Friday, June 28, 2002

Parking Princesses

When Meri and I went to catch some of the Fringe Festival last week, we parked the car on the corner of Duluth and St. Laurent. As Meri plugged the meter, another car pulled up next to us (about 1.5 times the size of Meri's Neon), the window rolled down, and a lady asked me to move our car forward so she could park behind us.

I looked at the parking lines on the street. We were sitting in the last parking spot on that street. There was a space in the parking zone ahead of us (the car parked there was small) and so we theoretically could move the car forward and occupy two spaces. But even then, there's no way this boat of a car could fit in behind us.

I turned to the woman and said we couldn't move ahead because we had the last spot and the lines were marking where we should be. Again the lady insisted we move forward and again I insisted we could not.

Snarkily, the woman looked up at me and said "You obviously don't live in the city."

"I'm sorry madam, but I do live in the city and I've gotten enough parking tickets by doing things half as stupid as what you're suggesting."

The last part of what I said was lost in the woman's cursing and squealing of wheels as she tore off down St. Laurent.

Fnyeh... Parking Princesses. Gods help us.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Opportunities... which one to chase down?

It's been about a week since I was laid-off from Dream Mechanics and I'm quite enjoying the time off. I haven't really been chasing down any other opportunities though. I've been using this free time to work on other projects like my Dad's biography and a play. I also need to get to the gym, but the days are just packed.

So I've been given two strong leads this week. One is a 2-3 month contract and the other is a full-time position as a Tech Pubs Manager. Both sound attractive and I'm sure I could do well at either job. The problem is that I'm not sure I want to pursue them.

I'd really like to give the biography project more time and it may become lucrative in the future, but if I keep taking techwriting jobs, I'll never be able to follow through on the original idea.

Then again, I don't feel like I should turn down good opportunities for work. What if they don't come up again? What if I turn these down and then not find anything for 6 months afterwards. I know plenty of people who have been out of work for almost a year! Would I be a fool to turn these opportunities away?

So I'm going to pursue them and see what gives. I can still work on the biographies in my spare time; it's just a question of prioritizing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Long Weekend Woolies

Talk about cramming in as much stuff as possible in four short days. This long weekend felt like 21 clowns packed into a volkswagen beetle, waiting to burst out at any moment!

On Friday afternoon, Meri and I had attended a performance of Wanda's Visit/Gamos at the Montreal Fringe Festival. Both plays were directed by Evanthia (she also wrote Gamos), who was a girl I had directed in a Lakeshore Player's Cafe two years ago. I had already seen Wanda's Visit, and while I didn't like the play itself, Evanthia had done a fantastic job of directing it and the actors did a fine job carrying out the story.

The second play was Gamos and starred my friend Roxanne, who I acted with in Lakeshore Player's production of All My Sons a couple of years ago. I had never seen Roxanne play a lead before and I was blown away at how amazingly she pulled off this performance. Roxy was all high energy, expression, and was completely natural in her role. Go Roxy! *clapping wildly*

On Friday night, we had the STC Summer Banquet at Hurley's Irish Pub which was a wonderful success. We had about 30 people show up (which is a little less than usual), the food was fantastic, the beer lubricated the proceedings, and the musical entertainment was appreciated. Another official success for me! Go me!

I attended my first pagan festival at Terre-Eau in the Eastern Townships and had a fantastic time. We (Amelie, Meri, myself, Yvon, and Pierre) arrived Saturday morning, set up camp, and I went to register. I met Darren at the registration booth and when I gave him my name, he brightened up and said "I knew you looked familiar! I voted for you! And I read your Pooh Logs regularly." Ha! I couldn't believe it! Not only did I meet a new reader of the Pooh Logs, but he had also contributed to my political coup as the King of May.

I'm so famous, and yet somewhow I remain humble. I'm amazing. Go me!

I attended a Drumming workshop on Saturday afternoon (I'm getting ready for the Tam Tams) and we had a fantastic ritual hosted by the local Chaudron de Cerridwen coven. It was beautiful and powerful. The evening was spent around a campfire and beneath a silver moon, dancing to the rhythms provided by the drummers. It was well past 1 am when I finally retired for the night.

