Monday, December 31, 2001

Did I mention I love trains?

So I'm away from the city for a week and the knobs are already making the news. Can't I turn my back for a second before you stick your thing in that socket?

Some business guy, who probably makes million-dollar decisions every day, decided that he didn't want to take the commuter train after all. The problem is that he made this decision about 30 seconds after the train took off from the station.

So this knob decides he's getting off this merry-go-round on rails anyway he can, so he makes his way between the cars and steps off onto the platform. Sounds like a simple little plan, doesn't it?

However, if you factor in the fact the train is in motion, the platform is covered in snow (therefore slippy and icy), and that this business knob got off the wrong side of the train, any garden-variety maroon would be able to tell you that he's pushing his luck.

There must be some kind of Superman complex involved when you're wearing an Armani suit (not that I'm bitter at all. No sir).

So back to our story. The reward for our train-hopper is that he gets to have his foot amputated. Oooooh... That's nasty. Why gods why? Why did he need to lose a foot?!? Why couldn't he lose something peripheral? Something he doesn't get alot of use of? Like his head, fer instance?

Oh now wait... I'm sounding overly bitter here. It's been a pretty good holiday, all things considered! So Happy New Year folks! Stay safe tonight and stay away from trains, planes, and automobiles! I want to be able to see you all safe and sound in 2002.

So raise a glass tonight and thanks the gods for all the friends and family that you have, even if they can't all be with you right now. Remember that you have changed the life of everyone you've met and we're all the better for it.

Yeah yeah... I just finished watching It's a Wonderful Life. I always get misty watching that flick.

Sunday, December 30, 2001

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in Montreal again, home sweet home. I love traveling by train.

After hearing that tragic story about the elderly couple in the plateau getting burgled this past week, I started fearing for the safety of my own little fortress, but the pad showed no signs of disturbance. I'd hate to have to replace my priceless collection of velvet Elvis'.

Yes... I have hobbies!

Saturday, December 29, 2001

Irish pubs galore!

Quebec city has its own Irish pub! I discovered it yesterday while visiting the old city (it's beautiful at night) and I returned to listen to some fantastic fiddle and guitar music. Finally... a place where I can get a decent pint of Guinness in my hometown! The multiple pints I imbibed that night took the edge off of being at home for too long. I'll be heading back tomorrow morning.

I finished the family visits today (seeing the Aunties) and drove around town one last time. Although I toy with moving back to Quebec city once in awhile, I think that the reality is that my hometown is better visited than lived in. Still... it wouldn't be too bad to be closer to my parents and my nieces.

And then there are my Haligonian aspirations, but that's another story for another day.

Friday, December 28, 2001

Winter Wonderland

It just stopped snowing in Quebec city yesterday, after having snowed non-stop since the 24th of December.

Christmas ain't Christmas unless everything is covered in the white fluffy stuff.

But I'm starting to get bored. I need to get back to Montreal, lickety-split.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Sheep! They`re Sheep, I tells ya!

Warning: Political rant approaching

I just caught a news clip on TV this morning. In a recent poll, over 55% of Montrealers now think that Bourque`s One Island, One City project is a good thing! Just a few months ago, over 60% of the people polled HATED the idea and were right pissed off about the fact that the ex-mayor (and his PQ posse riding up behind him with the rope) just pushed it through Parliment and made it a law.

So the people cried out, protested, waved their fists in anger, and nothing got done. So they all seethed and swore that come election time, the PQ would feel their wrath at being force-fed an obvious political manoeuvre to eliminate Anglo opposition to the Separatist movement.

Now 55% of them are following the shepherd like the moronic, short-attention spanned little lambs that they are. Baa! Baa! Baa! You know what happens to sheep when they put too much trust in the shephered?

They get shagged, that's what!

It's no wonder that the PQ is in power in Quebec. When it comes to choosing a responsible government, Quebeckers seem to suffer from Alzheimer's disease, forgetting everything that happened in the past that got them in the situation they're in now.

