Books I’ve Published – 2013

I already have these books listed on My Book Shelf page, but most of you folks don’t visit that (the numbers don’t lie), so I figured I’d do something I rarely do these days, and actually post a link farm. I apologize for those hoping for a new, proper post from me, but I’m a little out of sorts and not feeling too chatty. Included with these links are the brief summaries I wrote for these books a week or two ago:

A series of short stories and novellas about spies, sultans, genies, detectives, bad angels, a man’s best friend, the God of Squirrels, Christmas dinner for two, thieves, sorceresses, lost children, working while you sleep, writer’s block, soul-eating vampires, and a giant squid.

TERMINAL MONDAY: a Dream of New York City
A man meets an old girlfriend who convinces him to return to novel writing, but not before his wife leaves him, he gets his old band back together, and suffers a nervous breakdown.

TERMINAL MONDAY: Under Observation
A man has a mental breakdown and wakes up to find himself under observation in a New York City hospital.

ASHES: Infinite Redress
A scientist becomes infected by a space-borne virus that contains the soul of an alien missionary who bonds with her and draws her into solving the mystery of how the aliens all died.

A knight falls in love with a young woman designated to be sacrificed to a mystical dragon, and undertakes a quest to learn how to defeat the dragon and break the centuries-old pact.

LINKTALES volume one
(excerpts from The Dark Guild) A series of mysterious events lead to the old city of Londonis being invaded by soul-eating vampires.

You know what I’m asking you to do. Please. Thank you.


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You Never Give Me Your Money… You Only Give Me Your Funny Paper


I write fiction. You can find it in the following places:

I do Graphic Design, cartooning and painting. You can see a gallery of some of my work here:

I also also make music. You can hear it here:

and you can buy some of it here:

I can be followed on many social networks. I don’t have a Foursquare account or an Instagram account, but I subscribe to just about everything else. I don’t IM much anymore, so don’t ask.

I post these things for you because I am told people don’t like using mouse buttons. This is alien to me, but I don’t want to alienate any of you aliens, so voilá. Don’t say I never did anything for you. And don’t say I don’t do anything for you now. I already know that.


Posted in Art, Canadian Music, Etcetera Thesis Music, Graphic Design, Station Identification, Writing | Leave a comment

Mama Mama Mama We’re All Crazy Now

#BellLetsTalk Day

So. Mental health. See, I don’t bang on about it too often, but I’m taking medication to deal with Bipolar Disorder. I don’t regard it as a serious impediment, these days, but that’s largely because I abandoned the rat race, which is really geared more toward people who are single-minded and lacking in oversensitivity issues. What that means in realistic terms is, I’m currently on Ontario Disability. They give both my wife and I enough money to scrape by and still buy the occasional bit of art supply or replace broken or worn out household items. It’s extremely limiting, but at least I’m not out on the street or in an institution.

Not that there’s much wrong with being institutionalized, these days, if you can find a place that will take you. A young girlfriend of ours recently ran afoul of the severe cutbacks to the mental health side of our health industry in Hamilton, when she couldn’t get the help she needed to deal with some very dark thought processes. As a consequence, my wife and I kept an eye n her for a few days, until she could make other arrangements. She seems to be in better shape now (I hope), but part of me wishes I could afford to help her out more than we have already. She’s very sweet and clearly needs some mentoring and such, which her parents aren’t prepared to offer her right now. Saddening, but life’s like that. Dawn and I probably can’t offer much more than we already have, but I find I’ve kind of taken the girl into my heart a bit, and want to make sure she makes out alright. She’s young enough to be my daughter, and reminds me of a strange mix of both Dawn and myself, it’s kind of uncanny.

Anyway, I didn’t start this to talk about someone else. I’ve got to address an issue that affects me personally, as well as my wife (and our surrogate ‘daughter’ as well, I guess 😉 ). The issue is, CBT versus Psychodynamic ‘talk’ Therapy. It became fashionable to crack jokes at the expense of psychiatry, because it was slow and occasionally quite wrong. CBT is more like field surgery. It works on the surface, patching you up and givign you tools to get through the next few months, but has no time to deal with the deeper ‘baggage’ issues. That’s where psychiatry is still needed. So of course, there are no practicing psychiatrists left in Hamilton, or so it seems. Mostly just CBT coaches of one stripe or another.

My psychopharmacologist retired last summer. Ive been without a therapist of any kind since then. I’m not actively seeking one at the moment. I’ve considered CBT and DBT as possibilities, but frankly, what I mostly need is someone with patience and understanding who can comment usefully on things as I unpack my dirty laundry and skeletons and stuff. Advice is always welcome, but understanding is the key. There’s so little of that, these days. As Diamond Dave once wrote, You Just Can’t Get That Stuff Anymore.

I’m in pretty good mental shape these days. Not too bad, even when I’m dipping into the depressive side of the bipolar express. I’ve been going through changes, to be sure, but I mostly feel pretty stable, for certain values of stable. I haven’t had serious ideation problems in months, and haven’t made any sort of serious attempt in years. This is good, because I’m currently functioning as the rock for Dawn, who has been unpacking a lot of ehr baggage at therapy, and needed time to really go off the rails while coping with it. Problem now is, Dawn’s therapy course is up, and she’s without a therapist again. I see it as a time when she needs to be making progress, but she’s pretty sure it’s a good time for a break, anyway. I won’t argue with her. She does seem a lot more sure of herself these days, even with her physical issues holding her back.

So what I’m saying is, thanks to years of conservative government that didn’t give a shit about mental health, we’re now at a point where we’re just healthy enough to cope with the fact that the mental health industry here in Hamilton has pretty much lost the plot. I have a number of friends who aren’t so fortunate. If this doesn’t get dealt with properly, we could lose some of these people.

