Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is coming on Wednesday of this week. In light of this important day, I thought that I'd post an article here that I really liked. It was written by Kevin Myers in 2002, and was published in the London Telegraph. Some of you might remember the friendly-fire incident that prompted this article:

"UNTIL the deaths last week of four Canadian soldiers accidentally killed by a US warplane in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian troops were deployed in the region. And as always, Canada will now bury its dead, just as the rest of the world as always will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.

It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored. Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.

That is the price which Canada pays for sharing the North American Continent with the US, and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two global conflicts. For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two different directions: it seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never fully got the gratitude it deserved.

Yet its purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy. Almost 10 per cent of Canada's entire population of seven million people served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.
Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, its unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular memory as somehow or other the work of the "British". The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the Atlantic against U-boat attack. More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone. Canada finished the war with the third largest navy and the fourth largest air force in the world.

The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the previous time. Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign which the US had clearly not participated - a touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.

So it is a general rule that actors and film-makers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality - unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer British. It is as if in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakeably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.

Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of its sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of them. The Canadians proudly say of themselves - and are unheard by anyone else - that 1 per cent of the world's population has provided 10 per cent of the world's peace-keeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peace-keepers on earth - in 39 missions on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peace-keeping duties, from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.

Yet the only foreign engagement which has entered the popular non-Canadian imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia, in which out-of-control paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace - a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.

So who today in the US knows about the stoic and selfless friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan? Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac, Canada repeatedly does honourable things for honourable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains something of a figure of fun. It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such honour comes at a high cost.

This weekend four shrouds, red with blood and maple leaf, head homewards; and four more grieving Canadian families know that cost all too tragically well."

Here's the link to the original:

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Day In The Life

I'm sitting in the Vancouver airport, trying to quickly inhale a draught and a couple shots before a flight to Montreal, which boards in fourteen minutes. I was going to do a quick Facebook status update, something generic like "today was hectic" and then I figured that something that generic didn't tell a story. And since I'm a fast typist, and bored, let me tell you about a random day in the life of Scooter, in excruciating detail ...

Background: I just finished a tree planting contract in Alberta yesterday. So today was my "in transit" day on my way back to the East Coast. The past week was interesting - 80 km/hr winds, crazy ranchers, pre-daylight safety meetings every morning, eating gas station salads for a week, and I may have even run into KD Lang in town.

4am: Up early to hit the road from Consort, Alberta (beside the Saskatchewan border). Side note about Consort - you know how some towns have creative and uplifting slogans like "our people are our best asset"? Consort's is "really rural." No kidding, it's on the sign coming into town, which also says that the town's population is 679. I didn't see that many people though.

6am: Quick stop at a Tim Hortons. Tried their soup with bun. The bun was amazing. I went up to ask how much it would cost to buy another. Fifty cents. I was tempted to buy twelve, to see if I'd get a baker's dozen, but I only had $5.00 in change left. Besides, the last thing that I needed for today was a distended belly. The steering wheel on my truck wasn't adjustable.

7am: Had to pull over to put pants on. I was driving the 5-ton, and the heater was broken, and a couple hours of seeing my own breath in the cab was too much to take. Mental note: always wear pants in October before the sun comes up.

9am: Just past Calgary, heading to a nursery to drop off the truckload of flat garbage tree boxes for recycling. That took about 45 minutes. The nursery probably didn't recycle them, probably just burned them for heat, but who am I to be hypocritical?

2pm: Saw a coyote, and shortly afterwards, two wolves.

3pm: Saw what I think might have been a blue heron, but not positive.

4pm: Lots of domestic llamas and alpacas on the farms that I've been driving by.

4:15pm: Saw three brilliant white mountain goats. Those things are pretty odd-looking (although not as odd as an alpaca, come to think of it). Weather getting nasty - I hope they don't blow off the cliff.

4:30pm: Blizzard in the Rockies. Snow sucks in early October.

5pm: Just before Jasper, saw about eighteen elk. I also saw a retarded tourist, decked out in full camo gear, taking photos of the elk with a tripod and a telephoto lens that was also camo'd, who was taking his pictures from BEHIND a big white suburban. Idiot! Does he not realize that the camo gear does not help if there is already a two ton white gas-guzzler hiding him? I was tempted to pull over and go stampede the elk off into the bushes, or some other tom-foolery, but I was on a tight schedule.

8pm: Arrived in Prince George, had a few minutes to drop off my truck at the office and empty the quad and all of my other gear out of it, then bolted for the airport.

8:44pm: Arrived at check-in, one minute before my flight started to board. And by the way, there was a time change in there, so this was actually about sixteen hours on the road so far. Cutting it close, but really, they even let me check my back-pack, so I guess I still had several minutes to spare before I would have missed the flight.

