Saturday, December 22, 2007

Shop Till You Drop

You'd be so proud of me. I did all my Christmas shopping in the past 6 hours. ALL of it. I set out at noon without even an idea in my head and came home with beautifully personal gifts for each family member (and double for mom since her birthday is on the 24th.) I was like a consumer-puma, with cat-like agility and speed. From BMV on Bloor, through Kensington, all the way over to World's Biggest Book Store by Dundas Sq. On the subway ride home I thought my legs were going to fall off.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Offensive Pacifism

I consider myself a pacifist. I am not a violent person, and I'd like to think that I have sufficient self-control to maintain a stance of non-violence even if I was confronted with it. But is this position of pacifism reliant on the haven that North America has become, specifically my Canadian citizenship? We are so far removed from the threat of violence that it gives me pause.

What if someone was to break into my house? If they asked where the DVD player was, would I point out that my computer was in the other room? Probably not. In fact, I would probably be more than willing to defend myself and my property. (My property ... even the issue of stewardship/God-owns-everything can suggest that we value what we've been trusted with enough to protect it.) Dad and I were talking about this, and he told me a story about a Quaker who confronts a thief in his store. Looking at the robber over the barrel of a gun, he says, "Sir, I would not harm thee for the world, but thou art standing where I am about to shoot." (I'm assuming he didn't own the gun, maybe it was for sale in his store?) If the hypothetical Quaker can draw the line, maybe I can too.

So, here's my question: Am I okay with the incredibly gifted theologian Bonhoeffer who helped to plan an assassination plot against Hitler, or a Toronto police officer that shoots a man just before the criminal guns down an innocent?

I think I am ... and that confuses me.

Am I not leaving space for the intervention of a God I trust? He says he'll take care of me and that by loving my enemies, I'll be leaving room for him to act justly in a way that my subjectivity would never allow. What about defending those who can't defend themselves? That seems like the 'right' thing to do. I can't help but wonder if some sort of 'Offensive Pacifism' is the answer. A place where protecting the weak takes precedence over turning the other cheek ...

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Cat's Eye - Friday

Hey friends, I'll be playing a few tunes at The Cat's Eye on Friday. If you're looking for something to do, it should be sweet. Becca Viapiana is one of the organizers and a lot of UofT talent performing as well as my buddy Tyler Sammy.

I like dogs and burning cats, so let's imagine that this particular cat's eye has been dislodged from it's socket in a traumatic encounter with one of UofT's mutant squirrels.

Who: the fod (and several other musicians)
What: FREE Café-type event
Where: The Cat's Eye - 150 Charles St. W. (Here's a map)
When: Friday, November 23, 2007
Why: The Enlightenment is over?

For those of you who don't know:
The Cat's Eye is located downstairs in the Wymilwood building on Charles Street West, just east of Museum Station

Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 29, 2007

'F' words

Originally uploaded by the fod.
A life-altering circumstance is the only thing that could ever drag me out of a posting slump, well ... that and Matt Mitchell told me he likes to read my blog. This one's for you Matt.

I WENT UP THE CN TOWER! I've been close enough to touch the city's phallus before, but this trip was a first for this Torontonian of thirteen years. It was so rad to be up there with Mel and Ash. This is something we've talked about doing since I first met the Aussie ... although I'm pretty sure it was after I proposed to her. (Don't freak out ma, we haven't set a date yet.)

It was also really great because the sun set while we were up there – very beautiful. There was certainly potential for a romantic moment. Although, the closest thing to romance that occurred was Mel getting hit on by some older, asian men, which she responded to by slowly turning away. Mel the heartbreaker, strikes again!

It was cool to look down beyond my feet, floating hundreds of metres above the concrete. The glass floor was pretty awesome. People moved a safe disctance away when I jumped a few times to test the strength of the transparent floor. Funny how it psychs you out. I asked a staff member who was monitoring my experiment how often they perform maintenance on the glass floor. Once a year. At first that didn't seem like nearly enough, but when you compare it to any other building ...

We ate dinner at Fran's (College/Yonge) as a part of our Farewell to Ash evening. It was nice to spend time with this gal over the past few weeks. She's one of those people who remind you how fun it is not to take yourself too seriously. It's easy to adore people like that and I know I'm definitely not the only one who's looking forward to seeing her again.

