Thursday, March 29, 2018

JUNO Jazz Soloist of the Year Winners


I left your house this morning
'Bout a quarter after nine
Coulda been the Willie Nelson
Coulda been the wine
When I left your house this morning,
It was a little after nine
It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves, one star at time
Drove back to town this morning
With working on my mind
I thought of maybe quittin'
Thought of leavin' it behind
Went back to bed this morning
And as I'm pullin' down the blind
Yeah, the sky was dull and hypothetical
And fallin' one cloud at a time

That night in Toronto
With its checkerboard floors
Riding on horseback
And keeping order restored
'Til The Men They Couldn't Hang
Stepped to the mic and sang
And their voices rang with that Aryan twang

I got to your house this morning
Just a little after nine
In the middle of that riot
Couldn't get you off my mind

So, I'm at your house this morning
Just a little after nine
'Cause, it was in Bobcaygeon
Where I saw the constellations reveal themselves
One star at time

Songwriters: Gordon Downie / Johnny Fay / Joseph Paul Langlois / Robert Baker / Robert Gordon Sinclair

Bobcaygeon lyrics © Peermusic Publishing<

Friday, March 23, 2018

Here's Me Playing Drums

The Chicken was always one of my favourite groovy tunes to play. I chose it for my graduation recital at Mohawk College way back in the dark ages (1984), and the tune is just as good today.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Kitchen Renovation Complete Except For Tiles

You may joke when I tell you I built a "Cereal Cupboard" but it's actually true. This is how I envisioned it, with room for the broom in front.

The sink area is now lots brighter and more open because the window is bigger and there is now upper cabinet to the right. We re-used the faucet since it was in very good condition.

An overview of the whole kitchen and dining room.

The best view for birdwatching.

Range hood installed. New stove installed.

The stove is beautiful. I love looking at it. The range hood was a pain to install but worth it!

Trying to keep the clutter cleared.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

New Kitchen Nearing Completion

This space is reclaimed for a cereal cupboard and broom closet!
The enclosure hides a post and a heating duct but is basically
just empty inside. 

Here's the colour refreshed, and the new wall cupboards in the dining room.

This is the new kitchen eating "peninsula" with granite top and the new countertop
and cabinets. New stove is not yet delivered. Main window is now turned horizontally
and the new window is installed above sink.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Note To Self

Astronaut Peggy Whitson returned from the International Space Station in September after a 288-day mission. Whitson has spent more time in space than any other American. While in orbit, the 57-year-old biochemist started writing a letter to her 9-year-old self.

Thought I should write my own version.

Note To Self

Dear Younger Me,

Over the years I've learned a few things that I would like to share with the younger, nine-year-old version of myself.

It was a couple of days before your birthday in 1969, and you watched on TV as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon. Although at the time, it was an unbelievable moment in history, seeing it with your own eyes made it real and believable and achievable. You were amazed to see what cool things science was enabling people to do.

Your brothers for the most part are putting up with you hanging around, you lucky guy. Their projects and creative ideas inspire you, and soon you will get up the courage to build your own model planes and learn to fly control line. You'll watch your dad build, fly, and crash his own model planes. You'll get to watch your brothers work a radio controlled race car, and you'll wish that you had a turn. This is where you will learn your patience from. You will know that you can't always be "the guy."

One day very soon you're going to be in tears about your piano lessons. You will be so frustrated with the crappy music you are learning in piano lessons, you will finally say out loud to your mom, "I want to play the drums." Hey dude, your mom is the bomb. She know's where it's at. She will say, "You can buy your own drums. It's okay with me. Just finish up this one last year of piano."

Your mom and dad are leaving an open door for you. Looking back from where I am now, the fact that they left the door open wide has made it natural and healthy for you to take full responsibility for my actions, and to become a "successful" adult. Nowhere along the way will you feel pushed or cajoled into this or that career, and you will not be "guilted" into doing one thing or another. I want you to realize how freeing it will be to have mom and dad's general confidence and approval, and to not be hampered by critical expectations! Dude, this is a precious gift. It will bode you well.