By the way, I wasn't alone in this whirlwind tour. There were seven of us in a convoy of five trucks making the voyage - myself, Jackie, Nate, Kyla, Al, Matt, and Dana.

Anyway, I'd like to embellish this post with a lot more of the fun details along the way, but I have one minute to finish my drinks and run to gate C38 for boarding.

PS: God bless YVR - best airport in the world for free internet, lots of sushi shops, and one of the cleanest airports that I've ever been in.

PPS: Next stop, Montreal, then Moncton. Trying to make it to Sackville by Saturday afternoon so I don't miss my cooking shift at the Olive Branch at supper, and then my bartending shift at the Pub on Saturday night. Can't miss the Pub on a Saturday night! Kati, if you read this, please have a "voldka-bomb" (or four?) ready at 11pm ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cheque This Out

My frustration with the global banking system reached a new peak today.

It all began two weeks ago, when I had to order new cheques for the Pub. We had a change of mailing address, because of our move last year, and I was finally getting around to ordering new cheques with the correct address. I went to the Scotiabank and dropped off a sample cheque with the new address information, and they said that they’d take care of it. A week later, my new set of cheques arrived in the mail. Easy.

A few days later, I noticed that my cheques at the Olive Branch were also out-of-date from the move to a new address there eighteen months ago (ok, so I’m a little behind in my work right now). I decided to get new cheques there too, and while I was at it, I figured I should also order payroll cheques, which come on a different type of paper.

I took the cheques to the bank and dropped them off with an explanation of the required address change. A few days later, I got a phone call – the bank couldn’t order them for some reason, because the Davis & Henderson (cheque printing company) website was down, and I’d have to call in the order myself on their toll-free number. I went to the bank the next morning to pick up the blanks that I had dropped off, so I had all the correct account info to work with when I placed the order. No luck – the bank had accidentally shipped my void sample cheques off to Halifax, but I could get them back next week.

So this morning, I picked up the cheques after their vacation in Nova Scotia. I called the David & Henderson customer care number. I started off with the payroll cheques, and got them re-ordered with a relatively low number of questions. They actually had our old order on file, so they knew which number to start off with, and the color of the cheques and everything. They said that they’d have to FAX me a form to confirm the change of address, which I would need to take to the bank to get signed. I don’t have a FAX - that's outdated technology, and everyone should be scanning and PDF'ing these days. So they agreed to email it. I went to check email, and the internet was down. I called back to ask if they could re-send the email to a different address, so I could go down to the University to print it out and deal with the problem. They said that they had no idea what I was talking about. I tried to explain the problem to the lady on the phone, and she said that what I was trying to do was impossible, because those cheques have to be ordered directly by the bank and customers can't order over the phone. At this point, I tried to refrain from screaming. I was only moderately successful.

Eventually, after another visit to the bank, the girls down there were able to help me out, and assured me that my cheques would arrive soon. I’m not holding my breath. Oh, and by the way, the cost for all these new cheques? A bit over $600. SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS.

For any of you would-be entrepreneurs out there, I would strongly recommend that you change your mind and look for a less frustrating career, like teaching cats how to do synchronized swimming.

ETA, September 15th: I just got a call from Davis and Henderson. They said that they just got a call from ScotiaBank, trying to order more cheques for me. The bank wasn't allowed to do it without authorization from me. Unbelievable.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Splitting the DJ Bolivia Blog into Two Blogs

Starting effective immediately, DJ Bolivia will be splitting his blog into two separate blogs - one for music and one for personal thoughts.

Because of the popularity of DJ Bolivia's fan page, it makes sense to have one blog, Soporific Airs, feed to the Facebook page. That blog will deal exclusively with music-related posts.

Any personal posts will remain confined to the previous blog, From The Ridiculous To The Sublime, which will continue to be viewable to the general public and which will also feed specifically to Jonathan Clark's personal Facebook profile page.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

DJ Bolivia Career Changes

[Voy a tratar a incluir traducciones en espanol después del inglés, abajo de esta página].

Hey everybody,

This is a very exciting time for me I’ve decided to pursue my music career (as a DJ & producer) more seriously in the near future. Right now, as many of you know, I have several jobs - bartending, restaurant, and silviculture. I’m going to try to separate myself from a couple of them over the next eight to twelve months, to give myself a lot more time to work on song-writing, DJ’ing, producing, and video projects. So here's a brief look at what's happening or about to happen:

First, I just set up a fan page on Facebook a few days ago. The initial response has been absolutely overwhelming, and I’d really like to thank my many friends who have signed up as fans. My challenge now will be to keep adding fresh content to that page.

For the next four weeks, I’m still working at my job on Canada’s West Coast, supervising a camp of tree planters. I love the job – it’s healthy, it’s good for the environment, and it gives me a good tan. I always feel like I’m incredibly good health at the end of every summer, thanks to this job. And as you can see from the photo below, which I took earlier this afternoon on a cut block that we were replanting, the scenery is absolutely beautiful. You'd never want to work in an office again. You can see another of our blocks at the base of the mountain across the valley:

During the next month, while I’m still planting, I can’t do a lot of music-related work. However, I plan to be doing some filming of DJ Dan and Dave Dresden on July 3rd in Calgary, for video projects that I’m working on for each of them. I'll have those videos available for the public in mid-August. I’ll also have photo galleries of that night’s show available in early July.

In August, I return to the studio, both to work on DJ mixes and self-produced tracks that I’ve written. To give you a sneak preview, I think that I might put up a blog post in a week or two about some of the tracks that I’m working on, with either lyrics or vocal samples as a teaser. I’m also planning to start a regular progressive house/trance radio show, which I’m going to call the "Five O’Clock Cock Block" show (I kid you not). I’ve also been asked to do guest mixes for a couple of other well-known radio shows, which I’ll tackle as soon as I get back home.

For upcoming shows this summer and fall, I’ve got confirmed dates in Las Vegas, Seattle, Toronto and most Atlantic Canadian cities, and I am tentatively planning shows in Buenos Aires, Australia, and Japan this fall or winter, if time permits.

So that’s what you can expect from DJ Bolivia in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy your summer and keep checking my fan page and website, especially after August 1st.

Hola a todos,

Primero, permítanme a disculparme por mi español malo, tengo mucho que aprender.

Este es un momento que es muy importante para mi, porque he decidido dedicarme a mi carrera musical (como DJ y productor) mas seriamente en un futuro muy cercano. En este momento, como muchos de ustedes saben, tengo muchos trabajos – a el bar, el restaurante y la silvicultura. Voy a tratar de separarme de algunos de ellos durante los próximos ocho a doce meses, para poder tener mas tiempo para la composición de canciones, mezclando música, produciendo y proyectos de video. Entonces aquí esta una breve mirada a lo que esta pasando y lo que esta por pasar.

Primero, hace algunos días lance una fan page en facebook. Los resultados iníciales estan muy excelente, y yo quiero dar las gracias a todos mis amigos que se han registrado como fans. Mi meta ahora es seguir actualizando la página con nuevos contenidos.

Por las próximas cuatro semanas, seguiré en mi trabajo en la costa oeste de Canadá, supervisando el campamento y los sembradores de arboles. Me encanta mi trabajo – es sano, es bueno para el medioambiente, y me deja con un buen broceado. Gracias a esta trabajo, yo siempre siento que mi salud esta muy bien al final de cada verano. Y como pueden ver en la foto de abajo, que tome hace un rato en uno de las zonas de corte que estamos reforestando, la vista es absolutamente hermosa. Ustedes nunca querrían trabajar en una oficina nunca más. Se puede apreciar otra de las áreas de trabajo en la base de la montaña al otro lado del valle:

Durante el próximo mes, mientras sigo sembrando, no tengo mucho tiempo para hacer trabajo relacionado con la música. Sin embargo, tengo planeado filmar a DJ Dan y Dave Dresden el 3 de Julio en Calgary, para algunos video proyectos en los que estoy trabajando para cada uno de ellos. Los videos van a estar disponibles a mediados de Agosto. También voy a tener galerías de fotos de esa noche disponibles a principios de Julio.

En Agosto, vuelvo al estudio, para trabajar en mezclas y canciones producida que yo mismo escribí. Para darle un pequeño adelanto, creo que voy a publicar en el blog en una semana o dos algunas de las canciones en las que estoy trabajando, con sus respectivas palabras o ejemplos vocales. También estoy planeando empezar un programa de radio de house progresivo y trance, el cual voy a llamar el "Five O’Clock Cock Block" show (no se como se dice en espanol). También me han ofrecido hacer mezclas para algunas de programas de muy conocidos como invitado, de los cuales me encargare apenas vuelva a mi casa.

Para próximos eventos en el verano y el otoño, tengo fechas confirmadas en Las Vegas, Seattle, Toronto y la mayoría de las ciudades de la costa Atlántica de Canadá, y estoy planeado algunos proyectos tentativos con una amiga en Buenos Aires, Australia y Japón para el otoño y el invierno, mientras el tiempo lo permita.

Entonces esto es lo que pueden esperar de DJ Bolivia en un futuro muy cercano. Mientras tanto disfruten de su verano y sigan visitando mi fan page y mi pagina web, especialmente después del primero de agosto.