So I’ve been using this time without therapy to reassess much of what I’ve been trying to do in the past few years. I’ve started to step back from volunteer work, which I’d been pretty heavily ensnared in. I see myself being obligation-free in another year or so, if not sooner. Dawn and I need to be free to work toward our financial goals, before we get too old and infirm to really get the work done. Meanwhile, I’m trying to write a more serious science fiction novel, if I can. it’s nto easy. I’ve been a little diffused and having trouble making time to write. That changes soon.

I also have been thinking about going back to work on the LINK game. It’s been sitting gathering dust lately, but I’m starting to get a bead on how I can turn it around. It’s complicated, like a lot of modern ‘European-style’ board games, but it still feels a bit inelegant in my head. I know there’s something there that I really want to see happen, but I need to sort it out before I get back to work with the time-consuming design/development phase. I don’t have anyone else to do the grunt work, so it’s got to be me, at least until there’s a working model to test with.

I also (also) want to get back to work on music. That’s gotta happen this year. I’m feeling rusty, and my pinky hasn’t quite returned to full duty, after last year’s surgery. I haven’t settled on the project I’m actually determined to record this year. Still considering options. But I do want to get back to playing, and maybe build a new band to go out playing ths tuff I write, for a blessed change.

These last few points are just to illustrate some of the wide division in thinking that has been on my mind of late, and how difficult it is sometimes to process it all without the mechanism of talk therapy with reliable listeners to help remind me when it sounds like I’m going to far.

So ultimately, what I’m saying is, Hamilton needs more psychiatrists, and CBT needs to be put in its place; in the tool box with all the rest of the tools, instead ot being the tool box itself.


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The Man Who Owned The World (in memory of David Bowie)

So, the truth finally comes out, and you know, somehow it’s both shocking and not entirely unexpected. I’m not talking about his most recent videos. I”m not talking about the fact that his final album is, like his classic oeuvre, limited to about 40 minutes. I’m not even talking about the plain fact that, for the first time in his career, Bowie was starting to look really old. Like ‘I’m running out of time’ old. And it scared me. And now I know why.

Bowie wasn’t my dad. Wasn’t my father figure or anything like that, although let’s also be clear that he was and is still a huge influence on my music, my art and my life. So maybe like my weird uncle or something. I’m not sure how to quantify just how much. I remember coming back to pop music in the early to mid eighties for a number of reasons, but one of the first things I did after I reconverted to the church of rock and roll was to drink in as much of David Bowie’s career as I had an opportunity to. I saw his performance in Goodbye, Mr. Christian and quite reasonably thought he was some kind of superhero. Watched the Glass Spider Tour concert several times. The Serious Moonlight Tour, you betcha. Followed him back to Ziggy Stardust on the very first cassette I ever owned, a badly truncated copy of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Tried to absorb as much of his aesthetic choices in musical style as I could handle. I wasn’t always up to the challenge. Tin Machine was even more aggressive than Time Will Crawl and especially Day In Day Out, and I found myself losing the plot for a moment, only to come back to it with Tin Machine’s second album about half of which had a serious impact on the way I write and record music to this day, with the many layers and levels of grit in-between.

These days, I’m proud to say, I get it all. Even The Laughing Gnome amuses me, though I don’t spend much time over it the way I do his music once he found his identity and his footing in pop music.

I never met David Bowie. I never even got to see him live, although I’ve watched pretty near every piece of live footage the man deigned to release. I don’t actually own every piece of his music on vinyl or even on CD, although I have his entire discography on my computer, and play it with irritating regularity.

David Bowie knew he was going to die. He apparently knew for something like eighteen months. So he crammed in two of his best studio albums, a career-spanning retrospective that touched on almost every single part of his career (minus Tin machine or the Laughing Gnome, of course), and two albums worth of the starkest, most brilliant videos of his career. He never did and never will return to the narrative of Outside (hands down my favourite album, as much for how it challenged me as for how much it inspired me to let go of aural perfection and embrace discord), now. But that’s okay. I suppose once is enough, even if we never will learn what really became of detective Nathan Adler and that lot. I can only hope to do it the way he did, ending my career so perfectly.

And in the end, what you get is an artist who didn’t tell his story, but told the stories of so many people he portrayed throughout his career that, in effect, he recorded his life in music. It’s kind of fantastic, really. He went out on an extremely high note, critically, and even succeeded in capping his career with one more glittering, bristling pop song, the final track on his latest album, released just a few days ago. So here’s something to remember him by. Good night, Sweet Prince. We love you.


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Classic Album Review Poll ~or~ What Should I Review Next?

I’ll make this simple. Pick ONE:
1) Spoons – Arias & Symphonies
2) Marillion – Brave
3) Dream Theater – Metropolis pt II
4) Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
5) Yes – Talk
6) King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
7) Rush – Permanent Waves
8 & 9) The Beatles – Sgt. Peppers OR Abbey Road
10) Led Zeppelin – In through The Out Door

I may do all of them eventually. But for right now, pick one, and whichever gets the most votes by New Years Day is the one I’ll write.


Ready, set, go!


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45 Degrees

Today is my birthday. Facebook friends are kindly wishing me well, which is appreciated. Twitter doesn’t give such notifications, but then, I don’t expect much from Twitter. Twitter for me is like putting messages in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean. Fun exercise, but it rarely produces more than a heart or a share, and very little int he way of dialogue. Facebook, by comparison, is sort of like wandering around a convention. The faces change year to year, thanks tot he bloody algorithms they use to decide whose face appears on your wall (yes, I still call it a wall). You kind of see everyone who wants you to see them by the way they call out to you, but other than that, it’s kind of a greatest hits package. I don’t have a preference. I just get more feedback on FB for some reason.

So I’m listening to Dream Theater in my Beats By Dre Studio headphones (better than you might expect). It’s 9:20. I’m 45 today. 45 isn’t a majorly significant age for me. 40 was the big one for me, and I survived that somehow (just barely). I find 45 is just a nice place to stop and look back and decide if I like the way things are going. And the answer, if I’m honest, is ‘Not entirely satisfied’.

