Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crazy Hobos and Winter Biking.

Yesterday I wrote three good pages off the top of my head about Hip Hop spirituality. For whatever reason, it was deleted and lost to annals of great work everywhere. To keep up the daily blog routine, I instead published a work intended for the upcoming magazine. Rather then re writing it, I attempted to make the first episode of my very own web show. I was talking about the subject matter that was lost, but I think the blog was better, mostly because I had the time to refer back to my research, today it was all off the top of my head. The short video is somewhat captivating though, I think it could be a good medium for acting, entertainment and dissemination of the cool things I think about. Again, I attribute the creation of the temple, and smoking pot, to the web show going from a passing thought to reality. Having themes, skits, interviews, lessons and various segments will probably improve the product. It felt very Wayne’s World. The other day I listened to the pod cast of my internet friend Hooch, singer from the Matadores. It was well made, quick and funny, punchiness is good sometimes.

I see my show as a reflection of my life, going around documenting all the crazy things I do and witness every day. I didn’t leave the house till mid evening and things were fairly calm for the first twenty minutes until I ran into my friend Richard, waiting for the bus at Summerset and Bank. Richard looked perturbed and was describing his immediate environment into his cell phone, he briefly said hello and kept nervously speaking. I didn’t equate it to the man slouched on the ground amidst the waiting group. I got on the back door and the new passengers filled in. The fellow that was lying on the ground came in last, he was swaying and looked in pretty bad shape. He was fairly clean shaven, had a foot and a half of long dirty blond hair, was wearing a lumberjacket, had a nice smile and big beautiful eyes that were wild and seemed to be looking right and left at the same time. When Richard stood next to him at the front of the bus, still jabbering into his phone, I made the connection that he was trying to help this guy out.

After about four minutes of discussion, the driver let the dude stay on and we took off. He was flailing as he walked, but seemed to be in a decently good mood. At first he stammered all the way next to me at the middle of the bus, hair bouncing around, before Richard informed him he had cleared the priority seating near the front. Sitting down, he immediately saw everyone eyes falling directly on him. He responded with a big smile and yelled, “Look at all you f@#king immigrants”. This caused the two young asian girl next to him to quickly scramble away and the driver to announce, “any more language like that and you’re off the bus”. Richard tried to shush him, his response was “whatever, I’m fucked all ready”. “F#$cking immigrants”, he muttered.

I moved forward to say hello to Richard and see if I could be of any assistance. Richard didn’t know the guy and told me paramedics were waiting for him at Bronson. I offered, “so your in pretty rough shape huh?”. To this he grumbled incoherently. Richard asked me what was new, I was telling him about the play I was in when over the PA I heard, “were just going to wait here for the transit enforcement.” It was surprising since the guy was being fairly peaceful at this point. I noticed the mini anarchy tattoo on his hand. At the sound of the announcement, he dashed for the door. Considering circumstances, it was probably a wise idea. Moments later, a husky working class guy with a buzz cut marched after him and announced that we need to get him off the bus. Richard turned to see the recipient of his charity had already gone and went to follow him. The buddies of the working class guy congratulated him and the bus carried on in silence. Later I realized that richard’s number was in my old cell phone, so I was unable to find out how the rest of his story went. God speed Richard.

That guy was right, he is fucked. He’ll probably go on to doing terrible things, like yelling at young asian girls on the bus, but it’s because he’s the product of a series of bad situation, environments and karma. His only real crime is the loss of personal control, when things like alcohol and drugs start making the big decision in life, the small good or bad ones are negligible and interchangeable. He’ll probably get arrested, thrown in the drunk tank, sleep it off, repeat. Has there always been these hollow beings, that live only to further wealth of others by destroying themselves? This guy needs a full time baby sitter to prevent further abuse to himself or others. He’s a tornado of a man, empty in the middle.

So that’s what the show will be about, maybe, being able to capture the rad crazy stuff that seems to happen to me almost every day. That and window’s into the “mundane” parts of the general public is pretty cool too. I was picking up some things at the Carleton tavern, overhearing a snow clearing company’s plan of attack. It involved a lot of strategy, especially surrounding city plows. The employees looked pretty board, but at least they got to drink. From the back, one of them looked like a boy of 11, when leaving I made some noise, the twenty something girl turned around. I wanted to ask each of them what their lives were like, what were their dreams and goals, and how long they planned to do the snow plow thing. The guy at the head of the table had a blue tooth piece on his ear, I thought ‘identity marker’, and was less interested in his lifestyle. He was peppering his speech with facts “sixty percent of your costumers will want this kind of service”. It sounded like a good way to get a point across. When I was finished rolling and stuffing my well made suit into my backpack, a tall man dressed in dark hip hop clothes walked by. He reminded me of the guy from earlier, it looked liked he might have been part of an underbelly of society but was working hard to go straight. Maybe the two of them were friends once. I think everyone on the table wanted to leave.

My bike was also locked up at the bar, it had been there for two weeks. Good thing my lock is good and the bike looks a bit chincy. It was my first official winter ride, my helmet and ski goggles felt great and I barely slipped at all. I missed my bike and was happy to have it back. I was philosophizing about how the bike is an evolved activity. It satisfies the emotional, spiritual, intellectual and of course physical needs. Emotional since it’s fun as heck to zip down hill and around corners with grace and ease. Intellectual because a knowledge of maintenance, traffic laws and bike lanes is necessary. Physical is my favorite because it’s a rigorous but low impact exercise that you can alter by body conscious moments and bike choice. Spiritual because it combines self expression with a universally conscious attitude. Bikes do a lot less global damage then other forms of transportation and your not isolated like in care.The bike becomes an extension of the body and mind, a perfect vehicle for transportation. I’ll be biking across the country come may and your all welcome to join me. More on that vision to come.

