Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The "V-DAY"

Yes, I must admit I was nervous, the V-Day, February 14th, how was it going to be?? First Valentine's Day alone in a long LONG time, I didn't have to buy flowers, chocolates or gifts to anyone...

Well...not as painful as I thought. Just another day.

I went to work, 9-5, I left work and went straight to have a haircut (just tips cause I am planning on letting it grow) and then I went to the movies by myself. I went to see "Cedar Rapids" (which was a wrong choice) because it wasn't as funny as the trailer promised it to be.

Sneaked some junk food in the theatre (Chips, white chocolate and pop)

In fact, I am more excited about taking off to Montreal for the long weekend and seeing again some old faces I haven't seen in a while. I'd be my own tribute to celebrate my 10 years in Canada and the places I used to go...the itinerary includes (food wise)

General Tao at Soupe et Nouilles
Smoke Meat Sandwich at Schwartz's
St-Viateur Bagels

and that's just a start of what it looks like an interesting week

On Wednesday and Thursday night I'll be hitting some open jams with the band trying to get some bookings and at the same time having fun playing some covers

Then on friday after work I'll be leaving straight to Montreal and coming back on Monday night.

It should be fun....more details to come later

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Anniversary #10!

As I am writing this post tonight, 10 years ago I was arriving to Canada for the first time in the middle of a snow storm. Little I knew this would be my home for the next ten years....

I was 24 and all I had back then was a backpack full of clothes, a computer and an Eric Clapton signature guitar. I see myself today and I am 34 and all I have is a backpack full of clothes, an iMac computer and a Warwick Bass....

So I will start listing all the things (good and bad) that have happened to me in these past decade and since we're talking about Canada, and if I must choose a Canadian song to accompanying your reading it  would have to be The Tragically Hip cause after all....it's been a Long Time Running.

So click play and enjoy your reading!

After 10 years in Canada 02/06/2001 - 02/06/2011

- I learned French after a year in French School
- I lived in 2 major cities (Montreal & Toronto)
- Visited 3 provinces Quebec, Ontario & British Columbia
- I played at Cafe Campus in Montreal
- Worked at the SPCA in Montreal (it was my first job in Canada)
- Meet 2 of my best buddies Carlos and Piero
- I realized family is not as great and nice as when they are far from you
- Missed my parents almost every day
- Worked at HMV and got fired for supposedly not understanding a french customer when I thought he was looking for an "Al Green" CD when he really meant a "Halloween" CD
- Learned french people don't pronounce the "H"
- Meet my first wife
- Ate plain white rice for 2 weeks in order to save for U2 tickets
- Saw U2 first row and got both, Bono's and The Edge's guitar picks
- Lived with $400/month for a year
- Saw snow for the first time in my life
- Got my long hair braided
- Work at Safari Pet Centre at the Rockland Mall
- Answered the most stupid questions about fish to customers in the store and over the phone.
- Discovered I don't love animals but for some strange reason they DO love me
- Became a "cat person" when I was really a "dog person"
- Found out about General-Tao chicken
- Went tobogganing on Sundays to the Mont-Royal park when I had no money and spend the day there
- Worked at a Canada Post outlet with a girl with a wicked sense of humour and the finest sarcasm ever and had an asian couple as bosses which were fantastic. Also got to meet this guy that would come every week to buy a stamp with his debit card and then make a rant for us not wanting to pass his card for $0.43
- Learned I don't have Customer Service Skills
- Saw a good amount of concerts while making friends with the scalpers by bringing them sandwiches and coffee so they'd let me be always right behind them on the line-up no matter at what time I arrive
- Got a borrowed bike and biked around the city once spring came
- Worked painting and fixing apartments in order to make some extra cash
- Played with more bands in Montreal in Bars and Pubs, some of them good some others not so good
- Got a standing ovation playing Comfortably Numb at Pub-St-Paul in Montreal's Old Port
- Went to Vancouver to visit my wife's family
- Ate Poutine
- Tried the best smoked meat ever in my life at "Schwartz's"
- Got really fat
- Worked in a courier company tracking international parckages
- Went back to Venezuela for a couple of months and to teach english while staying with my parents
- Worked at Steve's Music Store in Montreal in the warehouse where I got to meet really nice people and talented musicians which whom I still keep in touch.
- Studied Audio Recording Technology at Cegep Vanier, a six month program where I became an Audio Engineer and got to learn from 3 great teachers, Pat McNeil, Glenda Rush and Nick DiTomaso
- Moved up from working in the warehouse at Steve's to the bookstore where I also got a great boss who was really nice to work with and easy going, Norm.
- I got an internship after graduating in a TV station called Nuevo Mundo TV where I worked as a Sound Editor, Sound Designer and Composer for some of their shows and promos.
- Got my first and only Mac computer (same one I am using to write this post)
- Decided to leave Montreal behind and move to Toronto
- Got transferred to Steve's in Toronto where I met my supervisor a really sweet girl with the most amazing voice for singing.
- Rented a basement apartment for 2 years
- Had to throw away bed, mattress, sheets and treat the cats because the previous apartment owner left a piece of carpet FULL of fleas from his dog that spread all over the apartment and tortured us and the cats
- Started working in an Audio Visual company called AVW-Telav
- Went to see many many concerts: U2, The Police, Van Halen, Van Haggart, The Commitments, James Brown, Morris Day and The Time, Ozzy, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, INXS, Gogol Bordello, BajoFondo Tango Club, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Genesis, Supertramp, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Gabriel, etc....
- Sold my Eric Clapton signature Fender Stratocaster guitar which I had since 1998.
- Got a Warwick Thumb Bass (valued $4800) for $1250 because the store was doing a bankruptcy sale
- Joined an original Latin Rock band called Gardenias and played with them for about a year with a CD release included
- Got my own website up and running
- Did some work as a Composer and Sound Recordist for some documentaries and shorts
- Discovered "King Noodle" in Chinatown, my favorite place for chicken n' chinese mushroom noodles
- Got transferred to work as an in-house technician at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel
- Played with some other bands and projects around Toronto
- Got a part time job in a bar as the Sound Technician mixing bands and doing lighting
- Went to my first musical "Evil Dead - The Musical"
- Lost my job at the bar thanks to a "friend" who took it and learned who are my friends really
- Got transferred to the Metro Convention Center as an in-house technician and became part of an Union for the first time.
- Went to Vancouver for 2 weeks to work at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games and visit my wife's family at the Okanagan Valley
- I was part of a wicked play called "Einstein's Wife" where I did Sound & Lighting design for the play and meet 3 really cute girls also very talented actors for a 2 week sold out run at the Fringe Festival
- Got a my first House
- Got separated and soon to be divorced
- Sold my first house
- Started working at the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Association (CMRRA)
- Turned 34 years old last October
- Put together a band with 4 of my best friends whom I enjoy talking to and playing music with
- I am renting a room in order to save money to take a 6-8 month trip to celebrate my 35th Birthday

This is it, pretty much in a nutshell. Ten years of apprenticeship and constant learning. The best part as always I think it is all the people I have met in these past 10 years and that either had some influence in my life or mine on theirs...lots of good and bad memories but memories at the end.

Has it been good or bad? I still don't know how to answer that question. Somedays I miss Venezuela and my friends and family, somedays I am happy to be in Canada and somedays I'd wish to be somewhere else exploring. 10 years in the same place seems like a bit too long. Maybe it is time for me to pack and keep on wandering the earth and this was just a resting stop, after all...

It's been a Long Time Running..........it's well worth the wait

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Back on Stage!! Song of the Day and other stuff...

It might have taken a while but yesterday I got back on stage to play 5 songs with the cover band I've been rehearsing for the past 3 months, it didn't matter if it was an open jam, or if there were about 10 people in the crowd, or if the bar owners never showed up to check us out and arrange a booking.

We all 5 were there, eager to play and the chemistry was amazing!

Songs we played:

Give me one Reason
Fortunate Son
Bad Romance
Message in a Bottle

People were happy and having a good time (yeah all 10 of them) but the most important thing, I felt great. I felt like a big load was taken off my shoulders, no worries for those 20 minutes, we even made some mistakes and they were no biggie, good saves from the whole band to make them unnoticeable to the audience...

Two Venezuelans, one Shri-Lankan, one Asian and a Polish. Weird blend but the best results.

We'll start hitting some more "Open Jams" around the city to test skills and take off some rust plus it might be an opportunity to get some paid gigs and get back in action as a part time musician. Just what I need!

Also at work, I think in an involuntary way I kinda created a game. It's called "the song of the day" and it all started by talking with my supervisor about my passion of scoring for films and how music and moods go hand by hand or you can describe your mood with certain song...not only we tested each other but she managed to get the rest of the department involved. There was some Kings of Lion, Carmina Burana and some other choices...mine....?

Can't you Hear me Knocking by the Stones

I can't get enough of those congas and that latin vibe jam at the end with the sax..the chorus is the best.

Snowstorm today but it wasn't as bad as everyone predicted it'd be, kinda made me think some more about my trip, where would I be if I get stuck in a snow storm. It made me realize I really need to plan where it is going to be "Point A" and "Point B" depending on the season I choose to travel.

Well, that sounds like material for another post so you'll have to take a rain check on that one.

Feeling good again guys/girls...thanks to music and friends' support as always

Next time I promise I'll have some pictures or videos to share with you

Til' then

Rock n' Roll!