I have an old friend lecturing me about my stance on day jobs, which I am now steadfastly refusing to reply to, because I feel she has ignored the central point of my post in order to justify her argument. Life’s too short, hon. I have better things to do with my time than give years of it away to someone who doesn’t give a damn about me personally. Paychecks are nice things to have, but if you find another way to get by, or if circumstances dictate that you can’t do what you were doing before anyway, what does the nobility of a day job mean in the grand scheme of things? And anyway, my friend finds her joy in rescuing dogs now. I’d say, mission accomplished, even if she does possibly dislike her day job. It clearly makes it possible for her to do what she really loves, so that’s a win for her. Still doesn’t make day jobs the holy grail, but whatever. Moving on.

But yeah, things are changing. Something has to give, and it looks like that something is me. I’m looking at all the things I have been involved with in the last few years. A lot of validation, but certain personalities and egos are starting to make it very unsatisfying work. I believe I’m being managed and shushed a fair bit, and frankly, I’m not that into the politics involved anymore, so I think I’m going to call it a day. Just waiting for the next couple of scheduled meetings to make my announcements.

Also, recent news revealed that one of my more recent volunteer projects has had the heart ripped out of it, so I’m not sure if it will survive. Haven’t had word in days, and i just don’t have the contacts to cover the gaps myself. I suspect it’s going to be quietly buried. Too bad. It was a nice idea.

So there you have it. I might not be at the crossroads I found myself at as a 40 year old, but this reevaluation period has nevertheless brought me to a major crossroads, and I’m taking the road less traveled, at least for me.

New album. New novel. New art. New life. 2016 is going to be a working year for me, and I expect to come out of it with a lot of milestones marked off.


Posted in Art, Music, One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Stinson Community Association, StinZine, The Constant Sea of Night, The People's Republic of Limbo, Writing | Leave a comment

Constant Note #003

So I’ve adopted an orphan piece of short fiction that has long been looking for a proper home. I once wrote a short piece of flash fiction called Cash Job (previously published in THE BACK ROADS OF LIMBO), about some sort of futuristic private eye that has a body riddled with nanotechnology that enables him to heal from virtually every wound, in time. The thing is, it was deliberately written as throwaway flash fiction, but I always suspected it could be part of something bigger. Well, it doesn’t come much bigger than ‘Cold World’ in tCSoN. I have this plan that leads down the road of an approximately 288,000 word novel. So not insubstantial.

Anyway, that’s what I did yesterday, before writing over a thousand words for the Chyna story, where I basically pull a bait and switch, getting the sex and murder out of the way right up front. I’m about to go reread it and see if it lives up to my memory of it.

For those playing the home game, that’s five out of eight Acts started. I kind of like the idea that they are all sort of getting established before I nail down the furniture. Two more characters need to take center stage, and then we can all relax and settle in for the next few months. More updates will doubtless be along.


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The Constancy of Doubt

So I’m looking at these eight stories I have listed previously for THE CONSTANT SEA OF NIGHT. The first three parts have already been started for months. These stories have stuff in them I like, though I’m not 100% sold that I’ve made the best start. But that’s not the problem.

I keep thinking I need to unpack some of my personal psychological baggage and bad writing habits, and really dig deep to do something I’ve never done before, before I attempt to write this novel. The thought is so pervasive that I’m having trouble shutting it down long enough to get into first draft writing mode. I figure I can afford to write the first draft any way I please, and then do the unthinkable (for me) and do massive rewrites, if necessary. I DO have that skill set, though I’ll be the first to admit, it rarely gets applied properly in my writing these days.

I just feel trapped by myself. My narrative muscles and proclivities keep leaning one way or the other, but I keep thinking I want this novel to be both intense and have impact, but also be imminently readable. I want to plan a few things out, and then drive right up the middle, marking the miles by the highway signs, instead of meandering in the diners and gas stations, the way I usually do. I’m not sure if what I’m thinking is that this novel needs to be compact and minimalist. I just think there’s got to be a way to get out of my own way and write a gripping series of novellas that tie together and lead to a satisfying conclusion. I have ideas about how to do that, but I’m a little unfocused and scattered, right now, so it’s not arriving easily.

It’s possible I’ve psyched myself out slightly with the ambitiousness of the project. I’m using these stories as a primer for a lot of unfinished work I’ve either published in serial format (Ashes, Dream Job) or have been sitting on because it’s not quite ready to go out yet. Or, to be honest, I’ve been dicking around too much, failing to finish them.

The first piece is kinda new. It’s about a group of exceptional adolescents who get isolated by a research team that basically tries to turn them into monsters working for the state. It’s not something that hasn’t been done before. The Midwich Cuckoos. The X-Men. Firestarter. Freakangels. Others I’ve read and forgotten. The theme of a sort of homo superior falling under the control of a dictatorial regime has been a repeated concept for several decades now. My take is supposed to be novel. It might even succeed in being so. We’ll see. I do plan on doing something with the characters that doesn’t involve spandex busting theatrics, but there is an element of the seemingly supernatural (more super-science, for lack of a proper word) in there.

The second opens with a gay couple breaking up in a spectacularly gruesome fashion (all to the backdrop of my latest spec fic concept; a world where everyone has corporate endorsements and is contractually obliged to advertise their sponsors almost constantly). It’s not something I’ve ever written before, though I’ve dabbled in shock and horror before. I just don’t know if it’s fair to proceed with a homosexual protagonist when his first act is to murder his husband and his husband’s new lover. It feels like I’m characterizing gays as emotionally calculating and incapable of real love, or of feeling heartbreak over betrayal without resorting to murder. It’s far too extreme to be emotionally engaging. I suspect this isn’t a protagonist I want to be remembered for. Probably why I stuck him in a book filled with other, less questionable protagonists. The story really wants to be written, but it still seems unfair. I feel like I’ve set him up to fail. I’ve only written 860 words with him, and I already suspect he has to end badly, to restore some sort of moral status quo I don’t really believe in myself. I’m not interested in writing a morality play.

