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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The day the music died

Life can be a cruel bastard sometimes.

I had the pleasure to meet Jon Horvath a number of times over many years...many many years at Shambhala, Burning Man and other big electronic Canadian festivals....but also here many times at Saskatoon. Here at my home where he came to play sometimes and he and J talked music and laughed. He always made a point of saying hello to us whenever and wherever we found him. He let a shared love of music link up us and so many others with him and them. Considering the very social life he lived and the tragic loss of his lovely wife a few years ago he was kind and inspiring...and, dammit, he loved funk. He and his group Fort Knox Five made funk and brought it to the world. It was a unique funky sound I discovered and loved. Damn...I loved it. Still do. So many people do.

Sadly Jon H died a few days ago. He drifted away from a coma after a sudden illness...and a whole musical community, me included (if I can even consider myself a part of it), are struck a bit dumb. It's really sad that a great guy who finally was really seeing his music getting successful and making a great life for himself and putting so much energy into other artists to help them is just...gone.

A really great eulogy for Jon is here. If you like funk or Fort Knox Five have a read and remember. Or better...play some funk. Dance under the stars. Look up Fort Knox Five on Soundcloud...tracks like Fire in My Belly and Swinging on a Rhyme? Well your ass will thank you and dance a little and bring  a smile to your face. Listen to a few Funk The World mixes to hear some great funk Fort Knox Five gathered from all around the world...because we all need a little more music in our lives.

This man brought a lot of joy to my life and a whole lot of others I know and hold dear.
We will keep the funk alive.

RIP Jon.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Oh my god there's a mountain lion in your fridge

Someone in a cancer group I'm a part of poste this the other day and it's funny...and very true.

“What’s it like to go through cancer treatment? It’s something like this: one day, you’re minding your own business, you open the fridge to get some breakfast, and OH MY GOD THERE’S A MOUNTAIN LION IN YOUR FRIDGE.
Wait, what? How? Why is there a mountain lion in your fridge? NO TIME TO EXPLAIN. RUN! THE MOUNTAIN LION WILL KILL YOU! UNLESS YOU FIND SOMETHING EVEN MORE FEROCIOUS TO KILL IT FIRST!
So you take off running, and the mountain lion is right behind you. You know the only thing that can kill a mountain lion is a bear, and the only bear is on top of the mountain, so you better find that bear. You start running up the mountain in hopes of finding the bear. Your friends desperately want to help, but they are powerless against mountain lions, as mountain lions are godless killing machines. But they really want to help, so they’re cheering you on and bringing you paper cups of water and orange slices as you run up the mountain and yelling at the mountain lion - “GET LOST, MOUNTAIN LION, NO ONE LIKES YOU” - and you really appreciate the support, but the mountain lion is still coming.
Also, for some reason, there’s someone in the crowd who’s yelling “that’s not really a mountain lion, it’s a puma” and another person yelling “I read that mountain lions are allergic to kale, have you tried rubbing kale on it?”
As you’re running up the mountain, you see other people fleeing their own mountain lions. Some of the mountain lions seem comparatively wimpy - they’re half grown and only have three legs or whatever, and you think to yourself - why couldn’t I have gotten one of those mountain lions? But then you look over at the people who are fleeing mountain lions the size of a monster truck with huge prehistoric saber fangs, and you feel like an asshole for even thinking that - and besides, who in their right mind would want to fight a mountain lion, even a three-legged one?
Finally, the person closest to you, whose job it is to take care of you - maybe a parent or sibling or best friend or, in my case, my husband - comes barging out of the woods and jumps on the mountain lion, whaling on it and screaming “GODDAMMIT MOUNTAIN LION, STOP TRYING TO EAT MY WIFE,” and the mountain lion punches your husband right in the face. Now your husband (or whatever) is rolling around on the ground clutching his nose, and he’s bought you some time, but you still need to get to the top of the mountain.
Eventually you reach the top, finally, and the bear is there. Waiting. For both of you. You rush right up to the bear, and the bear rushes the mountain lion, but the bear has to go through you to get to the mountain lion, and in doing so, the bear TOTALLY KICKS YOUR ASS, but not before it also punches your husband in the face. And your husband is now staggering around with a black eye and bloody nose, and saying “can I get some help, I’ve been punched in the face by two apex predators and I think my nose is broken,” and all you can say is “I’M KIND OF BUSY IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED I’M FIGHTING A MOUNTAIN LION.”
Then, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, the bear leaps on the mountain lion and they are locked in epic battle until finally the two of them roll off a cliff edge together, and the mountain lion is dead.
Maybe. You’re not sure - it fell off the cliff, but mountain lions are crafty. It could come back at any moment.
And all your friends come running up to you and say “that was amazing! You’re so brave, we’re so proud of you! You didn’t die! That must be a huge relief!”
Meanwhile, you blew out both your knees, you’re having an asthma attack, you twisted your ankle, and also you have been mauled by a bear. And everyone says “boy, you must be excited to walk down the mountain!” And all you can think as you stagger to your feet is “fuck this mountain, I never wanted to climb it in the first place.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Talk amongst yourselves

