Wow. Three of the craziest, busiest, happiest months of my life. How to compress them into one post? WHY compress them into one post? This seems silly, but I think the best way to re-jumpstart my blogging is to get this all out of the way in one post, and then go back to more regular updates. *sigh*.
At my last major post, I was about to speak at the Open Web Vancouver conference at the Vancouver Conference Center. My talk went pretty well, I guess – I mean, I definitely didn’t win any awards, but nobody walked out either. I met some great new folks and had a good experience overall. I know now that speaking at tech conferences is almost exactly like doing live-pa techno in front of a big audience – the more prepared you are, the easier it is to let go and just be yourself.
Since then, there’s been… God. Seriously, where to start?!
I’ve had repeated, profound musical experiences on the boat, jamming with friends. Picture if you will a mirror-smooth False Creek, with the boat anchored about fifty feet offshore. Dan Ross playing guitar and singing, Chad Taylor playing muted trumpet and providing some percussive backup and myself on mandolin and backup vocals – folks walking past, double-taking and sitting down on the seawall to listen, applauding between songs. Making music on the boat with friends has given me far more joy than I ever imagined it could. Actually, making music on the boat at all – I’ve been spending on average about eight to ten hours per week sitting on my deck, playing my guitar and singing. If there is a greater peace than playing music on the water, I haven’t found it yet.
I’ve gone on three epic sailing adventures, the third of which is still ongoing – as of this writing I am anchored in this lovely little bay, surrounded by million-dollar waterfront houses and a beautiful cliff infested with rock climbers. More on that in future posts – but suffice to say this ongoing solo-sailing adventure is not without its trials and tribulations.
The first of the three epic sailing adventures was with a beautiful woman named Miya who I met at Burning Man in 2008, and who had come to visit me several times over the past year. Her confidence in my sailing ability was appreciated, though perhaps unwarranted, as we left Vancouver and immediately ran into eight-foot breaking swells just off Point Atkinson, enroute to the Sunshine Coast. The sailing got a lot better after the first day, but we still had to spend a few days on Bowen Island with engine trouble – mostly waiting around for a mechanic, until we tackled the problem head-on with the manual and some elbow grease, finally solving it ourselves and getting the engine back up and running. We then cruised up the coast to Secret Cove and Smuggler Cove, where we spent a night before returning to Vancouver. It was an amazing trip; the ocean opened my eyes and put a good fear into me, and the company was exquisite. The parting of ways at the end was wistful to say the least.
The second sailing adventure was with yet another beautiful woman, Carrie, who joined me on a trip to the Diversity Festival on Texada Island. Technically we were supposed to sail with a crew of six, but Vancouver being the city of flailers that it is, the crew slowly called in to cancel until it was just the two of us. The winds were against us the whole way there and back, forcing us to motor around 90% of the tip, so it’s debatable whether or not we actually saved any money travelling by “sailboat”. We did get the sails up once or twice, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. The festival itself was excellent, with us arriving in full pirate regalia to great fanfare, spending a weekend surrounded by beautiful people and great music, and rolling out again on Monday with a grand exit. Sunday was a bit crazy, as the wind suddenly went from 5kn up to 25-30kn, and Tie Fighter danced in four-foot swells for the night – I now have a lot more faith in my anchor than before. Another boat nearby actually did slip their anchor, and came within a few feet of hitting us, but we held steady and Monday was much calmer. Another thing learned: rowing a dinghy in calm waters is one thing, rowing through four-foot waves as they break on the beach is another thing entirely! I made very good use of the drybags my sister gave me for my birthday.
The next weekend after Diversity was the Emrg-N-See Festival just outside of Salem, Oregon. I went to this festival with Trent last year, and it was probably the best festival I’d been to to date – it was as though someone had sent a personal invitation to every single gorgeous, blonde, dreadlocked, dubstep-loving yoga instructor on the west coast. I cannot express how many times I had to stop and shake my head at the sheer beauty surrounding me. This year was similar, though somewhat diluted, as though every guy who went last year went home and explained the situation to every guy he knew. I know I did, which is why I was surprised that the crew going down fron Vancouver was much smaller this year. Regardless, I definitely got my fill of amazing dubstep and bassline music, on very excellent soundsystems. I also got to take a tablespoon of dancefloor dirt out of my nose every morning, which I am choosing to look at as preparation for this year’s Burning Man expedition.
The weekend after Emrg-N-See was Sequential Circus 5, an electronic music event that I guess I’m sort of in charge of. I say that with some reservation, because the show couldn’t happen without every one of the seriously talented and driven people involved – we’ve got the whole thing pretty much down to a science now, and even with six live acts on a small stage, we continue to be efficient and competent, and we still have a good time doing it. This SeqCirc was probably the best music to date, though we were up against some very stiff competition. The capacity of the venue is about 180 people, and we had about 100 people, so while it was never packed, it never felt empty, and nearly everyone who was there at midnight was still there at 3am when we turned the lights on, so I count that as a win. The next Sequential Circus, SeqCircSix, will be in January.
After recovering from SeqCirc, having a few sailing missions out and around English Bay, and basically settling down and focusing on dayjob work for a while, I took off on my first big solo-sailing trip, headed for Victoria…