Me disculpo por mi malo español, y le agradezco por escuchar mí. Hasta pronto ...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Armin van Buuren Photos

This past Sunday night, I got a chance to see Armin van Buuren in Halifax, Nova Scotia, courtesy of Underdog Productions. I wasn’t actually playing on the bill that night, I just went to relax and take some photos. It was my first night using a new camera (a basic Canon XSi digital SLR), but I managed to get a few decent shots. Here's the link:

I owe a big thanks to Armin for being so accommodating with the photography.

Armin has been ranked by DJ Mag as the #1 DJ in the world for the past couple of years. To lend credence to this assessment, consider this: his signature A State Of Trance radio show is listened to by thirty million fans - every single week. Wow. I’ve had my website online for about seven years and I’ve only had around fifteen thousand mixes directly distributed during that time (although I’m sure with pass-alongs, the number is probably a lot higher).

Armin is Dutch. He’s got a law degree, but wanted to give up that career to pursue his love of music. He’s a producer, who has a number of huge hits, both as singles and from the several albums that he has self-produced. He doesn’t use an engineer – he does all of his own production work. He loves his fans, and is always happy to sign autographs and shake hands at the end of his shows.

Some of Armin's well-known hits include Love You More, Blue Fear, Exhale, This World Is Watching Me, Communication, In And Out Of Love, Burned With Desire, Serenity, and Yet Another Day (and a few of the older tracks in this list have only been officially released on YouTube very recently, so they haven't had a lot of views yet). But that's only a very short list of tracks that I could quickly find videos for. For a full look at his portfolio, check out Discogs. The list of work that he has produced is simply staggering.

Check out his website at

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Subterranean Homesick Grooves

I just put together a new DJ mix earlier this week, which is now available on my website and MySpace page. Sadly, it's the first mix that I've done in, oh, about a year and a half.

Actually, that's a bit of a misrepresentation. I put this mix together at the end of last summer, around August 24th. I was almost finished and about to put it online, but then I suddenly got distracted with my bar moving into a new building, and the constant headaches and 18-hour days for the next couple of months kept me from getting around to spending the last hour that I needed or so to put it online. Anyway, I just remembered it recently, so I re-recorded it on Tuesday morning to tidy it up, and now it's done. I also kind of regret using the "Looking At The Stars" title for my last mix. Considering the "stars" and "angels" themes of some of the songs on this mix, the titles should have been reversed for my last two mixes. Oh well, too late now - I didn't realize when recording "Looking At The Stars" that there would be several great star-themed songs coming through the pipeline so quickly.

The mix is not the type of music that I'd play in a club, yet it is a great mix of electronica tracks to listen to in your car or warming up for a party. None of these tracks are particularly new (obviously, they're all from the summer of 2008 or slightly earlier) but I found a really good group to mix together. There are several tracks on this mix with female vocals that just blow me away.

Here's a track listing:

01. Solarstone, "Rain Stars Eternal" [Original Mix].
02. High Torque, "Sparks" [Original Mix].
03. Morgan Page feat Norah Jones, "Angels" [Morgan Page Remix].
04. Boza, "Twisted Mind" [Alex Celler Tech Dub].
05. Cream Sound, "Always" [Stereotip Edit].
06. Python, "Expectation" [4Mal Premonition Remix].
07. R-Tem, "Cloud Of Sound" [Natlife Nu School Remix].
08. Kenshin, "Afraid."
09. Bolivia feat Mike Allison, "When I Grow Old" [Prince Avitar Electro Aftershow Vocal Mix].
10. Section 75 feat Penny, "Locked Heart" [Lynx Remix].

If I had to pick a favorite track from this mix, I couldn't. Maybe "Twisted Mind" or "Angels," but it's so hard to choose because there are so many good ones. Also, this is the notably the first time that I've ever put one of the songs that I've written myself onto one of my mixes - that needs to start happening a lot more later this year.

Anyway, thanks to the headaches at my bar, I've been pretty delinquent when it comes to music lately, however, I'm going to try to fix that in the next few weeks. I've got shows in Moncton & Saint John coming up in a week and a half, then two or three shows in Seattle the following week, then I'm on a bill with DJ Dan in early March. I also hope to get a few more mixes together this spring, before the summer hits. And of course, now that I have more time to catch up on my life, I have a backlog of other projects that I want to tackle in the coming weeks, including some long overdue video promos for DJ's such as Dave Dresden, Josh Gabriel, & Heavygrinder.

Anyway, my apologizes to Bob Dylan, and I hope you enjoy some Subterranean Homesick Grooves ...