Tuesday, October 22, 2013


So the internet has a big part of my week.

The range of emotions I've felt over my last post and the reactions to it have been overwhelming.  On one had, there were no less then THREE white men arguing against the points I (and the other people affected by a system they benefit from) was making.  With the exception of one of them, I'm almost certain they didn't read the post at all.  Their eyes might have been open, but their hearts were not.  The defensiveness activated in challenging their privilege was astonishing, but I understand it.  I used to be like that.

Before I understood that these issues were even real things in real life happening in real time, I was also a man who used abusive, offensive, discriminatory, inappropriate language and actions.  I justified it in all the ways possible and that happened in my recent history.  I assumed it was the way I was supposed to act, but I never felt comfortable with it.  I remember being younger and making sexist comments, using rape as 'humour', and insulting my culture all so I could feel like I could fit in.  I felt like I was dismantling who I really was in order to impress people who were equally as ignorant as me.  The insecurity, the lack of self worth - it all manifested itself in horrible ways in my life.  I lied, I cheated on partners, I stole, I was scared, I felt like I might collapse at any moment, I made deep wounds in myself that are still healing.  Then four years ago it all came out, and I felt like I had lost everything I held close in my life.  The truth is that I couldn't believe I had enjoyed such amazing experiences while being such a shitty person and thankfully I am privileged enough to have an amazing support system of family and friends that helped me through all of it.

I still remember the day I decided to take responsibility for my actions and to learn from my experience.  I really had no idea what that meant or how I might do it, but I decided to be open to listening to the hard things people needed to tell me.  Worse yet, I decided to listen to the things my heart was almost tired of screaming at me.  Slowly (and not without hurting some more people) I learned about how my language and behaviours affect the people around me.  I became conscious of the words I used to describe.  I made efforts to be more patient and to become a better listener.  I have learned a lot in the last four years and now I finally feel like I am a part of the community that works on a daily basis to not let discrimination be something people experience on a daily basis.

Our current tour caravan setup allows me a lot of alone time.  Touring usually provides me with the space to internalize my recent experiences, process them, and decide how I'm going to make them a part of me.  I think it has to do with the geographical changes (in the mountains I feel powerful but on edge, in the prairies I feel pensive but meek), but whatever it is, I most certainly feel like I've had another point of change in my life.  Choosing to poke at the parts in our society that hurts us all is uncomfortable, messy, ugly, and very unpleasant.  It also puts me in direct conflict with people that I have know for a very long time.  It means that I have decide to give up on entertainment that normalizes shitty behaviours (goodbye It's Always Sunny and Workaholics).

The hardest part though is that it means I have to let go of the 'nice-guy' persona and that I am inviting conflict into my life.  I have always tried to avoid it, but I can't anymore.  I've been the 'nice-guy' for too long, and what that really means is that I don't challenge the shitty things people say about my race, culture, body, etc.  It means that I have to choose my words carefully and consider how what I say will affect me and the people around me.  I'm totally ok with all of that, but I need more practice in doing it outside of the safety of the internet and the time it affords me to gather my thoughts.

I have been called many things this week, and I am thankful for all of it.  It has helped me to understand where I need to be on these issues and who my allies are.  What makes me feel the most ok with what happened are the private messages I shared with the young man from Kamloops who I felt was being treated poorly.  We had a great conversation while all the derailment tactics, reverse-racism arguments, and white-supremacy denying was going on, and from what he wrote to me I feel like he has left the conversation with the ability to be more critical of the things people say to him.

JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE FRIENDS WITH A POC DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN MAKE RACIST COMMENTS ABOUT THEM.  Again, I'm working under the Prejudice+Power definition of racism - which means that a white person cannot experience racism in North America.  It's an unpopular view, I understand.  I'm sure it will come up again on facebook.

Anyway, tour is great for the most part.  It's impossible to separate all the things happening at once in my life and so I am constantly flip-flopping between being really anxious and weak, and feeling fulfilled and powerful.  Picture time.

