dateline : 07.27.1998
"The time has come", the walrus said, "to talk of many things:
Of shoes, of ships, And sealing wax, of cabbages.
(ok, 1 ship, no cabbage, nada on the wax, maybe my runners)

Measure Twice, Cut Once

    I have an odd family. (hey! you in the back can the snickering...) It's a large family in some ways, and small in others. I have two fathers, two mothers and multiple sets of grandparents and some brothers and some sisters, one of which maintains a constant presence, regardless of her early departure from here. We all see each other here and there, but, grandparents always seem to get the raw end of that deal, and, for no particular reason other than they all live elsewhere outside of Vancouver. My stepfather's parents live in Nanaimo, which is sort of close, but, far enough away that I usually only see them around Christmas, and, even that had not happened for a while. So, when I heard that my "step-grandfather" had passed away, I was initially at a loss, but, as the days progressed, memories from childhood years came flooding back, bit by bit. As documented elsewhere, I spend massive amounts of time flying kites at Vanier Park here in Vancouver. And, it was there that we used to go as a family for walks and such, with Mr. Johnson always pointing out neat stuff for our inquisitive little minds to see and do. They used to live here in Vancouver in a house I still drive by regularly. He always had good (clean) jokes. Card tricks? He knew'em all, and would show you how to do it, and then play surprised when you managed to "fool" him with the newly learned trick. But, one memory really stands out, and, it took my step-father's goodbye to bring it back to my brain. It's a subtle thought, but, as soon as he said it, I realized what an impact it had on my day to day life. You see, he used to build model ships. Not plastic affairs, but, massive, all wood and brass with hand tied rigging behemoths that literally took years to build. When my mother and my step father started to hang out a lot, my brother and I went out with them once to meet the "new" step grandparents. (who never replaced the original ones, it was more of a "grandparent-augmentation") When we arrived, "grandpa" (as he came to be known to all of us) was down in the basement, starting work on a new ship. We trundled off downstairs, and we were amazed by this ship. At that point, it was many many little pieces, but, he had completed the hull and was working on some of the rigging. Fascinated by this, we picked through stuff and asked a million questions, I'm sure. But, while we were there, he said something. A simple phrase, all of four words long, but, a phrase I have used all through my adult life, regardless of whether I manage to always follow it's simple wisdom myself in my own day to day, roller coaster/erratic approach to life. "What are the magic four words?" the inquisitive "a muse" reader might be wondering, "get to the point you silly monkey..."

Measure Twice, Cut Once.

Pretty straight forward eh? A really easy thing to do as well. Much in the same vein as "think twice". His application at that moment made it very simple to grok, he'd always measure anything he was about to cut twice, just to make sure it was right. So, I ended up being a rather meticulous person in many ways, very detail oriented (and once more, quit that snickering in the back row...) and, well, kinda chaotic too. I thank Fred Johnson for detail part, perhaps I'll lay the blame for the chaotic stuff on my mom or something...

>8) Hi Mom!

So, since I didn't get a chance to thank him for this advice when it was given, and certainly didn't realize it's future impact on my day to day existence (such as it is, its a simple/complicated/walking contradiction of a life, but, it's all mine and I like it that way thankyouverymuch.), I'll thank him now, and hope heaven is using Netscape...

Grandpa, thanks, and, I'll miss you.

BTW, at his memorial service, I finally laid eyes upon the completed ship that he started oh so many years ago. Not a single piece out of place, a perfect statement to a long life of helping others and maintaining an eye on the little detail bits.

The Root Of All Evil

   So, And, once more, the now departed but back from the grave Roots Roundup touring machine hit the road. I mean, we don't do this too often, the second to last break was 3 years long, and, the last break was 6 months, but, every once in a while schedules collide, shows are offered, and, well, we rise to the occasion. A previous group of "amuse" entries ranted and raved about the fall shows, so, I'll try and avoid repeating myself this time around. In comparison to the practices last fall, this one was short and brief and to the point, and, was even missing a few band members. But, everything was still reasonably fresh in our minds from the last time out, so it didn't end up being an issue, more just like a quick roots refresher course, decide what to play, and, work thru the tricky bits, and then you have instant funk band, just add beer... This was a decidedly short tour, simply three shows, 1 in Vancouver as part of NewMusicWest and two in nearby Victoria.