It took a lot of effort to save up that money from working at the family laundromat business to save up for your first ten-speed bike. Man, you are going to be SO EXCITED on the day your dad brings that bike home! You learned how to save and make things happen.

Yeah. You're learning now that life will be what you make it. Nobody will be dropping anything in your lap.

In your teenage years you will learn how to work with engines, and you'll become a licensed motorcyclist. You'll paint the green Datsun, but eventually you'll get rid of it for scrap when the engine needs rebuilding. Hey idiot! Don't get rid of that Datsun! Don't do it! In forty years that car will be the sweetest thing on wheels! Don't get rid of it! CAN YOU HEAR ME?

You IDIOT. You sold it. Oh how this burns me today...

Over the next few years of your teenage life you'll spend hundreds of hours building models of all types and will become skilled at following written instructions on "how to assemble so and so." Eventually, your first job will be doing just that at Canadian Tire where you will assemble bikes for display and do repairs. WHAT A SWEET FIRST 'REAL' JOB.

In a couple of years dad will take a big step and quit his stable "career" job to start his own business and eventually his own company. You won't realize it at the time, but you are going to experience first hand a hard-working risk-taker/entrepreneur in action.

Your mom will stand by his side every step of the way. You'll eat bologna and pancakes for supper. You'll learn to make your bed and put away your laundry, mow the lawn, how to light a campfire, how to chop wood.

Your dad will take time out of his busy schedule to step you through a small engine rebuild, including replacing an engine block and cleaning breaker points. You should thank him for loving you so much to take the time; I'm sure he could have been working on other things. You were lucky to see your dad share with you what he was passionate about. It will pay off throughout the next four decades because you will be able to appreciate and mimic those same values with your own kids.

Do you realize that the hundreds of hours you spent watching The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family will someday have an effect on the choices you make? You're going to want to be a musician. Whoa. Where did that come from? Oh yeah, I remember now. You will be in LOVE with the idea of being a famous, cool drummer. In high school you're going to follow your siblings into the school band. Then your buddy will invite you to join the Teen Tour Band. Then you'll meet a bunch more music-loving teenagers. Some of them are going to be seriously shit-hot players. They will a big inspiration for you. You'll want to be like them.

Yessir. You love a show. You will love the big parades and field shows. You'll love the excitement and the production and the rehearsals, and the travelling and the practising, etc. You'll love the camaraderie and the cute girls you'll meet doing music. It will be overwhelming to you someday, so much that you will not be able to conceive of any future that doesn't have you doing music somehow.

But be happy and content, my nine-year-old self. You are seeing things happen around you that are monumental and hugely significant. The disappearance of the analog dial phone. The fading from view of the transistor radio. The ubiquitousness of colour television. The invention of the personal computer. You'll get to ride the glorious wave of the introduction and adoption micro-chip and integrated circuit glory. Calculators. Digital cameras. Digital video. CDs come and gone. Internet. Windows 3.1, 95, 98, XP. Smartphones. Smart TVs. Siri. Alexa.

DANG! Young man, you have no idea what you are going to see. There is no way I can make you ready for this! You wouldn't believe me if I told you what type of gadgets and widgets are coming. You are going to ride the biggest wave of technological change ever. It's going to rise up and lift you and you won't even realize you are on the biggest wave of new technology until about twenty or thirty years down the road. By then the wave will already have crashed ashore, sweeping the entire culture along with it.

Welcome to the '70s my young self. Life rocks. It will continue to do so.


The Older You

Sunday, January 07, 2018

A Furniture Piece

Now it's going to Kathryn and Joe's new home.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Renovations - Upstairs Storage Room and Bedroom Closet

The "storage room" in the upstairs hallway was stupid. Poorly shaped, poorly framed and finished, too small, and no proper door - just a curtain.

The upstairs bedroom had no closet. Back in the day home builders assumed clothes would be put in a wardrobe, I guess. Nowadays not having a closet in a bedroom is unheard of.