*le sigh*

Gooooood times.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mustache March

It's only six short months away. Men, prepare to sacrifice your pride. Women ... don't even think about it.

Ballad of the Beard

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No Blog For You!

I'm noticing a pattern here. Posting is very much related to my schedule. Having fun = No blogging.

So, apparently the past few weeks have been awesome. I've been up to The Last Resort (our cottage) more in the past three weeks than I have ever been in my entire life. A chunk of every week is spent up there and I've tremendously enjoyed the time. Swimming daily (in a lake! I get psyched just thinking about it), reading a lot (Velvet Elvis was and is great), playing music, chopping wood, lying in a hammock ... yeah, it's been pretty rough.

Big News! Well, pre-big news – I've got a demo together of some acoustic stuff that Jeff recorded for me in a big wood lecture hall at school. Although it has nothing to do with the tracks we've been working on for the past year, it feels great to have something to show for the two parking tickets and falafel filled day on the UofT campus. I may just follow suit (Chuck and Marge) and start a new blog that details the comings and goings of this 'fod' project. Apparently I should at least post explanations to the songs. Mom and Dad don't think anyone will understand what I'm going on about.

I finished working at Hope Community Church last Sunday and the people there gave me the most incredible Goodbye. I really didn't expect much after only having been there for a few months, but they made me feel like a champ. I really was caught off guard at how much of a bond developed over this short period of time.

Last week was rad, it was like Uxbridge Week. I was up there on Thursday and Saturday, and it was so great to meet (or re-meet in some cases) many people who make me smile. The Ottenhofs, some of the many Huizengas, the Perrotts, Gracie, and hearing Caitlin perform was a treat. Her voice reminds me of Karis(sp?) - another great singer/songwriter. It was also really good to hook up with James MacKnight, a fellow aspiring musician and blast from the past, so to speak. He wrote a note about the Ux promoting a healthy and relational lifestyle, it's so true. Not that it's a utopia or anything, but I hope that more people with a similar mentality discover themselves living there that so the town can continue growing in the way it is.

Okay, confession time. I've cycled through liking/not liking a certain artist for a few years now. But after listening to The Con all morning, I'm ... intrigued once again. Does anyone else out there like Tegan and Sara? Maybe even enough to go see a show early in October?

Ending with a question seems appropriate, so I'll do that ... hm, I guess this new ending just screwed that up ... or did it?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Time to Relax

Tomorrow is my last day at this teaching job.
It has been a stretching experience – one I probably wouldn't have done if I knew what I know now. It's too soon to tell whether this feeling I'm experiencing right now is the satisfaction of achievement or merely the relief of being done. Not that it was all bad. I had a great time with the kids and the people I worked with. I'm leaving with some great stories and some good experience under my belt. (I wonder if anyone has ever started to title a resumé 'Under My Belt' and then stopped to consider the ambiguity.) I've just finished creating the final test for these kids and I'm so looking forward to some quality down-time.

Take it away Mika.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I have shameful visions
of falling down the stairs. Lying
broken and crippled at the bottom of an
unrelenting flight I recall my misstep and grit
my teeth as I mouth the word, “stupid!” to ……… myself.

I seriously do. It's weird. The next thing I do is fumble for my cell.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Margaret Knows

And it soon begins! TESL work starts next week – I'm anticipating that ... a little nervous because it's a new thing, but our boss said that as long as we don't cry in front of the students we'll be okay. (What kind of advice is that?)

Yesterday involved a little bit of recording with Jeff "the Master" Muir and a lil' bit of Live Free or Die Hard. Ridiculously great movie, ridiculously. Before going to the theatre we listened through the 'Sheraton Sessions' acoustic stuff that we did last week. It sounds really sweet. That huge, wood room warmed the sound right up. Despite my inability to focus yesterday, working with Jeff got me very psyched to get this stuff finished. It has been a year and a half since we naïvely started this venture ... looks like a fall release is acheivable at this point!

On a related, yet completely distinct note; Andy Mckee is awesome. Innovative and incredibly melodic – without fail, this guy brings me pause.



Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Originally uploaded by the fod.
Chuck and I rode our bikes home after APC's family picnic tonight. It was fun coasting through cool parks and dimly lit streets. Summer nights are so rad.

One trail led us down into a sort of ravine and as we picked up speed, small bugs bounced off my face. Chuck looks back and says, "Keep your mouth closed."

