Ohana

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Hi All,

Long time no talk… A few entries ago, I posted a short story my younger brother wrote, it was amazing.  Had lots of feedback from readers how incredible it was, and amazing a 16 year old rat wrote that, lot’s of people couldn’t wait for the next thing from Brody.  Well, I’ve been begging him ever since as he get’s my website hits up.  He claims he is working on another piece with words, but he threw a curveball at me again and sent me these pictures that he drew, and painted.  Have a look (see below).  Remarkable again.  Had no idea the kid was an artist with words, and images.  Very talented.

This blog has provided me many things in my life, it’s provided me solace, happiness and a sense of worth, and some feeling.  But, almost as importantly, it has brought me a stronger relationship with my brother, and taught me of a deeper connection.  We, of course, as brother’s will always have a tight bond, and when you start to count some of the stuff we’ve had to overcome together as brothers, and as a family, that bond is always strengthened, and will always be there.  We’re both wired very similar, and we wage our own personal wars in similar fashions, though likely unhealthy, we often think we can do it ourselves, and we’ll be fine.  Sometimes we are too reluctant to seek help, sometimes dangerously too reluctant.

It’s funny, I remember as kids, though there is a ten year difference between B & I.  I always wondered what is was we’d have in common when he grew up, and what would keep us close like most other brothers you see.  I always thought; hockey, of course.  It’s what I love, and it’s what we did growing up at home.  Mini hockey all the time in the basement, street hockey, I even helped coached one of Brodys novice teams when I was in Gr. 12.  It seemed like the natural course for us.  Connect through sports.

But, now, almost ten years later… at the surface, you wouldn’t think we have much in common, or to connect over other than being brothers.  There’s a wide age gap, Brody is far more masculine than I; he loves outdoors, and hunting.  I don’t know that I’ve ever shot a gun in my life that didn’t fire out Styrofoam darts, and I think my stomach would hurl if I even killed a squirrel.

On the flip-side, I am a hockey, and baseball freak. He’ll sit down and watch the occasional game while we visit, but I know it’s not his preferred activity.  I think for years, I always thought, well what the hell.. this kid brother and I, we got nothing in common.  I loved that he was into different things, I thought it was cool, and it opened me up to things other than a puck, and seamed ball.

But through this blog, I have learned that there is actually so much more that we connect on than a hunting rifle, or a Synergy Si Core.

For better or for worse, our depression.  We’ve both been there, and fought, had days where there seemed like no tomorrow possible.  We’ve both exhausted ourselves fighting ourselves.  We’ve both somehow lived to see another day, to smile another day, and to laugh.  Certainly, if I had a choice… neither him or I would have to live with this illness, and happiness would just come easy for us.  But, that just isn’t the “Courchene” way to do things.  However, it’s has in a unique way I think brought Brody and I much closer together.

Though it’s tough to have your deepest connection with your brother built around your mental illness, it’s brought out so many other things we’ve learned about one another, and been able to share; Art.  Music, words, and now drawings.  As much of a music nerd as I am, Brody is far more knowledgeable about it, plays an instrument, something I always regret not doing, and I am so happy he has chosen to do so.

We share the same passion for music, and what it means to us.  It’s not just a string of words matched to a guitar, it’s not just the bass pounding, or some song about going fishing in your big truck. It’s something far more thorough.

We’ve passed books along to each other of Kurt Cobain, and we have some similar art hung up in our homes/rooms.  Then, you throw the middle brother into it; Kyle and it’s the same thing.  We all have a little Kurt Cobain imagery somewhere in our home spaces.  I think of course… we all love Nirvana, who doesn’t? But, for us it’s more than that…  I remember talking to my therapist about this years ago, that I was freaking myself out with my fascination for Kurt Cobain.  I read tonnes of books about him, had pictures, read online for hours, and went to Seattle basically for a Kurt Cobain tour.  Hung around in Viretta Park for a bit, went to the EMP Museum and took 3,000 pictures.  Amanda had to literally drag me out of the Nirvana exhibit.  When discussing this with my therapist, she said it’s likely Kurt Cobain means more to me than just music,  I am further entwined because it connects me to my sister, because she was a huge Nirvana fan, and that it’s something Jen & I always shared, and can still share.  This made total sense to me, and I think it’s the same thing for Brody, and maybe for Kyle too.  I remember my Dad talking to me about Brody being overly fascinated with KC for awhile too and it freaked him out as well, and I explained to my dad just this, and I think it made sense to him as well.  It’s more than just Nirvana, It’s more than just Kurt Cobain and where he’s from and how he grew up… but, it’s our sister too, and somehow in this weird way that I can’t expect anyone else to understand… but it brings all together.