The NewMusicWest show managed to accidentally set a new record for Roots. One of the primary reasons the band folded was that it was becoming financially draining. Playing music in an alternative band is not usually ranked as a "great way to make money". As a matter of fact, the term "flat broke" and "scraping a bare existence" is how I usually remember that aspect of it. There's no lack of bands, and, well, no lack of clubs either. So, it becomes a long process to even make enough to cover expenses, let alone "make a living from it. While Roots could easily sell out a show just about anywhere in Western Canada during it's 8 year life, eastern success was always elusive, and in reality, you can only beat your head against any given wall for so long. But, here in the West, we can usually get some good money for a show. And, NewMusicWest was no exception. Now, this type of slot is what is referred to as a "showcase" gig. A variety of bands play, typically for next to nothing, and, a headliner to fill the seats. Now, with F I V E bands on the bill, it was a little five foot woman named "krista"'s job to keep the show on the road, and on time. Greg and I were sitting at the bar after sound check, and she came up to introduce herself and "lay out the rules". The show would run RIGHT on time! Period! No exceptions! Now, for us, it mattered not one iota, we were on last no matter what, but, her ability to manage the changeover of the bands would be the key to us getting to play our "scheduled" one hour set. All of the other bands had 1/2 hour sets, with a 15 minute changeover between bands. Now, in the usual tradition of bands, every single band had their own set of gear, which in itself made 15 minutes seem tough, but, they were R E G G A E bands, notoriously a bit slower in their approach to time than your average metal band. Slow, slow slow, yah mon, rastafari, when Jah wills it mon, all in good time. No way to run a railroad, but, anyways, I digress. So, Greg and I immediatley made bets with each other, figuring there was NO WAY that poor Krista would be able to pull it off with no hitches. Now, to her credit, she came REALLY close. While the bands did the usual band BS of overplaying their set, she was utterly brutal with regards to the schedule, threatening to cut power on the worst of the "long set offenders". The end result was that we started only 15 minutes late, and managed to whip out quite a 50 minute set, almost getting an hour before the bar closed. So, when all was said and done, we EACH made six dollars a minute. 8) A new record. That is of course disregarding that the day it self was 14 hours long for that 50 minutes of work...One other rather entertaining moment as well. In the same "pre show" discussion with Krista, she stated, un categorically I might add, and quite strenuously, "band members are only allowed to have two beer each before performing, no exceptions!". While Greg and I tried to stifle our snickering, as in "as if" (being that roots usually ran on barley and hops to some degree), she gave us that stern, "I mean business" look, so we smiled and said, "no problem". Of course, it was then a running joke all night long, which we capped (so to speak) in fine style. You see, the other david in roots works at a small micro brewery...He solved the apparent problem for us quite neatly, he brought a nice 1/2 keg of his lovely Storm Brewing "India Pale Ale" and we simply demolished that. Mind you, the show had only provided "Molson Canadian" as the "purported beer" which, if you have ever had the displeasure is certainly one of Canada's WORST swills known to the planet...All in all, a fun night, and, no I only had 4 before was up there doing the monkey-geeetar-thang, I was fine... 8)

And, the two nights in Victoria, well, they were large amounts of fun too, if one disregarded the stage size, that would have made a postage stamp seem roomy. When we were at the same bar in the fall, we had seven members, and it was TIGHT. So, this time, we have 8 members, one of which has a full size, 88 key organ... gads, I could barely even turn around. But, it mattered not, two sold out nights full of happy dancing people makes it all worthwhile...

Rodeo Daze

   Yeehaa! Yippy-kay-yay!

As if.

For those of you who read this and know me well, I have undoubtedly carped about country music to you before, so, I'll just say that it's one of the RARE types of music that I'll actively avoid. So, read the following sitting down ok?

Another Saturday night, nothing to do. I don't do TV much, I spend too much time on a computer, yes, it's been said that I need a life. So, if anyone knows where I can one of those, lemme know... 8)

Anyways, I got a call from a work pal. They were all heading out to the Cloverdale Rodeo to drink and be silly at a COWBOY bar. "oh yes, sign me up" I drolled... But, persistence pays off, and the nasty dig I received about my lack 'o' life (so, gonna sit around and do nuthin again?") jolted me into "why the hell not" mode. I mean, how bad could it be? I'll go out, have a few beers. meet some new people, oh, well, um, ur, well, hmmmmm, ok.