Quebec: How could you do this?! We never agreed to this plan! You betrayed us and... and.. ummm.... Excuse me? Who you are you again?

PQ (sing-songy voice): Why, we're your trusted friends, of course! Tra-la-la! Now if you'll just sign right here, and here, and here, and give us a drop of your blood and your first born child, we'll just take care of everything for you. That's it.... that's a good little lam-- er, I mean friend. Now I'll just pull the plug on this machine that's keeping you alive and we'll be on our way....

Quebec: What? Wait! You said you were my friend! I never said you could pull the plug!

PQ (normal voice): It's not us! It's Canada that's pulling your plug. They're... umm... making us do this. Yeah... that's it! If anything goes wrong, it's their fault. But if you manage to survive, make sure you tell your friends that the PQ is your Saviour. Best of luck!

Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Christmas Loot 2001

We just exchanged gifties... I got my Dad a bottle of Grand Marinier (he was fresh out) and a bag for hauling wood from the woodpile to the new fireplace (my parents added a new solarium to the house). I got my Mum a pair of hand-made rice bowls (from the Craft Fair at Bonaventure) and a pretty pewter necklace (also hand-made). My sister is still in Ireland (she called yesterday), but she should be getting my gift in a few days (snail-post being what it is).

As for my Yule Loot, I got mostly clothing. Two sets of warm PJs, a house-coat, a sweat-shirt from Vancouver (my parents visited the Western provinces this year), and a cheque so I could buy myself a DVD player when I get back to Montreal! Yay!

I think my first DVD will be the Emperor's New Groove. Boom Baby! If you feel the need to shower me with gifts, please see my Wish List .

If the need for praise exceeds my expectations, I shall leave a basket outside my door for your convenience. The In basket will be the green one. The Out basket will the red one. The Out basket will contain the gifts that did not meet my exacting standards of excellence (and yes, bags of white socks are still considered unworthy). Forage at your own risk.

That will be all. Continue mingling amongst yourselves, making merry where ever you go.

Friday, December 21, 2001

Season`s Greetings!

From all of us at the Pooh Logs, we want to wish you a Happy Yule and Winter Solstice! We hope you get all the loot, well wishes, and joy of the season. See you in 2002!

(see how I made the Pooh Logs look like a huge organization? Me am sooooo clever!)

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Flabio Gets in Shape: Part II

So I went to the YMCA on Tuesday night for my first workout session. When I got my towel and I made my way down to the changing rooms, I suddenly realized that it had been four years since I had last stepped into a gym.

When I went into the changing room, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. I wasn't a 32 pot-bellied techwriter anymore. I was a 10 year-old boy back home in Ste. Foy, getting ready for my next swimming lesson. I just wanted to grab my bathing cap and do a bomb-dive in the deep end, trying to soak as many people as possible.

Anyhoo... I donned my sweatshirt and shorts and made my way back up to the workout gym. I spent about 10 minutes just walking around, checking out the equipment, feeling completely disoriented. I was hoping to just go in, select the machines I was going to use, figure out my maximums, and then take all that home and prepare a workout schedule.

Instead, I just felt completely lost and overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, smells, and people who were sweating it out. After wandering around for about 15 minutes, I decided to try-out the crosstrainer machine (which seems to simulate a natural walkcycle) for 10 minutes and then the cycle for 5 minutes.

Then I did some reps on the weight machines I knew how to work. After about an hour of this, I decided I had had enough and made my way towards the changing rooms. However, when I opened the door to get into the stairwell, I accidentally SMACKED it open, to which many people turned around to see what was the matter. Embarrassed, I shrugged an apology and hurried off downstairs. I had been lifting 50 to 100 lbs weights for 40 minutes, so I kinda overcompensated on the door. Oops.

Now this might sound weird to you, but when you're not used to being in a gym, being surrounded by a bunch of naked men is kinda disturbing at first ("Egads! Look at the size of that thing!"). I didn't even have the nerve to take a shower (although I regretted this later). I suppose if I keep to my committments, I'll get over this discomfort eventually.