 Yoshi is my cousins dog.  We became fast friend after I took him for a walk.
 Heather tries what appears to be a pear salad with "shootney" (chutney?).  The pear was canned, then upon it's release from the tin it was sprinkled with cinnamon and microwaved?  Hard to say.  Heather had to do a lot of lying about how it tasted and it was hilarious.
 Tree house in Fernie.
 Heather and I prepare our treats for our hike on some mountain in Fernie.
 Heather and I realized that Sailor Jerry's is a stronger type of rum only after we had drank a lot of it.
 I cannot for the life of me remember the name of this place, but it was beautiful.
 Cody said it best - Canadian version of a Corona commercial.
 Heather snapped this pic of me talking to my partner back home.  I miss her terribly, and she was been incredibly supportive and basically my fav person.
 I think I'm in this picture?  #FindRico?
 But seriously, #FindCody.
 I don't even know.  A lot of that booze bottle had been consumed already.
 Heather - WOAH IT'S RAINING OUTSIDE.  Nope, it's mud.
 That bottle looks half empty, and I'm straddling all sorts of lines.
 Yup.  This, eh?

 We encountered plenty of drunk people on our walk back to the hotel after our second show in Fernie.  None more entertaining then the guys who stole someone else skateboard, lent it to Cody while he was on the phone with his lady friend, and then called out, "Hey Cellphone.  Hey Cool Guy" in an attempt to regain control of the skateboard.
 Guiness.  This dog is a hoarder.  You can't see it, but he has TWO balls in his mouth.  He expertly decided which one should go in first so that they both fit, then took off with them!
 I retried this ball and used it to play with Seamus.  This dog would fetch, but would always leave the ball halfway between where I stood and where the ball landed.
 Heather's mother prepares an amazing meal of greek salad, veggie lasagne, steak, prawns and chicken.   Pow.
 Cody, being a boss.
Heather and Norlaine catching up.

This post covered more ground photo-wise then it was supposed to.  Welcome to the future, fans.  See you then also.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Procrastination across the nation - Fernie 1

I would like to preface this blogpost by saying that I procrastinated for far too long leaving me to write this early this morning. My apologies if it isn't the most riveting read of your life.

After a late night drive from Medicine Hat to Calgary, we headed back into the Rockies to play at the Brick House Pub in Fernie, British Columbia. I am definitely sad to be leaving this beautiful province!

 Heather thought these small leaves were cool. What do you think?
 This is me taking a picture of them taking a picture.
Some nature. You can see the deers white buns in this picture. Right on.
 This is at the Island Lake Lodge in Fernie. We drove up there and then went hiking.
 I thought this looked like the Canadian version of a Corona commercial.
Here is the latest #FindCody. Good luck, send your answers to oldfolkshomemusic@gmail.com

- Cody <3.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Prom Night in Medicine Hat

Most of this post is about the mountains and I can't apologize for that. The drives we've been on have been so incredible in the last week and a half. We've seen the mountains from so many different roads and each time it's different, but honestly the ride down Highway 1 has been the most breathtaking.
Every time we rounded a corner there was a small chorus of oohs and aahs. I meant to nap while sitting in the passenger seat but I was hit by a serious case of FOMO and could barely close my eyes to blink!


Caption this!

Winter is Coming...

And then we travelled through the haunted forest.

There's a finger... and look how low those clouds are!

And THEN! As we were leaving the mountains, the unthinkable happened! We drove too fast... :(

We had a day off and were lucky enough to stay at Ricardo's cousin's house overnight in Calgary. They were so welcoming, and his mom was there, just like in Edmonton! It was nice to hang out with some cool ladies. Hanging with the boys has been awesome but it's pretty nice to have some female energy around. Also, they had two ADORABLE dogs!

Here is Yoshi! UGH the cuteness kills me.

Here is Bear! He was the cutest! We took the dogs for a walk and after he pooped he rubbed his bum on the ground for like five minutes... over the grass and down onto the street. Adorable.

Ricardo gives Yoshi an ear-wig. Style.

I got my own room, a giant air mattress, and a cozy fire to keep me warm. 

We had to leave for the gig in Medicine Hat the next day around mid-afternoon. It was so strange to be back on flat land. In my awe over the mountains I forgot how incredible it is to be able to see as far as the eye can see in any direction. 
#findcody Hint: that's Ricardo there in front- click to enlarge!

Warm Spiced Pear. What a salad. The waitress asked me if I wanted mango "shootney" on the side. Eventually I realized she was talking about chutney.

Pigeon Park. They were very cool people! We had a great time hanging with them. We played this show in a large event room that usually hosted weddings- we were actually the first band night they hosted. It was the biggest room we've played so far on tour.