I ran into my friend Nat Myles who owns the Elmdale tavern, I’d love to interview her for the web show. She’s a jovial character who’s created a perfect space for roots music and it’s thriving. The tavern has a great sound system, a great staff and tones off engaging acts all week long. I think all these good vibes flow directly from a fully involved and dedicated owner. Tonight was the open mike put on by the, “spirit of Rasputin’s”, referring to a folk cafe that burned down a few years ago. It was a pivotal space for Ottawa music and it’s great to see this organization continuing it’s tradition. When ever I performed at Rasputin’s, the owner Dean Verger announced that I was the third generation of musicians to play there. My grandparents graced the stage less then five years ago with their band, The Righteous Few and my mother played that stage with her band, The Last Minute Band.

I always equated that band with my mother’s pregnancy with my sister. There’s a great picture of the four women, sans instruments, taken at the big back yard party we had to celebrate my parents wedding. My mom has a great big belly in that picture. It would be cool to be fetus surrounded by talented women playing traditional stringed instruments and singing harmonies.

After chatting with Nat, I biked downtown, retracing my steps from saturday night, because I’ve lost the tweed jacket that I dubbed “the flag ship of my wardrobe”. I bought it for grade eight graduation and it still looks(ed) great. It was disappointing to loose it but it didn’t bother me to much. Sometimes it’s good to loose things we rely on, it forces us to grow and change. I found myself saying out loud,”thats the thing about physical possession, they come and go. Just like every other form of structure”. Hopefully it will come back to me, it was like a security blanket.

There was no sign of it at the Dominion tavern, nor Zack’s diner where I hung out on Saturday night. I’ve been writing at the Diner for the past few hours and things have been going well. And wouldn’t you know it, another strange character has found himself in my sphere. As soon as he walked in the door, his appearance set off alarm bells. Disheveled hair and beard, he wore an out of style sweat shirt and stank from five feet away. The server was wary of him and established he’d been their earlier that day, even though he denied it, or couldn’t remember it. He got some coffee and planted himself next to me. He said it was his first day off in four years. I asked him what his business was, he said it used to be something illegal, more recently a security guard and showed me an security ID from 2004. In the picture he was clean cut and handsome, he had more wrinkles and scabs now. He commented about my lap top and said he had one too and opened it up. We went into a conversation about hacking wireless networks, he seemed informed and used specific jargon. He mentioned a ride came when he was getting the second page of algorithms, so the information was incomplete. He noticed the flavored cigaret with the gold filter on my table and commented that he had just smoke one like that earlier. He went on to mention that fact twice more, each time he sounded genuinely surprised when he saw the smoke. As with the last guy, he was lost in a fog of some substance or another. He spoke fairly intelligently, but in tangents and often repeating himself. He kept going out for cigarets, but would come back with the smoke still in his hand. I asked him about his name, Theo, it derived from theology, kind of cool. I asked if he was spiritual, he said he followed the tides, any tides. He kept trying to access the internet but each time came across the need for a password, this frustrated him.

I asked what he did with his computer, he said torrents. Movies or music, anything he could get. Eventually the staff kicked him out. I felt bad because he wasn’t causing trouble, just ranting away to me. He was really stinky and going on about codes and some guy he stopped doing business with because his kids and family took too much time. The staff was peristent and he left without too much of a fuss; the stated reason was he was bothering the customers. “Your going to hang out with these hobos?” he asked me as he was packing up his gear, referring to the staff. I thought that was pretty funny. Outside he was complaining to my friend Roger, who just kicked him out, that those jerks inside had just kicked him out. His memory was faulty, I pictured myself in his reality, floating in and out of strange situations. I felt it was a bit unnecessary to throw him out, but he did stink like the dickens. Roger said that was the real reason, and told him so much later on. It felt discriminatory because he had cash and was being fairly peaceful, but it’s fair not to accept such foul odors into a place of eating. I didn’t bring my power cable, so eventually the computer ran out of steam and I took off. I think I’ll be doing much more work there in the future.

I was delighted to be back on my bike again. Last year was when I got into winter biking in a big way and it brought back a flood of great feelings. I made my way to Elgin street and was enticed by my friend Christina to check out the open mike. Derek the host does a great job and brings out a big group of his friends. The music was grand and many people appreciated my performance. I saw my friend Naomi and we did some grounding meditation together in the middle of the bar. I’m sure it must have looked a bit odd, but if felt great. My friend Emily was there as well, she was dating my former musical partner, Miles. We had some great discussions and I look forward to hearing her perform at my open mike.

The temple in the room experiment is still going well. Today was day four and I did thirty of each move and have started to experiment with different time lengths. I’m going for ten minutes of meditating, twenty of yoga then thirty of b-boying. I fell into my old habits of enjoying sleep in the morning. For the last two days I woke up/got out of bed when my parents decided to check if I was home or not. Tomorrow is the last day of school for the semester, I might not sleep before then, but I will go. In order to get some sleep in so I’m not a total zombie, I’ll have to hold off the rituals until after class. Dang...

Love you all,


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