So now it's been two days since my first YMCA experience and already, my arms are killing me. I'll be going again tonight, so wish me luck. Hopefully this exercise thing, couple with improving my diet, will lead me back to a slimmer, trimmer bod!
Nono... This is the Argument room

Are you the type of person who always wants to get the last word in? Once again, the Web provides you with just what you need: The URL Argument.

Link via davezilla

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Praying to the Snow Demons

Isn't it supposed to snow tonight? Snowball Fight!

Stay tuned for the further adventures of Flabio's trip to the YMCA...

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Hair-spray of Wisdom

With Yule around the corner, I find myself asking many unanswerable questions. I am quiet, introspective, and reflective on my life, my achievements, and my failures.

My need for answers is great and I have decided I need help. Fortunately, Michael Bolton is always ready to take the burden off my shoulders, twist it in his many curls, brush it out, and reveal the answers which have thus far eluded me.

Monday, December 17, 2001

Flabio Gets in Shape: Part I

I signed up at the downtown YMCA in another sincere attempt to get in shape.

I'll be going in to the Y tomorrow to figure out my maximums for the workout plan I'm putting into effect. Then I need to pick the days I'll be going in to sweat it out. I'm tried of looking like the jolly old elf.

My biggest problem is that I hate working out. It's so boooooooring. Therefore, I might be taking a boxing class (if they get enough registrations). That would be a fun way to get in shape.

I'll make sure I go see Will Smith in his latest film Ali.
Lazy-ass Weekend

Another quiet relaxing weekend at home. I just did homey-type stuff like cleaning and laundry, and wrapping my Yule gifts. But mostly, I just sat around drinking tea, reading, and watching TV.

Everytime I got a notion of going out and doing something, Newton would meow plaintively, slink over, and snuggle up to me. I mean how could I possible move then?

Friday, December 14, 2001

Monster boo-boos

Hey! Checkout the new outtakes from the Monsters Inc. movie.

You can also see the special Harry Potter trailer (if you haven't seen HP yet). Brilliant!
A Subtle Example

The highlight to last night's conversation with friends on the issue of subtlety in conversation is as follows:

Dave: "It's like six, but with an "e". It's like being with a woman, except it's a cat. It's like using a condom, but it's actually masking tape."

Ceri: "Dave... that doesn't make any sense!"

Dave: "You see? Now that's subtlety."

Oh... and I got thumped by a bible thumper last night who tried to show me the errors of my heathen ways. I tried to have a spiritual/philosophical discussion with him, but he kept reading passages from his bible, pointing out how wrong I was to think the way I do, and how the path I was following would surely lead to my destruction if I didn't accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.

Oy vey. God... Save me from your followers!

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Tripping the Light Fantastic

"You are chaos personified. The only thing your friends can count on is your unpredictability. Although many find this to be your best quality, it can sometimes get you in trouble. You are easily distracted and chase down all that life has to offer with equal amounts of zest (unless it requires heavy lifting). You are wise beyond your years and yet cannot see the danger of rollerblading through your house with a full pitcher of lemonade."

Take the test at FeralLiving.

Oddly enough, the test also shows that I am 75% Tito Puente, 63.7% Tom Jones, and 12.4% Ginette Reno. Imagine!

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

The day of Day is now Over

Finally, after months of people calling for his resignation, Stockwell "Don't call me Doris" Day resigns as leader of the Canadian Alliance party.

So many politicians in that party were jumping ship, I almost wonder if Stockwell is the last to leave it. Don't forget to turn the lights out, Day.

Unfortunately for this maroon, his claim to fame had less to do with what he accomplished in parliment and more to do with the crazy stuff he'd try to accomplish in parliment.
Go away, you ding-a-ling!

Despite the many wonderful creatures to emerge from Jim Henson's monster shop, Oscar the Grouch still remains my favourite. Not all the creatures had to be fluffy and cute. Some of them could be gruff and nasty and still have a place in the world.

A close second would be the Lion. I used to catch Jim Henson's hour whenever I could.
Reverberate this!

