Month: August 2014

Damn it Feels Good to Eat Falafel

Hello everyone I hope this weeks blog post finds you well and you are able to enjoy and squeeze the fun out of the last days of summer.

 

My time in Toronto has been a blast but is slowly winding down. I have been able to network and volunteer at 2 awesome bike co-ops here in TO. One called Bike Sauce and one called Bike Pirates. Bike Sauce is an excellent co-op that boast a kitchen and often feeds it’s volunteers. Take note people feeding volunteers is a great way to keep them both fuelled, motivated and appreciated. One afternoon this awesome girl Meghan prepared falafel for the whole crew. FYI falafel is one of my favourite foods and my second favourite word.

IMGP0971

(Eating falafel with the Bike Sauce crew. Just say falafel out loud and try not to smile!)

The other bike co-op Bike Pirates started out as a freeganism movement that raided grocery store dumpsters to get food to Vietnam protesters. Out of these awesome roots the original organization moved on. However, it left what some refer to as an anarchist bike shop. Totally up my alley, bonus I bought some falafel before volunteering here.

Falafel_balls

(Seriously garbanzo beans + spices = delicious)

Through Bike Sauce I built a really nice single speed Miele that I borrowed for a night to go play bike polo. Bike polo is like combining ball hockey and biking two of my favourite things. So I will brag and say I was a bit of a natural. A number of different people were like “are you sure this is your first time?” To which I smugly answered yes and went back to putting up some serious points. This is a sport I will be playing again!

IMGP0988IMGP0989

(The Miele I used for polo, obviously I couldn’t leave Ltn Commander Worf stranded on The Enterprise so I proudly tapped him to my bars.)

Also I managed to catch part of Busker Fest which was awesome and I really should have prioritized spending more time there. All the acts I caught were tremendous and I even found another Trekie!

IMGP0973

(What did Spock see when he went into the captains bathroom?                              The captains log!)

In terms of the stand up scene I hit up 2 comedy nights thus far as a “booked” comedian. As of right now that just entails getting to go to an open mic comedy night and being guaranteed a spot and a little more leeway with time constraints. The first one went really well the second one was just ok. I wasn’t 100% on point and it was an all comedian crowd. One patron who came into the bar raved “oh fuck they’re doing a comedy night here…” hahah good times.

IMGP0982

(The first show was definitely highlighted by one comedian who wanted to exemplify how not racist he was by wearing a “hat” that had a “not a racist” sign attached to it, let’s just say his material was a little racy.)

I have another set tonight and a final one Tuesday before I head towards Montreal. I am struggling a bit as I know Toronto’s International Film Festival (TIFF) starts next week. So I am a bit torn on whether I should extend my visit here in Toronto one more week in order to try and capitalize on the influx of opportunity brought by TIFF. What are your thoughts?

Anyway that about sums up my week, I am heading off to the cottage up in Muskoka for the long weekend which should be fun. I will aim to have next weeks article be a theme or list as I feel those are a little more entertaining to read. I will admit I have lost a bit of steam for the blog and have had a really low energy week. However I hope my enthusiasm returns and helps spur some interesting narratives and comedic writing. Thanks so much for reading, have a great day.

Qapla,

Dion

Biking into the Center of the Universe

Hello everyone, I hope this weeks blog post finds you well. So I am in the center of the universe Toronto and it is a bumping city! The stand up scene is vibrant and there is stage time available every night. Big news check out what I have up and running, my very own stand up site, woooooo (www.dionowen.com). A big thanks comically enough to my mom and my other unpaid manager Tobias.

universe

(I just love this song and it’s similar to what I imagine biking into the middle of the universe would be like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWVshkVF0SY)

Onto the occurrences of this past week. One major highlight was a 7 hour hike adventure with one of my favorite cousins Tom. I had the good fortune of getting to spend 5 days with Tom at the family cottage. It was full of laughter, fun and a Robin Williams movie marathon. Weird that so many people can feel so much loss for someone they never met, but Mr. Williams touched so many people’s lives and he is sorely missed. But look a pensive picture of Tom sitting beside a lake we hiked around

IMGP0928

(Tom)

robin

(Robin and his beard will be sorely missed… thanks for all the laughs!)