My only regret was that we couldn't stay up for both days of the festival. Y'see, I had double-booked that weekend with visiting my parents in Quebec city. So Meri and I decide to attend the festival Friday night to Sunday morning and then head out to Quebec city, returning to Montreal on Monday night.

We left the next afternoon for Quebec city (after a fabulous workshop taught by Meri and Yvon on ninjitsu, followed by a final dip in the lake), arriving late in the day admist highwinds and thunder showers. Fortunately, the weather cleared out enough for us to enjoy a St. Jean Baptiste bonfire by the lake with Meri, my parents, and my newly arrived sister (fresh from her 2 year stint in Ireland).

Monday was a gorgeous day and we all worked on our tans (except for Meri who had a nasty burn from the ninjitsu workshop on Sunday). We spent the day by the water, canoeing, boating, kite-flying, and swimming. Oh yeah... and swatting at flies and mosquitoes. I think I must've lost a pint of my blood to those parasites that day.

All in all, a wonderful weekend. I'm almost glad to have this new-found time off to rest and relax.

Well... not almost. Definitely glad. Oops... My tea's ready!

Friday, June 21, 2002

My New Career

It's my first official day as a Mooch Upon Society, and gosh, isn't it beautiful outside?

I think I'll take in a play or two today and soak up the rays.

I know I should be worried and focussing on my next batch of employment, but it's still too new for me to care. I'll probably take it easy for a couple of weeks and rethink my life strategies. A change is in order.

Sounds good.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

A Date with Destro

I snuck out of work today (such as it is) to try to catch the Fringe Festival show of Cobra: The Musical at 3:30 at the CFCF Stage on St. Laurent. About 10 feet from the ticket stand, I made the mistake of having a two-minute chat with my buddy Mike Burns who was waiting for his girlfriend to pick him up with the groceries.

When I finally made it to the booth, the last ticket had been sold for the show. No matter how much I pleaded and begged, there was no getting in. Drat! The only other time I can see this show will be on Friday at 9:45 pm, which means I will have to sneak out of the STC Summer Banquet to catch it. From what I hear of this show, it will be worth it though.

(image snagged from Cobraaa)
Dead Man Sitting

It's really weird being at work this week. Yes, I got laid-off last week but I agreed to come in a few days this week to finish up a few loose ends. Don't worry Jane: I'm getting paid for this entire week, whether I work it or not.

It's tough being here under these circumstances. My soon-to-be ex-cow-orkers keep looking at me weirdly, awkwardly. They don't know what to say and they sure don't want to think about it. I'm starting to gain an appreciation for the whole "we've layed you off now get out now" approach.

Oh well... the gang here is taking me out for lunch tomorrow and then I should be done. Then it's off to the EI people for my pogey and I'll be sitting back and figuring out what to do with the rest of my life. Do I chase after other techwriting opportunities or do I try for something completely different (change careers)? Do I take the summer off and relax or do I pound the pavement right away?

Anyhoo... I'll be at the STC Summer Banquet (that I organized) on Friday and I'll be busy networking and knocking back a few pints at Hurley's with fellow techwriters.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

What's LARPing?

Just a quick note for the uniformed: LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing and it basically means that you get dressed up as a specific character (in our case, it was a Dungeons and Dragons-type scenario-- I played a Dwarf) and act out an adventure that unfolds over an entire weekend while running through the woods in the middle of the night.

Here's a photo of the folks playing this game. You can see more pictures and find out more about the specific gaming group I was with by clicking here (in French only).

Monday, June 17, 2002

Argh! Lizard Men!

I just spent another weekend LARPing in the woods with a bunch of crazy people. And if you, all snuggled warm in your living rooms, were to look outside a few times in the past few days, you may have noticed the torrent of rain that was pounding down for most of the weekend. Believe me... we were doing our best to ignore it.

Actually, this weekend's activities were the best thing to happen to me. Considering the news I got last Thursday, waving a foam-padded axe at Lizard men and skeletons was a great way to forget my problems and work-out some frustrations.

Now I'm at home recovering from my weekend (I'm a bit dinged up and shaking off a cold) and I've been getting great support via email and phone from friends. I've even gotten a couple of leads from a few old contacts! I'm staying positive.