Located in Montréal's old port, Silo #5B-1 was built in 1958 and has been cited by Le Corbusier as a masterpiece of modern architecture. The elevator was used to store grain which came to Montréal by rail and departed by sea.

But in 1996, the silo became obsolete and was closed.

Then somebody came up with the bright idea of playing music in this acoustically-perfect sounding chamber.

Want to know what it sounds like? Play the Silophone!

Inside Silo #5, there is a microphone and a speaker. You can pick a sound from the existing list (there are over 9000 sounds to choose from) or you can upload and play your own. It's neat!

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

American Praise, Canadian Style

Give a listen or a read to the famous editorial by the late great Gord Sinclair Sr called The Americans (aired in 1973).

You can either listen to the editorial in MP3 or RealAudio format or read the transcript (there is even one version set to music (RealAudio format)).

It's refreshing, really.
Where'd I put that Rubber Mallet?

In an effort to become more Canadian, I've switched my radio dial over from CHOM to CBC Radio 1 (88.5 FM). I usually only listen to the CBC on the weekends as I'm puttering around my pad, cleaning, doing laundry, having breakfast, etc...

But now I thought I'd give the CBC another crack at the crack of dawn. The only drawback to this is having to listen to Dave Bronstetter. There's something about that man's voice that makes me want to whack him repeatedly with the concave part of a garden shovel.

Maybe I'll give CJAD a try instead. If that doesn't work, it's back to CHOM for me.

Monday, December 10, 2001

Lots to report today, so turn the house lights low and spin some Barry White. It'll add some jive to your funky-ass mood.

On Friday, the folks at work went to El Menara, a Moroccan restaurant (in Old Montreal) complete with fezzes, tents made of carpets, and Belly Dancers! Of course, being the fine appreciator of exotic cultures that I am, the local belly dancer wiggled her way to my seat and invited to shake my wares with her on the stage for all to see. I love being me.

On Saturday, I went for a b-day b-fast with Irene and Amy for Irene's birthday. We had both gotten here Gryphon-type gifties (the gryphon is Irene's personal symbol), so she was pretty happy. I met up with Kerry later on in the day and we just window-shopped, knocking around downtown.

On Sunday, I met up with Sarah, Rob, and Taras and we made blazing trails for Kingston Ontario. You see, I'm a member of the Midnight Players and our esteemed benefactor (Anthony Mann) moved to Kingston recently. He got us some airtime on the local radio station GTO 960 (the AM sister station to the Country 96 FM station).

So we drove out to Kingston Sunday morning, met in the afternoon to rehearse, performed Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" live on the radio, had pizza at Anthony's house, and then headed back to Montreal (thanks Rob!). The performance was dead-on and was a rousing success! We're supposed to hear from the station in the coming weeks to see what the public reaction was. The station will re-run the performance on Christmas Eve at 8 pm.

Now it's back to the humdrum life until my Oscar nominations start rolling in. Do you think I should start building a case to hold my naked golden statues?

Thursday, December 06, 2001

On CBC radio yesterday morning, Dave Bronstetter was interviewing Provincial Health Minister Remi Trudel about the 11 person committee that just resigned en masse over the controversial move by the PQ to cut back on English-language health services.

When Bronstetter asked him why the Health Minister instructed this committee to not speak until spoken to (the committee was not to make any recommendations on anything unless asked specifically by the Provincial Health Minister), Trudel replied "I cannot ask them for advice on a subject until I make up my mind about it! To do otherwise makes no sense!"

There's provinicial logic for ya.

But I think I've caught a glimpse of the horrifying strategy behind the PQ's latest attempt at sovereignty. They've tried all sorts of tactics to get the blokes out: from screwing the economy with useless referendums, pocketing mayors to force city mergers, to squelching many forms of English expression while villifying the rest. But nothing's really stuck. The criss-de-blokes are still kicking around.

