About the Craven Hermit

Hi!  You would have sorted this out eventually from reading my posts, but here’s a quick primer about the Craven Hermit to save you some time.

I was born and raised on a farm in the Red River Valley on the Canadian prairies.  We raised cattle and other various (very tasty) farmyard animals.  We also grew wheat, barley, oats, flax, canola, and alfalfa.  When I wasn’t at school or working in the yard or in the fields, I was usually listening to music.  I’ve loved music for as far back as I can remember.

I learned to rock before I learned to walk.

Elementary and high school came and went in a blur of Pink Floyd and AC/DC cassettes.  Then came the turbulent 1990s, also known as the university years, which left me somewhat ‘edumacated’ in the field of mechanical engineering.  These days, to paraphrase noted intellectual Homer J. Simpson, I try to parlay being “smrt” into a quiet and respectful livelihood in the suburbia of central Alberta.

On weekdays, I design petrochemical and oilsands plants and do my part to make the world a little nicer place to live.  I’m a pragmatist, so while I genuinely wish the world ran on rainbow power and good intentions, I also realize that there’s no shame in developing resources responsibly.  I take pride in leading a team that delivers efficient mechanical designs that are safe and easy to construct and operate.

Outside of work, I’m still a music fanatic with a growing collection that borders on obsessive.  I’m a neo-Luddite that prefers to own everything on physical media, despite doing most of my listening these days via iPod (around the house) or USB (in the car).  I enjoy browsing the web, cruising satellite radio, reading magazines (mainly Q, Mojo, and Uncut), and spelunking in record stores in search of new sounds to explore.  Most of my collection is on CD, although I have dozens of cassettes stuffed into a closet somewhere.  Plus I have recently started collecting vinyl, so I might as well kiss another wedge of my discretionary income goodbye.

I like to be active, so on any given day you might find me playing hockey, out for a walk around the neighbourhood, doing strength training, running on my elliptical machine, or going for a nice hike in the woods.  Expect to see some photos and stories about hiking crop up on this blog.  By the way, the photo in my blog’s header is one I took from a bridge over the Athabasca River near Jasper, Alberta in September 2011 while on a hiking trip.  This one was taken the next day on the summit of the Sulphur Skyline:

My sense of humour is pretty dry, as you’ll see in my posts.  Expect to see oblique references to Spinal Tap, M*A*S*H, The Simpsons, and probably some bits stolen from Monty Python from time to time.  My sense of humour and my forays into sarcasm are borne out of self-preservation; my wise-ass personality tries to compensate for my dopey appearance.  Most of the time I just keep my head down and try to not be noticed.  Imagine the soul of Hawkeye Pierce trapped in the body of Louis CK – that’s what I see every morning in my bathroom mirror.  It tends to inform everything I do.

Lastly, after all the logical thinking and organization that I need to do at the day job, I enjoy the challenge of engaging the right hemisphere of my brain.  One of the reasons why I started this blog was to find a new outlet for my musical obsession.  This expression gets attributed to a lot of different people, but someone once said that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”.  I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to describe how I feel about music, and maybe life in general, using only the written word.

I hope you will pop into my blog occasionally to see how my experiment is going.  I will try my best to be entertaining and thoughtful.

PS:  You say that’s all well and good, but what the hell is a craven hermit?  Good question.  One of my favourite books is titled Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield.  You can wiki it to learn more, but in short strokes it’s the autobiographical story of a music fanatic that meets a girl that profoundly changes his life.  He describes his pre-dating experience as “I was your basic craven hermit”.  Craven = defeated or uncourageous.  Hermit = reclusive or retired from society at large.  For some reason, Craven Hermit jumped off the page and entwined itself in the fibres of my soul, just like a great song.  The name kind of picked me, not the other way around.

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4 thoughts on “About the Craven Hermit

  1. Awesome writing. My not so good english is very impressed at the tone and context of your writing. Thanks! I hope this catches on.

  2. I’m very impressed. I’ve been really feeling the passing of the seasons’ lately (40 is rapidly approaching) so that post resonated, as well as the one about learning how to fix things on the farm. Our motto was: “if at first you don’t succeed, get a bigger hammer”
    I know that I fit into your second group and I like to tease you about the Rainbow Butt Monkeys, but I really enjoyed the blog (and links) even if I was unfamilair with the music.
    Hope to see you again soon…………………….

    Signed: Married with kids and lots of commitments.

    • Thanks, glad you like it. I’m getting quite a few requests from the married-and-frenzied crowd to be their New Music Maven. So after I dispatch with the 30 day challenge, maybe I’ll switch over to giving capsule reviews on what’s new & groovy.

  3. You don’t seem defeated in the least. It takes a special kind of bravery to express to the world. Then again, I put Chris Rea, Coleman Hawkins and Linkin’ Park on the same playlist…

    Turn it up to 11 x

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