Beyond the passion we share for music, is writing.  I remember about two years ago, my mom texting me this hilarious story of something Brody said or wrote, something about a house cleaner, I think it was.  I wish I still had this little story she told me, but it was incredibly funny, and clever.  I remember thinking at the time… Man, I hope that kid starts writing.  He’ll be incredible.  Then fast forward to just a few months ago, mom text me “You have to read this story Brody wrote, I emailed it” …  You’ve all read this by now, I am sure, and had that same reaction as me.  Wow.

So while, I spent the first ten years of my younger brother’s life wondering what the hell am I gonna share with this kid, and then forcing hockey down his throat, and longing for us to connect over some stupid sport that I question if I even love anymore… It was all right there in front of me, every day.

We don’t have the relationship most brothers have. It’s hard to say we grew up together, I moved away when Brody was eight years old.  I’ve been home for a summer since, and some weekends.  So things, naturally become a little bit different in our relationship with one another.  Though, we only live four hours away from one another..  we still only manage to see each other a handful of times a year, this is sad when I actually think about it, and write it out, but it’s the truth.  I’d love to spend more time with him, but the same could be said my Kyle, and really, all of my family.  I really would.  But again… just that crazed “Courchene” way.  Together though, Brody and I have been through more shit together than one can imagine is fair for anyone’s lifetime, let alone a pair of brothers 27 & 16.  But, somehow it’s all helped form this unique relationship we have, that I truly believe is as strong as any despite the distance in age, and despite the distances we live.

Though it’s tragedy and darkness.  It’s kept the four of us together. Through the places we’ve come from.  Through where we are today, and how we got there.  Through the music we listen to, and share to connect and feel closer to those we’ve lost.  The war we face every day with ourselves.  Through the words, and images we compose just to try and heal ourselves.

It may be pretty, and it certainly isn’t glorious, or ideal… but it’s brought us here, in a unique, weird, “Courchene” way… it’s kept us all forever entwined.

 

Ohana means family.  Family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten. 

Ohana.


Take a look at these drawings and paintings Brody put together.

The Significance of Music & My Hall of Fame List

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After writing a rather difficult entry tonight “Praying for Newtown & Mankind”  I thought I’d go in a different direction to cap off a rather good night.  I’ve wanted to put together a blog entry on the value music has on me.  But, I just have never really got around too it, for a multitude of reasons.  A) I’ve meant to write about it, but I go in 14 different directions. B) I am in the midst of a struggling 2014-15 season with the Edmonton Oilers in NHL 13.  Major Stanley Cup hangover.  I guess it even happens in video games.  Damnit.  But, before I get going on my frustrations with there, and it begins with my goaltending.  Pathetic.  Haha.  Ok, Music.

Music is, and always has been something that has been of significant sentimental value to me.  I don’t go anywhere often without listening too it.  Work, Working out, driving, gaming, even writing in this blog!  It often is inspiring and gets me in that mood so i can become an absolute wordsmith (kidding)  I have been fortunate enough as well, to have been raised around good music.  While, I may not have known it then.  I certainly appreciate the hockey road trips too and from Cold Lake, Lloydminster, Spruce Grove or wherever the hell else we were going where my mom would blast what I thought to be shit at the time.  Elton John, Alanis, The Hip, Paul Simon, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan… even Matthew Good, though I always liked him when I was younger, I could never admit that I liked music Mudder liked.  Now, much of the music I listen too now, is much of the same I had to listen too then.  Thankfully, her music tastes wore onto me.  Music is something that I am so passionate about, that I simply can not handle shitty music.  There is no quicker trigger to me being more fucking miserable then having to hear a shitty song.  Basically anything by Pitbull, or any other song where you only need to hear half of it while it comes on the radio station at the mall…  And while it is muffled and quiet, you still know every word next time the song comes on the radio…1 hour later.  Too me, good music is not that.  This is why when Amanda and I drive anywhere, I drive.  For the simple reason that, I can control the music.  No one else.  No one dare messes with my stereo controls!  It’s a bad habit, and selfish habit.  But, I get so easily annoyed, and frustrated when someone is playing horrible music around me.  I am sorry, but a song about the DJ pumping you up at the club… That isn’t music.  It’s a bunch of shitty noise.  Good music is well-written, it’s clever, it’s resonating, plus it sounds good.    Music that you need to listen too a few times to maybe understand what it means.  Music that is just well put together, as a whole.  Thats good music.  Something that sounds good, and lyrics that keep you involved, and every time you listen to the song, you pick up on something else, or it triggers something for you.  These are the songs that mom and my sister used to play when I was 11, 12 years old and I hated them because they maybe didn’t sound cool back then, or because the artist wore purple glasses with star lenses.   Now, I appreciate that.  Thankfully I grew up.  A little bit.