The third story is set in another of my off-Earth colonies, like in Dream Job, complete with transsexual nomenclature. It’s all built on the premise that anyone can be a heroine, including a mild-mannered (possibly nymphomaniac) waitress. And therein lies another problem; oversexed protagonists. That I HAVE done, and I have trouble resisting the urge to sublimate my own sexuality through my fiction. It’s a big problem, and I’m tired of it, but it’s not as simple as NOT writing sex scenes. Sex scenes are kind of like Pandora’s Box: Once it’s been properly opened, it’s hard to keep closed. Some people try to open the box and fail miserably, but others, perhaps including myself, can return to that box time and time again and find unlikely, steamy new inspiration inside. It’s a groove I get into, and I hate saying n o to my characters when they start eyeing each other. But the scene I wrote in the opening chapter of Act 3 is a bit gratuitous, even by my standards. I don’t object to pornography or erotic literature, so long as there is no abuse or coercion. But I do insist that the sex is necessary to the plot. This scene feels about right, but it still doesn’t really move the plot far (yet, and that’s the problem with unplanned plots; throwaway characters often come back to take over the plot later on). So I’m debating removing it and reworking the encounter to be less salacious, even though I’m not really trying to clean up the novel completely.

The rest of the stories are still being processed internally. I turned my futuristic Asian male espionage agent into a female. There definitely needed to be more women leading the charge. I also have a Brazilian transsexual, a genetically modified hermaphrodite space colonist, a woman of undetermined proclivities (probably hetero with an average or perhaps even slightly repressed sex drive, which should be novel for me), my aforementioned cuckolded gay man, a straight male insurance agent (i.e. 22nd century gumshoe detective), and the first act is supposed to be fairly evenly balanced with boys and girls, who will probably have the normal amount of teen-aged sexual angst, so the sexual balance should work out (if I don’t decide to write something nasty involving rape culture, to have a good, hard poke at that problem, too).

It’s not so much deliberately recasting as realising I don’t have a reason for so many of the protagonists to be male, so I have elected not to do so. Balance, or even deliberately favouring non-normative gender and sexuality, to address those issues that are relevant today. I’m trying not to dip too deep into the tokenism trough, because I’m not into that, and don’t want to be tarred as an appropriator. I want this book to really reach people. As many people as possible. I want to give this book a chance to become a hit, instead of deliberately writing something I’m almost certain will never be. But it has to be true to me, too, if that’s possible.

Well, there we are. 1195 words about a novel I’m having trouble starting. I know. I’m over-thinking it. It’s hard not to. I”m turning 45 this week. Hasn’t escaped my notice that I’m still a flop.

Anyway, it’s time to do some real work. Thanks for reading.


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Put On Your Old Brown Shoes

Saturday Morning listening to Supertramp and trying to get a few things done before I run out to find medication for my wife, who is developing a lovely cold just in time for $WINTERHOLIDAY.

I want to spend the next two weeks getting my thoughts sorted for the writing of a new novel. I also want to get my eggs in a basket for the writing of a brand new album of music to be recorded under my People’s Republic of Limbo banner. And there are paintings I’m thinking about, though not quite as energetically as I was a month or so ago. I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall, artistically. Might be time to stop for a bit and reconsider my painting project plans for the next year or so.

Anyway, it’s been snowing off and on since last night. This means it’s time to get the funding for the Carter Park Ice Rink secured.

As mentioned before, big, BIG changes coming in the new year. Lots of ‘me’ time coming up. Career interests come first in 2016.

Season’s Greetings.


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And We’re Back (again)

Soooo… the website went boink a day or three ago. Nobody really noticed except me, because I tried to do a short update but couldn’t get into the admin side of the site because the theme was completely broken and had to be shut off for a few minutes while I upgraded it.

And now, of course, I have no idea what I was going to write. Figures.

So anyway, I did 24 small paintings in series, which are now dry, and will apply them to a large panel board, or two medium panel boards, depending, and see if I have a new abstract (sequential) assemblage piece. Not what I’d originally planned, but that’s alright. Every window is a door, when you’re on the sixth floor.

Now then, what else?

Oh yeah! 45 Revolutions Around The Sun is the title I’m using to work title the project I’ve decided will get me back into making music in the new year. It’ll be twelve to fourteen (or maybe more; we’ll see) tribute songs (not covers!) dedicated to and in the most recognizable musical style(s) of some of my favourite recording artists or bands. I plan to use other musicians, to make sure the album doesn’t suck, the way the last two did. Maybe other producers or engineers, too, though I can’t really afford any. I’d crowdfund it, but I don’t have the following to pull off a successful crowdfunding campaign, especially for such a slightly meaningless project. Obviously, the project has significant meaning to me, but really, it’s a vanity project at its worst. So I can’t really expect much financial help.

Perhaps I should tell you: I turn 45 this coming Boxing Day. I haven’t put out any original music in a while, and I haven’t completed a single big project I’ve planned for myself (books, comics, art series, or music) in a while now, so I need to reboot and get myself back to working on my career.

So. Tribute album. The concept is, it’s like an old mix tape of my favourite songs, only songs so obscure they weren’t even written or recorded by the bands I’m emulating. Get it?

In other non-news, I’m also going to start working on a novel I’ve been percolating all year, called The Constant Sea of Night. It’s a speculative fiction/sicence fiction collection of novellas that are meant to tie together in some fashion, though I’m still working out precisely how. Maybe my protagonists meet at the end and FIGHT TO THE DEATH!

Or maybe they just have sex. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Anyway, I also plan to cut WAY BACK on my volunteer work levels. I’m well past burn out already, and frankly, I’m starting to resent the people I work with for continuing to make what I do so difficult and disappointing. So expect less about that stuff in the future.