So I enlarged the storage room and built a closet in the bedroom. The new storage room is bigger and will be convertible to a two-piece bathroom in the future.

The closet has a light inside, and also there is a new light fixture in the newly created entrance hallway to the bedroom. Got the matching french doors at Re-Build store.

Lots of room in this closet, and a light too!

A new mini entrance hallway

Elinor didn't want the door painted white, but wanted it
left in the natural wood.

There's the closet. This is now the best room in the house!

Birthday Card from Olivia

Renovations - Linen Closet

I got the notion on a random day that it would be worthwhile to create a linen closet in the space where the chimney flue was located. So, on a Saturday in November I made a hell of a mess. Ian and Elinor were a great help getting the plaster and the cement blocks and bricks hauled down to the back patio. What a hell of a pile of dust!

I rebuilt the partition to enclose the space where the chimney once sat, covered it with drywall and added a door. We're good to go!

This is the view into our new upstairs office from the hallway:
Maximizing the opportunity to make a mess,
I ripped the wood panels out of the bottom
two door sections and replaced them with
glass. This brightens the hallway considerably!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Reflections in Mid-summer, 2017

It's been a fairly leisurely summer. I've been able to get up to the cottage about 4 times since April. One thing that I'm kind of excited about is the outdoor shower that I connected back in July. Next step is to play around with getting some solar-heated water!

We've just been caught up for the last few days getting Olivia moved out to an apartment over near Wentworth. Back in June we gave her and boyfriend Matt that we were not going to be able to sustain having both of them living in our basement beyond the end of August. They decided to leave and find their own place.

Now we're doing a big switch with Ian moving into the basement bedroom, and setting up his recording stuff in the music room. He's also going to put a desk in the rec room area.

Tomorrow is a fun gig at Gore Park. Nathan fleet will have a video crew there, and Tom Bigas will be doing our sound, since we got rained out a few weeks ago at the Waterfront Stage. Then, I'm having a coffee with drum dude Corey Pearce. Not sure what he wants. Last time we met he asked me to join the board for Impact Percussion.

On Wednesday Brenda and I are going to officer training for the Musicians Guild for two days. Then on Friday the Canadian Conference of Musicians gets started and goes until Sunday.

Week after that, I'm hoping Brenda and I will head up north on Wednesday for a couple of weeks. Aaah, the real holiday part of our summer!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Taking Care of Mom

It's November 18, 2016.

Mom is 89 years old today and I'm here with her now.

I'm sitting on the new couch at Palermo, waiting and listening while the nurse Sandy (short from Sandipat) gently talks mom through the Pas de Deux called Having A Shower. I'm glad we have Sandy here to help in this way. Mom's got a hospital-type bed in the living room. It's right next to the sunny doorway onto their patio deck, and on the other side of the bed is the piano.

I'm here for a few hours while dad goes to the hospital for a heart stress test. He's had his own health issues springing up during these past several months. He thinks he might have to get another stint installed. He recently had a pacemaker put in, and a few years before that he had stints put in. Which reminds me, brother Gerry had a couple of stints put in last summer. Just like that he went from 90% blockage and regular chest pains to "normal."

Mom's heart is a trooper, but these days it is under seige. She's been losing weight and is down to about 100lbs. The muscles of her heart are deteriorating steadily. It's like the central power station is on the fritz. It affects all of her systems and her thinking from time to time. She's very, very tired. On oxygen all the time.

I'm glad I can be here with her today.

"Glen I want out of here," I hear her voice from the bathroom. She is sitting in the shower and wants to get out. So I go into the bathroom and Sandy and I lift mom off the shower seat and into the chair. Mom doesn't want to get dressed in the bathroom; she wants to go into the bedroom to get dressed, so that's what we do.

The green outfit is one of mom's favourites. In a few minutes we've got her hair brushed and she perked up for a nice birthday photo.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

My son Ian composed and recorded this with his friend Brock Hewitt yesterday. I'm glad I could loan him the car to go to Waterdown where the studio is. It's a damn fine piece of writing. #kudos

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

What I'm Reading - Feb 2016

Title: The Industries of the Future
Author:  Alec Ross

The book explores how technological developments and global shifts and trends will create our future, whether we like it or not. 

