New Blog -

Sunday, March 22

Hi All,

I know that it's been a long time coming but I hope it will be worth the wait. I've created a brand new blog over at

I've been working on the design for awhile and most of it is up and running. I'll be leaving all the old posts from this blog up and starting fresh over at Foxoon so come over and visit.
nicholas, 8:19 PM | link | 1 comments |

Around Canada in 40 days (lots of it anyway)

Tuesday, January 22

About a month ago, I was asked if I wanted to join the training team for the project I've been working on. I thought, hey, that sounds like a nice relaxing way to wrap up what has been a pretty intense project for the last 6 months. So two weeks ago I had my first glimpse at the schedule and realized what I thought would be a little rest and relaxation was actually a marathon of around 20 flights in 40 days to all the hot spots in Western Canada from Calgary to Vancouver to Victoria to Regina and Brandon Manitoba. I've decided to keep you up to date best I can and to let you know what is going on across our country.

The first part of my trip was a couple of weeks ago when I headed off to pilot our training program in Halifax, NS. I must admit that I had high hopes of getting out to see more of the town but instead of seeing the sights of Halifax, I saw the culture of the maritime. I was there for two days and upon catching a taxi to the airport I did the math and realized we had spent more time in the Triangle pub with our group than we had in the training room. I like to think this speaks to how good our training was.

Halifax is a great little city with a real old town feel. Short, colonial style buildings line downtown and the people are amazingly friendly. I had great seafood, drank more Nova Scotia beer than I knew existed and had some strange version of poutine with curry for dinner while in the background a band played Irish jigs and sailors from the Canadian Navy tried to get women to dance. The trip convinced me that I need to do a maritime road trip sometime soon

Last week I headed out to Mississauga just outside Toronto for a couple of days which was pretty much the exact opposite of Halifax. The Toronto traffic comes to a stand still pretty much as soon as you hit the highway and once you reach the tech parks in Mississauga it's one big shiny box of a building after another. On the plus side, they had their very own Tim Horton's in the building I was in.
nicholas, 12:31 PM | link | 1 comments |

Best Cover I've Heard this Year

Sunday, November 18

This cover of Nelly's song "Hot in Here" by one of my favorite artists from last year, Jenny Owen Youngs, is fantastic. Pretty much looks like the last party I was at in Edmonton. It's almost as good as human tetris.

nicholas, 10:13 AM | link | 1 comments |

Lactic Acid Burns

Monday, October 15

It dawns on me today that Chariots of Fire never even entered my mind yesterday. Surprising since I used to play that record all the time on my parents stereo. I guess the focus required to not curl up into a ball on the pavement as I ran my first ever half marathon took most of my mental energy.

Not that it was that bad, the pain mostly came after the race when my legs became solid tree trunks as they remain a full day later. Don't let that deter you if you're training for a long run, it's actually pretty fun. Getting up at 6 am, jumping on a school bus up to the start of the Toronto Marathon. I sat beside a pale and stubbly man from St. Loise who had huge bags under his eyes, though I'm sure I had chinchilla like luggage under mine. It was a very collegial run with orderly lines for the port-a-poties at the start line and cheering squads with signs like "Go Mommy Go!" down most of the race course.

It was a cool morning on Sunday and I have to say I was feeling pretty good. At around 17 km, Jodie found me and I got to hand off the long sleeved shirt I'd taken of 1o minutes into the race. Somehow in the hand off a threat caught on me sending Jodie to the ground but as I stopped to help her she just looked up and yelled keep going. What could I do? I turned around and kept running. The guy beside me turned and with a spittle filled smile said, "I think she's falling for you." Well that earned some serious respect from me. Cracking jokes at 19 km into a half marathon shows true character.

I kept running and next thing you know there was the finish line. Every step took a little more concentration but I made it and with my last ounces of effort I managed to not toss my cookies at the finish line. A couple Gatorade's later and Jeremy and Jodie (aka Cheer Team) were off to Fran's Diner and a BIG breakfast.

The pain continues but I think I did pretty well.
Half Marathon (21.1 Km or so): 1:44:40 (that's 1 hour, 44 mins and 40 seconds) and worth it I think... hopefully I can walk better tomorrow. The question is what now?
nicholas, 6:05 PM | link | 2 comments |

I Feel Like Willy Lowman, but you know, happier and I don't sell stuff.

Friday, September 14

I've spent much of the last month cris-crossing the US. First there was a flight to Seattle that started off the cross country road trip to repatriate my brother Jeremy. A relaxing weekend of moving him out of his apartment led smoothly into five days of driving across the Northern US. Washington, Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, South Dakota. It was pretty amazing to see and the seemingly endless supply of truck stops and faux family diners were only topped by the down home charm of the people in Montana and South Dakota. We had a true patriotic experience at Mt. Rushmore, Amish cheese from a gas station in Wisconsin and a large amount of what I think is the modern day equivalent to American apple pie, Starbucks. Then after a few short days back at home it was back to the west coast for my cousins wedding in Portland.

