Friday, December 11, 2009

Gram Toni's 100th Birthday

Today would have been my grandmother's 100th birthday! She died a few years ago, but I'm still happy I was able to share a link into the past with her. When you're a kid you think people live forever, but when you're older you see our time on earth is really too short. Make the most of it! (Above, Antonia Gallegos, aka "Gram Toni", with my dad.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The United Church of Canada in Copenhagen

Mardi Tindal, the Moderator of The United Church of Canada, is blogging from COP15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference ( in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 7-18, 2009.

We invite you to check out her dispatches on the work to fight global warming. Copenhagen is a great opportunity for the church to work, pray, and reflect together on what Mardi calls "God’s abundant healing of soul, community, and creation." Also, please help bring more visibility to the Moderator's reflections from Copenhagen by linking to her blog from your own church websites!

Moderator Mardi Tindal's Mod Blog

COP15 Day 1: Connecting Dots

The World Gathers

So What to Do?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wow! Boy sees lobster for the first time.

Notice how fast the kid goes from "Wow!" to "We're going to eat 'em. Yum!" Humans are so strange.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jeff Beck - Eternity's Breath/Stratus (Live)

Wendy got me this DVD for my birthday and I can't stop listening to it. Best guitar album I've heard in years! Nobody compares to Jeff Beck! (Yes, I said nobody!)

In this clip he covers "Eternity's Breath" by Mahavishnu Orchestra and Billy Cobham's super funky "Stratus".

I love the cool vibe of Beck's new (22-year-old) bassist, Tal Wilkenfeld too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Ladies

Lupe1 - dimitridf -
Lupe2 - eebrierley -
Lupe3 - Mez Love -
Lupe4 - Kit Z -
Lupe5 - Gwen -
Lupe6 - giveawayboy -
Lupe7 - catwommn -
Lupe8 - Industry_is_virture -

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good-Bye Ozzy

This mural featuring Ozzy Osbourne in his Black Sabbath days (and a host of other anachronistic rock stars) loomed over the neighbourhood of Amado's daycare for years from the wall of the long-defunct Time Zone Bar & Grill. Today the last of the mural was covered over, as the building is renovated for a new dentist office. It was weird and bit seedy, but I think I'm still going to miss it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Canadian Thanksgiving, that is. Here in Ontario, Thanksgiving is traditionally the time when cottage docks are brought in so they aren't destroyed by the ice pack of winter. And traditionally (so the jokes go), this is regarded as the raison d'ĂȘtre for son-in-laws.

Above, my father-in-law Paul and I enjoy Thanksgiving by tinkering with the family dock, sometime last fall.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Collision of Spirit, Art, and Community

WonderCafe (, the website I work with, brought four of the top aerosol artists in the world together to collaborate on a huge mural on a wall donated by Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. Today we held the public unveiling of the work, along with a big street party including legendary hip-hop DJ crew, The MixTape Massacre, breakdancers, BBQ, public art space and a whole lot more. It was a truly inspiring day which created a deep reminder that we are all connected with a creative force that is so much bigger than ourselves...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Paint Your Faith tarp installation

WonderCafe (, the websites I work with, is presenting a huge street art event called Paint Your Faith. Four of the top aerosol artists in North America have been brought together to create a work of art on a 30' x 60' wall donated by Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. This tarp will cover the artwork until its unveiling (with a big block party) on Sept. 19. This is a great project and really inspiring to be a part of! More info here:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

P*Lander for Life

Tony Elfering's P*Land tattoo. Tony was a true P*Lander for life and we will really miss him. It's hard to believe we have lost one of our gang. (For those who don't know, P*Land was our skate crew growing up in Phelan, Calif. Click the "label" below to see more P*Land pics.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chief Arvol Looking Horse

Someone I did shake hands with...

Chief Arvol Looking Horse (S'unkawakan Wicas'a), 19th generation keeper of the original Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nation of the Sioux.

[Picture from an interesting article on a ceremony held to release the spirit of the bison which had died in Yellowstone.]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

3 People I Could Have Shaken Hands With...

Either I was too shy, or I didn't want to intrude, but I have been within arm's length of these three people and yet didn't extend my arm to shake their hand. I wish I would have now.