So thanks to everyone who've been super with hugs, tea, cake, and words of encouragement. I really appreciate it.

Really. Thanks.

Friday, June 14, 2002


I'm trying to stay focussed on the final corrections I have to put to these docs before I leave, but my heart's just not in it. I just want to go home, hide under the bedsheets, and mope the day away.

Everyone's bummed today. One by one, each of my work-mates are coming by to express their sympathies and sadness at my having to leave. Should I pull a Sally Fields here?

"You like me... You really like me!"

Hmm... maybe not. It works better with a little naked gold statue clutched in hand.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Just another episode in As the Stomach Turns

I don't know if I'm setting a record or something, but this is just goddamn ridiculous.

I've just been laid off from Dream Mechanics. Laid off again. Nine months since my last employment stint and I gotta go through this shit again.

I have one more paid week, but I'm just going to tie up the loose ends and bail. I've got another project that's been sitting on the back-burner because I haven't had time to work on it (due to this pesky day-job thing), but it looks like I'll have all the time in the world to work on it now. Who knows? If I'm lucky, this other project may turn into a new career for me.

But I can't fragging believe it. Laid off twice in less than year's time.

An Change to the Quebec Civil Code

Meri had taken a workshop on the changes in the Civil Code in Quebec and she was telling me about a recent change that not many people know about.

The Quebec government no longer automatically recognizes Common-Law spouses. It used to be that if you could show that you were co-habitating with a spouse for a certain amount of time, the government considered you to be common-law partners. This meant that you shared ownership of your property and each partner had certain legal rights within that partnership.

But now that the Quebec Civil Code no longer recognizes Common-Law spouses, neither spouse has a right to the property or any legal rights. This means that if your partner dies, you are not the legal next of kin. Any guesses to who is the legal next-of-kin? You got it: the Quebec government.

Therefore, if you want to enter into a common-law relationship, you need to get it in legal writing to be able to exercise your previously-owned rights. Sneaky... I'm going to try to find an online document that supports this claim, but you can take a look at this in the meantime (it's 1.5 years old, but can still be relevant).

Eh? Why was Meri and I talking about this? *cough* No reason... why do you ask?

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Weird Photo Wednesdays: "Made in Taiwan"

The finest Montreal souvenirs that the Taiwanese can offer!This photo isn't really weird, in fact, it's quite a common sight in this tourist-bedecked town. I just thought how ironic it would be if these trinkets were actually made anywhere BUT Montreal.

Now that the shows are done, I'm enjoying some time to myself again. I'm a very solitary person in some ways. Sure... I do pretty well in most social settings and I like being around people, but I also need that "time on my own" stuff where I can just putter around and be alone with my thoughts. This past weekend was great for that.

Next week, I'll be following up on some storytelling-related projects like recording a CD of my stories to send as a Demo to festivals and talking to my buddy Loic about putting some of my stories to music. There is also some talk of having me host a night of storytelling at Ye Old Orchard Pub in NDG, but we're still negotiating that. Very exciting stuff!

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Flabio Gets in Shape: Part VII

After a month of not going to the gym (due to an excessive rehearsal schedule), I returned to the YMCA last night for my first workout session.

What changes have occurred since my last foray into the weighted world! The downtown Y has been going through some major renovations in the last few years and part of those renovations was the gradual dismantling and destruction of their old building on the corner of Stanley and deMaisonneuve.

There's nothing left of that building now; the lot has been flattened and covered with gravel. I believe the Y plans to turn this lot into an outdoor running track and park, which would be great 'cause the downtown area desperately needs more greenspace.

But one of the direct perks is that the north wall of the workout area has been replaced by windows, brightening up the area immensely. Granted, we're looking at a dismal grey building across the street, but flooding the room with natural light does wonders for morale and energy.

Predictably, when I got to the machines to start lifting my weights, I had to set the weights back a bit, but not as far back as I would have thought. The workout itself was pretty good considering I had not been there in a month. But I got through my routine in about an hour.

The most noticable benefit I felt after my workout was that my back no longer hurt (I had pulled a muscle in my back last Friday taking down the set), but I also felt a strange mix of exhaustion and energy. In fact, 20 minutes after I left the gym, I noticed my limbs were shaking! I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

The one bad thing was that, since I was so focussed on my body and its weird sensations, that I forgot I was supposed to meet Ceri that night for a hot chocolate. Drat. I very rarely forget stuff like that and I felt just awful. My friendship with Ceri is dicey enough nowadays without me standing her up. Fortunately, I was supposed to meet her at her place, so at least I didn't leave her hanging in some public establishment somewhere.

If I had done that, I have no doubt I would've found chickens nailed to my door everyday for a week.

Monday, June 10, 2002

One down, 999 other duties to go

Just hangin' out waiting for my pint. Hey baby... what's your sign?If Sympatico and Geocities weren't such gits, I would've had my South Parkian visage (thanks to before Bill or Toast. Drat. Curse you faceless conglomerates!

The attendance of the last show was unprecendented! We actually had to turn people away which has never happened before! That means we had packed about 250 people in to see the Cafe Theatre plays. Yay! Go us!

After the shows were done, Meri and I helped take part of the set down and pack it into the van. I pulled my back near the end of it, so I had to give up and head home. Spent a quiet weekend at home doing chores and just generally relaxing. I went cycling with Peter and Pam and even got some kite-time in. We went cycling around Montreal-West and I gotta say: screw Westmount. NDG and Montreal-West has got some kickass houses and just nice neighborhoods in general. Wish I had the cash to get a pad in those areas.

So this week begins the workout schedule again... Wish me luck! I'd like to be able to go in every day (alternating between upper and lower body), but it's going to be tricky this week. I think I'll have to go in the morning on Thursday and Friday 'cause of other committments.

And on the weekend, I'm giving Domaine another try. I feel pretty good nowadays, so I should be good shape to handle a weekend of bashing at monsters and general medievalness.

Friday, June 07, 2002

I'm stuffed Ma Bell... I couldn't take another bite

Well... it's official. My Sympatico server site is now full. It's taken all the photos and files it can handle and it won't let me add any more. I tried creating a site for myself at geocities to simply act as a storage server to put files on it (so I could just IMG SRC them where ever I needed them to appear), but stupid geocities doesn't seem to want to cooperate. When I try to place a reference to a file on the Geocities server, it works for the first display instance and then the link breaks. Drat.

Anyone have any suggestions of free servers where I could place pictures and files than then reference them into where I need them to appear? Right now, it looks like my only option is to clean out my Sympatico account to make room for more. The problem with Sympatico is that I can access the server from anywhere but home, but at least it's stable (hasn't crashed on me yet anyhoo).
The Bittersweet End is Nigh

Tonight is the last night of the show! Last night was the best performance yet, so I'm sure tonight's show will blow everyone away. It's been a fun run and I enjoyed it, despite the slight bumps in the road along the way. I don't know what my next theatrical project will be, but I'll keep you posted.

I know that I want to spend the next year focussing on my storytelling projects. I want to be able to do storytelling in more festivals and try my hand at telling in French as well as English. Daunting, but definitely possible.

I told one of my stories in French at the last festival for the first time and, based on that performance, I was invited to tell at the ever popular Dimanches du conte. I haven't been able to show-up for that due to other responsibilities and committments, but that definitely needs to change.

The next two storytelling possibilities are a regular gig at the Old Orchard Pub (still negotiating) and a spot in the Montreal Celtic Festival (still waiting to hear). Keeping my fingers crossed for both.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Smashing Success

Note: I forgot my glasses today, so everything is blurry. I'm going to blame any typos on the fact that I can't see the screen very well.

Last night was a smashing success. My actors performed superbly and the people laughted nicely. Yay! Go me! There was only one small screw-up: the tech crew placed a big chair in the wrong area, so the actors had to work around it. No matter though... we'll get that fixed up tonight.

We just have two more presentations to do and we'll be done on Friday night. It'll be good to have some extra time to follow-up on some other up-coming projects and current projects I had to put on hold.

And sleep... must get more sleep.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

The Lights are Up Tonight!

So tonight is the big night. It's opening night for Lakeshore Players Cafe Theatre 2002. Three one-act plays all performed in one night. My play Visitor from Forest Hills (a section of Neil Simon's Plaza Suite) in on first and we had our final dress rehearsal last night.

They did well! The energy was high, volume was okay (could be better), and aside from a few muffed lines, it flowed nicely. I really love directing. I love acting too, but directing a play gives me a greater rush of adrenaline on opening night, more than acting ever did. Weird, but true. I had always said that the day a standing ovation doesn't make everything I sacrificed to be on stage worth it, it would be time to leave the theatre.

But instead of leaving, I decided to move behind the megaphone and direct instead. It's very fulfilling and I love working with the actors to pull from them what I need to make the play work. Sure... they're actors. They can be difficult at times, but overall, we all work together very well. It's fun.

Here are a few shots I took of my cast during their dress rehearsal. I hope you can make it out and see the show!

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Technical Rehearsal: Madness

Last night's technical rehearsal for Cafe Theatre was madness. Sheer and utter madness.

For the uninformed, a technical rehearsal is when the technical crew works out the lighting and sound cues for each play being put on during this show. It's slow and painstaking work, requiring lots of starts, stops, and retries to get it right. It's understandable, actually. The actors have had a month to put their shows together and this is the first time the technical crew gets to work with the equipment for each play. It takes time to put together.

But impatient directors, producers, and other actors really don't help. Our producer (who has also decided to take a role in one of the plays) has decided that she can do everyone's job better than they can. Dressed in a nightie and puppy slippers (for her role), she's moving furniture, designing the sets, giving the actors notes on their performances, and reminding everyone how late we all are and can we get started please?

The only way we're going to be able to pull this night off is by doing our jobs properly. The stage managers need to manage, the technical crew need to execute the technical matters, the directors need to direct, and the actors to do as they're told. If the actors try to set the stage and the directors try to do the stage manager's jobs, then all this extra help will just drag us into a chaotic morass. Useless.

I'm going to have a word with the assistant producer and stage manager tonight. We need to get our shit together for tonight's dress rehearsal or this isn't going to get done. Keep your fingers crossed.

BTW... my actors received praise for being so with it last night. They rock.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Second time around

I finally got my Harry Potter DVD last week (along with the 25th Anniversary edition of the Rocky Horror Picture Show) and I watched it again. My second trip to Hogwarts was even better than I remembered from the first time I saw it.

The only thing I can't find are the Deleted Scenes on the second DVD. The navigation is all stylised and nothing's too clear. I can't figure out where they put those Deleted Scenes. Drat.

Saturday had a lovely strong wind and I tried to fly my Deltawing kite, but the winds proved to be too strong and the lower shaft snapped clean off. I've put in an order with Into the Wind to get replacement shafts. It's a bitch to have to order from the states, but there's no shop in town or even in the country that has the parts I need (anyways, I haven't been able to find one).

So I pulled out the Gigafoil and flew that instead. With Meri and Jonathan's help, I was able to finally get it airborne. Since it's all material with no shaft-support, it's difficult to get it going alone.

However, once in the air, it gave me one hell of a fight. My shoulders are still aching from it.

I can't wait to take it out again.

Sunday, June 02, 2002


I usually try to be considerate of my fellow humans and how they might feel about certain things. I don't always succeed, mind you. I occasionally screw-up, say/do the wrong thing, and my good intentions blow-up in my face. But life ain't rehearsed, baby. I only get one shot at getting it right and sometimes I mess up.

I'm not apologizing for that. I'm just hoping that my real friends can understand me enough to give me some slack when this happens.

But there are times when I can work myself into a frenzy of panic and worry, second-guessing myself to death, trying to anticipate how others might feel if I say/do a certain thing. So I ponder it, do what I must to defuse a potentially hurtful situation, and hope for the best.

So maybe you can imagine my disappointment when the person I was hoping to protect turns around and does not show me the same consideration. The very person I was trying to be considerate to turns around and does to me what I worried about doing to her. Ain't that a boot to the head?

Sure... I know I have no right to expect to be treated with any exceptional forethought, but it sure would've been nice.

In the end, what happened this weekend didn't really upset me. It made me a bit uncomfortable, but it didn't hurt really. What I felt was that I was just foollish to spend that much time worrying about someone who apparently didn't take any time to consider how I might feel about the same situation.

Oh well... it's always best to err on the side of caution. And I won't get cynical about this little life lesson. Really I won't.