Portland is an alternative town to the core. Bumper stickers that say keep Portland weird pretty much cover it and it comes as no surprise to me that the place is the home to many great bands. It was a beautiful ceremony in the woods just outside the city and a great reception that spiraled into a very late night hotel party at The Doug Fir. Actually it was more of a motel party since The Doug Fir is an old 50's hotel that someone poured a bare minimum of money into and created a funky little boutique motel if there is such a thing. It's overpriced but totally fun and the restaurant/bar are worth checking out even if you don't stay there. While having a hung over breakfast in the restaurant and refilling our water with a wine bottle the waitress left on the table, I felt oddly like the classiest trailer trash in the world.

After saying farewell to the newlyweds it was back on the plane to Phoenix where I spent an hour in the airport eating a very tasty burrito and then on to Atlanta where I've spent the last two weeks doing some training for work. So was hot, humid and full of accents that make me giggle. We hit up CokeWorld to drink 60 different soft drinks from around the world and rode the sugar buzz through a CNN studio tour. The next day was filled with vintage shopping, a beer with a guy named David who wore a surfer outfit and acted suspiciously like I would expect a modern day Jesus would, and a concert where we say The National, Doveman and The Rosebuds.

Just a couple more hours and I get to go home!
nicholas, 11:38 AM | link | 0 comments |

Music Post

Friday, July 13

It's been awhile since I've done an all out music post and it's about time I get on it. Here are some great artists that I wanted to share.

Rossie Thomas
I'd not heard of Rosie Thomas before but somewhere I read that she was collaborating with Sufjan Stevens and I had to check it out further. Her new cd, These Friends of Mine, was apparently recorded in Sufjan's apartment and it is great for a rainy day inside as it was here last weekend. With covers of The One I Love and Song Bird that will make you melt this is a great cd if a little heart breaking.

Rosie Thomas - 'Much Farther to Go' (MP3)

Hello Saferide

Hailing from Sweden where there seems to be a never ending supply of indie-pop talent these days, Hello Saferide is a great summer band. I must confess I've only heard a few songs because I can't seem to track down a cd anywhere but I like what I've heard. They remind me allot of the Australian band, The Waifs who are also great and hit the Canadian folk circuit most summers. Search them out and hope that it will be up on iTunes before the summer ends.

Hello Saferide - Highschool Stalker (MP3)

The National

Everyone and their goldfish has written about The National and their very, very, very good cd, Boxer so I won't. However I will point you in the direction of something interesting. Daytrotter, a great site that brings in a new band every week and does a 4 song stripped down recording session with them has a few songs from The National up this week. Among them is a cover of Pretty in Pink that is work getting your ears on.

The National - Pretty in Pink (MP3)

New Buffalo
New Buffalo put out The Last Beautiful Day in 2004 I believe and I've been meaning to get a copy of it for a couple years now. I stumbled across it on Zunior, a great place to download legal MP3s. They have lots of Canadian acts on available... Anyway, I'm glad I finally got this cd because it's a great listen. Very quirky and whimsical. New Buffalo has a new cd, Somewhere Anywhere coming out in North America soon so I'll be watching for it.

New Buffalo - I’ve Got You and You’ve Got Me (Song of Contentment) (MP3)

Los Campesinos
I heard a couple of singles from this Welsh band a few months back and they are infectious. I remember sending one to a friend when she had a bad day because that's the kind of music it is. Their EP Sticking Fingers Into Sockets is available from one of my favorite labels, Arts&Crafts. You must download this song and play so loud that all the neighbors start dancing, or you know, whatever it is they do.
Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
nicholas, 12:26 PM | link | 0 comments |

Canada Loves You

Monday, July 9

The White Stripes as closing off their cross Canada tour next week and I have to say I'm a little sad about it. I actually missed their concert here in Toronto but I've been following their tour and the stories as they crossed our great country. I read about their plan to visit every Canadian province and territory back when they first announced the tour. It's ambitious to say the least and something most Canadian bands couldn't boast having done. Plus it meant that The White Stripes would be playing places like Iqaluit and Whitehorse which probably have a smaller population overall than most of the stadiums they play in the US. But they played them all and played them with style. Not only did they win over the hearts of Canadians coast to coast by playing every province and territory, their now famous secret shows while they crossed the country are the things of legend and I'm pretty sure there will be a lobby to give Jack and Meg honorary citizenship.

With notices going up on their message board only minutes before the shows, only a few lucky people saw the secret shows. From a bowling alley in Saskatoon to a city bus in Winnipeg to strumming the blues with a busker, a youth shelter in Burnaby and the Hope Centre in Edmonton to singing with little kids at the YMCA in Toronto, The White Stripes dove into Canada and we love them for it. Below are some clips that I think are pretty cool. If you're Canadian and didn't love The White Stripes before I don't know how you could not love them now.

nicholas, 1:29 PM | link | 0 comments |