1. Sen. Ted Kennedy
2. Cesar Chavez
3. The Dalai Lama

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For Tony: Duane Peters Black out

I'm thinking a lot about Tony Elfering (R.I.P.) and our P*Land skating adventures back in the day. This Duane Peters video shows the radical P*Land style of skating in my opinion, which totally argo and quite different from the "gymnastics on wheels" style of pro skaters today. Glad to see Duane Peters has still got it, even at 40+ years of age, though he looks a lot worse for the wear-and-tear. He spits into the camera at the end (1:35), which is probably unnecessary, in case you want to skip that part :-) Still, great stuff!

Big Dipper -Santa Cruz, CA

I love this ride, but I'm also afraid of it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tony Elfering

{early '80s}

Rest in peace my brother. Shred on. We will miss you so much.

{More P*Land skate pics and videos here.}

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday, August 07, 2009

What the hell is happening to America?

Those who know me know I don't cuss too much, but I have to say it...What the hell is happening to America? Facists? Obama as Hitler? Have these "Republican activists" lost their minds? And where are the "mainstream Republicans" who should realize the damage this kind of activism is doing to their own party?

There is something very dangerous about the direction and tone of this activism. And--as Andrew Sullivan points out--it's been heard before in America.

[Flyer distributed in Dallas in November 1963.]

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Great to hear one of my Mom's favourite artists, folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie, is making a comeback at age 68. I got to interview her once for Aboriginal Voices magazine about the great work she was doing for native youth. Click here to see the article and a collection of videos of her.

Yes We Cannabis

Apparently there's "furor" going on because Normal used this old picture of Obama without permission or something. Actually, I'm not sure what all this puff is about. I think the art is really groovy though.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Toronto City Strike Almost Over!

...we hope! It's been 36 days. The garbage piling up around the city gets all the attention, but it's the lack of other social services (public health, welfare, daycares, kid's programmes, etc.) that are actually more than just an inconvenience, especially those people who are poor and have no other options. Perhaps by the end of today there may be a settlement between the city and the unions and everybody (including you know who) can get back to work! The sooner the better!

[Picture from NowToronto]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pink Floyd's Moon-Landing Jam Session 1969

Trippy space sounds recorded live at the BBC during coverage of the first moon landing (though images in the video is from one of the following moon missions).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

I just found out that one of the world's truly great musicians Ustad Ali Akbar Khan died in June. He was 87. Back in the late 80s I saw Ustad Ali Akbar Khan play at Stanford. His music was transcendent, subtle, and life renewing. It mattered little whether or not I knew anything about Indian classical music. Hearing him made me understand the heights that musicians and all humans could aspire to, if we only had ears to hear.

"If you practice for ten years, you may begin to please yourself, after 20 years you may become a performer and please the audience, after 30 years you may please even your guru, but you must practice for many more years before you finally become a true artist—then you may please even God." --Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

"Guitarist Carlos Santana once said that a single note of Khan’s sarod 'goes right to my heart,' while classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin - who prompted Mr. Khan to first visit the United States in 1955 - once called the sarodist 'the greatest musician in the world.'"(Sepia Munity: "Farewell to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.")

"Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, who took drum lessons at Mr. Khan’s college the first year it opened, said …, 'All the people who studied there - it changed all our lives. Khan embodies the pure spirit of music; it’s not just the notes, it’s the spirit. Every time I listen to him, he takes me there.'" (Sepia Munity: "Farewell to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.")

"Ustad Ali Akbar Khan embodied the very pinnacle of our great classical music tradition. In his hands, the sarod was an instrument that expressed with unsurpassed beauty and eloquence the noblest aspirations and deepest yearnings of the human soul." -- World Music Central

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Mom's Book Reading (Portland)

My Mom at her book reading for Sisters Singing! last week in Portland. She looks so cool! (And she is!)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Today: My Mom's Book Reading for Sisters Singing

This evening, if you happen to be in Portland, go check out my Mom's book reading at Annie Bloom's Books! If you don't happen to be in Portland, you can check out my Mom's blog here, or just go buy a copy of Sisters Singing!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I Like It Like This

Jay Adams, Dogtown. Mid-1970s.