And finally, the art is going nicely, but I may slow down on that for a while, to work more on the music and writing fronts. I like painting, but I’m not finding enough time to work on the more complicated stuff, and the stuff I’m getting known for still isn’t selling much.People want representational art. That’s clear. 20th Century Modern Art is becoming passe again. *sigh* I knew the trend wouldn’t last long. And just when I was starting to make headway. I don’t care for art fashion, but it’s hard to start out making something that people are told they don’t want.

So that’s my return post. More to come.

24 +2 Small Pieces


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Only Your Right Hand Knows You’re Left Handed ~or~ Positivity As Life Hacking Tool

There is only one indisputable, immutable fact: We look out on an unfeeling world, but this world we sense around us is merely part of our frame of reference. Reality may be difficult to comprehend, even with science or religion to explain it all to you, but life as we know it is simply a collaboration of everyone’s concurring or competing frames of reference. We may not be able to bend spoons with our minds (unless there really IS no spoon), but we DO make of the world what we will.

I know, hippy drippery, right? Let me explain.

What this idea means in practical terms is, we see the world a certain way, and react to it in the fashion that seems most appropriate to us, and in so doing, we influence those around us because of our seemingly irrational behaviour in the face of the evidence they see all around them that the situation is not as we (or perhaps even they) perceive it to be.

This behaviour in turn ripples out to everyone in your vicinity, and affects how people react to your expressed needs and wants, and how they will or will not choose to help you achieve them. We are so self-centered, we imagine that all that comes our way is either a product of our sole efforts, or is the product of some conspiracy to deny us what is rightfully ours. In truth, it’s both and neither.

If someone finds someone else difficult to be around, from mild uneasiness to intense dislike, they will be less inclined to help them achieve their goals. This is common sense.

If YOU find someone unpleasant to be around, you will try to remove yourself from their vicinity at the earliest convenience, no matter how badly they need you to be there… unless you are already committed to and invested in their well-being, based on past interactions that were more fruitful. You might not be willing to do it for just anyway, but for a dear friend or loved one, you might walk through fire.

But the point is, most people are strangers to us, and so our default reaction is to gauge their behaviour and decide if they are ‘safe’ to be around, and to help, if needed.

Getting back to the self-centered thing, we mistake our successes as being self-made, when in fact, dozens and even thousands of friends and strangers contributed to each success story. Think about that, and then ask if your behaviour or attitude can in any way affect that exchange, or if everyone is brokering their success on an even, unbiased playing field.

Think of how you feel doing a favour for a pretty person of the appropriate persuasion, as opposed to doing the same onerous task for someone you find physically repellent.

The same principle applies to people with positive or negative attitudes. And much like physical attractiveness, mental attractiveness can also be largely out of our control. We don’t precisely choose to be prickly or bossy or dismissive. We react from the point of view of one who feels they are being ill treated or ill served by circumstances. We all do it, to one degree or another. We feel injustice strongly, and it colours our perceptions and our reactions. But if we know this about ourselves, we can rewrite the script we are reacting to, in order to create better results. Some of us refer to this as ‘putting on our game face’, or just ‘thinking happy thoughts’ and getting better results than we expected. It’s NOT easy, thank you very much, but it DOES work.

We get out of life what we put into it, but more importantly, we receive from life what we are prepared to accept, based on our perceptions of the situations we find ourselves in. It’s a gross exaggeration to suggest that it’s like being in an action or horror film, but it’s fairly apt. When the scary music starts, you don’t want to be in the film any more, unless you happen to be holding the right weapon.

In real life, you can’t hear the theme music, but you react accordingly, just the same. Project fear or distaste for the situation, and any good that could come from the situation will pass you by.

By the same token, if you choose not to regard the situation soberly and clear-headed, you may miss the details that tell you there IS more to it than just what you want from the situation. There may be injustice at work, or tragedy, or a myriad other grey-tinged complications that make it a less than ideal situation for most or all of the people involved. There may actually be something that needs fixing, and it may be your unique insight into the situation that makes the difference and enables you and others to correct it.

So it’s not all about being stupidly cheerful in the face of sadness and dismay. But it IS about your outlook, and trying to finding the good in every situation, no matter how difficult or unlikely it seems.

One last thought: you are never truly alone. Lonely, yes, but never truly alone. There IS someone else out there going through something similar to you, or going through dissimilar situations that nevertheless make them highly sympathetic to, or compatible with you.

The notion that you are alone and suffering because of an unjust, unfeeling, uncaring world, or because you are the victim of capricious deities is not necessarily right or wrong. But it’s not the whole truth, either. You have to choose to see and accept the people around you, before you can truly transcend your situation and reap the benefits of uncommon friendship, and through it, uncommon wealth, measured in the only currency that truly matters: love.

And that’s your sermon for today. Thank you for reading. Comments invited.


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The Porcelain Mannequin With Shattered Skin Fears Attack

I’ve been really quiet lately. It’s been hard to think of anything to say that wasn’t or isn’t expressly some form of promotion. It isn’t all I’ve been thinking or feeling. Far from it. I just haven’t felt like it was safe to speak. Not paranoia. Not that things have actually gotten oppressive, either. just the feeling of oppression, however misguided it may be. Friends, colleagues, loved ones, all of these people who all need em to be more stoic, more resilient, strong and silent. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve needed an outlet for some time, but it just hasn’t been as readily available, lately. My usual modes of expression require time and opportunity. I’ve been so busy with the washing of the dishes, I’ve barely had time to really work out what I’ve been thinking or feeling about much of anything.

What I do know is that I’m unhappy. Not miserable, I guess. Just a low level, constant feeling of unhappiness. I smile, I laugh in the moment, but the happiness isn’t there.