Another reason for my extreme passion in song, is just the sentimental value it holds.  It was something that was a huge part of my sister’s life.  She loved music.  She was always playing it.  and while, I was younger, I would pretty well listen to whatever it was she listened too, because I thought it was cool & hip.  She just had such a wide-range of taste in music.  Taught me too really open up my tastes in music, which I never could in the past. I used to be a 1-2 genre kind of person.  Now, if you were to ask me what I like, I would ask you first what kind of mood do you want me to answer for, because it changes.  I can be listening to Garth Brooks one morning, too anything by Maynard Keenan by the afternoon, and then 2pac in the evening.  I never used too be able to do this, I would never open up too it.  I think it’s something that my sister really taught me, and I sincerely appreciate.

Music is something that is extremely important too me, it is at times inspiring, sentimental and therapeutic for me.  But, if you ever want too see my lose my shit.  As I said, Turn on Amp 90.3, or any station of the like.  I will instantly turn from the happiest fellow, to the worst.   This truly is the only thing that can, and will make me the grumpiest man on the planet at the push of the seek button.  I think a lot of people could vouch for this.  I just turn miserable, grouchy and gutless.  What can I say.  I hate shitty noise, and that’s what it is!  While, there is “bad music” that I do like.  And, I recognize that it is bad, but I don’t mind it.  It’s typically short term.  Ie.  Nickelback, Drake, the odd techno-house-dubstep…. whatever it is called music.  I do like some of that stuff, but it’s more of “in-the-moment” thing, and it certainly doesn’t hold any sentimental value for me.

So, in conclusion.  I thought I would create a list of some of my favorite all time songs.  These are some MY all time favorite songs.  I don’t give a rats ass if you like them or not, or where they are on your list.  Because, we are not the same.  These songs qualify  for my list, because they are songs I heard many moons ago, and I still listen too them regularly today.  This too me, is how you qualify a “favorite song”  Favorite songs take time.  A song that came out this summer, has not been out long enough to qualify as a favorite.  If I still listen to it in 4 years… Then, we call it.  It’s like getting into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Dirt Road Anthem is certainly waiting!  Additionally, they are songs that just mean something too me.  Whether, its a lyric, or a sound that brings a special moment too mind.  And, most of these songs…  Are songs I was introduced too by mostly my mom and sister.  (Sorry Dad… but, I just don’t care much for AC/DC & Jerky Boys) Although, Garth certainly came from you!  Thanks old man.  And maybe Kickstart my Heart. Which, makes the hall.

In no particular order.

  1. Drinking in LA – Bran Van 3000
  2. Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam
  3. Round Here – Counting Crows
  4. Wild Horses – Rolling Stones
  5. Outside – Aaron Lewis
  6. Hello Time Bomb – Matthew Good Band
  7. Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
  8. Smells like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  9. Ironic – Alanis Morrisette
  10. Suburbia – Matthew Good Band
  11. Nautical Disaster – The Tragically Hip
  12. Tiny Dancer – Elton John
  13. Bennie & the Jets – Elton John
  14. Bobcaygeon – The Tragically Hip
  15. The Dance – Garth Brooks
  16. Rodeo – Garth Brooks
  17. Silver Jet – The Tragically Hip
  18. Fiddlers Green – The Tragically Hip
  19. Judith – A Perfect Circle
  20. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morrisette
  21. The Fall of Man – Matthew Good Band
  22. Champions of Nothing – Matthew Good
  23. ….  Just add basically any Matthew Good song to this list.  I will just say that instead of adding them.
  24. Jesus Christ – Brand New
  25. Everything You Want – Vertical Horizon
  26. If You’ll be my Bodyguard – Paul Simon
  27. Inside Out – Eve 6
  28. Suburbia – Matthew Good Band (Had to acknowledge this song – Was one of Jens favs)
  29. First TIme – Finger Eleven
  30. Hey Jealously – Gin Blossoms
  31. Unwell – Matchbox 20
  32. Lightning Crashes – Live
  33. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
  34. 46 & 2 – Tool
  35. And, about 35 more Tragically Hip songs!

That’s my elongated list of my favorite songs.  You might not like some of the listed songs, and may argue, but, thats why it is my list, and your opinion is completely irrelevant.  However, by definition of “good music” I am confident, not a single song listed could be argued.  Sooo. Pound sand.

Thank you too my mom, my sister and my dad for bringing me up around good sounds!

….  Brody, I will teach you soon!