'Good idea' I think after which I hear a laugh from a horizontal couple on the park bench we're passing.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Faulkner-esque Miracle Grow

I love Stevie Wonder and sunshine and guitar. Israel was great! We saw some truly awesome and incredibly old things. My mother was there. Matt has a garden this year. He planted radishes and basil and some other stuff that people don't normally eat. Well, that's not really true. I ate a weed today. Not 'weed'; A WEED. We played soccer in the park today. I rode my skateboard there and laughed when I landed a wobbly heel-flip. I wish Uxbridge was closer - those peeps play soccer too ... for kicks. Couldn't resist. I played guitar for a bit today on the front step and a drunk neighbour came by to sing along. Great. The New Amsterdams rule too. If Stevie was King, they would be his knights ... or maybe just the squires of the knights. But very competent squires.

I can't concentrate. Summer's here and my mind is divided and preoccupied by far to many demands for my attention. Off to a show I go!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

... like dinner.

Whew! I was worried I had forgotten my password for this thing. No such luck! You are subjected to yet another blog by the ever-changing fod.

After a very long month of sympathetic friends becoming slightly annoyed acquaintances, rejected by my self-imposed isolation ... I have finished my plague, ahem ... uh, I mean, paper. It was a Thursday late night as I topped off the word-count and moved on to do a quick two-pager for this TESL course, but I slept like a crashed plane knowing that I had torn through a forest of trees and found my rest at last.

That said, I'll review this monster before I send it off tonight and make sure it's not utter nonsense for the last five pages (which I don't really remember writing). Then off to work, an exam tomorrow, and out to see Margaret's award-winning creations on Friday afternoon. (That girl is brilliant.)

If you're not doing anything this Saturday, I'm playing a show in Ajax with Chuck and Jeff (Sir Muir). If their faces are any indication ... it should be a good time! Details and awkward photo at:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

One Step Closer to Nowhere

My hands haven't stopped shaking in a week. It makes typing fun. It makes formal introductions awkward. It makes me anticipate next week all the more.

I started a full-time 'Teaching English as a Second Language Course' on Monday. The same week all my finals are due. It's not pretty, and neither is she. It's foreign to me, being prone to pessimism. Maybe this whole cycle will deteriorate into a spiritual re-awakening. That would be great, although I'd much rather that process occur while I'm sleeping.

For the moment, my spiritual re-awakening will be postponed - I can't hit rock-bottom when I've just finished an exam, the sun's shining and I'm going out for dinner with friends. I'll put it off, hitting rock-bottom can wait. I guess that temporarily makes procrastination a good thing?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Two Awesome

Two Awesome
Originally uploaded by the fod.
We've decided that next year's Mustache March will have a more noble cause besides getting laughed at on the subway and requests to shave.

It'll be a Mustache Marathon, to raise money for a charitable organization. A worthy cause is the only thing that could drag me back to that heinous grooming again.

I'm not completely comfortable admitting that I actually enjoyed it, but I did.

Get ready folks, Mustache March 2008 is a mere 11 months around the corner!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Post Spread Thin

I've had a great week.

- I got mewithoutYou's latest record and have been listening to it a lot. It makes me want to speak only in poems and change the world, which are maybe not entirely unrelated.
- Met my good friend Will for a $2 lunch ... then randomly ran into him two days later. I feel enriched to know such an individual.
- There were some fantastic lectures this week. Not that that would be out of the ordinary, but, it happened this week too.
- I shared dinner, laughs, and good conversation with some great people, old friends from Uxbridge and new friends from places I don't recall.
- I've discovered areas on which I can spiritually improve. God help me.
- Progress is being made toward a part-time and full-time job for this summer.
- I wrestled with my brother and tossed him in the trunk twice.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day 18

Day 18
Originally uploaded by the fod.
Nobody takes me seriously anymore. Bank loans, pick-up lines, job interviews ... all denied.

And I'm skeptical, if I make any major decisions during this month will I remain true to them as of April 1st? I mean, participating in Mustache March represents such a serious lack of judgement on my part ... can I be held responsible for any decision, opinion, bias or expression over the next fourteen days?