"There were many good skaters who contributed positively to the sport and somehow Skateboarder magazine chose to promote a gang of kids who only sought to destroy the sport on an organized level." -Russ Howell


Friday, June 26, 2009

Roots Festival

I love rootsy reggae from the 1975-1985 era. Almost all the reggae albums I originally had from this period I picked up used at Logo's Bookstore in Santa Cruz, California -- at first mostly based on the cover art alone. I found some great music. Sadly, a lot of it isn't available digitally (and my albums all melted in the hot sun one summer ....).

Roots Archive is a great site for digging into old reggae.

...and this is the Farrah I want to remember

...along with millions of other men (mostly) my age. Yes, I actually did have this poster on my wall when I was in high school.

Of course, wanting to remember anybody only in their prime and youth is a horrible denial of all the twists and turns we all go through in life. But after observing what happened to both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson over the course of their careers, who in their right mind would want what they had? Who would want to be a star? Not me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Toronto Junction

I know everyone who visits my blog probably already saw this picture on my Facebook page, but I still wanted to post it here. (I still love the old blog, even if I don't have time for it like I used to -- damn you Facebook! damn you Twitter!).

This beautiful car pulled up to us in the Junction yesterday. What it was doing in that neighbourhood I can only imagine. But it did remind me that the Junction is where Wendy's dad saw Queen Elizabeth I during a train stop in the 1930s. This could have been her car! It was that out of place!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Iran Elections

Let me tell you - Andrew Sullivan at Daily Dish is nailing this news story big time....
I approached an elderly gentleman who seemed riveted, but disgusted by the scene in the street in front of him. “I’ve seen violence like this before,” he remarked, “What can one expect when you disrespect the people. This is a coup d’etat. After blatantly cheating the people they won’t be able to turn this off.”

Graduation Day!

I have no idea who any of these people are. I stumbled upon this post-graduation celebration at the University of Toronto yesterday afternoon. Everyone seemed so awkwardly happy as we walked together into the bright future. (Of course, I was just randomly along for the ride.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Rahaf Harfoush

I'm in this picture from a book release by Rahaf Harfoush at Toronto's Rotman School of Management. I'm almost right in the centre. Can you find me?

Rahaf Harfoush, a twenty-something Torontonian, was the new media strategist for the Obama campaign and is a brilliant speaker. She has written a cool book revealing all the secrets of Obama's ground-breaking (and many say, election-winning) use of social media to rally his folks and get out the vote.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Downtown Toronto

...taken the other day with my cell phone while walking out of the ball game. These condo towers are popping up like dandelions all over Toronto. Probably in your city too.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Santana Plays Vegas

Carlos Santana is beginning a two-year residency at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. I never thought of Carlos as a Vegas act, but there you go. Maybe Vegas has changed. But Carlos is still Carlos....

"In my own vision, I feel like we're bringing a Trojan horse to Las Vegas," Carlos Santana says.

"Not necessarily to infiltrate or to infect," he is quick to add. "But Las Vegas is basically realized on luck, chance and fortune. ... We're bringing something really different. It's called power to God's grace. There's no chance with that one."

The Santana sound can be "sexy, swampy and funky, but it still has the element of (John) Coltrane and Mahalia Jackson in it," he says. "It makes your hair stand up beyond the illusion of entertainment or show business.

"I love infusing and activating people with knowing that you and everyone in your family has a spark of the divine and you can make a difference."

[From "Spiritual Validation: Carlos Santana calls still being relevant an incredible blessing." May 29, 2009. Las Vegas Journal-Review]

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Sixties

I'm glad I'm old enough to remember the 1960s. And I'm glad my parents were, like, with it, and not fuddy duds living in some fuddy dud place. It seemed like everything was possible then. But maybe that's just because I was a kid. Either way, everyone should have such a powerful feeling of endless, open possibility at least once in their life.