As I am driving out there (no, I did not and do not drive drunk, this was BEFORE and suitable arrangements had been made for my safe return. don't drink and drive, it's STOOOOOOPID), I idly think of if I have noticed any other signs of a coming apocalypse lately. Surely, a monkey in a cowboy bar must be one of those seven signs. I have gone mad. Two stepping little old me? My cowboy boots were strangely missing from the closet (i lost them about 34 years ago). I have no idea where my cowboy hat went (same place as the boots no doubt), but, I looked slinky in the standard monkey public look of black jeans, a golfish shirt (Marvin the Martian this time, oh, how SO appropriate, I am certainly not from Planet Country) and spiffy runners...

Upon arrival at the fair, we had to tour through the midway, which, I'll admit, was kinda neat and brought back memories of fairs and stuff from childhood. I wisely avoided the rides, as sometimes, they rock my tiny little brain around and I get all headachey and whiney. We figure just which of the umpteen cowboy bars we want to go to, and head on over. And, there is a HUGE line. Massive. And, not moving either. Well, it's too late to bail out, so, we join the line. And stand there. And stand there. And, just when we were getting tired of standing there, we stand there some more. But, I did notice a few things...


I did not realize I had a thing for cute cowgirls in tight levis and cowboy boots.


Ok, sorry about that...Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The line started to move! Woo hooo! Almost in there! Once we do get in the door, I am rather surprised by the Cloverdale Arena. It's huge! Actually, had I thought about the word "arena" for a moment, I suppose "big" would have dawned on me...A sprawling place full of well, cowboys. We managed to find a table (close to the stage so I could watch the country band and smirk lots...) and off I went to find a beer. You know, it really should dawned on me before hand. When I think "beer" and "country music", I usually think of Budwieser, which, probably means that the Bud marketing department is doing it's job well. This SHOULD have set off alarm bells in my head, it really should have. I prefer my beer to be DARK. Preferably MICROBREWED. So, imagine my utter horror upon arriving at the bar...

monkey : I'll have a beer, what do you have?

barkeep : Bud.

monkey : bud? Thats its?

barkeep : Bud.

The thought of staying in this place with no beer quickly flickered through my head and filled me with a cold dread, so, I made a policy decision.

"bad beer is better than no beer in a cowboy bar"

I resigned myself to reality and sheepishly ordered one, nervously looking around to ascertain that nobody I knew was watching this exchange. And, I made a mental note to suggest to work pal that if they breathed a WORD about this "budwieser stuff" at the office, they would never receive a single piece of email in their lives again.

Eventually, a band arrived on the stage. Followed by another band. And, back and forth THAT went. And, you know, it wasn't too bad. The bands were talented. They were technically good at what they did, and, they certainly knew how to entertain the crowd. The dance floor was full most of the night, and the people on it were certainly having fun. Much more fun than one usually sees in your average alternative bar these days, these people simply wanted to have fun and dance away and party it up. (roots crowds are more like country crowds than alternative crowds) So, from THAT perspective, it was a fun night, I had a great time, and golly gosh darn gee whiz, I'd probably even entertain doing it again at some point. Maybe. Ok, only if I brought my own beer...

Turn The Page

Various pages have undergone NO changes. Except for minor cam cam page tweaks.

CDs of the moment :

Garbage, Version 2.0 (still)

Bela Fleck And The Flecktones, Left Of Cool

Ziggy Marley, Jahmekya

XTC, Fossil Fuel

Book of the moment :

Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins

Web sites of the moment :


A nifty friend of mine was detailing the goings on in Seattle recently, of which one of the "events" was a Lutefisk dinner. Having never known what "Lutefisk" was, I of course scurried off to find out. Read this BEFORE accepting such an invitation.

Mad Trivia

Wanna drive yourself nuts? And win 5 cents here and there (hey, I am up to 10 cents)? Go here. Utterly maddening trivia fun, makes "You Don't Know Jack" look simplistic.

Squirrel Hazing

The same pal that dragged me to the rodeo also had a squirrel take up residence in her apartment. I found this nugget just for her.

And that's that for now. Upcoming things I'll be doing over the next while include some more Roots Roundup shows, some more kite flying and much contemplation on how I got to the wierd place in my life that I am at right now. Same as last month. 8)

send some email and tell me how truly pathetic I am.

over and out, till next time... Previous "A Muse" Entries so that you can see if there is a pattern besides :

  1.    Prattles on WAY too much about kites
  2.    And music.

May 12th/1998

April 18th/1998

All of last year and some of this year