Saturday, January 31, 2015

More Morris Stuff.
A friend of mine created this YouTube video years ago and I completely forgot about until another friend re-posted it on Google+. It is BRILLIANT - and loads of fun so I just had to post it here for my blog. I have to say that I think joining this Morris tradition has been one of the best things I have ever done. I love the people I have met along the way - Leslie and I have been blessed with incredibly talented and wonderful additions to our extended family. Enjoy the video - I've re-watched it at least 8 times this past week - still love it.
Some Morris fun!!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

I don't know what it is lately but I've been totally consumed and fascinated with two completely different and radical building concepts that seem to be really taking off - the Tiny House movement and Shipping Container Architecture. As it turns out they're not really that new, they have both been around for a while but they have really been getting more popular in the last few years.

For me it started with the Netflix documentary "Tiny", which was all about the tiny house movement and chronicles a young 20-something building his own tiny house. If you haven't seen it, find it and watch it - it's worth seeing (or look up some videos on YouTube). It totally hooked me and has been playing with my brain for the last year. I've even started following some tiny house blogs (check out my blog list, down there on the right) and 2 Google+ communities.
I've included some random internet pictures of tiny houses (outside and in, though not of the same houses) to give you an idea of what a tiny house could become. My SCA friends may think to themselves "those are just like the Pennsic trailer houses ...". But they're not ... these are not just thin plywood shells-over-frames like the Pennsic houses - these are fully insulated, actual all-season homes with all the amenities ... just on a scale of under 300sqft.
Now I'm not delusional enough to think about giving up all my stuff and going to live in a tiny house - I'm a BIG guy and I LOVE all my tools and stuff, so I'm quite happy with the house I'm in. But I'm totally in love with an idea of having a tiny house as a cabin or cottage by a lake. I'm even more in love with the idea of pitching in together with some friends, buying some acres of bush and setting up our own tiny house/cottage summer-commune ... that would be something.

Storage container architecture has also been on my mind lately. The building designs are too modern/cubist/contemporary for my tastes, but I've been toying with the idea of a 20' storage container blacksmith shop ... this has potential that merits some more thought ... this could be fun ( ... if Leslie doesn't kill me first).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Okay ... well, this post may not quite follow the intent of this blog (... reflections on a journey of creativity, blah, blah, blah ...), but as with any blog, your going to get the occasional rant or "WTF?!?!" post. So here it is ...
I was on the train coming home tonight ... okay, first some back story. I'm one of those nut-jobs that takes public-transit to and from work - from Hamilton to Toronto - everyday (well for the majority of the way). I drive 15 minutes to the train station at Aldershot and then I catch one train, one subway and one bus (... cue the George Thorogood ...) right to the front drive of my school - everyday (... it's actually kinda sweet ...).
Tonight, coming home, there was a switch problem which delayed all the west-bound trains for around 50 minutes. Now, I'm sitting in the train and I'm surrounded by people griping, complaining, making snide comments about the train service to people on the phone, and I'm thinking to myself, "you gotta be kidding." I've been in worse traffic jams than this when I used to drive the way into and out of Toronto (for over 12 years). I've sat in traffic for over 4 hours during snow storms .. but now that I'm taking public transit ... someone else gets to do the driving.
So we were stuck for a while ... so what? If my legs got tired, I could get up and walk around, or I could read a book, or eat a snack, or do a crossword puzzle, or talk on the phone, or even take a nap ... and I would still get to where I was going.
I just didn't get what all the vitriol was about. I was still going to get home, and I would not be homicidal because of a stressful drive home. Why didn't anyone else see it? So I had to spend my time listening to others stressing out over something that was completely out of their, or the train company's control. I just didn't get it.
Oh well ... just another day at the rat-race. But I gotta tell ya' ... I'm one tired rat. Some days, I just want to get off this running-wheel and start to live my life the way I truly want. I'm going to be 44 this year ... and I can't wait to retire ... how sad is that?
Oh well, I think I'm going to go to bed ... maybe the race will look better tomorrow.
-a tired rat.

This Saturday is a very special event that I look forward to every year. It is the Annual Apple Tree Wassail at the home of some of my dearest friends - David and Mary Clarke, in Hockley Valley. This year will be the 14th annual wassail. It will be an evening of Morris dancing, music, laughter, shenanigans, good food, good drink, and the finest company you could imagine - I can't wait. Saturday is the only thing getting me through this week.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

WOW ... I never knew how satisfying blogging could be - I should have done this a long time ago.

I'm also really enjoying the Google+ network - I've enjoyed building up my profile and exploring the thousands of communities on Google. I have already found a dozen different communities that interest me and I've even started my own community. It's a community for Morris Dancing - it's called Canadian Morris Dancers and Friends.

My wife Leslie and I have been doing Morris dancing for several years now. I don't dance but I do play drum for the Morris dancing group we belong to in Hamilton called Cold Barn Morris. Our group and the Google+ community I created is open to anyone who is interested or curious to find out more about Morris dancing - so feel free to check us out.

Here is a link to a YouTube video so you can see what Morris dancing is all about - it's really a lot of fun (... and a great workout).
This is our group dancing a dance called 2-stick Idiot during May Day in 2013

 And if you don't dance (like me), we always welcome new musicians as well - whether you play fiddle, concertina (or any squeeze-box), penny whistle, mandolin, banjo, ANYTHING ... we've even got a bassoon player (... Hi Duffy!!! ...). I play bass drum - this is a picture of my drum (... Thumper ...) ... and my hat.

So this is the Morris-side about me not many people know about - I guess this counts as part of the creative journey.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Well, not much crafting going on (too busy with school work) but I have added a bunch of links to some of my favourite videos about blacksmithing and other crafts, so check them out and enjoy.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Well New Year has come and gone. It's been a busy few days and school starts up again on Monday (... yay ...). This was a great winter break and I got a lot of stuff done around the house - I also finally got around to start up this blog, so it was definitely a productive break. But as teaching careers usually do, it will once again put a serious cramp in my "play-time", so there may be larger gaps between postings. However I do plan to keep up this blog - I did a lot of hedging before I started it up and I don't want to loose that momentum.
It will soon be time for bed ... tomorrow I plan on making a big batch of Three Sister Soup to freeze and maybe do some tidying up around my jewelry bench. Also looking forward to some good friends coming over for a visit - a nice way to end a good two-week break before heading back into the rat-race (... only 16 more years to retirement ... I can't wait ...).
I hope everyone has a prosperous and happy New Year ... I think we deserve it.