Here is me and Ricardo enjoying the band

Here is Cody resting his ears in the lobby

After the gig we had nowhere to stay in Medicine Hat so we drove back to Calgary to stay at Ricardo's cousin's place. Everywhere we have gone so far we have met incredibly generous and open people- so far on this trip I've had the greatest time. In the first few days I felt like I was living in a dream, like I was going to suddenly wake up back in "real life". Now this is starting to feel like real life and I don't want to go back to what I was doing before. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Courage-less in Kamloops

We had two local acts playing with us in Kamloops at The Dirty Jersey.  One was a young man who didn't get a very good introduction from the sound person before I met him.  He is a student here from Pakistan and he is also a great songwriter.  The other was a group of older boys (couldn't even call them young men) and from the moment they walked in they had all the stench of arrogance and privilege young, white boys do when they're used to not having to worry about how they benefit from our social and political system.  

I instantly disliked them, but remembered to check myself before I was unnecessarily rude to these people I knew nothing about.  Plus, I told myself, these boys don't know yet who they are, so how could they know about the world around them?  What I started doing was explaining away all the reasons why I shouldn't say something.

Then the racism and discrimination started.  These boys wouldn't call it that.  They would call it 'joking' or 'teasing'.  Most people could not even properly define what racism is, so how could these boys understand what they were doing, I told myself.  It was all happening to the young Pakistani man.  I looked at him while this was happening, hoping he would have the courage I didn't have in my youth the stand up to that kind of bullshit, but he laughed it away like I did.  I was instantly transported back to my youth.  I was constantly discriminated against for my background.  I was called Mexican (there isn't thing wrong with being from Mexico, but when you're not from there and people use that word as a general term for Latin Americans, then it's racism), the food I ate was ridiculed (until people tried it), I learned to dislike my culture and move away from it, I learned to try to be more 'white' and that I should be trying to impress white people to get ahead in life because 'they had it all'.  All of this ran through my mind as I watched this young man get verbally abused.  I was furious, but I didn't say anything.  I made all the excuses possible because I was scared to confront that in my life.   

It was something I had come in contact with recently with my friend group.  They are mostly white, and they are all from what we could all call good homes.  One of the guys in the group has been taking out his frustrations and lack of purpose on me for years.  It doesn't affect me in the way it used to - I know better then then to think it's about me.  And the problem really isn't that.  The problem is that the others in the group, specifically the other white males, encourage this behaviour by not saying anything against it and laughing at it.  Can I really call someone a friend if they're willing to laugh off verbal abuse and discrimination?  What kind of person am I if I don't talk to them about it before deciding I no longer want to enjoy their company?  This had all been on my mind in Kamloops and I was paralyzed.  I let it all happen again to someone else.  

I felt disappointed in myself, but it served as another valuable lesson in reminding myself that I have the power to speak up against that kind of shit.  So I will try to remember my courage next time.

And for all the white people reading this right now - It would help a lot if you backed someone up when they stand up against racism.  

For all the men reading this right now - This also applies to sexism and homophobia.

And since all of you are people, we can get to a point where this is a natural reaction to discrimination, whether is be the above mentioned, ableism, weightism, classism, ageism, etc.  THESE ARE ALL REAL THINGS, PEOPLE!!!!  I am asking for your help so I don't feel alone when I have to fight against words and attitudes that keep me from being who I want to be.  If you have never really felt that on a constant basis, you're lucky, and I could use your help next time.  


Picture time.  There isn't a #FindCody in this post specifically, but he is hidden nicely in one of these pictures.  #FINDCODY!!!!!!!!
This is me in Kelowna at Mount Knox.  It was such a lovely trail and a good physical and emotional workout.  I'm feeling so healthy these days in all the ways.

One of the summits.

This double rainbow almost caused so many accidents.  It was huge though and stunning!

We get to Calgary and my mom is there too.  It's always so great to see her!  She never gets to see me when I'm in full tour mode, and I think this help relieve some of her anxieties about how I do away from home.  She likes to worry about me, and that always means lots of hugs and FOOD.

LOOK AT THIS DOG.  His name is Yoshi.  He is so adorable.

Have a wonderful day, friends.  And remember to look after each other.  

Remember to eat a treat today.  They're really good for you.  I miss Asian City's bubble tea right now.