Yes, yes I can. Because my mustache ... is awesome.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


I'm writing an essay on a diverse community called to live in unity, to genuinely love others – the Church as a visible representative of God. A couple things hit me. First, the fact that God would trust us to be his representatives, we're definitely not capable of representing deity. Finite humanity as a proxy for the infinite supernatural – we fall so incredibly short. So, in the most graceful move of all, God offers his love to us so that we can give that away. Supernatural, unfathomable love, overflowing our finite pockets. If we're tapped in to this extravagant love, it's almost like we have no choice but to give it away, it's going to be spilling all over anyway.
My second thought continues from that. What an honour it is to be trusted with love – trusted to give it away. What goes around, comes around. If we don't empty our pockets, we won't be able to fill them again. We would be losing the privilege to love.

I'm using U2's song 'One' in this essay. Specifically the line celebrating unity amidst diversity, “We’re one, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other”. There's the privilege again, we GET to carry each other. I wept through the entire performance of the song with Mary J. Blige. The melody changes, the black woman in harmony with an Irish man, the heaviness of the empty seats, Mary just givin'er, the sweet simplicity of unison, the darkness of shadows, the humility of Bono kissing Mary's hand. After considering this topic so deeply, the impact of the performance hit me at the same level.

Often times, the Church is so far from representing God in all his love. I'm glad to have so many giving people around me who show love in all it's extravagance. I sure hope I do the same.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Day 4

Day 4
Originally uploaded by the fod.
It has begun. Mustache March may lose me some friends, then again, it may make me some enemies.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Paid Gig

"Hey, I'm Mason." Not a shred of celebrity about him as he strolled up beside me to check out the stage. I had no idea who he was, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw him up there performing a few hours later.

I was paid to watch Mason Jennings and Guster perform on Monday night. Yeah, I helped move their gear around for a bit before and after the show, but that's just because I was feeling so strong from dinner.

A special thank-you goes out to Eli for introducing Bruce and I to coconut rice. Apparently, rice steamed in chicken stock tastes even better. That's frightening since Coconut Rice rules the world of Thai cuisine along with his queen, Green Currie.

Guster was incredibly talented; switching instruments every song and belting out these beautiful three-part harmonies. A fun live show ended with not one, but two encores! The second was a very acoustic song – without the benefit of a sound system.

"We're going to try something without the PA. You can help us by being very, very quiet."

That didn't stop screaming girls from cutting loose one strum into the song. They were quickly shushed by more intelligent fans who have a better grasp of the concept of sound.

A beautiful evening.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Subway Thoughts With Dave

No book, no fodPod, no friend. This was my first trip on the subway without a something/someone to keep me company since I started school in September. And on top of that ... add THIS! I had minimal mattress-time last night, so, against all logic, I'm hyper today. Next stop: imagination station.

Have you ever wondered what the person next to you on the train was thinking?
If I was sitting next to you, this is what you would have have wanted to know.

I turned around in the hotel lobby and this guy was standing there with his hand on a kid's shoulder. He smiled at me and said, "Hey, I'd like to introduce you to my son." We talked for a while and I guess I have an honest face because he decided to confide in me. He lowered his voice as he said, "It's too bad, really. We don't know who the mother is. I used to go down to the pub to pick up a lot more than I do now. Must've been some nine-month stand."

I've got my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. There are only a few options here.
- gigantism
- a summit
- low clouds
- decapitation

When I get married and have all eight boys we're going to celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts. Then we're going to take something we don't use anymore from a previous Christmas or birthday and give it away. It'll give the boys a more balanced understanding of the season.

Monday, February 5, 2007

I know who I am! - quarter-life crisis averted

Okay, I may be running too far on a tangent, but I feel like I left the last post somewhat unresolved. So I will enjoy the flavour of my leftovers-mixed-into-soup lunch (in all its appropriateness) and recount for you a two-dimensional version of a revelation I experienced this very morning.

To re-cap: I attempted to define myself according to my familial relationships. I am a son and a brother. I figured that the relationships I share with these people would describe who I am. I was so close! But it took a little more time to refine this raw idea into a more workable concept.

Now – a disclaimer here – I'm still working this through and I'm open to objections or suggestions. That said, I think this is at least a big step in the right direction, that being toward my own elusive identity. (This is far too wordy, hang in there! Dave tells fantastic stories if they don't bore you to tears.) I was so focussed on my identity being within myself, a core, a true-self hidden deep within the recesses of my being. So deep was this caché of personality, that even I could never fully uncover it.