This isn’t a condemnation of anyone or anything. There are a lot of tiny factors and misconceptions (I want to say misperceptions, but the spellchecker assures me there is no such word. Fascist!) at work in my life right now. It’s the ways people think I should be versus the ways I think I should be versus the ways I actually am.

So, what makes me unhappy? Friends telling me not to complain, even if indirectly. Sometimes because it’s indirect, even if I seek to spare feelings by keeping it nameless. Planning things that no one else involved has any faith in, or appetite for. Helping implement other peoples plans, even if I don’t fully comprehend them. Sharing ideas and having them shot down summarily. Starting projects only to be told in no uncertain terms that I can’t do that. Trying to do things I know I can do, only to be told I’m doing them wrong. Doing things the best I can, only to be told that it’s not good enough. Offering to do things and not being told whether my offer is wanted. Being left behind by friends who don’t seem to realize how dearly I need them to stay. Realizing I haven’t been there enough for my friends, and thus having no just cause to complain about them leaving. Trying to uphold certain commitments without the time or energy to do them properly.

I know it’s a laundry list of seemingly irrelevant complaints. When you’re in your mid forties with no sense of forward motion, you get to counting and compiling complaints. My feet ache and pop and grind all of the time. My back aches and stiffens frequently. My head, neck and shoulders are in a constant state of tension. My left hand still isn’t completely healed, aches and feels weak and lets me down a lot when I’m counting on it.

Anyway, I have minutes to type for a meeting I barely remember anymore, from notes I can barely decipher. I have Genesis concerts to keep me company. I have half baked plans to keep me thinking, if nothing else. I have so many things to do, I can’t count them without writing them down. I should do that soon.

Sorry for whining. Please take a complimentary mint as you leave.


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InDifferentSpaces – Art Exhibition – The Final Week

InDIfferentSpaces Final Week Post

I spend a bit of time discussing each of my pieces and why they may not be shown much again after this event is over.


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Goodbye To Once Upon A TIme

I don’t like silos. You know what I mean; those information silos where everyone inside the bubble practically speaks a different language from everyone outside the bubble, and no one inside seems to know what is going on in the world anymore. I think that kind of internet-derived ignorance is a contrivance of Big Media and Corporate interests, even more than governments, and it’s a bad day when you can’t find the information you need on the world wide web, because it’s being withheld from your regular group of friends and associates.

I’m not a celebrity. Not even close. I’m fine with that, although I do still keep pushing the creative career rock up the hill. So really, it’s not beholden of me to respect everyone’s differences and allow them to continue following along in their own way. But I try nevertheless to maintain a Swiss neutrality, whether my friends and neighbours respect it or not.

That said, being confronted by a shitheap of incredibly stupid assertions made by someone I used to know and respect makes it a little hard to justify keeping the door open to some old friends. It never feels good saying goodbye, so I only extend the courtesy to those who remain close in my heart. If you ever find yourself on the outside without an explanation, take it as read that you fucked up royally.

I recently dropped a friend who used to be a close buddy of mine, a long time ago. I can think of a few others that may meet with the same fate in days to come. They might not give a shit. That’s probably for the best. I just can’t keep exposing the majority of my friends to hateful influences. No one wants to swim in poisoned waters. Not even me.

So, I apologize to those friends who took exception to my refusal to banish certain old friends to the outskirts where they belong. I won’t make you tolerate their ravings so I can continue to be the ethical guy. It’s bullshit.


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InDifferentSpaces – Art Exhibition – the Press Release

In different spaces, we see our world through different eyes.
Indifference paces past when we insist on standing still.
In different eyes, we see space through different worlds.
Indifferent eyes see spaces through our world,
but fail to see the worlds around us.

These artists work in different mediums, in different styles, with different sensibilities. What they share (besides a home) is a love of escapism,
and of finding personal meaning through that escape. Both create very personal, and yet broad and expansive works, each artist seeking to communicate universal themes using shape, texture, and a vivid rainbow of colour.

InDifferentSpaces Exhibition

The InDifferentSpaces exhibition is a group showing of The Chimaera Group, an emerging arts collective consisting of Dawn M. ‘DSKI’ McIlmoyle, her husband, Lee Edward McIlmoyle, and their friend and partner, Dawn McKechnie, as well as other emerging associate artists. More shows, featuring collaborations and solo works from all three artists (and their associates) will be featured in the near future, at other venues. This is just the first salvo.

The exhibition runs from October 1st to 31st on the fourth floor of the Hamilton Public Library (Central Branch). Please feel free to leave comments or critiques. And if you catch one of us in the library in October, ask us for a guided tour of the works, and perhaps even a discount on some of the pieces for sale.

Many Thanks to Paul Lisson of the Hamilton Public Library for aiding and co-curating this exhibition, and also to Suzanne Brown of the City of Hamilton, and to David Brace of B Contemporary Gallery and Framing, for their timely and considerable contributions to this show. Also, a nod of thanks to José Loney, and to Tracee Lee Holloway for their inestimable networking skills.


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I Don’t Know How I’m Meant To Act With All of You Lot (Sometimes I Don’t Try; I Just nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah)

Okay, so I haven’t been posting much lately, and you folks have accordingly and appropriately been staying away. I’ve published something on the order of almost 1500 posts. It’s been a long four years or so since I started this site. I’ve asked cajoled, begged, pleaded, in in a moment of weakness, I even stooped to blow jobs for everybody (sorry, if you missed that, I’m not doing that any more; I didn’t get any calls from you bastards the morning after).

So here I am now, wondering what you need to read to revive your love for me. I suspect there is nothing i can say that would excite you that much. And to be honest, I’m tired. Four years, pets. It’s a long time to keep up a blog, whether you’re doing cool stuff or not.

As it so happens, I AM doing some pretty cool stuff. It’s all been kinda hush hush up until recently, but PeeBee (Participatory Budgeting) HamOnt is going to host a Town Hall meeting for Ward 2 residents (in Hamilton, Ontario), in November. I have the details, but they’re not in front of me, so you’ll have to wait. I wanted to have some art done by now, but I’ve been swamped.

