100th Grey Cup: Home

This was published this morning on rodpedersen.com

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100th Grey Cup: Home

I remember a conversation I had with a colleague a couple weeks ago.  We’re both from Saskatchewan, though he’s been in Toronto 17 years, while I’ve only been here a year.  I was telling him about how the longer I’ve been away from home, the more ‘Saskatchewan’ seems to be coming up in my everyday conversations.  He smiled and looked down at his coffee, “Jarrett, bringing up Saskatchewan in everyday conversations actually never goes away.”

So now it’s Monday morning.  The Argos have just won the 100th Grey Cup.  I’ve been writing about the team all season long as part of the Argos Admirals – the official fan voice of the Toronto Argonauts and the 100th Grey Cup.  ‘Room 31’ is set aside for us at Argo HQ to do our blogging, tweeting, facebooking, etc.  I got to be good friends with some very passionate and knowledgeable football fans in the process.  More than that, I got to be part of a Grey Cup run.  Quite honestly, I’m overwhelmed with something akin to emotion.

I felt it most last night from my seat in Rogers Centre.  The stands were a mosaic of colour.  I was wearing my green Rider jersey.  The Argos had just won the Grey Cup and I felt tears welling up – not so much for the Argos, but for something much bigger.

Sometimes a thing is just a thing.  Sometimes a football game is just a football game.  And sometimes a thing is a symbol.  What can be more symbolic than two Mounties, clad in their scarlet-red uniforms marching the Grey Cup to the podium to present it to my adopted team.

I felt like I was a part of history.  I felt like I was one small piece of a mission that we all played a tangible role in.  We all truly did.  We came together and we moved the hearts and minds of the citizens of Toronto – some more than others mind you – but regardless, we gave the city something it hadn’t felt in years.

When the Grey Cup was passed to the Toronto Argonauts, no single individual accepted it.  The team raised the Cup together.  They raised it for all of us, because this wasn’t just a game.  We watched a century-long celebration of our history, our trials, our culture, our triumphs, our names, our faces, our differences, our memories, and ourselves.  Nothing in this country brings people together like how that silver mug does.

Having an opportunity to contribute in some small way, to something I’m passionate about, meant a great deal to me.  There is nothing that symbolizes home for me more than the Roughriders.  There is nothing that symbolizes a new life in my adopted city more than the Argonauts.  There is nothing that symbolizes my living connection between the miles and faces between those two places like the CFL.

I want to thank Rod Pedersen for giving me a channel homewards and a place to pen nationwide.  You are an outstanding radio personality and play-by-play man.  With your professionalism and genuine folksy way of connecting with people, you’d own this town in five years if you actually lived here.

I want to thank the Toronto Argonauts for welcoming me into your fold.  You are a first class organization full of genuine good people.  I am proud to be an Argo Admiral.

I want to thank everyone who reads my columns.  Without you I’d just be talking to myself.  Hopefully there will be more down the road.

Take care everyone.  I’ll see you at Christmas.

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100th Grey Cup: What the CFL is All About

The latest article published on rodpedersen.com

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100th Grey Cup: What This League is About

Life is best lived when you’re like a leaf riding the current of the river.  You just flow forward, not worrying too much about controlling things that are beyond your control.  You’ll get to your destination eventually, and you can count on unexpected twists and cul de sacs along the way.  It’s really quite thrilling.

Welcome to my Grey Cup week.

It started at the Argos’ Grey Cup pep rally at Young-Dundas Square.  Two-thousand blue-clad screaming fans took in the event.  There was genuine excitement spilling out onto the streets of one of the busiest intersections of downtown Toronto.  Every major media outlet covered the event.  Rod even asked me to report on all the happenings live on The Sportscage.

Mostly I was proud of Toronto.  Though I’ve been writing at length about how well(ish) the Argos have been regarded lately, I was secretly hoping that my observations weren’t just a case of me drinking a case of my own blue kool-aid.

On Thursday afternoon I ventured out to see for myself how the festivities were going.  Got off the subway at Dundas Station and walked across the street into the Nissan Family Zone at Young-Dundas Square.  A band was playing.  There were a few activities for families.  Over the course of 30 minutes or so, I saw a couple hundred people come, linger, and/or go.  Of all the teams represented, Rider green seemed to be the predominant colour. The vibe was kind of ‘Sunday Afternoon in the Park’ meets ‘Let’s Skip Class and Do Nothing’ – in other words, Vancouver most days of the week.

From there I cut through the Eaton’s Centre and across to Nathan Philips Square to see what the mbna Adrenaline Zone was all about.  The Toronto Sun Zip Line had people lined up for a 90 minute wait.  A stage was set up but no one was playing.  Soldiers from The Department of National Defense and the Canadian Forces set up an obstacle course (that no one was using).  Soldiers occupied their time by tossing a football around.  Gourmet food was available for $5/plate.  Kid’s were playing flag football on the Field Turf that was laid down where the ice rink would normally be.  Rider green was everywhere.

On the way to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, I stopped in at Argo HQ to pick up some odds & ends.  Some of the staff were bugging me about the Rider Jersey I was wearing.  I pointed out that there was so much green outside, that downtown Toronto looked more like Regina on a Friday afternoon.  They kind of half-smiled at that point, expressing a great deal of admiration for the fans of the Rider Nation.

My buddy and I stopped for a pint and fell into conversation after conversation with perfect strangers about football.  Some of these strangers weren’t even football fans.  They were just Toronto peeps caught up in the wake, marveling at all the enthusiasm and camaraderie that was on display.  They wanted in on all the fun that we were all having.

The party at the convention centre seemed to be about a day away from getting up to speed.  Just as well.  It gave us quicker access to the variety of activities available.  I lost beer bets watching my buddy hoof footballs through uprights.  We had our picture taken with the Grey Cup, and fell into more conversations with more perfect strangers.

Later, I ran into a trio of Baltimore Stallions fans.  I saw ‘em and walked right up to ‘em as if I knew ‘em my whole life.  Turns out they haven’t missed a single Grey Cup since 1994.

After that, I made my way to the Delta Chelsea for another appearance on Rod’s show.  What a thrill!  I capped the evening drinking Saskatchewan coffees with Rod, Carm, Craig Smith, and Jeff Treftlin (of the 1989 Rider team).  I didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation mind you.  I was too busy listening to their war stories.

On Friday morning I decided to put my media accreditation to work and took in the final Argo practice of the year from field level at Rogers Centre.  Greg Marshall was there too and we fell into a conversation.  He seems to have a skip in his step these days.  He didn’t know (or wouldn’t say) what lays in his immediate future, but I genuinely hope the best for him.  I never liked how things were handled last year.

I then turned to eves-dropping on a conversation the TSN guys were having with other reporters.  They had just come from Mark Cohon’s ‘State of the League’ address and marveled at how, for the first time in recent memory, no one asked about any gloomy league issues – mostly because there are none.  In the year of the 100th Grey Cup, the CFL has never been stronger.

Indeed, the CFL, the Grey Cup and the Argos have been getting a ton of media attention this week.  It’s a feel-good story that everyone wants to get behind.  I hope we’ll see some traction with the story come training camp next year.

On Friday night I took in the second installment of the Molson Canadian House Concert Series.  I was with a dancer/singer who’s career had taken her all over North America.  She’d never seen anything like a Grey Cup Festival before.  I explained to her that you sort of know how to greet someone based on the colours you’re both wearing – like geographical mood rings.  With orange, you can expect a nice chilled out conversation.  Green and gold means you send them a kind of faux pity, and shake your head.  Blue and gold is a cold hard stare.  Red, white and blue means you wait for them to speak first.  If they mention anything about 2009, you get all ‘Shea Emery’ on ‘em.  If they’re wearing Red and white, you say simply, “you and your horse can help yourself to a long hard suck on my arse.”  Once the greetings are out of the way, you can all get drunk together regardless of what colours you’re all wearing.

I want to close with an exchange I had with an intern I’ve been working with all season long at Argo HQ.  Of course he likes the team he works for, but he’s never really understood what the rest of the league is about.  He’s an NFL guy.  I watched him take a deep breath as he looked for his next words.