Key idea: "Societies that do not overcome their negative cultural legacies regarding the treatment of women will founder in the next wave of innovation."

1. Here Come The Robots

LIASMA - This is my acronym for LIfe ASsist MAchine. As it turns out, aging populations in many developed countries will not have enough people available to care for them. The answer is already being developed in Japan, where research and development of assistive robots is underway. How do you feel about a robot brushing your mom's teeth, or helping her get out of bed? 

The combination of cultural, demographic, and technological factors means that we will get our first glimpse of a world full of robots in East Asia.

2. Genetics and Genomics: The Future of the Human Machine

Many of the most powerful Chinese leaders believe that genomics is the next trillion-dollar industry, and they are determined to be its leader.

A Mohawk Graduation Recital

Matthew Pullicino, March 14, 2016

Photos: Gillian Bochenek

Sunday, January 24, 2016

For Me, December 2nd is Jay Keddy Day

I drive by Ghost Bike a few times a week. The little white bike stands silently with flowers, photos and notes attached. Cars and trucks rush by. Ghost Bike sits there and calls out to me. I cannot ignore the prompting as it urges me to ponder the meaning of my existence every time I drive by. I am becoming familiar and thankful for Ghost Bike, and at the same time a little bit afraid.

Silent Sentinel

Ghost Bike

Your destiny is to stare me down
To catch my eye and steer my thoughts toward you
As you silently testify
On a narrow gravel strip between
Speeding metal in front, quiet hedgerow behind
A strip too small to call a refuge for the living
Or a safe place for a metallic siren
Such as yourself
Inches from the murderous flow of which I am a part

You are a poignant reminder of life's gamble
"I dare you to try it again," you say.
"I will not so easily be kicked to the sidelines
Made of metal as I am and not flesh and blood,
Nor will I so easily be kicked out of the game
Unlike your precious friend..."

I will remember him.
Innocent, yet kicked out of Life's adventure
In an instant
So rudely and unkindly
So very unexpectedly
So tragically
So violently

We are all left standing in awe
His family, his friends
We circle around your sacred perch
In testimony.

And we feel...

Very helpless
  A little betrayed
    Mostly sad
      Entirely humbled
        Inexplicably angry

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Kids in New York City, Times Square

I am so proud to be their dad!
Ian, Olivia, Elinor #bestkidsintheworld

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ontario Twitter Storm Watch

Friday, December 04, 2015

School Community, Teaching Community, and Church Family Mourns the Loss of Jay Keddy

This is Jay Keddy. Last Wednesday, December 2, he was hit by a truck while riding his bike home from work. The accident happened on the Claremont Access. I am humbled and sad. Mystified. Baffled.

Apparently, despite attempts to revive him at the scene, it seems that Jay never recovered consciousness. He must have been thrown from his bike, hit his head really hard, or God forbid he was run over. He may have died instantly. I don't know. Maybe he fell into the path of the truck. Nevertheless it seems like a cruel way for this kind and caring man's life to end: flung to the pavement and left for dead. The driver of the vehicle didn't stop; perhaps was not aware that anything had happened? I don't know. Others showed up and tried to help.

The whole thing just seems like a freak accident. A twist of fate. An uncommon and unjust blip in the universe.

As I get older, I am less surprised by strange turns of events like this. There is less rhyme and reason than we want there to be in the world. The entire creation is an experiment in random expressions of beauty and ugliness, joy and sorrow, order and chaos.

Jay was my teaching colleague at Viscount Montgomery. He was a man whom I would call my friend, with whom I had shared many a conversation, and with whom I shared many values and things in common. Now in glory, whatever that is. He trusted in God, he trusted in the Universe. He has now been swallowed back into creation. I feel the loss.

Jay was 53. Just a year younger than me. A week before this event he sat and dined with Brenda, Ian, Olivia at the HWETL Awards banquet. They were finished their music set, and Jay made sure that they got a table and food and were taken care of.

