretty impressive per show haul at it's peak. I call this the second phase. I discovered a lot about the business end of this particular trade and found myself thoroughly enjoying that aspect of it. Rainmaker was about having fun and giving it a shot, while Crooked North was about having fun and being conscious of the business end of things and working toward a specific goal. There were, unfortunately, too many roadbumps to even discuss in that hardworking band. The truly awful part is the fact that the biggest roadbump was a human beat machine that tore us apart like a rabid timber wolf. Oh well, past is past.
Finally on to the third phase, where I currently find myself wading through. I have fallen in love with music again, in a way I haven't experienced since those early days in the shed, when I mastered that elusive bassline to Paradise City. I initially approached playing again with the delicate and guarded way one might attempt to remove a fishhook from a cheek. What has happened to me, to my complete surprise, is a total revival of the pure joy I felt many years ago simply from playing a song well. No agenda, no ulterior motives, just the pure and simple pleasure of playing music. The name of the band is Morgan's Crossing, and we are a Grateful Dead cover band. We play every Friday evening at R&R Tavern to the delight of a very few, but that doesn't matter. Saturday is even better, with an open jam where anyone who plays anything can step up and play a tune. I absolutely love it. Anyone who is still playing in Halifax or Taiwan or wherever, play for the hell of it, and play the hell out of it.
Thanks for reading my rant.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Same old Same old

There has been a lull, so to speak, in our blogging as of late. Unfortunately, there is not much to mention. Things have been kind of ho-hum around here. The weather is unseasonably cool and keeps us indoors most days. Everyone is kind of taking it easy after the madness that was TET. We may be getting a visit from a friend in Taiwan in the next little while, but the details have yet to be worked out.
I have created something that is a little exciting. (if you are excited by mundane, geeky things) It is an on-line classroom, where all of my students are linked together in a community blog. They update journals and can view their classmates entries as well. It is fairly new and I havn't heard of anyone doing anything like this before, so it may be interesting to see how it turns out. I will have all of my students do it from this point on and will eventually build quite a large community with it. If you are at all interested in checking out this little start-up project, you can find it at Or, as always, you can just click the title of this blog to take you there instantly.
Hopefully, as the weather gets warmer we will have more interesting things to blog about. Until next time, play nice and keep your sticks on the ice.