“This week made me a CFL fan,” he said.  “I was walking past a restaurant and saw eight guys sitting a table together getting drunk.  There were like four different CFL jerseys at that table and none of ‘em knew each other before sitting down.  You don’t see that anywhere except at Grey Cup.  That’s what this league is about.”

Live: On the Air, All the Way Back Home

Rod Pedersen asked me to report on the Toronto Argonauts Grey Cup rally last night, live, to the whole province of Saskatchewan, via his top-rated radio show.  It was one of my proudest moments!  You can listen to the broadcast here.

I gained a bit of notoriety when I went after one of his show’s regulars with my most recent column (also posted in my previous article).  I’m having a lot of fun doing articles for Grey Cup.  It’s giving me a wider audience, and my Grama totally got to hear me on the radio!

My ego is approximately huge right now.  Gonna let it air out a spell before I tuck it away. Egos deserve some respite too.

That last sentence was typed by my ego.

I’m still behind on everything, and I fear with all the Grey Cup stuff going on, I’m going to fall even further.  I haven’t touched the novel in two weeks.  Highwaymen needs a few more hours before it’s ready for pitching.  I have an editing project that needs at least a couple of full days to complete.  I’m trying not to be too down about it.

100th Grey Cup only comes around once, and I’m smack in the middle of it.  Without any sort of a plan, I’ve found myself being published on the top rated sports blog in Canada, and now recently, over the air on the top rated sports show in Saskatchewan.  With media access to every one of the over 50 events taking place during the festival, it would almost be irresponsible to sit at home and not be a part of it.

I have promised myself to make a concerted push beginning next week, whilst picking away at what I can this week.  That should bring me up to speed and get me ready for Christmas – when I can make whole new promises to myself about how I’ll work hard to get caught up on all the stuff I’m falling behind on.

100th Grey Cup: The Grass Roots

This article was submitted yesterday to rodpedersen.com  It is a passionate defence of our city’s reputation after being attacked by a media type from Moose Jaw.

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100th Grey Cup: The Grass Roots

This column was going to begin with lessons I learned from concluding an abusive relationship I had with a bottle of gin last week (turns out there were others involved), but instead I’m going to take a shot at Scott Schultz.

I don’t know the man personally.  Never had a single conversation with him.  Like most of us, my only acquaintance with Schultz came through watching him from afar, as he plied his trade from the middle of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defensive line.  On one occasion I swear I saw him stop a Toronto running back by unhinging his jaw and swallowing the man whole – although my memory of the event could have been influenced by the Romanian fire water we smuggled into Mosaic Stadium that day.

Schultz was on 620 CKRM’s ‘The Sportscage’ last night.  He was flapping his pie hole about how Toronto doesn’t deserve a football team because attendance at Argo home games has been terrible over the last number of years.  He then added that Toronto as a whole doesn’t care about the Argonauts or the CFL in general.  The franchise and the league would be better off if the team were located somewhere else.

Mister Schultz, unhinge your jaw and bite me.

It wasn’t that long ago that I found myself sitting on a frozen bench in Taylor Field with 16,000 other fans.  The Roughriders would have gone bankrupt had the Saskatchewan government and the NFL not stepped in.  I remember ticket rallies prior to a game against Sacramento in 1993.  Kent Austin threw for 6,000 yards that season, and the team couldn’t put bums in the seats.  I remember a telethon only a few years prior to that game.  Let’s not be too smug when it comes to judging the attendance of other teams.

Over the course of a generation, Toronto stopped caring about the Argonauts because  Argonaut owners stopped caring about Toronto.  The Maple Leafs are currently following that same blueprint.  More average-everyday people in this city HATE the Leafs, than there are corporate-suit ‘spectators’, who sit on their well-dressed asses to attend games.

If you want a city to love you, you need to capture the hearts of its citizens, not their wallets.  With the Argos, too many flash-in-the-pan attempts at big signings, marketing failures, business and football mismanagement have led to where the team currently finds itself.  Courting a fan base takes years, not weeks – and over the last couple of years, the current ownership and management group have slowly been getting things pointed in the right direction.

The on-field product is championship caliber.  What other Toronto sports team can say that?  Fans are responding.  Attendance has been respectable this year.  The final home game of the season drew over 27,000.  Fans at the beginning of the season would go to games wearing whatever happened to be in their closet.  At the Eastern Semi-Final, they donned Argo Blue en-masse.  I’m hearing stories all over the city of fans returning to the team.

Off the field, the effort to capture hearts has been even more intense.  That’s ultimately the mission of The 100th Grey Cup Festival.

A football game was played yesterday morning at W.A. Porter Collegiate in Scarborough.  Though the game took place well away from the festivities downtown, I’m sure Scott Schultz would have given Rod Pedersen’s left nut to be a part of it.  The school needed a new field.  The Argonauts saw an opportunity.

This game was planned months ago to be one of the 50+ events set to take place throughout the festival.  Porter’s field was soaked with water, making conditions perfect for a recreation of the 1950 Grey Cup game played at Varsity Stadium – also known as ‘The Mud Bowl’.

Media, local celebrities, school staff and alumni, and Argos’ alumni participated in the game.  Porter’s dance team performed with the Argo cheerleaders while the marching band played.  Football clinics were held throughout the day for Porter’s students.  The actual Grey Cup Coin was used for the coin toss.

You can watch a video of the game on the Toronto Sun’s website http://www.torontosun.com/2012/11/19/legendary-grey-cup-mud-bowl-match-recreated

In Spring 2013, the field will be completely refurbished by the 100th Grey Cup Festival and the Toronto Argonauts with materials donated by RONA, to benefit the football program – a team that was restored through The Argos Foundation’s Level the Playing Field program.

Another event will be held today as part of the Festival at the Nissan Family Zone in Young-Dundas Square.  As part of the Argonauts’ season-long in-school efforts with the Huddle Up Bullying Prevention Program presented by Tim Hortons, a celebration and massive rally dedicated to the cause, will be taking place.  Scott Schultz outta be there too so he can learn how to not hurt the feelings of sensitive artists like me.

Those are but two of the over fifty events planned for the 100th Grey Cup Festival.  I’ll close with a quote by Argos’ president Chris Rudge, “A large part of the 100th Grey Cup Festival’s goals is to give back to the community and the City of Toronto throughout the celebrations.  Working with the TDSB, the staff at Porter, and RONA has allowed us to fulfill this goal while at the same time paying homage to an historic moment in Canadian sport.”

The Argonauts deserve a lot of love for their efforts.  Re-sodding football fields and working on anti-bullying programs in schools, doesn’t lead directly to bums in the seats.  They do however, make our community stronger – and contrary to the opinion of one notorious former defensive tackle with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, this community needs the Toronto Argonauts as much as the Toronto Argonauts need the community.

Wednesday Damned Wednesday

Tuesday went well.  After publishing my last blog article, I made a sizeable dent into Highwaymen.  Something just clicked and I was able to see episode 40, distinct and separate from the pilot I wrote.  I was able to write about the characters’ story arcs from a much bigger perspective.  It helped that I spent time studying a pitch document that Ian sent me a few months ago.  I was able to see how he separated ideas for individual episodes from the big picture.  I followed the model faithfully.

Wednesday is where my week went off the rails.  It started off with me in a coffee shop on Dundas West writing an article for Rod Pedersen.  From there it went downhill.

I agreed to be a witness for Tino and Mary in a rental dispute they’re having with their former landlord.  The whole thing was supposed to take 30 minutes or so.  We wound up being stuck there until after 5pm.

When I got home, Frank knocked on my door, and we fell into an abusive relationship with some alcohol after that.  I went out with a couple of his friends.  My head didn’t hit the pillow until 3am.  Needless to say, Thursday took a beating as a result.  Friday was spent mopping up after Thursday, and today will be about catching up with Friday.

The Grey Cup Festival also ramps up this weekend.  I have full media access to all the events and I really need to stick my toe in those waters.  This next week will be a delicate balance between work and play.  I’m hoping the lessons from Wednesday onward will inform my decision making process as the next few days unfold.

100th Grey Cup: A Call to Action

Here is an article I published in the top rated sports blog in Canada yesterday – rodpedersen.com

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It is now Tuesday of last week.

I’m sitting at a bar in Stratford with this actress friend of mine.  We fall into a conversation about Grey Cup.  Turns out, she’s never heard of it.  Neither has our bartender (who’s also a composer).  I get on my sandbox and start speeching about Grey Cup – how more than just a football game, it stands as a symbol of who we are, a festival, a celebration.  Grand gestures.  Flowery language.  Patriotic music spills from my vibe.

The actress is quite moved.  Bartender, not so much.

I then mention The Toronto Sun Zip Line that will be running from between the iconic towers of Toronto City Hall down to the foot of Queen Street.  It’ll be the tallest urban zip line in North America.  His eyes perk up.  I go on to mention concerts by K’naan, Sam Roberts, Matthew Good, and tons of others.  Over 50 events in all, including alcohol soaked street festivals and a couple of football games.  He’s still not interested in the game, but the festival around the game has him sold.  I caught wisps of enthusiasm motivating his keystrokes as he marked the calendar in his phone.

So now it’s last Sunday afternoon.

The actress is sitting beside me as we take in the Eastern Semi-Final at Rogers Centre.  It’s her first football game ever and she’s loving it!  Moved nearly to tears at times.  She never expected a live football game to be such an emotional roller coaster.  I keep thoughts of the 2009 Grey Cup to myself.  By the third quarter, she declares herself to be a football fan.

My thoughts now turn homewards, back to Regina.

I remember a friend scoffing when it was first announced that Toronto would host the 100th Grey Cup.  He felt that TO didn’t deserve the honour because the city doesn’t care about the CFL.  I couldn’t really argue with him – but I did anyway because that’s how we relate to each other.  Still, he had a point.

Despite being the 5th largest market in North America, attendance at Argos’ home games over the past decade has been somewhat not reflective of that population in proportion to what other CFL cities draw based on their populations – to put it politely.  ‘Embarrassing’ would another way to state it.

I’ve been living in Toronto a year now and I’m getting a feel for the character of this city.  Indeed, Toronto doesn’t care about the CFL – but then again, en-masse, Toronto doesn’t care about any one thing in particular.  That’s the secret charm of this place.  So much is happening at any given time, that you don’t really hear much hype about anything.  It all gets drowned out by the cultural noise.

To really understand Toronto, you need to drill deeper.  For me, the city doesn’t feel like a city (unless I’m downtown, or stuck in traffic somewhere).  Toronto is a thousand small towns crammed together.  Each of these small towns have a distinct character, with their own language, foods, and culture.  I’m writing this article from a coffee shop in ‘The Junction’.  Feels more like Melfort, or Esterhazy, or Assiniboia.  Very old two and three story buildings lining one main street, with residential beyond – but with better shopping.

Just as Toronto is divided into a thousand small towns, it’s equally divided into a few hundred different vibrant ‘scenes’ that all play out loudly and simultaneously – music, art, culture, sport, politics, academia, people who dig tofu, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, writers, keepers of the phrase ‘bunny hug’, and among many many others, CFL fans.  Five million people are dispersed throughout these scenes.  They cross pollinate with other scenes and they are passionate about what they’re into – CFL fans included.

The 100th Grey Cup Festival is a reflection of this diversity – though on a national scale.  There’s a caption on the front page of 100thgreycupfestival.com that reads, “A cultural and sporting event a century in the making… uniting our country with an invitation to Our Nation…  Coming to Toronto this November… The celebration starts now…”

As much as the 100th Grey Cup Festival is an invitation to the nation (and that includes you), it stands as an invitation to the city itself.  By design, the festival will be making a lot of cultural noise.  It will be taking up massive chunks of Toronto’s downtown, including Young-Dundas Square, Nathan Phillips Square, and street closures along Simcoe, Front, and John Streets.

The Argonauts have been enjoying respectable attendance figures this season.  The Sun had something like 18 sports pages dedicated to the CFL last weekend.  The Argo’s on field performance has people talking.  Organizers of the 100th Grey Cup Festival have pulled out all the stops to make this once in a lifetime event, truly memorable and lasting.

Masses of humanity, from a wide swath of Toronto’s scenes and neighbourhoods will have no choice but to be gobbled up by the festivities – and what’s good for Toronto’s motley assortment of people creatures, is even better for you.  Take in the live music.  Consume the diversity.  Party.  Be loud.  Discover the people, places, and faces this city has to offer – and while you’re at it, bring non-football types into OUR scene, and OUR league.

Ultimately that’s the mission here.  Grow the CFL’s footprint across the country and around the city.  I truly believe we’re all in for something special over the next 10 days and 11 nights.  Buy a plane ticket.  Get in your car.  You’ll find yourself in good hands upon arrival.

I’ll get into details on specific events over the next few days.  In the meantime, start making travel plans.

Cheers!

Jarrett

Chasms Between Ambitions and Reality

Truth be told, there have been moments over this past year where I fantasized about giving up.  The chasm between my ambitions and my reality seemed so vast, that I thought I might be fooling myself.  I put off steady work and a guaranteed pay cheque for lofty hopes and dreams.  The cancer forming inside my headspace began to pollute my thinking.  I felt myself slipping away from myself.

I bought a 46″ TV last night to go with the couch I added last week.  Both are paid for.  My thinking is a world away from those places I described in that last paragraph.  I found stability, and more than the freedom and steady pay cheque I get from working in my field, I’m rediscovering that place I was in when I first moved to Toronto.

I felt unstoppable.  I believed completely in my writing and in myself.  I saw the obstacles in my path, but paid them no heed.  Everything was new, and fresh, and spectacular.  I was going to realize my ambitions.

Just finished breakfast with a producer friend of mine.  Went for a walk afterwards and found myself here, inside the lobby of CBC.  There’s a coffee beside me and a vibe to mine.  It’s time to dust Highwaymen off.  So many people have said so many good things about the pilot I wrote.  They always asked to see more.  Problem is, there was no more.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out the series arc past the first couple of episodes.  As a result, the pilot didn’t really go anywhere.

It’s time to figure that out.  Two or three pages should do the trick.  I decided that today is the day to begin sketching that out.  Put things back in motion.  See what happens.  It’s all I can do.

Stratford Road Trip

I went to Stratford on Tuesday to hang out with my friend, Leah.  She makes her living as an actress/singer and we first met when she came over in the spring to participate in a table read of one of my scripts.  We’ve been meaning to get together ever since, but things never worked out.

Stratford is a major theatre community located about 2 hours outside Toronto.  I’ve been meaning to check the place out for some time, and Leah said now was a perfect time to see the place.  No tourists.

No plays either.

There was an auction however.  Turns out Leah is a bit of an auction junky.  Auctions also happen to be her chance to associate with non-theatre creatures.  She didn’t buy anything, but I picked up a bookshelf/desk unit for $20.  It seems I’m not done homing up my apartment.

Speaking of which, Leah is in the process of couching up her condo.  She seemed keenly interested in my own little couch adventure and with that in mind, we started moving furniture around in her living room.  We measured.  We imagined.  We pondered.  We experimented.  She’s ordering a new couch.

It was a full two hours before we decided to head out for some pre-dinner cocktails.  She took me to a place she’d always been meaning to try.  There was us, the bartender, and his sweetheart.  Alcohol fuelled conversation took up the next 90 minutes, and then we crossed the street to a pub for some grub.

I waxed poetic on the whole Grey Cup thing that’s coming up in three weeks.  Piqued Leah’s interest in fact.  She’s never been to a football game before so I decided to remedy that.

She’ll be in Toronto on Sunday to take in the Argos’ home playoff game with me.  The Riders are playing afterwards.  I’m thinking we’ll find a bar somewhere to take that one in.  I’m very excited.