But I was searching in the wrong spot! Identity is not inside, it's outside. By that I mean – I discover myself in my relationships. To be human is to be a relational being - a being that relates in a unique way to others who share the same relational capacity. Through relational activity, we discover exclusive distinctions about the 'self' - our identity. (I just took 'thereby' out of that sentence. Whew. It would suck if, as I relate my thoughts, I discovered that I'm a huge nerd.)

What if I'm stranded on a deserted island? There's nobody to relate to! Good question ... Dave. I would go so far as to say that we are designed to be defined by our relationships, the most important of which is our relationship to our designer. It is in the pursuit of this relationship that self-discovery unleashes its full potential. Who could know me better than the being that created me?

This is a beast of a post, but I'm glad I wrote it. Writing these things out (and talking them out too, I guess) helps me fill in the gaps between big ideas. Thanks for sticking around.

In the spirit of this post, I leave you with a distortion of Tyler Durden's words ...

You are not your job. You are not the car you drive. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your bowel cancer. You are not your censored khakis. You are the all-singing, all-dancing people of the world.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quarter-life Crisis

It's hard to be honest when someone asks who I am.

Apart from the whole name thing, which is difficult to fudge, I don't know who I am. I understand some of my preferences, but even these are fragmented and contradictory. I do not satisfy myself or a definition with any of the responses I give. I am not a vocation or a hobby or any of the other things I do, but I have no other handle. Maybe that's why About Me's always turn into a vague joke.

In Systematic Theology we learned to define the persons of the Triune God by their relationship to each other, not by their roles which are all entertwined since they are one being. The only method of distinction is by referring to the Son as he is eternally begotten by the Father, from whom the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds.

My father is Keith, my mother is Esther, and I am a brother to Matthew.

Even if it would never cut it in a job interview or as an introduction to a girl's parents, I am fine with that. I guess one has to start slow during a quarter-life crisis.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Unholy Worship

I didn't just kneel. Physically unable to stand, I crawled to the porcelain god. Once there, I bowed low and offered every last ounce and residue of ingested contents to her. Repeatedly. A necessary evil, I haven't considered repentance an option, although I do feel forgiven after each deeply religious experience. And I simply flush it all away. Maybe I should be asking the forgiveness of Lake Ontario. That sounds right, but first things first, I'm parched. Anyone else for a glass of tap-water?

Now, able to stand without the assistance of a wall, I can walk the road to recovery. Hopefully it'll only be a quick detour before I step up to the real world full of health once again.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I've got a joke for you.

A recent Ph.D graduate, a seasoned professor, an ordained buddhist monk, and yours truly walk into a classroom. There are eight other individuals in attendance and it smells like a bit of heaven.

The punchline? It's a course called Canadian Contextual Theology.

I've been laughing at this one all day.

Thanks for caring, I'm proud to call you my friends.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


to be taking a course that involves music and theology. U2 and Bruce Cockburn as theological resources! This course (Music Prophecy and Culture) is engaging, which is light-years beyond the Spirituality and Health course I tested out earlier today. I don't have much to say or do in a class that wants to explore the cathartic healing process of creative writing. What's next, interpretive dance with the ambient sound of waterfalls and exotic birds playing in the background? I suppose the routine could get fairly innovative - those flimsy liberals have no spine. (Did I just tarnish the reputation of contortionists?) Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that I haven't gone through a severe illness that would require some sort of psychological mop-up. But it's just another reason why I don't belong in that particular classroom.

Hopefully the Canadian Contextual Theology course tomorrow will be dramatically superior and I will have no problem dropping the Health course like the hateful waste of time it is.

I've been feeling negative recently. Like I want to take a bite out of the world and spit it out with a sneer on my face. That's not me ... so I guess something's wrong. Unfortunately, in this scenario I fall solidly into the category of 'man'. I won't be able to self-analyse with even remote sensitivity until much too late. This means that the cause of this quirk will remain concealed until I'm disabled enough to recognize it. Great!

Maybe I'm pissed about growing up, about not knowing what vocation suits me and a time that requires decision rapidly approaching. Or could it be that I am edgy because I wish I was a superhero and I'm coming to terms with my lack of wall-climbing ability.

I want to go on writing (heck, maybe it is cathartic) but I see no end to this late-night, stew-fueled, hyphen-bearing post. So I will cut the umbilical connection without questioning who the mother is: you or a politically confused user of onionless foods.