True Confessions

March 23, 2018

Let's start with a confession: I am afraid of a few things. Things like rats, snakes and I'm really, really afraid of the Dentist. That's funny 'cause I wake up next to a gal who trundles off to a Dentist's Office every morning and worse, discusses her day with me at days end. I shiver and quake through most of these chats and clearly see her subtle disfavour of my cowardice. To add insult to injury, a whole cast of her McGaw clan work in the field and LOVE to 'talk shop' at any and every family gathering.

This has been going on since I met Shelley McGaw almost 20 years ago. Dr. John McGaw, Shellley's brother is a Dentist... and a Hell of a nice guy. He's top of his game, plays with the most expensive and best toys (or implements of doom depending on your point of view) and runs a top shelf operation. I can imagine others in his field using his example of professionalism and dedication to spur on their own endeavors. Plus, and this is the best part – he's become a dear and valued friend.

On Sunday last, I broke a little chunk off a molar. I only have a few molars left and so I recognized that this would be a big deal... not the least of which would be the real world requirement of an actual in-person visit to Driftwood Dental here in Courtenay.

I grid my loins, stood steady into the wind, threw caution aside in true super-hero fashion and suggested, in a barely audible whisper to Shelley that a visit might be in order because of the broken tooth thing. She didn't even flinch. Hardly looked up; 'no problem', and she was onto other things.

I fret. I imagined. I worried. It was awful... like watching a horror movie unfold in front of me I would guess, although I can't watch horror movies 'cause I'm afraid of them too.

A whole day of worry, then a command performance at Driftwood Dental for a little exam to see what was needed. Y'know what was needed? A return visit – how unfair is that?

Over the years I've come to know most of the people at Driftwood Dental, not so much exact face to exact names every time - remember I'm afraid of the office and so despite my brave front, every single visit – even when there's no dentistry involved, causes me pause and uneasiness and that whole unsettled feeling and so remembering everyone's name becomes a bit of a blur, but mostly I know and, truth be told, like these men and women.

A date is set: afternoon of the next day. That's almost no time for me to prepare – no time to catch a terrible disease, no time to break the law and get thrown in jail, no time to arrange for a kidnapping! No time to weasel my way out of this catastrophic unfolding.  And so, the next day I show up on time, as required – it's the adult thing to do.

I'm greeted by Sarah – She's very nice and since we don't really know each other so well, she rises from her reception desks extends her hand, shakes mine and welcomes me. She says she's pleased to see me and that it'll be just a short wait. All friendly and nice. 

A few minutes pass and Jessica emerges and says that I'm to follow her... She's really nice too. Pretty as a picture and all sunny and chipper and calm – as though this is no big deal and people do this kind of thing all the time without incident and, it would seem, of their own free will! She chats about her day, and to make her feel like I'm a big boy and not at all freaked out, I ask her how long she's been at the practice? Of course I should already know this, but the whole exercise is, for me, at the top of the disorientation list. I get confused. “3 years here, 7 in the biz” she replies, and adds that she loves it at D D and that for her, it's the team of people that make it so rewarding. Cheerily she goes on; “Isn't that really the most important part of any job? The people you get to work with?”.

I pretend to be paying attention and agree. I hope my head is shaking in the right direction. She sees, but doesn't acknowledge that I'm just ever so slightly preoccupied. Furtively, and just in case the opportunity arises, I scan my surroundings for an escape, rehearse last minute excuses, check for unobstructed pathways for when I bolt. I check to see that I haven't wet myself.

There's a flurry of activity, friendly questions about my med history from the office R N, Anne-Marie McGaw - John's wife and she barely disapproves at all when she queries me about my lack of exercise. There's warm 'Hello's' from my nieces Michelle McGaw and Julie McGaw, both of whom contribute to the team at D D. Natalie passes by and gives me a warm and reassuring nod - I know she knows, she's had to deal with me before. Then there's the whole getting me settled routine conducted by Brandi which includes a brief chat about living in Cumberland and her showing off her fading tan-lines from her last vacation... and then, he arrives. That's right, it's him – he who shall poke about with silver hook-sticks and probe my mouth – MY MOUTH with mirror things and other pokey things. He's here, next to me, hardly noticing me. Chatting to Jessica like it's just another walk in the park! But it's more than that, way, way more! Can't he see that? Sweat forms on my brow, hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention, there's a good chance I may be whimpering!

Hey Rob,” he says, “...make a fist.” and I do, I think. “You're gonna feel a little pin prick...”

...and then, well then pretty much nothing. That's the thing about sedation at the dentist's office, you don't really remember anything. I remember driving across the 'B' bridge on the way home, I remember Shelley suggesting I have a nap.

...and just like that; it was tomorrow. All fixed, all better. All done.

I should be better at this by now. These people know their craft, and they're really nice too. They really do care, they really want to make it a pleasant experience, and I'm going to guess that they do that for everyone. I have to confess - the truth is that I'm no less afraid today than I have ever been – that's become ingrained, a part of my DNA. But, and there's always a but; But with the right combination of carefully administered drugs and a team like they have at Driftwood Dental, one might survive a visit to the Dentist. In fact, I more than survived. I bet, in retrospect of course, that I was probably quite brave while I was under... like a fireman or a guy who swims with sharks or a lion tamer.


Vinyl - Hard to Kill

May 10, 2017

Vinyl. Impossible to spell. As a matter of fact, even spelling bee winners cringe at the thought of the word, but it's not just hard to spell, it's hard to kill.

There's been dozens of music delivery formats put out there - 78's and 45's and reel to reel and 8 track, cassettes and MD discs, CD's and MP3's... plus a whole mess of other attempts to get us to buy music. Did you know that Miles Davis's 'Kind of Blue' has been released in every single delivery format that has ever been pushed on...

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The Test

October 30, 2015
This past summer I had the great and grand pleasure to work with a small, dedicated group of young people from the Wachiay Friendship Centre on a message driven creation sponsored by Island Health. The result of those efforts was a little film called 'The Test". It's an HIV awareness video. It was conceived, after many hours of intense debate, written, story-boarded, filmed (on cell phones!) and edited by the group themselves. This is their first effort, and, considering that these people had...
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To Alex and Elyse!

October 13, 2015
What a fine day.
In this enchanted location.
For this magical event.

I'm R C – I am the proud father of Alex and now, too, an over-the-moon with glee father-in-law to the lovely Elyse. Whom, I'm sure we'll all agree, looks stunning and vibrant and so very happy today.  

The only thing that comes even remotely close to the joy you are sharing with us Elyse, is the pure, unadulterated love I see reflected in my son's face every time his gaze happens upon you. Thank-you for that Elyse, what a trul...

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Kerry Catherine Lawrence

September 9, 2015

For My Sister on her passing.

August 24 2015

Just in case, I'm Rob Crowston, K.C.'s big brother.

James Taylor sings:

“The secret of life 

Is enjoying the passage of time.”

We're all here today because my sister, our sister, our daughter, our mother, our wife and our friend Kerry Catherine Lawrence knew, despite everything that was going on with her body, knew better than most, how to enjoy the passage of time.

When K.C. First appeared on my landscape she pretty much ruined everything. 'Til then,...

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End of Joke, Laugh Here

May 4, 2014

The other night I was at a schmooz for a new media company. They were
launching an internet product that they hoped might be the next big thing. Cool
technology, big dollars, forward thinking – all the hype, all the right buzz words.
Lots of people milling about, some old friends in the biz, some newbies and the
usual hangers on and wanna bees you always seem to find at these things.
At one point I found myself standing in line, engaged in conversation with a small
group and one of the fel...
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Martin M Borycki - 26/04/1953 - 07/01/2014

March 19, 2014

My words, my noise from the Celebration of Life for my friend Martin Borycki...

I wrote these notes a few days ago in hope that I'd have something prepared  for today. I guess we'll find out together if that has become so.

It happened that it was Jack Kerouac's birthday.
Like our friend, Kerouac was a poet, a painter, a writer, an American take on a Zen Buddhist with attitude and quite probably certifiably insane.

My friend, our friend, Martin, was all those things and so much more.... he was ...
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The Wait of Words

February 9, 2012

13 years is a long time. A child can become a woman, a man may re-find love.

I cannot stop speeding trains, nor leap to untold heights, but it would seem that I am capable of living long enough to have something precious return to my life and in its happening, move me to my core.

The phone rang, and naturally enough, I answered. At first I thought it was a student, but no, it was someone much closer; much, much closer, and we hadn't spoken for thirteen years.

She called me. I was thrille...

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Why I Love Craigslist

February 9, 2012

Craigslist Ad:

We are a small & casual restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we are looking for solo musicians to play in our restaurant to promote their work and sell their CD. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get positive response. More Jazz, Rock, & smooth type music, around the world and mixed cultural music. Are you interested to promote your work? Please reply back ASAP.

A Musician's Reply:

Happy New Year! I am a mus...

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But Wait, There's More!

September 29, 2010
My friend Jonathan Stanley works with a group of people that develop entertaining content in combination with amazing technology for the tourism trade. They build systems that enable visitors of major tourist attractions to experience the attraction through GPS driven technology and dynamic story telling . Better still, they offer their entertainment in as many languages as the operator might like to service.

The other day, Jonathan turned me on to a video that had impressed him with its compe...
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About Me

Rob Crowston I'm an award winning multimedia producer with a background, and it turns out a foreground in print, radio, television, and advertising. A sound engineer, producer, writer and voice-over artist. You've heard my work in many radio and TV spots, documentaries, corporate videos, audio walking tours and on-line. I've been an instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, an instructor at Langara Community College. These days, I teach creative multimedia production to young people at the Wachiay Friendship Centre ( WaMM - ) Along with all that other stuff, I live happily with my wife Shelley McGaw and our dog, Molly in the little community of Courtenay on Vancouver Island. My passions lie in high-end audio, deep in the heart of the Hi-Fi jungle and I care about music, recording, film, fiction and art. I'm fascinated by architecture, design, technology and their impact on our society and our culture.