When my family was on holiday down east, we were touring Louisburg, and lo and behold who should be there on the same day as us: Jay Keddy and his family! We had been inspired to show our kids every corner of Canada, and he shared that same ideal. We always thought that was kind of funny.

Jay had stayed late at Prince of Wales School to watch the school volleyball team and cheer them on. He taught kindergarten there. He was on the road in the dark, simply because he had cared about his school community.

Jay was a man who seemed incapable of having a mean thought or holding a grudge. He was 100% determined to get busy doing good in whatever way he could. He was a man who put actions behind his words, who made things happen, who took the jobs that nobody else wanted. He managed our HWETL Benevolent Fund. He managed the annual awarding of bursaries. He ran for office. He volunteered as a workplace steward. He led committees at his church. There is nobody else that I can think of who represents the idea of "100% all-in."

Jay was a tireless idealist who always had something to say about what we could be doing to improve the situation for someone else. He didn't hold his ideas in, to the point of wearing out the ears of those of us who were less gung-ho about the force of doing good. But nobody ever complained because we knew in our hearts that Jay was a good man through and through.

A man incapable of ill-will or laziness.

Good-bye Jay Keddy. You will be missed for a long, long time.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Packing Up Our Family Home Of 45 Years

This was a good day. We were on the final push to vacate the Brown Family Home on Slater Crescent. Mom was in good spirits, and she had no compuctions about moving into a smaller place where meals were prepared, laundry service was provided, and you could enjoy family and friends. 

Three Photos, Three Thoughts

This is the view out my back window today, November 1, 2015. This poplar tree gives me a good feeling every time I look at it. It is the descendant of a tree we brought in our car from Sudbury about 20 years ago. The little sapling grew to be about a foot in diameter, but we removed it because it was too close to the deck. Happily, there was a self-planted seedling growing nearby in our garden. We carefully rooted the seedling and it has taken off over the past 10 years. This tree gives shade to our back deck in the pre-noon summer sun. The yellow is a total bonus this year!

This is the view looking west on Highway 5 in east Oakville this morning at about 7:30 AM. An absolutely beautiful fall morning. I had just completed my first customer run with Airways Transit and was returning to base via an alternate route. They want drivers to be familiar with all of the ways to get in and out of Pearson.

This is what the corner of our kitchen window looks like rotated and cropped. What an interesting study in lines, repetition and light!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Video Huntley Street

Dilbert and Post-Retirement Thoughts

Yeah. That's about it. When you consider the millions of people who have gone before, and even the thousands of people who would be my own ancestors, you have to accept that each person, as important as they thought they were in the grand scheme of things, was actually just a drop in the vast ocean of humanitiy.

My life is, in some complex way, an outgrowth of hundreds of gene pools combined, and an infinite array of social and historical forces. Combine all that with a huge degree of randomness and happenstance leading up to my conception and birth, and you get something that is almost completely unlikely, and definitely not possible to repeat again.

And yet, if I hadn't been here, would the world have been so much different? Well, I can say with certainty that my children would think so! No. They wouldn't even exist. My wife would have a different life entirely. This house I'm sitting in would look completely different. All of those students I've taught would have had a different music teacher. And so on.

But even when I consider how much of a "dent" my life has made in the cosmos, I have to admit that it is still of very, very little signficance overall. The sun would have gone on to rise without me. The tide would have come in without me. All my school buddies and lifelong acquaintances would still be here. The closer they would have been to me, the greater would be the noticeable difference without me. Like waves in a pond, the water is less agitated the farther away from the thrown stone.

Yes, there is a need to be able to look at one's entire life and say, fuck it. In the end it doesn't really matter one way or another in the grand sceheme of things. I can waste a lot of time and worry thinking about things that I can't change, or running around trying to make my life better by doing this, that, or the other. Truth is, I am what I am right now. This is 100% me. All of my potential and creative spark is present now. Nothing is missing. Nothing more to become and nothing to be shaken off.

Post-retirement Thoughts