The time in Torrence was great and there is a chance I might make it back for a cameo on labour day weekend however it was time for me to bike onwards. The leg between Torrence and Aurilia was easily in my top 5 favourite bike routes from this entire trip. It was this secluded road with more bike traffic then car traffic. For almost the entire 90km bike ride you are surrounded by a lush leafy canopy on either side. Once in awhile it forms a perfect leaf tunnel, the air is so fresh and it was just a stunning ride. I even had to bike over a pivoting bridge that was cool, but two douche bags were driving yachts and needed the bridge to open for them to get by.

IMGP0937

(One of the best biking roads in Canada thus far)

I was very fortunate to get to stay with my moms good friend Beth outside of Aurilia. Her and her partner Phil fed me and put me up for the night.

IMGP0941

(Beth and Phil)

However I had 150kms to go to get into Toronto so I peddled onwards. This leg of the trip was pretty brutal the first 110kms were ok but my right knee was severely aggravated. Probably from the 5200kms of biking!

When I arrived in Toronto the joke is true there are 2 seasons here, winter and construction. I had arrived for lovely construction season and in turn I was neither safe on the road, the bike lanes or the side walk. I even got lost several times and my phone/gps died so it took me 5 hours to do the last 40 kms through the city. When I finally arrived at my cousin Stef’s I had been on my bike for around 12 hours that day which is WAYYYYYY too much time to be on a bike. In the end I had a very soar butt and a throbbing knee.

1walker_rd_mess-1

(Ummmm how the fuck do I get by? Seriously click this link all the red dots are construction https://www.google.ca/maps/search/construction%5C/@43.7434385,-79.5177668,11z)

Throughout my bike trip I have been what some people call a “masher” which means I haven’t been wearing bike shoes that clip into my peddles. However in an effort to save me knee I forked out the 140$ for shoes, peddles and clips. Bonus I get an estimated 30% more power as I now get to use my hamstring and glutes. (With clips and shoes you are able to pull up on the peddles).

I was also able to get dinner with my aunt Anne who is Stef’s mother.

IMGP0948

(Stef, Anne and super Jesus?)

On another awesome note my friend Anthony had been raving about this sport bike polo and I found a league here in Toronto. Christine a friend I visited here in Toronto was playing and she brought me out to check it out. Newbie night is Wednesday so I am super stoked to get to play. It’s a combination of ball hockey and biking, two of my favorite things.

IMGP0951

(Bike POLO!!!!)

On a final note. Toronto is a bumping city and there is always something happening. While I was down town there were some fireworks going off. And the boom is quite loud and deafening. It made me dread imagining what an actual bomb sounds and feels like. Sure glad I don’t know and hopefully never will!

Anyway that sums up my last week I found a good bike co-op to volunteer at and will be grinding out open mic comedy nights. If you clicked on my website you may have notice 3 booked gigs!

Thanks for reading,

Qapla,

Dion

Laid Back and Low Stress

Hello everyone, it seems with the randomness of this adventure that sticking to getting the blog posted mid week is not possible. Thus we have a Friday afternoon post. I’ve had a pretty mellow week of family time, so if you are not related to me you might find this weeks post a little lackluster, however if you’re my mom then you are in for a treat!

I am typing this weeks blog from a nice little coffee shop called Oliver’s in my old stomping grounds of Bala Ontario.

I am very fortunate to have access to a family cottage in this super cool region and have a feeling I might use it as a writers paradise.

Time in Barrie was excellent and my aunt and uncle were awesome hosts we enjoyed lots of laugh and good food. My uncle John is a super funny guy so I lifted as much material from him as possible. They have 4 sons three of whom still reside in Barrie and are starting families of they’re own. I had the fortune of hitting up the cousins to meet the new relatives and score some free food, here is pizza at Dylan’s and Lianne’s.

IMGP0902

(Aunt Velia, uncle John, Lianne, Jeremy, Dylan)

 

IMGP0903

(Jessie, Anne-Marie and their 5 day old baby girl.)

