Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Out with the Old...

And with the new year comes changes. Hell's Bells... there better be some changes 'cause I'm not going to be able to live with the situation as is. I've got my receipt and I want a refund, dammit.

So I've been working on my new design for this blog. I was going to put it in a new place, but in the interests of laziness, I'm going to leave it here and just radically change it's design. Hint: I won't even call it the Pooh Logs any more!

In the meantime, let me raise a toast to you all, my dear readers, and wish you a happy new year in 2003. Let's take what we tore down and learned in 2002 and build a humdinger of a life for ourselves in 2003.

I think we've all built enough character. It's time to reap some rewards. Cheers.

Monday, December 30, 2002

Ask and ye shall receive Pooh

It's amazing what people search for on the Internet. It's even more amazing that the Pooh Logs keeps delivering what they want to see!
You can't say I don't take you to the best places!

Saturday, December 28, 2002

The Old Homestead

Even when I lived here, I always picked a day once a month (usually a Sunday) and walked around Old Quebec. There's always so much to see.

And I was surprised when I was walking back to my car near Place Royale when I saw a storyteller! His name was Bernard and he was telling the story of La Chasse-Gallerie (which has always been one of my favorites, but I have yet to tell that story myself). I spoke with him afterwards and he told me that there were regular storytelling meetings in Quebec! Unfortunately, they are held the third Monday of each month (making it more difficult to attend when you`re away). I`ll have to take advantage of the time off to be in Quebec on a third Monday.

It may also motivate me to translate more of my stories. I`ve got three of them translated now, but I need to work on this project more. It would really open many doors in this province (and away) to be able to tell stories in two languages.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

All the Fixins'

I spent the 25th at familial home of my friend K's with his parents, family friend, and his brother and his family (wife and two kids). Kowy was right... Yuletide celebrations are best enjoyed with children tearing around from room to room.

K's nephew S had brought his portable hockey game with the players that swivel around on pivots. That is such a classic game and it awoke the boyhoods in all us men. We all took turns taking S on, knocking a small wooden puck off the backboards, pushing the little plastic men back and forth on the slotted ice, and our hands jumping desperately from knob to knob trying to activate the right player and ricochet the puck into the little plastic goal.

The only way to make that scene more Canadian would be to be drinking our Molson from stubbie beer bottles and listening to a crackling recording of La Bolduc on the crank record player. It was a nice moment.

Then it was time for the spread. Turkey with stuffing and cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, red wine, and plum pudding with tea. Stuffed! And the table was filled with good conversation about adventures in Montreal, Quebec, and elsewhere. K's mother was telling me about the house, how it used to be a one room schoolhouse and how K's father used to go to school there.

Imagine raising a family in the building where you went to school as a boy. Wow.

The evening ended in the kitchen, right where it started, with stories, laughter, shortbread cookies, and more tea. On the way home, I missed a turnoff and ended up in Old Quebec. I took the long way home, exploring the old haunts at 2 am. There wasn't a soul out on the streets, but you could see shadows moving about in the windows every few houses. The city was just snow, darkness, stars, Christmas lights, and quiet memories.

Thanks K. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Season's Greetings!

Just taking a moment to wish you all the best blessings of the holiday season, whatever holiday you happen to be celebrating. Thanks so much for coming on by and reading the odd ramblings to stumble out of my brain over the past year.

See you all in 2003 and may the New Year be the start of something fantastic and long-awaited!

Monday, December 23, 2002


It's been two months now since the contract at Softimage ended and life is getting tight. I was hoping that the EI would kick in by now, but they're still withholding the money. It seems that you must be flat broke before they'll give you anything.

I'm just about there, so if the EI people are reading this, now's the time.

But I must send apologies out to my entourage who have pretty much not seen me for the past month or so. It's an odd thing, but whenever I'm out of work (and thankfully, it doesn't happen that often), I slip into a hermit state. I'm afraid to leave the house because I'll be more tempted to spend money and I have not money to spend.

As it stands now, I won't even be able to make the next rent unless I beg, borrow, or steal. And no Yuletide gifts to give. Argh.

I hate this economy.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Play the Music, Light the Lights

There's something about the holidays that just screams Old Movies. Specifically musicals.

'Tis the season for me to pull out all my old movie tapes like White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and others. Sure, sure... those are all Christmas movies. I sometimes watch them again in the summer during particularly hot days (psychological warfare).

But now I just watched Danny Kaye's The Court Jester for the umpteenth time. I never get tired of that flick, but it's always better to share it with someone who hasn't seen it, especially if they have an appreciation for films made during that time. However, I can see that the tape is starting to wear thin. Time for the DVD!

Get it? Got it. Good!

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Travel Anxiety

Granted, I haven't travelled much in my life. I've seen parts of the states, parts of Canada, and I've been to Ireland. I really should travel more.

But one of the things I don't like about travelling far and wide is the flying part. Even before 9/11, I was never comfortable with flight. When I used to work at Bell, they would fly be back and forth from Toronto about once a month. Eventually, I talked them into sending me there by train, which is infinitely more comfortable I assure you (VIA First Class rocks!).

Now my parents and my sister are flying to Cuba for the holidays. This is weird for me 'cause this will be my first Christmas without my family, but in addition to that, I get nervous when my family flies.

Call me paranoid. I know that you are more likely to die in a car crash than an airplane accident, but that doesn't make me feel any better. I get jumpy everytime the phone rings, especially when it rings late at night.

I'll just breath a sign of relief when they are back home safe and sound.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Be Like Gene

Okay... enough of this depressing drek. Time for some good news. Like D says: when it rains, it pours. But with the right attitude, you can use it to become Gene Kelly.

Last Saturday, my old high school buddy Lynn was celebrating two fantastic bits of news: 1) She grew older by one year with grace, style, and friends (nothing takes the edge off getting older than being surrounded by friends, both new and old); 2) After 33 weeks of being told "This week, for sure", she finally got the transfer to Halifax that she wanted. You rock girl!

Make sure you get a good-sized guest room 'cause I'll be visiting... I may even bring you some genuine St. Viateur Bagels.

That Saturday night, I was busy throwing discarded crustations at my dinner companion and then wrestling with the local colorful characters in the Pointe. I intended to make an appearance at Hurley's to celebrate Lynn's b-day, but I was running late (that's what good wine, good food, and lovely company at the Claremont will do to a fella). But I finally made it, ordered a pint, celebrated Lynn's good fortune, and danced the night away.

When I got home finally, I checked my messages and lo and behold, I received a message from Lynn, Jewels, Eric (the German), John (the displaced Cape Bretoner), and Mirka (the displacer of Cape Bretoners). They wondered where I was, why I wasn't at Hurley's with them, and when was I showing up.

It felt great to find out that I was missed. I've been turning up late for things lately though. I gotta pull up my bootstraps and get my schedule in order. But still... thanks for the thought folks.

It's a bit late in the season for rain, but maybe I can tap myself out a dance in a pair of snowshoes and a purple-and-white-striped hat.

Just watch me.

I went to an interview today with CGI for a possible writing contract. The lady who interviewed me didn't really understand what I did as a technical writer, so she wasn't quite sure what to ask me. No matter: I did most of the talking and she said she'd get back to me by the end of the end of the week.

Although writing and researching definitions for a procedural system's workflow ain't what I would call a good time, I really need the money. I've been waiting for EI to kick in for 6 weeks now and it looks like I'm going to have to wait even longer. Drat. It looks like I'm going to have to ask the landlord to hold off on cashing the next rent cheque. This is not good.

I've built up enough character through this experience. Somethings in my life are finally starting to pick up and get really good, so now it's time for my career to get back on its feet. Everything in its place, everything in its time.

I say the time is now. Chop chop!

Monday, December 16, 2002


So much has happened in the last few days. Give me a minute to collect my thoughts.

I knew being a scatterbrain would come back to haunt me one of these days.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

James Bond: Squeak Another Day

I just spent my Sunday afternoon being shaken rather than stirred with everybody's favorite Brit Know-It-All. Actually, seeing as how Pierce is actually from Ireland, I wonder if it galls him at all (or any of his friends/family) that he has to play a British guy.

Finally... a great bond movie with Pierce as Bond. I don't know what they were thinking about when Golden Eye was made, but they seem to have found their direction once again. Halle Berry is a great Bond girl in this film (especially when she saunters up the beach in Cuba (!!)), but Rosmund Pike (Miranda Frost) is completely forgetable. It's not really the actresses fault though... the writers could have done more to make her noticable.

There's one thing I'm starting to notice from film to film though. Those Hollywood sound types should update their sound effect databanks once in awhile. On TV and movies, everytime a heavy metal door squeaks open or shut, the sound it makes is exactly the same.

Don't mind me. I'm just nit-picky like that.
Shrimp Dart Champion of 1975

I never realized how many sets of stairs there were to climb at Place Bonaventure. You become acutely aware of this when you need to haul a baby stroller up, down, and up again so that you can get to the Arts fair. Of course, the elevators weren't working when D and I got there (although they were working when we left). By the time we reached the end of this madcap escapade, D was in hysterics because every corner we turned, there was another set of stairs. They mocked us, those stairs did.

I've been to the last two Arts fairs at Place Bonaventure, and although there's lots of nice stuff there, there wasn't anything new. I got a few ideas for people, so I'll have to pop on by again this week.

I managed to triple book myself on Saturday, but uncharacteristically, the three events weren't all occuring at the same moment (I do this more than I care to admit). My gig at Loblaws was a mite disappointing. I was told there would be a crowd of kids for storytelling, but there was a grand total of two (one of which was too young to understand anything but the word "cookie"). No matter, I told a few stories anyways.

I don't often tell to children. It's a completely different style, much more interactive than with adults. The one little girl that was listening hung off every detail, her eyes expressing every emotion that she felt as the stories developped. At the end of each story, she would clap her hands and cry out "More!"

If that's not job satisfaction, I don't know what is.

Then in the evening, I was supposed to go to Maggie's party at 8, so D and I decided to grab a quick bite. Mental note: the Claremont on Sherbrooke is not a "quick bite". Although the food was delish, it did take two hours to get through. Oops.

Anyone will tell you that I can be unpredictable. This means I may impulsively break the rules of a romantic meal just for effect. D was expounding on some topic which was teasingly casting my character in a bad light. I polished off a piece of shrimp, held the tail aloft and said "I'm about to bounce this shrimp tail off your forehead." D leaned back, threw the napkin over her face for protection, and when she leaned forward again, the shrimp tail was airborne.

It arched gracefully through the air, bounced off the middle of her forehead, and landed in my plate again. The emotions that rampaged across D's face were a rabble of astonishment, betrayal, and incredulity. I tried to remain deadpan at my end, but the realization that I just threw a discarded crustation at my dinner companion tugged at the corners of my mouth until we were both doubled-over in laughter.

This incident will probably haunt me until the end of my days, but it was worth it. Not that I'm planning any lobster dinners anytime soon.

Saturday, December 14, 2002


This afternoon, I'll be doing one of my first official storytelling gig at the new Loblaws down on St. Jacques. Apparently, the Loblaws has a wee community centre attached to it and they do events with organizations in the community. Today, the Fraser-Hickson library is sponsoring a storytelling session for the kids at 1:30 pm. They will be showing up with their sleeping bags, will get some drinks and snacks, and settle down (hopefully) for a few stories.

I tried to find some French storytellers, but Christmas is a busy busy time and no one was available. I'm just starting to get to know the tellers in French circles, so I didn't have too many people to call upon. The session is supposed to last for 1.5 hours, which is really long for storytelling. I'll probably take a break after 45 minutes, maybe play a game, and then have the kids tell their own stories.

Wish me luck! This should be fun. Here's a list of the stories I'll be telling:

Koji the Selfish Boy (Cambodian)
The Month Men
The Selfish Giant (W. B. Yeats)
La Befana
King Zar and his Six Friends
Jack Cured the Doctor (Appalachain)
A Wise Little Girl (Russian)
How Maui Snared the Sun (Hawaiian)
The Ghost with One Black Eye
Lugae's Sun
Koji the Troublemaker
The Rusty Nail Soup
The Stonecutter

Do these stories sound familiar to anyone? I tried to pick stories that were appropriate for the season, but I also threw in some others that I know kids will like. Anyone have any favorite stories to share?

Friday, December 13, 2002

Thank the Gods for Artists

I'm off to the Arts and Crafts fair at Bonaventure with the illustrious D and the irrepressible S, looking for Christmas presents. Of course, I still haven't make my list (or checked it twice) but I'm hoping I'll just be inspired by some of the things I see.

Last year, I bought most of my gifts at this fair and they were all hits. The downside is that things tend to be a bit pricey, but at least they are unique.

Of course if I see anything for D, I'll have to sneak back into the place later on and get it. I'll be paying close attention to what she looks at, gapes and gasps at, and if she attempts to shoplift anything. Hey... if sweet innocent Winona can do it, anything's possible.

Ye Gods... I hope she doesn't have a thing for those big ticket items. It can be tough to impress when she's pointing at a Faberge egg and you surprise her with plastic dancing flower (batteries not included). No amount of red ribbon's gonna make that present sing quality.

News: I got an interview for a possible contract on Tuesday. Please think good money-making thoughts for me around 10h30. Mama needs a new pair of shoes...

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

The Holiday Rush

I've been picking up little gifts here and there for friends and family, but what I need to do is make a list. Of course, it doesn't help that the money is steadily depleting. Damn the Employment Insurance people for their infernal delays. I think this holiday season, it'll be alot of symbolic gifts. Little Yuletide IOUs and an apologetic smile.

Of course, it doesn't help that I never know what to get for my family. Having not lived with them for over 10 years, I've kinda lost track of what they're doing and what they'd like to have. I can't very well give my mum Body Shop bath oils and my dad aftershave lotion every frickin' year.

When I was a kid, I remember trying so hard to find something they would like, but without consulting my mum or dad. I wanted to show that I had insight into their character by getting them the perfect gift. This translated into a Dart Board (that eventually got hung in my closet (and it's still there), a set of rickety shelves that I cobbled together in my father's workshop, and a game of Scrabble (which I now own because a year later, I found it still sitting in its original shrink wrap).

Maybe the Yuletide season isn't about getting practical gifts at all. Could it be the gesture is more important? Yeah... even I know how much that sounds like a rationalization.

But I do so love giving gifts during this season, even more than I like receiving gifts. Yuletide is one of those times (other than birthdays and anniversaries) when you get to show certain people how much you appreciate their presence in your life. It makes it socially acceptable to be expressively nice under the guise of holiday spirit.

But just for the record, thanks to you, my dear readers, for taking a moment of your time to read the ramblings of an old man. May the best of the holiday season bless you and yours!

Monday, December 09, 2002

Weekend Roundup

Aside from the flames shooting out of my toaster oven on Saturday morning (and the resulting sulfuric barrage), this was a pretty good weekend.

On Friday, R and I went to see Stuart Maclean at the Salle Wilfred-Pelltier at Place des Arts. That hall is enormous and the attendance must've been around 1500. Imagine. Thousands of people who listen to the CBC and paid a pricey (but worth it) fee to see a storyteller. It warms my heart.

This is the second time I see Stuart Maclean in concert, the first being at Theatre Quatre Sous earlier this year with Arin, Ron, and Ceri. My thoughts of that show were lukewarm, mainly due to Maclean's choice of musical guests. Maclean himself was excellent as usual.

But in this show, he went with a more jazzy quartet of musical talent, which was not only wonderful to listen to on its own, but it also enhanced Maclean's own storytelling. The theme of the evening was Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe and the stories were all newish (at least, I had never heard them before). I was only semi-disappointed: I was looking forward to hearing the story about when Dave cooked the Turkey).

If you were at that show (and I know Stephen, Dina, Arin, and Ron were there), you may have spotted me. I was sitting in the third row from the stage on Stage Right. There were two moments you may have recognized me:

  • When Stuart took off his jacket, I let out a "whoop". He looked over to me and said "You're not fooling anybody."
  • At the end of the show, I believe I was the first person to lead a standing ovation. Stuart turned to me and gave me a slight bow, which I returned. 'Twas well-deserved, I assure you.

On Saturday night, I had Eric over for an evening of chat, tea, and Chicken Run. It's always nice having friends over.

And then on Sunday, I met up with D for an evening of French storytelling at Le Sergeant Recruiteur with featured teller Eric Gauthier. Eric was in fine form that night and I was pleased to rehear the Le Roi de la Patate story. Eric has given me permission to translate that story (as long as I give him credit), so it was good to hear it again.

We then braved the cold to head out to Hurley's to catch Gary, Tim, and Jim, who as usual, did not disappoint. I'm still trying to figure out what D meant when she said "Patience is a Virgin". It might shed some light if I provided some context for that statement, but for the life of me, I can't remember what that was.

All in all, a fantastic weekend. Great fun, great people. How was yours?

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Cough Cough

The yellow gunk is sulfur. It's gotten into everything, in every nook and cranny. And the walls right under the dish cabinet are brown and blackened. I'm glad I grabbed the fire extinguisher instead of my digital camera, but for a second there, I hesitated. Drat.

I haven't inhaled this much sulfur since my days at a high school science fair. *hack*hack*
I didn't know bread was considered flammable

Well... this is weird start to the day. I was making breakfast this morning and put two pieces of bread in the toaster. I don't usually eat bread, but I broke down yesterday and decided on a treat.

My toaster can be a bit wonky. The toast either comes out just warm or burnt. I was in another room when I heard an odd sound from the kitchen. At first, I thought it was Newton who was getting into something he shouldn't be. You can imagine my surprise when I saw flames shooting out of the toaster oven.

In hindsight, I guess I could've just taken a fork and dumped the flaming toasts into the sink, but without thinking, I reached for the fire extinguisher and gave the toaster oven a quick blast. The flames died instantly in a yellowy puff of smoke. Now I gots me some cleaning to do 'cause a corner of my kitchen is covered in yellow gunk. Ick.

In other news, I went to see the Stuart Maclean Vinyl Cafe Christmas show last night (third row from the stage!), but I'll tell you more about that later. Quick review: much better than the last show he gave in Montreal. More on that later.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

The Nutcracker

I was watching the tube the other day and saw an ad for the return of the Nutcracker at Place des Arts. Just this ad brought back a rush of memories, which is surprising when you consider that I never saw the Nutcracker live on stage before. Of course, I know the story and I've seen the animated versions of the classic tale, but I had never seen it performed live.

Not that I didn't have my chance to see it. When Nancy and I were dating (about four years back now), she adored the Nutcracker. She made a point of seeing it every Christmas. But in the three years we dated, I never once went to see it with her.

As I look back on it now, I don't understand why I refused to see such a classic being performed. I can't really remember my reasoning behind not sharing this thing of beauty with the woman I loved. I guess I was just being a stubborn jerk, which was unfortunately the case in those days. Oh... I can still be a stubborn jerk nowadays, but the difference is that I'm actually trying not to be.

There was also Grease: The Movie which I refused to see with Nancy: another victim to my rampaging stubborn jerkness. So many mistakes, so many regrets.

All this nostalgia is probably due to the fact that I finally heard from Nancy after almost 1.5 years of silence. She's married to a wonderful man (or so I've heard from her and others) in the states, they've bought a farm house (*drool*), and she's living a fine life. I truly am happy for her.

Maybe I'll go see the Nutcracker performed on stage this year. Maybe I should because it's a classic. Maybe I should because it would help me make up for lost time.

And maybe I'll learn something about a person I once loved and lost.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Taras will hate me for this

Which Sesame Street Muppet's Dark Secret Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Grover on Ecstasy You're funny, you're loveable, you're entertaining, you like to call yourself "Super Grover!"--You're obviously on ecstasy. But that's why we love you. Be careful, ok?

Thanks to Bevie who turns out to be "Bert & Ernie's Gay Love Affair" (as I always suspected).

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Monster-mashed metaphors

I hereby dedicate this posting to all those brave folks who got through the NaNoWriMo competition last November. Please tell me you didn't write anything like this:

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

McMurphy fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a paper bag filled with vegetable soup.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the centre.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6:36 p.m. travelling at 55 mph, the other from Peterborough at 4:19p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

The red brick wall was the colour of a brick-red crayon.

Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for while.

"Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a student on a 31p-a-pint night.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cashpoint.

The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.

It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a dustcart reversing.

She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermalpaper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
Thanks to Carlene who thought I would be amused by this list.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Weekend Roundup

In hindsight, being a judge in the STC Tech Pubs competition wasn't so bad after all. We met with all the other judges on Saturday and reviewed the publications we had all be analyzing over the last couple of weeks. It made for interesting discussions about what we each thought was effective or distracting.

Besides, spending time with other technical writers is just fun. We tend to be a colorful bunch.

On Saturday night, C and I tried to watch a film, but a day of judging tech pubs had just worn us out. Ironically, even though I was teasing C about the dangers of falling asleep during the movie, I was actually dozing in and out. Oops.

On Sunday, I met up with E and friends at Chez Cora for brunch. After combing the length of Cote des Neiges in the bitter, bitter cold, D and I finally found the place. We sat near the window at the front of the resataurant which seemed to be experiencing some kind of Drop-Zone effect.

People seeme to be constantly dropping things all around us. Pens, coloring markers, change... they all ended up on the floor near our table. But the topper was when our waitress brought me the fruit cocktail drink that I had ordered. If you've never seen one of these, the cocktail is about eleventeen fruits all puréed together in a tall glass with a straw. When the waitress got about 6 inches from my table, she lost her balance and the drink went flying off the tray.

It's interesting how time slows down during impending doom. We all saw the tray dip, the glass sway from side to side, and we each felt like we had all the time in the world to reach out with a drawn-out "Nooooooooooooooooo". But we didn't move and the glass went tumbling downwards, spreading puréed fruity goodness all over the table, the chair, and D's coat. Amelie, our waitress was highly apologetic.

That afternoon, E and I watched the extended version of the LOR DVD on her surround sound system. Neat! Now the movie is over three hours long, but the extended and extra footage makes for an even better film. Yay! When I saw the movie in the theatre, I nodded off during the river scene (right after they get their elven gifts). During the DVD viewing, I started to feel sleepy at about the same moment. Interesting or not, three hours is a loooooonnng time to watch anything.

And then last night, I headed out to le Sergeant Recruiteur for an evening of French storytelling. The storyteller's were doing a tribute to my friend Mike Burns, an Irish teller who tells in both English and French. It was interesting to see how the tellers made Mike's stories their own (as I said to Eric, "tu l'as completment Gauthierisé, son histoire!").

And then we were treated to an hour of Mike telling his Irish stories in Quebecois French. He's got a bizarre Franco-Irish accent, but he's still as spell binding telling in French as he is telling in English.

I was also honoured by Denis Gadoury when he asked me if he could tell a story that he heard me tell last year. Now I didn't write "Ti-Fleur and the Magic Fiddler" (it's on my CD), so Denis didn't need my copyright permission to retell the story. He just felt it was more respectful to ask me since I was the teller he heard it from.

It sure is nice to be treated as a respected teller by others whom I respect and admire for their talent.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Lord of the Ringa-ding-dings

My special-extended-extra-super-duper DVD version of the LOR package arrived in the mail today. Muuuussstt. Reeessiisstt. I got some STC judging to finish for tomorrow... Must. not. check. out. special. features!

As usual, Lightspeedchick sums up my life with this little toon from Dork Tower. When I was deeper into the comic book scene (and had more disposable income), I was like this.

Hells Bells... I'm still like that. I just don't have as much money anymore.
The Storm Before the Calm

First off: thanks to everyone who has contacted me in the past couple of weeks after reading the blog (especially you Nancy. What a surprise!). True... things haven't been going great lately, but I think the Gods are just tearing everything away so that I'll be ready for a new transformation in the new year. I hope this new transformation involves a sexy car of some kind...

*ZOT!* Okay! Okay! Just kidding!

My bud AJE gave a kickass presentation on marketing yourself on Tuesday, so I've been spending the last three days working on that. I've got a new professional site designed and I'll be reserving a domain name and getting a webhoster. I've been rethinking the design of my CV and cover letter. And I've been planning a new strategy for getting contract work.

Yep... after 3 years of full-time work, I've decided to give the contracting biz another try. Previously, I had been a freelancer for four years (which I gave up to work at Toon Boom). I don't know if there are any contracts out there, but with all the people getting laid off, there's got to be work left lying around for contractors to pick up (I hope).

It's always been a secret dream of mine to own my own Publishing House. I would have a staff made up of some very cool technical writers/editors who would be working on various contracts (and supporting each other with editing). We'd have a house in NDG (near Monkland or Sherbrooke) where we could receive clients and where all the writers could work (and of course, all the computers would be wired together for some kickass online gaming at night!).

In addition to writing documentation for clients, our writing staff would spend 1/4 of their billed time writing their own books, which we would then publish.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Slaving away

I've been working on a satirical piece on the Racial Profiling going on at the Canadian border by our Scaredy-Cat buddies to the south. I keep Posting it (not Publishing), Publishing something else in the meantime, and then re-pasting it back into blogger. I've taken it completely offline until I'm satisfied with it.

I'm suffering from NaNoWriMo envy nowadays... Oh sure, I know I could've signed up for it. I had plenty of people trying to encourage me in that vein. But I knew I wouldn't stick to it and besides, being out of work, I didn't want to get too distracted by other things.

But as I read the blogs of folks involved in NaNoWriMo, I can't help but feel some writer's envy. These people are living the Great Canadian Novel. They have set themselves a goal, finding the time, and getting a book out of it.

I have always maintained that the most difficult thing about writing a book isn't the writing, but the finishing of what you started. For every 10 published books, I'm sure there are millions of unfinished manuscripts garnished with coffee cup rings and various crinkles and wrinkles from being stuffed until piles of other responsibilities and distractions of the day.

My hat's off to you. Congratulations on beating the curve and actually finishing what you started almost 30 days ago. You have achieved a Writer's Milestone. And I envy you.

Friday, November 22, 2002


Moons of Mars... I haven't gotten that drunk in quite a while. That's what happens when you go to a Domaine party where the beer is free all night. And someone took a picture of me doing my best (dubious) imitation of Tom Jones complete with hat, microphone, and adoring fans.

That one's going to haunt me. Yikes.

Still.... It was fun.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Finally... some good news!

It's official and semi-official: I'm going to be in the Toronto Storytelling Festival in February.

I applied for the festival this summer, sending them one of my CDs and I waited to hear back from the selection committee. I received a letter from them in October saying that, while I had not been selected to perform in the festival, I was selected as a Reserve Teller. That means that if any teller backs out of the festival, I'll be selected to replace him/her. Not bad, really.

At the same time, I've been selected by our local Guild of Storytellers to be part of a group of four tellers who will do a 45 minute performance in the festival. So I'll definitely be telling one story with the other tellers and I might be doing a show by myself if I get picked as a Reserve Teller.

Toast: find us a good pub in February and we'll have some pints!

Tuesday, November 19, 2002


As you might have constituted from the sporadic blog posts, I've been going through a bit of a bad patch lately. Work has dried up. Sympatico's been a pain. And now the heaters in my pad aren't working that well. Brrr... it's cold!

But now I just got off the phone with an old friend (who I haven't heard from in awhile) and she has just told me to fuck off (I'm paraphrasing). This is not boding well.

While recovering from the shock of this sudden event, I'm thinking that I've managed to piss off quite a few people this year. Two former friends are so angry, they don't ever want to hear from me again. What was once a close friendship has now cooled to a more casual acquaintance. A romantic tie has cooled to a friendship.

Over the space of a lifetime, you'll have lots of friends who come and go. Sometimes you screw up. Sometimes the other one screws up. Sometimes no one is responsible. It's normal.

But I've been having most of these clashes over a more intense period of time (like in the past four months). I'm not sure what destructive pattern I've been following that has brought all these things on, but it's got to stop. I can't take it. I'm starting to be so afraid to do anything for fear of destroying something else. It's no way to live, but I'm not sure how to make it right.
Missing Graphics

The reason why there are all these holes in my blog is related to my having to retire the jdhickey email addy at Sympatico. In renaming that email addy, it also renamed my main website. Drat. Consequently, all the links to the graphics are broken. Drat.

I'm trying to fix this with Sympatico. I'm currently on hold. La-de-dah.

My life is not really centered around my dealings with spammer and Sympatico. It just seems that way. I'm really a well-rounded individual.

No... I don't mean well-rounded in a fat kind of way. Drat. Still on hold. La-de-dah.

I'll come up with something better soon. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

The end of the jdhickey era at Sympatico

After getting over 3000 Undeliverable Mail emails (in the past 3 days) from the lastest spam trick to plague my Inbox, I have decided to retire the jdhickey@sympatico.ca address. I was going to wait until the end of the month to do this, but the sheer magnitude of incoming emails has made me change my mind.

But I gotta wonder... If I'm getting over 3000 Undeliverables in 3 days, how many of these emails actually made it to people and how many people actually responded to this despicable spam?

Doesn't sound like a marketing strategy that produces much potential profit to me... If anything now, even if I were to get a Spam message for a product that would interest me, I would'nt give them my business because they spammed me in the first place.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

The New Improved Spam

It looks like I'll have to abandon or rename my Sympatico email addy. It looks like my Sympatico addy has been distributed to some kind of spam list and I'm getting spammed something awful.

So what's new about that, you say? We all suffer from somekind of spam filling our Inboxes, right? Sure... I get my own bits of spam and through filters, I get to avoid most of it.

But what's new about this kind of spam is that the spammers are using my Sympatico address in the From field and all the messages that bounce back and appearing in my Inbox.

So far, I've gotten over 500 bounced messages from all over the world. When I look at these emails, my Sympatico address is in the From field, so it looks like I'm the one sending these messages.

At first, I though maybe a virus had worked its way into my system and was sending messages out using Outlook. However, I don't recognized the address that are bouncing back, so they're not from my address book. I checked my Sent folder (both on my system and on the Sympatico email server) and nothing unusual is being sent out from there.

So I guess some slimeballs are just using my email address to front their Spam operations. This means then that I'll have to change my main Sympatico address to something else. Drat. This is the address I used on all my business and official business. Drat!

And of course, how long will I be able to use this address before the Spammers find it and use it all over again? I don't suppose we could convince Dubya that Spammers are linked Al-Queda, could we?

Monday, November 11, 2002

A moment of silence

In rememberance for today, the 11th month, the 11th day, on the 11th hour.

Sleep well, our fallen heroes. Our prayers, thoughts, and thanks are with you.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

That's what you get for being lazy

I spend yesterday afternoon being all cultural and reading Shakesheare's The Tempest with a few other friends. At the end of it, I had no idea what was going on in that story.

I had told a couple of friends that I saw at Hurley's pub the night before that I would be showing up at Hurely's again on Saturday night. But since I had gotten back home from the Shakespeare reading at 10:45 pm, I figured I wouldn't get to Hurley's until almost midnight. I was tired anyways, so I headed off to bed.

Stupid, stupid move.

My friend Erick emails me this morning and tells me that the members of Great Big Sea, who were playing the Spectrum that night, showed up to Hurley's after the concert and played a set with the local band (Solstice: Pat and Jonathan).

*much cursing and foul language ensues*

That's what you get for not hauling your lazy butt out to the pub where it belongs on a Saturday night.

Friday, November 08, 2002


Something's happened to my template today, but it looked fine last night. I hope that it's blogger having a bad day and this is only temporary.

I hope.

Update: Okay... something got corrupted in my template which screwed everything up. Although I liked BlogBack, the code for it disappeared from the template. Let this be a lesson to all of you to backup your templates!

Drat... So now I've gone with Haloscan for my commenting system. Feel free to re-enter all the comments that were lost in the fix-up!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

No Show

Sorry about missing the Yulblog meeting last night. I was co-leading a Samhain ritual with some friends and it ended later than I thought it would.
Not only that, but I was exhausted when it was done.

I was chatting with the King of Canada (although he was strangely broody) about mental/emotional states during ritual and found that we have opposite reactions to it.

If you were to put me in front of a crowd and told me to entertain them (maybe in a theatrical play sort of way), I would be fine with. But if you ask me to lead a ritual or be responsible for the running of it in someway, I tend to go completely blank and I cannot focus on what I'm doing. The King, on the other hand, feels completely relaxed in ritual while if placed on stage, he believes he would get stagefright.

I had been practicing what I would say and do all day yesterday, so I was able to do my bit in the ritual fine, but it's a struggle that I don't experience in my theatrical forms of self-expression.

I'm not sure why this is, but it may be because I'm in a sacred space and I feel like what I say and do are more powerful and might have less leeway for adlibbing than a play does.

Maybe I'm just afraid of getting divinely zotted by doing something incorrectly. I probably just watch too much Buffy/Angel.
But seriously, I know I won't be zotted by the Divine just because I keep knocking over the candle in the North quarter (which I kept doing last night with alarming consistency). It's intention that matters, not the precision of the performance.

I don't know what it is about sacred space that has turned me into such a perfectionist.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Long Live Adoring Fans

(due to popular complaint, the boobies on this page have been reduced to a link)

When I started the Pooh Logs ever so long ago, I'll admit I hoped that I would amass a plethora of fans and readers (and I have, thanks!).

But little did I realize that this new-found fame would translate into a showering of gifts coming in from far and away. At first it started small. A trinket. A ring. A rubbery man astride an equally rubbery horse. A kind word whispered upon the wind.

But who knew that one day I would receive such a gift from an adoring fan that remains, frustratingly, anonymous? How cruel you fates are! How cruel!

Still... there's something to be said for such a trophy. Go me!

(thanks to theseboobiesaretoast for supplying me with the paper and pen)

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Ottawa Sojourn

My Ottawa sojourn soon draws to a close as the 14th Annual Storytelling Festival draws its last breath. I saw some fantastic storytelling yesterday at the National Library of Canada, topping it all off with a grandiose storytelling concert at St. Andrew's Church. This concert was taped by the CBC, but I'm not sure when they are going to air it (I'll find out today).

I had a great conversation with Kevin MacKenzie, a storyteller from Alberta. He gave a workshop on telling stories to pre-schoolers that explained many techniques and theories behind child development and how they relate to storytelling. Kevin travels all over the country telling stories and giving workshops. Although the money is tight, it sounds like a fantastic way to live.

So today, I'll be attending the story sessions entitled: Lake Nipissing's Ghosts, Through the Unknown, Remembered Gate, and it's a toss-up between Celtic Shadows and Between Fact and Fiction. Although, I'll have to sneak out early from the 4 to 5 pm show to make sure I get to my train on time.

I've managed to drop-off a few of my CDs and I have made an unofficial application for next year's Ottawa Festival. It's been a fantastic three days (thanks to Kerri who acted as tour guide on Friday!) and it's given me plenty of wisdom encouragement as I develop my skills as a storyteller.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Me am so dumb

All my plans are set and I'm going to Ottawa tonight to tell tales of boo and fright.

Except now I've just found out that the storytelling night that I thought was tonight is ACTUALLY next Thursday. So I'm going down to Ottawa a day early for nothing.

Drat. I'm such a idiot.

In the meantime, enjoy your Halloween/Samhain festivities tonight! Take a moment to remember the loved ones who have passed on, give thanks to the loved ones you still have with you, and kiss a witch if you can!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Spooky Stories

Halloween is nearly upon us, so in the spirit of the holiday, I invite you to take a listen to some spooky tales at The Moonlit Road. For those of you who have heard me tell the story of The White Dress, this is the site where I found that story.

Every month or so, there's a new tale on the website. You can either read the tale on the website or you can listen to it being told (via RealPlayer). The site specialized in scary stories from the southern United States, so you can guarantee a shiver or two!

In other news, the Dracula show that I worked on (and that the Midnight Players will be performing live on TV) will be airing tomorrow night at 8 pm. If you live in the Kingston/Toronto area and can get channel 13 (Cogeco Community channel), take a gander at it!

I'll be spending this Halloween in Ottawa telling frightful tales (probably The Dead Don't Pay). Hopefully I'll impress a few people and be invited to tell tales in next year's festival in Ottawa. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 28, 2002

Fair Exchange

I've recently realized that in all of my friendships, I'm very much into meeting at the half-way mark.

There was a time when I would be bending over backwards to do stuff that would allow me to befriend someone, but those were more desparate days. Now in my curmudgeon days, I'm not willing to do all the work to make a friendship function. I'm only willing to meet half-way. I'll put in my two cents if you'll put in your two cents. I know this sounds like I'm keeping a detailed score, but I'm not. It doesn't even have to be an equal exchange. Sometimes, it's just the thought that matters.

I had to take this stance at one point several years because I suddenly realized that some of my "friends" were taking abusive advantage of my good and generous nature. The hard truth came to me through an off-hand remark an aquaintance had made in a discussion about possible Halloween costumes. I was saying that I wanted to find a costume that suited my personality, at which point he turned to me and said with a smirk "Why don't you go as a puppet?"

The weight of that statement came crashing down upon me, making me realize that I had let these people yank me around in the name of friendship and that for all I had done for them, I received very little back in return. It was at that point that I started taking note of who deserved my time and attention.

If someone does something for me, then I do my best to return the favour. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'll sit back and wait for other people to make the first move. If I can help you out, then I will and without hesitation. But I do so with the expectation that I will have this good deed returned to me in some reasonable form in a reasonable amount of time.

Sometimes a simply heartfelt Thank You is enough. Sometimes it's a helping hand when I ask for it. Sometimes it's a helping hand when I didn't ask for it. But if I keep pouring energy into someone and I don't get anything back from it, then it's promptly shut off and I wait for some of that energy to be returned. If it never comes back, so be it. The energy I put into it was needed at the time and probably wasn't wasted, but I can only put out so much before I need to be refueled myself.

This system has allowed me to filter out the True Friends from the Casual Friends and the Mooches. Of course with any filtering system, there's a downside. Sometimes I can be a bit paranoid about being taken advantage of, which makes me appear as insecure (Hell Bells... that might be the definition of insecurity!). This is problem that I'm always trying to stay objective about ("There isn't a conspiracy around every corner, Mulder") and for the most part, I keep a handle on it.

But for people who have proven themselves to be True Friends, I will still bend over backwards to help in any way they need me because I know they will be there when I need them.

And they have. And they are. And they will. And for them, I will more than cross the half-way mark because they were willing to meet me half-way. No regrets. No looking back.

P.S.: This post is not borne of a recent event. I've been tossing the explanation of this concept for a few months now. I thought I'd give it a stab at it today. Please don't feel like I'm directing this to anyone in particular.
Oogly Boogly

We celebrated Halloween a week early this year at T and A's Annual Costumed Bash. E very graciously agreed to play Morticia to my Gomez, and quite frankly, she carried it off better than I did. You go girl!

Being a largely theatrical and dramatic crowd of people, the costumes were imaginative and carefully prepared. E was impressed by the quality of the costumes. It was obvious that people spent time and effort putting these costumes together. It was more than just cutting two holes in an old bedsheet. These people actually designed their costumes.

Check out the pictures I took and the pictures that Scott took and you'll see what I mean. Ceri also recorded a hilarious conversation that supposedly took place between these two characters.

This is going to be a big storytelling week for me. I told stories at the MPRC Samhain fair on Saturday, I'll be telling again at the CUPS Fair today, then again on Wednesday at the Frasier-Hickson Library, and finally in Ottawa for their storytelling festival.

And this is my last week at Softimage with no hope of re-extension of my contract. I'll miss the people, the technology, having my own office, and the free ice tea.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Bill's up to something

Last night, I was meeting E down at the Old Dublin for a pint and I couldn't help but notice a gigantic cocoon hanging in the parking lot. I looked around for Brian Denehey, but he was nowhere to be found.

Then this morning, it became a bit clearer. Up the street from Softimage I saw a giant butterfly hanging in a parking lot. I whispered, "It's Bill. He's up to something."

Anybody know what's going on? What's Billzebub Gatecifur up to in our fair city? I keep expecting to see the Blue Screen of Death popping up in the windows of the surrounding buildings, but to no avail.

It's only a matter of time though, right?

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Memory Drift

Autumn (the season, not the person (although she's cool too)) is by far my favorite season. The chill in the air, the colours, the crackles and crunches from falling leaves, and the crisp scent transition between summer and winter fills my senses.

This is when I become entranced with memories. Friends, family, lovers, mistakes, regrets, accomplishments... the memories of these snatches of time drift into my soul's eye in yellows, oranges, and reds. Sometimes they fill me with love and wonder. Sometimes I laugh at the craziness of them. Sometimes they can be difficult to relive.

But they are always colourful. Hand me that rake.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Beer, Blood, and Blah

Oooff.. I'm tired this morning.

On Saturday night, I met up with my childhood friend Lynn down at Hurley's Irish Pub. Solstice was playing, which guarenteed good foot stomping music. Lynn and I have basically known each other since Grade One, waaaaayyy back when we were just tykes at St. Vincent's Elementary School in Ste. Foy.

Lynn and I were never really close friends, but I liked her and she liked me (at least, as much as our Schoolastic Social Hierarchy would allow). She now lives in the West Island, but will soon realize her Haligonian aspirations sometime in the next year when she gets transferred out to Halifax. Oooooh... I'm envious! But at least that means I'll know one person out that way when I finally decide to move out that way.

Two pics from that night: The one Lynn begged me to delete (heh) and a pic of Lynn and myself.

Getting home at 3 am makes for a very bleary-eyed Dave who had to be ready at 9 am to speed off to Kingston with Arin, Ron (aka The King of Canada), and Taras. When we arrived in Kingston at 12:30 pm, we headed straight to the COGECO TV station to meet up with Anthony Mann (the founder of the Midnight Players). After a brief production meeting with the crew, we started to rehearse on the TV stage. You can click here to see the pictures from that.

Unfortunately, I'm not in any of these pics 'cause I was taking them. When we got around to my taping session, we forgot to take a pic of me. Drat.

We started with the reading of the play manuscript infront of the cameras, and when that was rehearsed a few times, we moved into a creepy part of the basement.

My contribution to this production was as Prof. Maximillian Shrek, a folklorist fully-versed on the history of Vlad the Impaler, the real-life persona behnd the Dracula legend. I was dressed in a thick gray sweater (the horse-blanket, as I like to call it) and I let my beard get a bit scruffy for a more realistic look. With a few well-placed lights, I began to tell my story of the history of Vlad III Dracula. I got too see the recording afterwards in the editing room. It came out better than I expected, if I do say so myself.

Looking back on it, I wish I could've been a bit more relaxed about the recording. I've never performed in front of a camera before. Having this cycloptic doo-hickey recording your every move can really be intimidating when you're not used to it. There was some unexpected noises coming from upstairs which threw me off, but I wish I had had the presence of mind to just incorporate them into the performance (by looking startled momentarily and then continuing cautiously, as if I were revealing secret information).

Oh well... hopefully I'll get plenty more chances in front of the camera to redeem myself. In the meantime, the taped and live portions of this show will be aired on October 31st on the COGECO station (channel 13 in the Kingston-Toronto area).

Very exciting stuff.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

I'm going to be on TV, blah

This weekend, I'll be going to Kingston to shoot a staged interview for a TV special to be aired on the 31st of October. The plotline is that some lost Bram Stoker manuscripts were unearthed recently that revealed the true nature of his famed Dracula (otherwise known as Vlad III The Impaler).

Taras and Arin will be reading the newly revised play live on a TV set (in full period costumes on a set of some kind) on the 31st, but before this live performance takes place, there will be two "experts" who will talk about the history behind Prince Vlad of the House of Basarab. I'll be playing one of those experts.

This show is being produced by a TV station in Kingston and broadcast in a viewing area that reaches somewhere between Kingston and Toronto (a 75000 person viewership, I think). When this is all done, the whole TV special will be available on video and DVD, in case you're interested. Wow... my own DVD! Should I start building my display case for those little bald gold statues now?

So I'm learning all I can about our old pal Vlad and the notorious goings-on in Wallachia. While facinating, it's pretty gruesome stuff. Vlad was one sick puppy.

Still, some of the folklore is pretty interesting. Apparently Veracity Vlad valued honesty above all else and was particularly brutal with dishonest people. Here are two stories I found interesting from the Book of Vlad:

    The Golden Cup

    Dracula was known throughout his land for his fierce insistence on honesty and order. Thieves seldom dared practice their trade within Dracula's domain – they knew that the stake awaited any who were caught.

    Dracula was so confident in the effectiveness of his law that he placed a golden cup on display in the central square of Tirgoviste. The cup was never stolen and rermained entirely unmolested throughout Dracula's reign.

    The Foreign Merchant

    A merchant from a foreign land once visited Dracula's capital of Tirgoviste. Aware of the reputation of Dracula's land for honesty, he left a treasure-laden cart unguarded in the street over night. Returning to his wagaon in the morning, the merchant was shocked to find 160 golden ducats missing. When the merchant complained of his loss to the prince, Dracula assured him that his money would be returned and invited him to remain in the palace that night.

    Dracula then issued a proclamation to the city – find the thief and return the money or the city will be destroyed. During the night he ordered that 160 ducats plus one extra be taken from his own treasury and placed in the merchant's cart.

    On returning to his cart in the morning and counting his money the merchant discovered the extra ducat. The merchant returned to Dracula and reported that his money had indeed been returned plus an extra ducat. Meanwhile the thief had been captured and turned over to the prince's guards along with the stolen money.

    Dracula ordered the thief impaled and informed the merchant that if he had not reported the extra ducat he would have been impaled alongside the thief.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


I was chatting with a friend of mine about this burning desire aspiring writers have to be published. My friend insisted that getting published would validate his writing; it would validate him and his talent as a writer.

Maybe it's because I've spent over nine years in the professional writing business and I already know the thrill of seeing your work printed and bound. Don't get me wrong: it's a rush to hold the finished copy in your hands.

But the difference between being a professional writer and being a creative writer is, sadly, the money (and how regularly you get the paid). I was paid while I was writing the books I produced (and paid fairly well). Despite what you might have heard, even in technical writing, there's a fair amount of creativity that you need to employ to write a good User's Guide.

There a big difference between getting published and receiving acclaim for your publications. There are millions of published books out there, but only a handful of them get noticed by anyone with a critical eye. And often, when the publications do get some acclaim, it has more to do with politics than talent.

It gives that validation a bit of a hollow ring, doesn't it?

But even if you get published and acclaimed, you're still defining the quality of your work based on other people's opinions. If you don't believe in the quality of your own writing, then no amount of publishing, acclaim, or nice words will make you feel any more validated.

You have to believe that your work is good enough to be published. It's not in the act of publishing that your work will suddenly be good or that you will feel any more validated about your own self-worth (this is more of a warning than a prediction).

Once you believe this in some measure, the act of creating (whatever form that creation might take) will suddenly bring more satisfaction than the possibility of distribution to the masses. After that, if you actually do get published (and even noticed), this will add to your confidence rather than replace it, giving you the strength and motivation to continue.

Now go and create something beautiful. Not because someone else might think it's pretty, but because you know it's wonderous and needs to be expressed.

"Believe half of what your read, none of what you hear, and everything you write." -- Unknown

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Foggy brain

I went to celebrate Tarasmas on Sunday night (Taras' birthday). It was a small party, but the people were fun. And to those who couldn't make it, we know who you are because you were missed.

There was something I was supposed to blog about (something to do with the lovely lady carressing Marc's cranium and a floppy rubber penis being waved about), but between the Scotch, beer, and Amanda nibbling on my neck, I can't remember what it was I was threatening to write about.

And damn me for not bringing my digicam. Drat!
Turkey Thanksgiving

After a phone call to my parents on Monday, I got all nostalgic (especially considering that I wasn't going to be seeing them this Yule).

I decided to blow off the work I was supposed to do and have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I invited a couple of friends over and I served up the following:
  • garden salad (with raisins and harvarti cheese, sprinkled with a homemade balsamic vinegrette)
  • marinated turkey thighs
  • veggies/mashed potatoes
  • some bread and brie/blue cheese with Porto
  • blueberry pie
This is a bit of a problem though. For friends, I'll spend the whole day cooking. But for myself, it's whatever takes the least amount of time (and therefore is the worst thing for me).

When I get my own house, I'm going to make sure it has a decent-sized kitchen. I have barely enough counterspace without having to juggle pots and pans constantly.

And a dishwasher. Definitely need a dishwasher. It's going to take me hours to get through the mess I left behind. Argh.

Still... it was delish and fun. I felt like I was having a Blork moment!

Sunday, October 13, 2002

The List of Corruption

I have added another name to my list of Evil Undead Blogger Army: Kerri. I think she'll be using her blog to publish some of her poetry.

Other blogs I would like to take some responsibility (even if it's passive) are as follows:
Of course, I got my inspiration from Bill. She's my Blog Mummy.
Weekend Reviews

I went to see two performances this weekend: King Lear (a la Godfather) and Spirited Away (the new Miyazaki film).

On Saturday night, the gang emailed me and said they were heading out to the Centaur to see Purple 9's interpretation of King Lear. The theme that made this production unique was that there characters were placed in New York in the 1940's and instead of being King, Lear is the head of the mafia (Don Lear).
    Taken from the Fringe Festival program:
    Purple 9 Productions (Fringe 2002)

    Don Lear, the greatest Godfather the mob has ever known, is tired of his job and hands the reins of power to his daughters.

The production was interesting. The writer stayed fairly true to the original work, peppering it with mobisms from the time ("whacking", "sleep wit da fishes", and "Whatsa matter?"). The acting was strong and passionate, but slightly uneven across the cast. The performances of Pontes (Lear), McCullough (Kent), McMahon (Gloucester), Courtemanche (Edgar), and George (Edmund) were powerful and believable, widening the gap between them and their fellow actors.

My only suggestion would be to slow down a bit with the lines. With the exception of McCullough and George, I found the other actors rushed through their lines. Unless you were intimately familiar with King Lear, you would not be able to follow the story fully. Maybe if I was sitting closer to the stage so there would be less echo, I would've been able to hear better. But I doubt it.

I would recommend that you go catch this performance though! It's playing at the Centaur this week only, so don't delay. For $15, you can't go wrong.

The other presentation I took in was Spirited Away, the new animated film from Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoké).

I was a bit disappointed with this film: there wasn't anything really outstanding about the animation and the story, while interesting and challenging, had its weaker points. I realize that I might not be able to appreciate all the symbolism in this film since I don't watch alot of Animé, but there were many loose ends that didn't seem to have much to do with the plotline. Still... the characters in this film are strong and bizarre,

I'd say this film would be a renter. If I had the choice between seeing this film and Princess Mononoké again on the big screen, Princess Mononoké would win hands-down (and I already own it on DVD!). PM is a tighter story and the animation is cleaner and more advanced. What I love about PM is that there are no clearly defined villains or heroes (except for Ashitaka). It's a finely crafted story.

Aside from that, this is my last week of work at Softimage. Hopefully, another contract will turn up soon to keep me out of the poor house (damn my addiction to Fabrege Eggs!).

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Loverboy had it wrong

Everybody may have been working FOR the weekend, but I'm working ON the weekends. And it sucks ass. Big time.

Sheesh... the things I do for money.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Hanging on

I've been in a few relationships in my life. Some were good, ran their course, and then just fizzled out. Some were intense at the beginning and then burnt-out quickly when we realized we just weren't right for each other. A few ended in explosions with mucho high and mighty thunder and lightning.

But for a few weeks (or months, or years) after they end, I spend time in quiet reflection. I look at the relationship and try to figure out what went wrong. Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometimes it's a mystery, sometimes there just no explanation. I try to learn from my mistakes (and I've made a few doozies) and then I move on.

But I do not harbour any anger or hate for these people just because the relationshp is over. What's the point of that? We tried to build something and it didn't work out. If it ended badly, why hang onto to the grief and pain that drove us apart in the first place? It's useless and just weighs you down.

I don't mean that the transgressions should be automatically forgiven right off the bat... But harbouring a deep-rooted mad-on for the person just can't be healthy.

Then again, I've never been in a relationship where the girl destroyed my car, killed my cat, or put her cigarettes out on my body. That's a whole other ball of wax that I'm not referring to.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Pre-Date Once Over

Now that I'm dating again, I am going to make this website a pre-requisite for any girl to visit before meeting me for coffee/pints/movie/dancing/smooches. I need them to be in the right psychological frame of mind.

So long before you become the next ex-Ms. Poohbah, make sure you take the Pre-Date Confidence Builder.

Believe me honey... we'll all be happier in the end. I'm only doing this because I care so deeply.

(it worked for Martine, it'll work for you!)

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

New Pics

I've added a set of new pics to my Artistic section on Pbase. Once I clear some space off my credit card, I really need to make a donation to Pbase. It's a great site to put pics on.

I was surprised and pleased to find out that Autumnlikes my photos. What a compliment!

Monday, October 07, 2002

Is that Christmas Turkey I Smell?

And speaking of fantastic storytellers: Stuart Maclean is coming to Montreal. On December 6th. At Place Des Arts. The show is called A Vinyl Cafe Christmas. 'Nuff said, as the man says.

Oh yeah... I've already bought my tickets (third row from the stage). You?
And so it ends, oh so bittersweet

The first edition of the Harvest Gala of storytelling is now over and I'm missing it already.

The last night of the Gala weekend was held at Hurley's Irish Pub and we had over 30 people in attendance and five storytellers to entertain them (myself, Jack, Dylan, Molly, and Angie). Each of the tellers were able to tell two stories; the evening started at 8 pm and finished at 10 pm. I even sold one of my CDs (thanks JR)!

So in all, we had over 200 people come out and listen to stories over the weekend. Not bad at all! After doing a quick calculation, taking all our expenses into account, we've come out about $500 ahead. A profit! We'll be squirrelling that money away to use the next time we hold this Gala weekend (in two years).

Why two years? Because next year is the Intercultural Festival of Storytelling, a week-long festival that has features tellers from all over the world. In the last four years, the English storytellers have been getting more and more attention in this festival, so that'll be something to look forward to.

I can only hope that our Harvest Gala helped to promote storytelling as an art form to a whole new audience.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Saturday Night Concert

We received about 80 people to our Saturday night concert, which means (thank the Gods) that we'll be able to cover our expenses and even have a bit left over for the next Gala weekend (in two years). The tellers were in superb form and the stories were masterfully told. The stories were unexpected, meaning I didn't know most of them and I couldn't tell where they were going until the end.

I had also attended the Children's concert Saturday afternoon and there were 40 people in attendance (20 kids, 20 adults). Children's stories are much more interactive and the kids love to be able to move, dance, sing, and participate in the stories. Although many stories that we tell to an adult audience can be told to children as well, sometimes the adult stories can have themes or messages that kids just can't relate to (and sometimes adult stories can go on for longer than a child's attention span can handle).

The last show is tonight at Hurley's Irish Pub (on Crescent, below Ste. Catherine), which I'll be hosting. I expect that we'll be gettin 6 to 8 tellers (including myself) which should make for a 2 hour + show. I'll still trying to decide which stories I'll be telling tonight. I want to have one funny story and one deeper story. One of my funnier stories is Jack's Tall Tale, but I've told that one so often, I'm starting to feel uncomfortable re-telling it every time. I have another Jack tale called When Jack Cured the Doctor, but I don't know if I can have that one ready for tonight.

I hope you can make it out to the storytelling tonight! I can, without a doubt, guarentee you that you will enjoy the evening.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

First Night: Success!

To kick off the Harvest Gala, we received over 60 people on our first night (the monthly meeting of the Storyteller's Guild Story Swapping Ground)! Normally, we get about 30 to 40 people in attendance, so we were very happy (over half those people registered themselves as members that very night)!

We went a bit over our alloted time, finishing the night at 10:15 pm, but there were so many fantastic tellers! I told a new story that I had heard last year at a French storytelling (I translated it) called The Rose Bush. Although I still need to polish a few parts of that story off (it's one of my more complicated ones), it was well-received by the listeners and I was quite satisfied with it. That's one more story in my repertoire!

I made promise to myself to learn one new story every month this year (which would increase my repertoire to about 40 stories). The next story I'll be learning is a creepy one for Halloween called The Ticking Clock. You can hear the original version at The Moonlit Road.

Friday, October 04, 2002


I've always thought this was a better alternative to War and all of its useless death, just because two guys can't play in the sandbox nicely together.

Of course, you could even take this down a notch. Instead of a showdown between the two leaders, why not have a definitive game of Chess? And if that is too dry for you, conflicts could always be settled over a game of D&D:

George: Aha! Mah 8th-level Paladin just whooped yer ass... Tuh me go the spoils of war, hyuk!

Saddam: I do not understand how my Halfling Assassin could have failed in his task. Infidel! I will have him executed and his character sheet shredded.

V.Diesel: Quit yer whinin' Saddy... The battle was fair and square, according to the 3rd Edition rules. You shouldn't have opened that portal... Haven't you ever read the Evil Overlord rules? Never try to consume any energy bubble larger than your head.

Saddam: Bah... I despise you both. Your chips are stale and your soda pop collection shows no imagination. That's it... I'm off. Same time next week?

(I thought Davezilla was kidding)

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Hunt, hunt, hunt...

The intense editing part of my contract has begun. I'll be putting in the late hours and weekend time from now until the end of the month. Bye-bye regular life.

To give you an idea of what Technical Editing is like, imagine that you have to find a needle in a haystack. You search, and search, and search for hours on end. And if you do find it, all you have to show for your hours of search is a tiny needle (and alot of displaced hay).

In my case, I've got 3000 pages (bales) of hay to get though. Yikes! Fortunately, the guides are in good shape, so I'm not finding much (hence the needle analogy).

My eyes hurt. Gotta keep lookin'...

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

This Keeps Getting Better and Better

I just heard from one of my fellow organizers that the Montreal Gazette is going to put The Harvest Gala on the first page of the Entertainment section marked as their "Best Bet".

Wow. I have no idea how that happened. I'll have to get that page framed!

The Gala is only two days away. Please ignore the sound of chattering teeth.
4 minutes of fame used... 10 minutes left!

The phone-in interview with Anne Lagacé Dowson went great! I got to plug the festival, talking about storytelling and its universal appeal, and even tell a mini-ghost story!

The request for a ghost story caught me a bit off-guard though. One of her researchers had called me in the morning to get some last minute info and to tell me what kind of questions I could expect. I specifically asked him if she would ask me for a story and he said no ("She won't put you on the spot like that"). Good thing I came prepared!

The ghost story I told was a Welsh tale and it's the shortest one I know (most of my stories are between 10 and 20 minutes long). It goes like this:
    Two men were working in a field on a hot summer's day, tending to the soil and planting the seeds. After several hours, one man stood up, leaned on his shovel, and said to the second man "Y'know... I don't really believe in ghosts."

    The second man stood up, leaned forward on his shovel, and, looking the first man in the eye, he said "Y'know what? I don't believe in ghosts either."

    And the second man vanished!

Click here to read and hear more fantastic ghost stories from the American South at The Moonlit Road.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

CBC's a knockin'... Knock knock knocking on my chamber door

CBC will be a-calling tomorrow to interview me for the Harvest Gala weekend. I have a pre-interview in the morning and then the real interview will be in the afternoon at 4 pm during Home Run with Anne Lagacé Dowson (on Radio One).

Woohoo! It'll be my first brush with the mainstream media in a long time... Ye Gods, what will I wear?

Wait a minute... Radio. Right, right.
Do you know...?

Not much to report today. The flu seems to be on the run (good thing). I've been getting calls from the CBC, the Gazette, and all sorts of people about the Harvest Gala. I think we're going to be a hit!

Although now I'm starting to worry about the Saturday night show. We had to rent the Unitarian Church hall for the Saturday afternoon and evening performances, so I hope we get enough people in for those shows to pay our expenses. Most of the people I speak to though are telling me they are going to come by on Sunday night to see the show that I'm hosting. That show is free.

Don't get me wrong... I'll be pleased as punch if we get a solid turn-out for the Sunday show. Actually, as long as we get 30 people to turn up to the Saturday night show, it'll cover our basic costs. We got over 80 people the last time we did a storytelling concert in the Unitarian Church hall, so I shouldn't worry.

In an unrelated note, here's my favorite line from Shrek. I just felt like hearing it again today.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Famous Friends

On the Sunday afternoon (when I was supposed to be at a meeting that I completely forgot about), I rented a Canadian film called Savage Messiah (trailer), which co-starred my old friend Elizabeth Roberston (as Magdalene).

I haven't seen Elizabeth in many years, not since we were in a musical called Joseph By The Well during my college days (circa 1988). This play featured my first (and only) duet. I remembered taking singing lessons that summer so that I could get a better part in the musicals being put on in Quebec city. They paid off, landing me a supporting role in that play (Zachariah, husband to Elizabeth).

According to the biblical story of Zachariah and Elizabeth, they were granted a child in their old age by divine intervention. The actress who played Elizabeth (Mina) would carry a Cabbage Patch doll around as her child. The problem was that the doll's head was made of heavy plastic while the rest of the body was made from lighter cloth. In rehearsal, Mina would constantly drop the "child" who would then hit the stage head-first with a resounding thud, often balancing itself upright, legs in the air. This always sent the cast and crew into hysterics.

Elizabeth is the one on the left with the red hairIn Joseph By The Well, Elizabeth played Joseph's little sister (who dies tragically by falling into a well). But this was not the first time I had met her. Elizabeth and I were also in Anne of Green Gables (put on by the Quebec Art Company), where Elizabeth played Anne while I was one of Gilbert's friends. Whatever Elizabeth did on stage, she did with great finesse and power, making it look so easy.

I hear that Elizabeth now resides in Montreal somewhere (with husband and child). It's great to know that Elizabeth is enjoying success in the theatrical world; she always was a fantastic talent on stage.

It inspires me to keep plugging away at my own theatrical aspirations and storytelling. Persistance!
Don't Worry... It's a Good Thing

I've given up trying to predict what's going to happen next. Life is just too full of surprises. Just when you think you've got it all down, someone will turn around and open your eyes again. It never ceases to amaze me.

It other news, I think I'm starting to come down with the flu. It's this schizo-weather. I never know how to dress for it. I can't get sick this month 'cause there's too much going on. Work is about to get really crazy, the Harvest Gala is coming up at the end of this week (you're coming, aren't you?), I'll be going to Kingston for a day to do a TV spot, and Halloween is fast approaching (got costumes, pumpkins, and rits to prepare).

Busy, busy, busy. As usual.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Bill's Serving Up Grits and Viddles

I knew that edumacating the hill folk was a bad idea! Rednecks have hacked into Billegible.

Just reading it has given me a hankering for some cheap bourbon. Hot damn y'all!

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Wild and Wooley

I guess there's some truth to every stereotype... But I don't think Paul should've gone to jail over it. There are therapy groups for this kind of thing... get help man!

I can only hope that Mel is open-minded...
Deadbeat Lightspeedchicks

So after my boxing class, I pop on over to Brutopia for pints and chicken wings with Bill, Marc, Paul, and MJ (and her Snuffleupagus boyfriend--he's real!). As usual, the discussion is animated with lots of hands waving with a porn-music soundtrack. Y'know... the usual.

Suddenly MJ (that's Lightspeedchick to you mortals) gets up quick from the table and hurries on her way, dragging T along behind her. T didn't even have time to finish his beer (considering his girlfriend's lead-foot, you'd think he'd want to numb himself for the experience)! Bill was long gone, but it left Paul, Marc, and I mystified.

It soon became all too clear. After a dismal session of Darts (I was leading my opponents into a false sense of security, I swear!), we were paying off our tabs and the horrible truth fell upon us like a ton of tortilla chips: MJ had skipped out on paying for her nachos! You've heard of Deadbeat Dads? Well MJ is apparently a Nachos Nosferatu!

As Marc and Paul gibbered non-sensically on matters pertaining to her character flaws, I immediately realized that this was just an over-sight on MJ's part and smoothly paid for her meal. You heard it here first, folks! Accept no substitutes!

No, no... really. It was no trouble. Completely my pleasure. Why yes, I can sign that for you. To whom do I make it out... ?

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Delivery is Everything

The STC had their first guest speaker at their kick-off Wine and Cheese evening yesterday. RB was supposed to give a talk that explored the trends that will change the way we work, play, and interact. His talk was supposed to focus on the past, present, and future of technology as it effects your home, your business, and the world of entertainment.

However, his presentation went spiralling off-course when he made a few badly-delivered comments on documentation. He meant well, but he didn't anticipate the effect his words would have on the crowd.

He started commenting on how people would rather fiddle with the gizmo instead of reading the documentation. A touchy statement, but we can all admit that it's true to some extent. He did make an interesting point about filling User's Guides with more Tips and Tricks than with the basic information. That's when the talk took a sharp dive.

I wish I had written this down (or taped it), but he said something along the lines of "If technical writers cared more about what they were writing (instead of just writing something that was "good enough"), people would read the documentation more often." When I pointed out that we are often not given enough time to do that job, he replied with "Then it's your job to make the owners understand how important your contribution is to their product."

Geez... tell me something I don't know Sparky. When I'm working with a client to produce his documentation, I always push for the Task-Based guide (which takes longer, but is more useful) instead of the Reference guide (which takes less time, but isn't as useful).

The rest of his presentation was mostly just funny anecdotes. But it was too late for that because he basically offended and insulted over half his audience by blaming the writers for an industry filled with mediocre documentation.

A Cardinal Rule in the techwriting world is Audience Analysis: find out what your audience knows so that you can gear the information you are trying to impart towards their needs and situations. I don't think Richard spent enough time thinking about that. If he had made this presentation to a bunch of CEOs, it would have been informative and helpful to our cause.

But to a bunch of techwriters who spend most of their time trying to write something useful armed with sketchy specs, unreasonable deadlines, and a general lack of respect for the intrinsic value of documentation with any product, it was obvious that RB didn't have a clear idea of what it was like to produce documentation in today's industry.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Flabio gets in shape: Part IX

It's amazing how intense the boxing class can be! After an hour of shadow boxing, sparring, bag-work, and skipping (3 successful skips is my new record) I am completely soaked with sweat. I need to get to the gym an hour before the class so I can work out first.

Yesterday, I boxed with the Coach for the first time. This guy is a man-mountain! He's got to be at least 6' 5" with a torso built like a barrel. I'm 5' 11" and when I go in for a jab, I can only hit him in the ribs. When I get in close, his chest fills my entire field-of-vision.

On my first boxing session, I only got to tag him when he let me do it. The rest of the time, I was fending off his blows and not all that well either. He caught me in the face a few times and in the chin once (which 'caused me to accidentally chomp my lower lip). The worst thing is that I know he was being gentle. If he ever decided to really take a swing at me, I'd better be covered in metal armor if I want to be able to walk away in one piece.

The boxing class is great fun though. What I love about it is that you can train on your own or with a partner. If you have the heavy bag, you can just whack at it for as long as you like. If you have a partner, you can focus on your movement and your technique. There are many sports I can't do due to my vision (light myopia) and I've never enjoyed aerobic dance (too high-impact for my knees and I'm too uncoordinated).

But boxing is low impact on the feet (although you tend to dance around alot), it gives you a great cardio-workout, and has lots of satisfying hitting (on the bags). I don't think I'll ever take someone on in a ring, but I'm starting to watch boxing matches with more interest now.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Baskerville Bloopers

We finally recorded the "Hound of the Baskervilles" radio drama on Saturday (this is a project that started 1.5 years ago). I had the honour of playing Dr. Watson in this adventure.

As you probably know, no recording ever gets done in a single successful take (it tooks us 4 hours to record a <1 hour play). So here are some of the Bloopers that you will never hear:

Ant.: Okay R... I need you to growl like the Hound. One, two, three... [points]
Rob: Grrrrowwrowrrooowwwwrrrg RRRroooowwWWWroowrrrroowrrrroowrrrroowrrrroowrrr ROWWWWRRRRRGRRRRoooowwWWWrllllll *cough* *cough*
Dave: I'm a terrifying ogre!

Dave: (reading) It's very cold out here on the moors Holmes...
Taras: Don't worry about it Watson. I will hold you... hold you close
Dave: Oh Holmes... Does this mean I can wear your detective toque with the flippity-floppety ears?
Taras: Yes Watson... My dear, dear Watson...

Dave: (rehearsing) We took the morning train to Baskerville Hall--
Anthony: (singing) My Holmesy takes the morning train // He works from nine to five and then // he takes another one home again // to find me waiting for him. //

I always love watch the bloopers at the end of movies.