Art & Lutherie

When I was 18, in January, I had $1000. That was all the money I had in the world, right after I was paid. I was ahead of the rent for the first time since leaving home 6 months ago. That meant that I could spend money on something other than food, for the first time.

I took the bus downtown to Old Towne Strings. I picked up the first guitar I saw. It was an Art & Lutherie acoustic guitar, with a cedar body and a cherry fretboard. The sweetest, warmest G major chord I ever heard.

I played 6 or 7 other guitars but nothing sounded better than the first one.

The lady behind the counter told me it was a refurbished model. “The cedar they use for the neck is so soft, it bows. We get a lot of these guitars in with bowed necks. We take them apart, put a steel rod in, put them back together. It’s better than brand new.”

I bought it for $200. I’m not much of a musician though. I played it a bunch, but eventually I got bored of hearing myself play badly.

I moved probably 8 times with that guitar. Barrington Manor, to my Auntie’s house in Royal Oak, to Shane’s house, to Westall Ave, to 5th St, to my Auntie’s condo at Spencer Castle, back to Shane’s house, to the Crack House in Gordon Head. Every time I moved, my brother (aka my personal moving company), would toss it in the back of that year’s truck and say “You ever play this thing?”

Some fella said that he was going to move to Australia, and I thought I would move there with him, so I started selling stuff. That guitar was one of the first things to go.

Two skinheaded gentlemen came to the Crack House. Skinhead #1 played a couple of scales and chords, then said to Skinhead #2, “Sweetie, I love it.”  Skinhead #1 said “Ok, we’ll take it. Happy anniversary, honey.”

I didn’t go to Australia, but I didn’t miss the guitar much either, till last week. Walking along Quadra Street under that giant yellow half moon, maybe on Boxing Day or the day after, The Only One started in my headphones and I needed to learn how to play it.

So now I’m borrowing my cousin’s abused old beater that he got in elementary school. It’s a lovely guitar. It says “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS WHEN USED AS DIRECTED” on the side, and it’s covered with the signatures of all the people he was friends with in 2007. It doesn’t sound half so nice as that cedar Art & Lutherie though.

My pick is a chunk of plastic I cut out of a Safeway club card, and my phone works for tuning and recording it. I used to have more picks, a real tuner, a couple of guitars, and a lot of nice equipment. But at least I’m playing it now, which I didn’t back then.

For now, anyway. Just want to learn that one song.

Justifying a trip to Australia via Cochlear Implants and programming


Being Deaf


I use a cochlear implant to help me hear. The thing is amazing, and it’s changed my life. Like, it’s the difference between being a shut-in with no life and being happy, well adjusted contributing citizen. But I always like to understand the devices I use in my life, tweaking and modifying them to suit me. I’d like a phone application to control it, or use it to receive phone calls, or whatever. Make the implant itself the size of the loonie, like the magnet part currently is, and control it only remotely. In this way it could be more seamless and waterproof.





I’m almost done my diploma in Computer Systems Technology. It’s a practical, hands-on course where you get tons of programming experience, like probably more than the average software engineering graduate gets. Last year we had a pretty amazing teacher for Java – a rather hard headed individual who was tough to get along with, however, he demanded more out of us than most teachers do, and got what he asked for. I think everyone who passed the course came away with an actual understanding of Java.

This year he’s teaching us Android programming. You can imagine how stoked I am. After this I’ll be able to build the interface for exactly the program that I want to control my CI.




Moving to Australia


The company that makes my CI is located in Brisbane, Australia. I’m going to be moving there in about 6 months. I’ll  have a diploma in computer programming, 6 years of being a CI user, and the ability, unlike many deaf people, to communicate clearly in English my needs and ideas for improving the equipment, and I’ll be in the city looking for a job.

Am I not the exact person that Cochlear is looking for? I think so. My mission now is to let them know.


For  CI company that makes my CI, which is based in Australia, in Brisbane where I’m moving to anyway, to hire me to make remote controls applications for their equipment. Everything kind of… works.

So, I’ll do the online application and all that. But this is going out to the internet, in hopes of finding the engineer, now working at Cochlear in Brisbane, who might be able to make room in his budget for one more engineer who has something special to offer.