IMGP0909

(Jeremy and his youngest son)

In the above photo I went to visit Jeremy in the park to cheer on his sister in law who was doing a triathlon. After the race she for some insane reason went to McDonalds!!!!! I was hungry but not up for McD’s so I decided to eat elsewhere.

The rest of the family in Barrie were busy with kids, jobs and life in general. So I went out for lunch solo and let me tell you, for a social extroverted fellow like myself eating alone at a restaurant was weird. I did snag this awesome photo though, at the pizza restaurant all the chairs have bikini bottoms on the back so the gentleman’s misleading back side made me do a double take.

IMGP0911

(The highlight of my lonely lunch.)

From Barrie I headed up with my cousin Phil to the family cottage here in Bala where I got to spend some time with my cousin Tom his son Dylan. My cousin Stef even came up from Toronto for a night.

IMGP0916

(The awesome family cottage you can see The Enterprise hiding behind a tree.)

IMGP0915

(Phil, Tom, a hobo?)

IMGP0920

(Stef, Tom, Dylan a hobo with a touque? and a photo bomb from Stef’s dog JD.)

Well that about sums it up. It’s been a nice relaxing last week however I have a feeling the next 2-4 weeks is going to be pretty event filled especially in terms of my stand up career. Toronto and Montreal are the make or break areas for me. So hopefully next weeks post will be all about big opportunities, big breaks and big laughs. Whatever happens I will make sure I have fun and share it on here.

Thanks for reading,

Qapla,

Dion

What Goes Ying Must Go Yang

Hello folks, I hope this weeks blog post finds you well. This last week was absolutely amazing and was a nice Ying to the Yang of 2 weeks ago. This previous week everything fell into place and I had amazing weather and amazing hosts consecutively. While 2 weeks ago was a total slug fest of rain, restless nights and a run down bicycle. I did however, enjoy both experiences.

When last I wrote I was in Sault Ste Marie. I wrote that post on my lap top that shortly after posting, was promptly “beered”. I rarely drink these days but Andre the awesome mastermind behind Velorution introduced me to some of his friends. One volunteered to purchase the table a round so I decided to indulge. Unfortunately as the waiter was handing out the last beer he was bumped and the final beer toppled and smashed on my laptop. It was in it’s spandex case so I hoped it would be ok. The table looked at me waiting for me to freak out. But I took it out of its soggie case gave it a wipe and said “no biggy” as I had rescued it before.

spilling beer

(“Hopefully this lands on a laptop to cushion the fall of this poor spilled beer.”)

But at the end of the night I tried to boot it up with no response. I informed the waiter of the issues and he suggested I try leaving it in a bag of rice. So I left it over night and good news! I had a bag of beer flavored rice, but the bad news was my laptop was not working and smelled like beer and burnt electronics. I managed to track down another small laptop that a pretty, blonde lawyer promptly delivered to me. She was very kind and sold it to me for $100. The waiter who was partially responsible for the beering, informed me that he didn’t have to pay anything as it was my responsibility, because I brought the laptop into the premises. But because of my situation and calmness, (if he would have beered almost anyone else’s laptop there would have almost for sure been a freak out!) he was willing to accept 40% responsibility and reluctantly gave me 40$, which was greatly appreciated.

I was concerned that my data might be lost, including my last 3 months of writing :S. However through my people skills and the kindness of a fellow at staples named Steven I was able to exchange some Magic the Gathering cards for a small device to make my old hardrive a USB plug in. Also conveniently the local store that hosts magic tournaments was also a computer store and they helped me rescue my data (which was in Linux format and was a mild pain to transfer to my new Windows XP laptop).

trap

I camped for 3 days and 2 nights behind this amazing bike shop called Velorution. For some bizarre reason I didn’t take any pictures of the staff or store… But if you are ever in the area check them out. Camping for cyclists is free and you get access to a shower and get to hang out with the awesome staff. I have to give a shout out to one fellow Stevo who’s positivity and joe de vive is contagious. Also the owner and master mind behind it all Andre, is a pretty groovy dude as well, thanks again Velo crew!

