From the Husky in Hearst, ON

We spent a few days in Toronto, at the mercy of the weather, of the snow, of the cold. We left a 30cm snow fall behind, and prepped ourselves for this Jingle Bell Rock tour. Our first show entailed a lot of sitting around, waiting for our chance to figure our stuff our while other figured out theirs. We ate a lot of food, too. That’s just something that you do on tour when you’re bored, and there’s two catered meals backstage. We just eat. Wait and eat. And always the first few shows I gorge myself, then realise that I can’t do that every day so by the time we get to Winnipeg I think I’d have adjusted.

Our first show was actually pretty good. We haven’t rehearsed or played together since the Apple in-store a few weeks ago, but it was clear that that was not an issue at all. On the technical side, our shows on this tour are just going to get better as we get a few shows in. Metric is travelling with full production so we have the same monitors, the same lights, and the same stage set-up every night. All the bands are going to get in to a pretty solid rhythm…its almost too bad the tour is so short!

The first night we hung out in the backstage we were sharing with Tokyo Police Club and Sebastien Grainger and met everyone and their crew. Things have been running generally very smoothly. We were in Toronto for a few days, and I spent a lot of time with my friends and family…none of whom I will see for the holidays because of how and when this tour is wrapping up.

Also we traded our Secret Santa names on the bus. Murray suggested it but Laura has taken it over. Also, Yann is dying to know who everybody has. I can’t even tell Murray, which sucks because everyone else is allowed to tell their boyfriends/girlfriends not on the bus. I already have an idea of what I’m getting for my Secret Santa. I’ll definitely give a full report of that…most likely from Kamloops.

I should start taking some pictures. We have been driving for 8 hours and are only halfway to Thunder Bay. It’s really snowy out there, and we’re travelling convoy style with Tokyo Police Club’s tour bus. It’s gonna be a long day on the bus, and the wifi is not working very reliably…which is why I’m taking this truckstop moment to post…

I was at the cottage and…

The problem of navigating through Ontario is that invariably some large body of fresh water gets in the way. Adding hours to any journey, driving around lakes and rivers is scenic but frustrating. Mainly the problem is that they haven’t built a direct route from, say, Montreal, Quebec to Wiarton, Ontario. We’ve come up to my aunt’s cottage for a little vacation. The weather is a bit dark and rainly, but there remains great value in being surrounded by quiet pine trees and the great Lake Huron.

As kids we would come up here every summer, and one year (as a tween) I came up with my BFFs Lis and Heather. We had this silly joke about the pile of blankets we needed on our beds to keep us warm. I think we had about eight blankets over the bed and at night they would be so heavy on our bodies that we nicknamed the collective beast “Big Bertha.” We would fight over the covers, invoking the dilemma of Big Bertha: you want her but can’t have her.

My aunt’s cottage has remained unchanged since the 80’s, and judging from the abundance of wood paneling, peach-coloured tile and kitsch furniture, was likely established in the 50’s or 60’s. Even my family’s attempts at updating the decor have purposefully maintained this timelessness. Redecorations have been subtle, to say the least, and the framed 2,000-piece Manet puzzle of a lady wearing a hat figures prominently alongside the tattered National Geographic world map, published 1968.

Our day trips include the quest for the ultimate butter tart, cinnamon bun and homemade preserves. The sugar high is seemingly perpetual, offset only by long walks to watch the sun set or futile attempts to say hello to resident jackrabbits. This weekend we will visit the low-rent lakeside town (that they forgot to close down…most probably because it was never opened in the first place) of Sauble Beach, including the batting cages and wicked french fries at Mar’s chip shop.

…so that’s why there’s been no post in a while. I had hoped to post from my Blackberry, but the signal was too weak and it kept crashing. I think it’s time for an upgrade in mobile phone…Blackberry Bold, anyone?

No Clotheslines Allowed

Oh wow. As if suburban development wasn’t bad enough for killing communites and inner cities, they also hate the environment: Ontario Wants to End Clothesline Ban by Summer. In a quest for complete homogeny and quaint plain-ness, many housing developers put strict rules on the cosmetics of the “neighbourhoods” they build. I.E.: You can only paint your house certain colours, you can’t plant certain trees and plants in your garden, you can’t change the front door or number address plate, don’t even think about a fence, etc. And you can’t have clotheslines outside because they’re an eyesore. Oh, and they’ve also prohibited solar panels (ugly!). OK: so move in somewhere but please don’t show any character or individuality. Actually, it would make things easier if you really just didn’t have a personality, either. Just go to work and come home like the drone you are.

It’s kind of like living in a condo, but spread out. I remember when we were kids and these subdivision communities just began cropping up around Toronto. My family used to joke, calling them “Poo Villages” because every single house was all brown: paint, roof, door, bricks. Everything. Welcome to Poo Village. (And yes, my dark sense of humour has ancient origins.)

Anyhow, whose idiotic idea was it to ban cheap and easy ways to save energy? The developers probably made a deal with the electricity companies so they could make more money. Now, the increasingly green-obsessed province of Ontario is just now catching on to this really, really mind-blowing by-law. It will probably take years of legislation to even lift the ban in every community, and like phosphates in dishwasher detergent, we will keep polluting and destroying our country without even really knowing it. Because it’s legal, and the normal thing to do.