This recent article has a lot of really interesting points to make about how people deal with their lives, often in ways that are harmful, instead of working to make their life more satisfying. I've recently had a few conversations about this very topic...found it very interesting.
 For example...
"Like our parents of the last generation, we are close to subduing the vibrant and powerful spirit of our bodies to the point of quiet bickering, to complaining quietly until it may have almost found solace in the only mediums it has been offered. We may now have almost accepted small pleasures and transient moments of commercial entertainment as enough – as if this was all there ever was.
Our generation, whether they subscribe to higher ideals or not, is quickly and dangerously reaching the point where it is enough to “just get by”: to get a job, watch movies, have sex and buy more stuff. We can leave these problems to someone else. Content with the barrage of entertainment that consumer culture has to offer, and overwhelmed by the daunting challenge our generation faces, there are enough distractions to keep us comfortably numb well after we’ve forgotten what real life is all about.
 Now, it’s true. Even eco-minded activists like to watch movies or get engrossed in the occasional videogame, go out for a few beers – whatever it is. It’s certainly fine to enjoy these things. It’s just important to keep these forms in balance with everything else in life."

Monday, April 06, 2015

The only thing

So there's a new Sufjan Stevens album. And it turns out I can't stop listening to it. It's a sad album, songs about losing his mum...but, well I relate...and, well, the music is so damn beautiful. I think this and The only thing are my favourite tracks on the album. It's one of those songs to listen to on a train with the rain pouring outside, or a sunset stroll...haunting.

The whole album is available on Soundcloud for listening on the Asthmatic Kitty label site. Have a listen. I bet it makes you twinkle inside just a little bit...

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Gollumy day

As I sit here trying to write papers on my breast cancer research from my thesis I am still mentally foggy when I sit down to focus.  It's what I have come to call in my head a Gollumy day. I am trying how to get past this so I can finish these papers and get things going without having to wash through all these emotions every time I whip out my data files and read up on the most recent breast cancer research. As I look at slides and count patient data I am vividly aware of the fact that each sample is a person. All this data…it *was* me. I, like others, am logged in the big beige slide and FFPE carousels on 5th floor at City Hospital…just another surgpath number. Yes, I did work to help make diagnosis better for people. In the process I met all the people who ended up testing and supporting me in my fight, giving me confidence in their quality of work and the level of treatment I received. It helped me stay sane knowing all the details I had learned.

And now I'm better. So they say. I feel better. I have hair. I have my health back. I feel…almost…normal. Some days I can forget I was ever sick. Some days. Until I take of my shirt to get ready for bed and see the white line across my chest where my right breast used to be. Most days I remember how strong I am…was…and most days I remember what I learned about what I need to appreciate and look to as important in my life. It's not like I lost my legs or anything.
But some days, like today, as I sit with my kitten in my lap at the table typing and attempting to work on stats and read about breast cancer all that comes back in random flashes. Like some sort of demented PTSD. Trying to focus on things and ignore all the emotions that flow back is not something I'm completely ready for. Not so bad really…I just want it to go away…and am wondering if it ever will.

When we went to Burning man last year I took my chemo log card. I left it in the temple and spent time there sobbing out my anxiety and worry and all that came with everything I had been through and tried my best to leave it there. When the temple burned it took a lot of that with it. I met up with some cancer survivors there and together we walked to remember and to forget. I let go of a lot there.
But apparently I still have a lot in there hiding out and it likes to come and visit from time to time. Just to mess with me.

Well, Fuck you cancer. Fuck you for everything you took from me and everything I have to carry with me every day.

I want to stand at the top of a mountain and scream with every fiber of my being…like Gollum said: LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK.

You fucker.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

So tired



February. Bleh. I am tired and mopye and grumpy and generally not myself the last few days. It's partly because I seem to be coming down with a cold...which just hasn't made up it's mind to attack or retreat yet. Right now I'm just losing my voice, I'm tired and my head feels floaty. Boourns. Trying to eat well and get lots of sleep.

Must hang on until the weekend....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Way up yonder

Yeah, so I still keep posting just over at my other blog, so if you wanna know how I am, just head over there. I will come back here sometimes too, but splitting things up seems sorta silly at the moment.
See ya over there...