The other fellow I was able to spend some time with in the Sue was this German fellow Uwz. He is this kick ass 70 year old I met previously in Marathon, whom biked from Vancouver to Sault Ste Marie, at 70 none the less! The two of us hung out for two days and he kindly donated a few bike components and bought me a few meals. We also did a tent exchange, as his tent is much better than the one I had. It was a bit tough to give away the old one as it belonged to a previous partner of mine, but it felt like good closure giving the old tent away. Plus the new one is way better and I actually fit in it. For extra bonus points, his wife was meeting him in Sault Ste Marie then they were driving to southern Ontario. They passed me 150 kms outside of the Sue and pulled over for a happy visit.

IMGP0814

(Uwz the gift giving German leprechaun.)

After saying another farewell to Uwz I peddled onto Little River where the Orton’s were some of the best hosts I have had yet. They let me stay in the guest house and they live right on the river. I arrived just in time for diner (mostly because they waited for me to arrive before eating). This family makes Warmshowers a better experience than anything I could have paid for.

IMGP0832IMGP0833

(The Orton family)

IMGP0837

(Sunset in their backyard)

IMGP0830 IMGP0838

(My evening then my morning views)

The next day I pressed onto Manitouland Island, a leg of the trip I have been very excited for. It did not disappoint. Through Warmshowers I was able to stay with a host Justin whom in conjunction with his mother and a number of dedicated individuals run a small eco village. It’s a super cool spot and honestly places like this give me a lot of hope for the future. I was able to help out with some random tasks on the farm and had a great time hanging out with the whole crew. The eco village shuts down for the winter so I extended them an invite to Bowser during the cold winter months.

IMGP0854

(The “Land Yatch” trailer I got to stay in, look it has a bicycle on the plaque!)

IMGP0872 IMGP0868

(Silvio and I on a hike to check on the shores of lake Huron)

IMGP0866 IMGP0865

(Meal time and the awesome outdoor kitchen that was often the social gathering point)

IMGP0875

(Ignore the homely looking fellow on the left, handsome guy on the right is Justin the ringleader of the eco farm)

I was even able to spend a day doing a work exchange at the local bike shop with the owner Jeff who was an awesome dude and hooked me up with a much needed new rear wheel and tire. Jeff and I had such a great time hanging out that I left with barely enough time to catch the 10 o’clock ferry.

IMGP0888 IMGP0882

(Some crazy homeless guy that wandered into the bike shop.)

IMGP0887

(Jeff the excellent and helpful owner operator.)

However this was just the opportunity I was looking for and I powered hard for 40 kms and caught the ferry in the nick of time. The ferry even had food and I ate 2 veggie burgers, 3 cookies, fries and a butter tart, mmmmm calories. The ship had a stargazing presentation on the top deck which was relaxing and informative. It was a really clear night and the space station zoomed over head, pretty ideal. When I got off the ferry I was able to find a nice little camping spot and set up my new tent courtesy of Uwz.

The next day I peddled onto Owen Sound. Where I contacted a host on late notice. He never responded but when I arrived I asked a young lady with a kid carrier behind her bike for some directions. She noticed I was on a bike tour and asked if I needed a host. I said “sure”, then she promptly invited me to a BBQ with her friends which was awesome. The host of the BBQ Chris and his partner Angie put me up in the tent trailer and fed me both diner and breakfast. On a comical note Carlo the host I initially contacted was at the BBQ!

IMGP0890

(The BBQ I “crashed”.)

IMGP0892

(Breakfast on Chirs and Angie’s front lawn looking out on Georgia Bay.)

IMGP0901

(Chris and his cool kids Cohen and Olivia, again in his front yard!.)

IMGP0894

(Worf finds his long lost brother. Chris has had this guy since the early 90’s!)

IMGP0822

(There was some controversy over the lack of Worf photo’s in the previous post so here is an extra of Worf doing his new job of operating the bell. He takes it very seriously.)

Well that sums it up, I am now in Barrie where I will be spending some time with my awesome uncle John, aunt Velia their kids and their grand kids. Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed.

Qapla,

Dion