When the Couch Has Ideas of its Own

You know, I was waxing a bit philosophical when I wrote my last article, but it turns out to have been somewhat prophetic as well.

Tino met me at The Brick yesterday and I promptly introduced him to my new couch.  It seems there’s a reason the discount section of the store is kept rather dimly lit.  Under the bright lights of the warehouse, we found ourselves glimpsing deep into the couch’s recent past.  It seems upon first arriving in the store, an employee got himself a bit too earnest with his box cutter while unpacking it.  We were able to identify a slash running nearly the full length of the couch – hence the $600 discount.

The slash is on top, and there are only a couple of small spots where it goes all the way through the leather.  It’s not readily noticeable and my biggest concern is ensuring the holes don’t get any bigger over time.  Needle and thread I’m thinking?  Maybe a bit of glue?  Anyone have advice they’d care to pass on?

So Tino and I get it on his truck and drive it over to my place.  Three fancy maneuvers later, and it’s around the tight corner of my foyer and into my living room.  Instantly the room changed character.

Perhaps ‘changed’ is a bit of a weak word here.

Transformed.  The room transformed.  Instantly the couch imposed a vibe upon my place that I never quite prepared for.  Gone was the vast empty studio space I waxed so poetically upon not long ago, and new was something I couldn’t even begin to describe.

We put the couch on one wall, where I thought it might go when I first bought it, but my feng shui couldn’t have been more off if I tried.  It’s like the couch was screaming at me for an opinion in the matter and I wasn’t listening.

We tried a different wall – the more ‘logical’ wall.  The couch certainly fit there, and it could have lived there, but it would have be the couch equivalent of boiling a steak dinner.  Practical, but a very long ways away from ideal.

Tino bailed on me at this point.  His job was done and mine was just beginning.

I sat, I paced, I squinted, I pondered, and I listened.  There remained a third possibility that had yet to fully present itself.  I just needed to let that thought come to me – or rather, accept it.

You see, the couch already knew what I was unwilling to hear just yet.  I needed to completely rework my space – to use it in different ways, and to overhaul its character.  It was the only way.  My couch showed patience while I toiled with the alternatives.

Two hours later, my edit suite was completely torn apart and put back together.  My couch was living where my edit suite previously stood.  My TV simultaneously divided the space between the two, while also tying them together.  My apartment still feels open, but now it’s divided into different colourful ‘neighbourhoods’ – sort of like Toronto itself.

And wouldn’t you know it – all this moving around, this toiling in my bachelor apartment – coincided down to the hour, of my arrival to this amazing city, exactly one year previous.

A Place to Call Home

It feels like it’s been a little while since I scribbled some thoughts down.  I can tell from the feeling I get on the inside.  Some kind of mental twitchiness.  So here I go.

I’ve been in a pretty good place headspace wise.  A lot of niggly little pertubances have sorted themselves out.  Nothing worth mentioning, but they’ve been weighing on me for sometime.  As a result, I’ve been getting out more.

I went to the Argos’ final regular season home game last night.  Despite resting 10 starters, they beat Hamilton 43-40 on a field goal with no time left on the clock.  Hellova game.

The Grey Cup festival is coming up shortly.  I’m excited about that.  I have media accreditation to all of the festival events (over 50 in all) because I’ve been blogging for the Argos.  I’ll also be writing a column in Rod Pedersen’s blog leading up to, and during Grey Cup.  He’s got the most popular sports blog in Canada, so it’ll be good exposure for me.

I also sorted out my couch situation.  Bought an $800 white leather couch from The Brick last night for $200.  More than having a place to sit, it represents a gigantic shift in my thinking, as far as my approach to Toronto goes.  I live here now.  My apartment is becoming my home.

I remember at this time last year, I was selling the last of my big furniture in Regina.  Had this scheme to live out of a backpack for the foreseeable future.  Be nimble.  Have the ability to pick up and go at a moment’s notice (or opportunity).

Slowly, I’ve been trickling back towards where I am now.  I want something that’s mine.  I want a solid foundation beneath my feet.  I want walls for my art and a place to work on my craft.  I want a couch.  I want a place to call home and I’m diving in head first.