Also, starting next Thursday, my wife and I are going to be hanging an original Art Exhibit, called InDifferentSpaces, in the Central branch of the Hamilton Public Library (fourth floor) for the month of October. I hope anyone reading this who is going to be in Hamilton in October can make it over and sign the guest book I’m going to have to look into buying. There may also be an informal gathering in the Farmers Market on Thursday around noon, but I haven’t had the time or energy to make it stick yet. I’m hoping today will be my day.

Anyway, here’s the basic poster image I created months ago:

Guitar lesson for Drake at 4PM. Time to go over his list of chosen songs to learn (his homework) and review his progress on some of those songs, which I am pretty sure he doesn’t practice much at home.

Here’s something I made of the tune I used to teach him about moving chords in his first year:
Drake’s Progress (Deluxe 2015 Remix)

I’m slowly picking away at CUSTOMS and ROAD SONGS of LIMBO. It’s not coming as fast as I’d like, but I may have some time to myself to finish it soon. We’ll see. Still hoping for a Christmas release date, but my hope is fading as each day passes.

I’m thinking about LINK the board game, but I haven’t had ANY time to work on the design in the last few months. What I need is enough money to prevent me from having to run all of these last minute errands, because I could arrange for transportation to get stuff done faster. Currently I bus or travel by foot. My bike needs a new back tire tube. And frankly, I hate cabs, but I would pay to speed up my travel time for a few months while I’m working on all of this stuff. I need money to get a design studio at The Cotton Factory, so I can focus on working on the game there.

And that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. Still got so many irons in the fire, I’m afraid to approach the furnace, but there’s still a lot of cool stuff in there that needs working on.

Any requests?


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Just Then You Smile For No Special Reason, Looks Like Your Smile’s Come Back Into Season

It’s a rough morning so far. Nothing bad is happening, but nothing good is coming to me, and I’m a little manic, so need something to focus on. So I’m playing The Beat and trying to get enough energy going that something comes to me out of desperation. Might be art, might be writing, might be comics, I don’t know. Lots, and I mean LOTS of work to do on various projects, but I have to wait for feedback on most of them. I need meetings, even though I really don’t want meetings. I have three of them scheduled for later today. I’m hoping to do creative stuff until then.

Have I mentioned that I’m kind of stuck in 1980? Not totally stuck, but my head keeps going back there like iron filings to a magnet.

Dawn and I have hatched an artsy project for this coming weekend’s Gallery Alley art market, if we can. It’s ultra super sekrit though, so no sharing it with you yet, I’m afraid.

Today is the seventh anniversary of Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard wright’s passing. I’m still in the ‘No Floyd without Rick’ camp. That said, I really liked the recent album. I wish he could have been around to hear it. I also wish my buddy Simon could have lived to hear it. Don’t know if it would have touched him the way it did me, but it would be nice to see Simon again.

Playing The Division Bell now. Still a high point album for me.

Still got about twenty-odd stories to complete for Customs and Road Songs of Limbo (look it up). If you want an idea of what style the book will be in, it’ll be short stories and novelettes and novellas collected into one bumper volume.

Almost time to get Dawn up. Maybe my inspiration will come to me after she’s been up for a bit. Dawn’s not exactly my muse, but she does have a way of getting me started.

So much to do. What next?


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Good Ol’ Bed… It Never Let’s Me Down

Sorry, no song lyric title this morning.

So today is the day. It’s 9/11. We remember the loss of thousands in NYC 14 years ago. We remember, both because it was unbelievable and horrifying, and because it changed our world for the worse.

Today is also the first day of the now-weekend-long Supercrawl 2015.

My wife, as well as one of my oldest, dearest school mates, and myself, along with several other local artists and craftsmen we call friends, will be showing and selling art pieces at The Spice Factory (121 Hughson Street, near Cannon Street), the nice purple and orange building. Please come see us.

I’ve been listening to and thinking about he old Surreyal demos I did with Kristine Fleckenstein back in 2012 and 2013.

Tomorrow is another big PB Volunteer Committee meeting. We’re expecting guests. Should be lively. I’m not even remotely in the right frame of mind yet.

Last night was a big SCA meeting, which was my first meeting attending as interim co-chair. I was barely able to be useful. I don’t know for sure if I really want to stay long enough to get good, either. Got so much other stuff to do. No time. Just want to hide out and get work done.

So instead, I join two other volunteer community publication teams, which brings the grand total of three, or four if you count the PB comic I’m developing.

Oh yeah, and I’m back to writing Customs and Road Songs of Limbo. Still got a long way to go, and I’m already past 60K. *shrug*

I’m trying to watch 2002’s The Minority Report. I remembered really enjoying it back in the day. Instead it’s stressing me out.

I’m yawning. Think I’ll go lay down for a bit.



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Ticking Away The Moments That Make Up A Dull Day

I haven’t been posting much, lately. Stuff is happening. Even pretty cool stuff. But personally, I haven’t felt particularly sparkly, so I haven’t known what to write. As I’m fond of saying in meatspace, ‘That’s not an excuse. It’s merely an explanation.”

I think it comes from the fact that I haven’t been writing much fiction in the last month or so. It’s been a while since I made any serious progress on Customs and Road Songs of Limbo. Late June, actually. I know, because that was roughly the date I started writing ‘Simple Simon’ AND ‘The Field Trip’, both of which are still sitting open, after days of waiting for me to return to them, and after months of sitting in my virtual top drawer waiting for me to take them back out.

I finally mounted two sets of assemblage art that I created back in June or July. I finally varnished the big piece for the October show. It just needs one more stage and it’s done.
They look like this:
Continuum (2015) sml Oblique Strategies (2015) sml Chaos & Order - Emergent (stage 9o5)

I haven’t worked on the Link game in months and months. It’s bothering me that I’ve let that fall by the wayside, because board games are pretty hot right now (still), and this is probably the coolest Link game concept I’ve come up with in years. I hope to get back to it, but I’m not saying when, in case I don’t.