But now they've got the strategy that might work: if they eliminate English health services, then the English population can just start dying off. As the anglos shrug off their mortal coils (either due to linguisticly-based malpractice or from boredom in the waiting room), the last vestiges of opposition will start thinning out and the Armies of Franco-nationalists can come stomping in, taking back what they never qualified for in the first place.

And it won't cost a cent! In fact, they'll be saving money! And if the coffers get low, they can always fine the surviving Anglo families for violation of the language law as it pertains to tombstones. Wouldn't that be ironic!

You think this is far-fetched? Really? Consider what insanities the PQ has put into place already that we just take for granted:

  • July 1st move (so we can't celebrate Canada Day)

  • mandatory French-only business cards

  • mandatory French software (in any company with over 50 employees)

  • you must speak French in the workplace (>50 employees)

Sacré Bleu!

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Argh... ever had a day when you wish you could take something you said back? I knew I should've just listened to that inner voice that was telling me to hit the Cancel button instead of the Send button. Instead, I just pressed the Send button, trying to convince myself to be brazen, bold, and satirically drole.

Well... I didn't come off as brazen, bold, and drole; I came off as creepy, weird, and disturbing. I didn't mean to, but that's no excuse for it really; I should've thought of how it might be interpreted and not taken the chance. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

That's the third time I've used bad judgement like this in the past two months. What's going on with me these days?

It might be difficult to imagine now, but I used to be quite the wallflower with people. At social gatherings, I was quiet, awkward, and terrified of someone I didn't know actually speaking to me. What would I say? What would I do? What if I used the wrong fork?

Then one day I decided to stop worrying about doing the wrong thing and go out there and live it. I'm constantly fighting against my own inner shyness and I just act on my whim before thinking too much about it. Most of the time, it works out fine. It's much more fun than being a wallflower.

But sometimes pressing Cancel instead of Send *is* the right thing to do. It's not a question of being shy or bold. It's a question of being considerate. Sometimes when you're constantly at war with yourself, it can be difficult to recognize the difference and you hit the wrong button.


The people I offended are probably reading this blog and feeling a little guilty, but don't please. You were right to point it out and I appreciate your candor and patience.

You have my deepest apologies.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

If I were a work of art, I would be Heironymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights.

I am decadent and depraved. I have an eye for small details and love to fit in as much hedonistic pleasure as possible in everything I do. I buck authority and am not afraid to make a statement outside approved channels.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

Where the heck are all these tests coming from?
In another brilliant casting move, guess who Kenneth Branagh will play in the next Harry Potter movie (The Chamber of Secrets)?

I'll have to think about who else could've pulled off that role... Jim Carey? Robin Williams? Bronson Pinchot (he could use the boost)? Paul Reuban?
In every legend hide a kernel of truth, and it seems that this even applies to Harry Potter, especially when it comes to the Philosopher's Stone.

Monday, December 03, 2001

Don't forget to take a moment to remember George "The Quiet One" Harrisson.

The family has made a special request of his fans for a minute of quiet meditation at 4:30 pm EST to mark his passing.

I know I'll be humming the bars to My Sweet Lord... It somehow just seems appropriate.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

If I was a James Bond villain, I would be Dr Kananga.

I enjoy tarot readings, growing drugs, and throwing people to hungry crocodiles.

I am played by Yaphet Kotto in Live and Let Die.

Who would you be? James Bond Villain Personality Test

And in good Evil Bond Villain tradition, I attended the annual Santa Claus parade in Ste. Anne de Bellevue on Saturday night. I half-expected to see giant aluminum floats (of which there were a few) dragging gaggling children by their tongues (aren't winter dares great?).

BTW, I tried to find a link about the whole licking-cold-metal-objects phenomenon many of us went through as children, but when I type the question "Don't lick a frozen metal pole." at Ask Jeeves, most of the links went to paleolithic-type websites. Apparently, this practical joke is older than God. Will we never learn?

Oddly enough, I never succumbed to licking cold metal poles in the winter, although I had plenty of opportunities thanks to multiple dares. The risk of getting hosed off a pole with boiling hot water was a higher price than I was willing to pay.

Go figure.