I’ve been serving as interim co-chair for the Stinson Community Association for the past few months. Light duty so far. Probably won’t go in for a full term. There’s a lot of work to do, but I’m hoping someone else will step up. Dawn is mostly burned out on the community activism lark, and I think we need time to work on our own things.

I also organized and ran Songs From The Bishop in Adam Bentley’s stead for this summer. I’m hoping he’ll take it over again for next summer.

I’ve got the latest StinZine finished, but I haven’t sent it to the printers yet. I’ve had my answer for a few days (who signs the cheques), but I just haven’t been able to get into the game.

No new music yet.

No scotch in the whole apartment. This is not a good time for not having scotch.

I’ve also started doing the layout for a new community publication (called ‘The Anvil’) for the north end neighbourhoods (Jamesville/Beasley/North End) of Ward 2. I hope it expands to other areas of the ward, and then the city, but we’ll see. I’m not running it, so it has a chance of succeeding.

I’ve been involved in a volunteer committee to retool and revive PBW2 for 2016. It’s been a pretty good exercise so far, but the committee is starting to lose cohesion. I’m hoping it’s just an end-of-summer thing, and that most of the regulars will return in the next week or two. There’s still a lot of work left to do. I’m even drawing a comic book for it.

THIS COMING FRIDAY NIGHT (Sept 11th), my wife (Dawn McIlmoyle), my dearest school chum (Dawn McKechnie), and myself are going to be occupying space at the ART CRAWL MARKET, taking place at the Spice Factory on Hughson Street near Cannon Street, on the first night of SUPERCRAWL. We’ll be showing and selling art and hopefully having a good time. I should really start gearing up for that this week, when I’m not dealing with the StinZine. If I can, perhaps I’ll have some of the few remaining copies of StinZine at the show with us. Perhaps. We’ll see.

And I think that’s all I have for you today. I’ll tr to have more for tomorrow. Thank you for reading.


Posted in Art, Art For Sale, Books of Limbo, Comics, Etcetera Thesis Music, Friends, Games, Graphic Design, Hamilton, LinkTales, Music, my wife, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Stinson Community Association, StinZine, The People's Republic of Limbo, Writing | Leave a comment

I Sit In My Old Car… Same One I’ve Had For Years

Sitting in the dark of an early September morning, resisting the urgent pleas of our cat Stevie, who needs attention. I need to get ready to go clean my sister’s floors, to make sure her apartment is spic and span for her return. So what do I do to start my day instead? I listen to classic music by The Police and try to get my head into the right space for some writing. Didn’t work. I’m out of practice again. Maybe tomorrow. We’ll see.

Customs and Road Songs of Limbo
The Anvil Community Publication (layout only)
StinZine #007:

Time to get dressed. Thanks for reading.


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Need More Spoons

That reference can be taken a few ways. I DO need more spoons (as in, ‘I’m all out of spoons for dealing with mental anxiety and anguish’), and we could probably use some new silverware around here, to replace the mismatched stuff we’ve been scraping by with in the last ten years (10th anniversary in September, folks). But today, I’m all about catching the live performance of one of my all-time favourite rock bands, Spoons. They were probably at their popular zenith in the mid 80s, and I have been a fan through virtually every album and incarnation. I truly wish I’d been of concert-going age when they were touring in ’82 and ’84, but such is life. One of my desert island albums is Arias & Symphonies, perhaps the finest New Wave album ever recorded anywhere, let alone in Canada.

So, Spoons are set to play for a bit at Gore Park Promenade tonight at 7PM (as part of the Pan Am celebrations), I suspect. Curiously small venue, but you know what, I’ll take it. I missed seeing them at Gage Park a handful of years ago, and I promised myself that I would catch them live the next time they came through Hamilton. I think I also missed them at Hamilton Place a while ago, which vexed me immensely. So this is it, folks. One of these days, I’m going to be in a position to afford concert tickets again and will go catch them live (perhaps even with Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross guest performing, which would be a dream come true for me). Some day…

Anyway, I’m typing up the last of the meeting minutes I took a few days ago, and I’m hoping to get some painting or drawing done today. Maybe some recording instead. Haven’t decided yet. But I’m definitely going out to hear the band (and maybe even meet a couple of my musical heroes) tonight.

Hope everyone has a great day.

Oh, and if you still have no idea who Spoons are, I wrote an album review for their latest recording a few years ago, which you can read HERE. It has a bit of a capsule history of the band, but the best way to learn about them is to order Gord Deppe’s band bio, ‘Spoonfed’.

Thank you for reading.


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All This Machinery Making Modern Music Can Still Be Open-Hearted

So, what have I been up to lately? Mainly, painting, planning a couple of albums of new music, and trying to get my head into writing a few books I’m thinking I’d like to have done for the new year.

Here’s a painting I did a few days ago, and then dickered with a bit today in Photoshop, to create the panel effect I’m going for when I mount it:
Continuum 2015 a sml

Here’s a newish song I wrote with my guitar student, Drake:

And here’s a couple of screencaps of a few of the writing projects ahead of me:
VFMD 2015 07 15a VFMD 2015 07 15b

I have bills to pay, guitar and art students to ‘teach’, PB to help along (still!?), dishes to wash (when the cut on my finger is finished healing), and rent to drop off. Oh yeah, and the next issue of StinZine to plan, with whatever help shows up tonight.

I have other projects I want to work on right now, too, but I think pretending I only have a few makes it more likely I’ll actually work on one or two of them today.

Thank you for reading,


Posted in Art, Art For Sale, Books of Limbo, Canadian Music, LinkTales, Music, One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, The People's Republic of Limbo, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment