Wednesday, December 31, 2003
I sat in a theatre full of Ring-Nutters a couple of weeks ago (at midnight) to watch the final installment of the LOTR saga. To make matters worse, I was surrounded by LARPers. (Un)Forunately, none of us decided to show up with our boffo weapons.
ROTK was great fun and very satisfying, but I still fell asleep in parts. I've managed to fall asleep in all three films, not because it's boring, but three hours is a long time to be watching any film. Fortunately, Rodrigo was able to jolt me awake before my snoring became a problem.
But in the interests of taking advantage of ROTK fever, I present to you this list of things to do while watching the movie. Thanks be to ShakeyLegs (pronounced "Me-Shell") for providing this list (although he's not really sure where it came from originally either).
Tips for watching LOTR, Return of the King
1. Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, "Wait... where the hell is Harry Potter?"
2. Block the entrance to the theater while screaming: "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" - After the movie, say "Lucas could have done it better."
3. At some point during the movie, stand up and shout: "I must go! Middle Earth needs me!" and run and try to jump into the screen. After bouncing off, return quietly to your seat.
4. Play a drinking game where you have to take a sip every time someone says: "The Ring."
5. Point and laugh whenever someone dies.
6. Ask the nearest ring-nut if he thinks Gandalf went to Hogwarts
7. Finish off every one of Elrond's lines with "Mr. Anderson."
8. When Aragorn is crowned king, stand up and at the top of your lungs sing, "And I did it.... MY way...!"
9. At the end, complain that Gollum was offensive to Ethiopians
10. Talk like Gollum all through the movie. At the end, bite off someone's finger and fall down the stairs.
11. When Shelob appears, pinch the guy in front of you on the back of the neck.
12. Dress up as old ladies and reenact "The Battle of Helms Deep" Monty Python style.
13. When Denethor lights the fire, shout "Barbecue!"
14. Ask people around you who they think is the next "Terminator" sent from the Middle Earth of the future to assassinate Frodo Baggins
15. In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout "RUN FOREST, RUN!"
16. Every time someone kills an Orc, yell: "That's what I'm Tolkien about!" See how long it takes before you get kicked out of the theatre.
17. During a wide shot of a battle, inquire, "Where's Waldo?"
18. Talk loudly about how you heard that there is a single frame of a nude Elf hidden somewhere in the movie.
19. Start an Orc sing-a-long.
20. Come to the premiere dressed as Frankenfurter and wander around looking terribly confused.
21. When you see Sauron's eye, stand up and yell, "It looks like a flaming vagina. I hear penecillin is good for that".
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Thanks be to Deniz for this charming little ditty sung by monsters about the Internet. She found an MP3 of a song taken from a broadway musical called Avenue Q.
After searching for a bit, I found video clips to go with the mp3 she found (song entitled "Internet is for Porn"). Don't worry... these video clips are entirely work-safe since they only feature the puppets and their puppeteers.
After the Simpsons broke down the cartoons-only-for-kids barrier, the next logical step would be to have cute and cuddly puppets singing about contemporary issues.
I've had the "Internet is for Porn" ditty in my head all day. Not that I'm into that kind of thing... *cough*
Sunday, December 28, 2003
Made it back to Montreal without incident. The house is still standing and the cat is relieved to have me back (more food!). For some reason, I was really worried about being away from my new house over the holidays. I guess I'm not quite settled and comfortable in my new surroundings.
This year, Holiday Loot from my family included a new biz suit, some matching shirts, dress pants, and new spit-shine shoes. I also got a set of matching oven mittens from my sister and a chinese tea set from my Dad. I got my Dad a bottle of my favorite Porto (Taylor Fladgate), I got my mum some body lotions and bath salts, and I got my sis the Norah Jones DVD/CD set.
My sis and I also got Mum three sessions at the local spa and we got Dad a laser-guided Stud Finder (sorry ladies, it's not what you think, although the detector kept activating every time I held it).
I also managed to get my hands on a Folding Corona, which was an antique that my mum has been hoarding for years. The Folding Corona is a portable typewriter, patented June 1917, that folds upon itself for easy carrying. You can think about it being the first generation laptop. Considering my chosen profession, I think it's a beautiful antique. Whenever I look at it, I keep imagining myself as a bustling reporter, fedora pushed back, furiously typing away at my next article.
It belonged to her grandmother, but she's been keeping it in a bag in the washing room for years. After years of begging for it, she finally let me take it. When I get my new set of shelves for the living room, it will sit on display for all to see.
When I moved into the new apartment, I discovered an old Underwood typewriter in one of the cupboards. I'll probably put that one somewhere else on display to offset the Corona.
And I have yet to find a proper place for my antique detonator. What to do, what to do...
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Here's my list for the season. Depending on who you ask, I either deserve everything on this list or nothing on this list except a boot to the head. You just can't please everyone...
1. Everything on my Amazon Wish List.
2. A kilt with the family tartan (Irish).
3. Anything from here.
4. My own wand from Ollavanders.
5. A date with Drew Barrymore that involves a top hat, a swing band, and digital camera (with batteries that don't give out at a critical juncture).
6. A better digital camera (like this one).
7. Many new contracts in 2004.
8. More storytelling gigs that have me travelling around the planet.
9. An animation cel from "Hillbilly Hare" signed by Chuck Jones.
10. I always need more bookcases.
11. Some wheels would be nice (of either the four-wheel or two-wheel variety (like this or this), or both).
12. A box of Smurfs and a mallet.
13. A round trip ticket to Ireland, Alberta, New Orleans, Scotland, Halifax, or Whistler (for the skiing).
14. A strengthening of faith through personal experiences and acquired knowledge.
15. More focus.
16. More discipline.
17. Less despair.
18. Less fear.
19. More achievements.
20. Fewer disappointments (for myself and from others).
21. A completed first draft of *any* of the various novels, plays, or screen plays I`ve started.
22. More time with my friends and loved ones.
23. A Fabrege egg ("I'll tell you when I've had enough, dammit!").
24. A Folding Corona (My mum has one and I'm currently negotiating its release).
25. An evening of pints with you.
Yule has come and gone, but there are plenty of festive opportunities for you to show me how much you care. So get cracking. Nobody likes an underachiever, especially when it involves my holiday loot.
Then again, who needs a festive occasion? Just give... you'll feel better.
I was running errands yesterday in town and I was searching for a place to park. Middle of the day, not good. I drove up an alleyway and noticed some parking spaces, so I immediately took one. I got out and started making my way down the icey alleyway towards the street. The last thing I saw was a fella in the Copie Express standing in the window on the phone.
About 15 feet from the truck, both feet started sliding forward and completely slid away from me. It was one of those classic vertical to horzontal exchanges that ended with me smacking down hard upon ice and pavement, knocking the breath from my body and having my noggin' bounce solidly upon the ground.
I could feel the slush seeping instantly into my clothes. I let out a pronounced groan and wrapped my two hands around my head, trying to keep my brain from rattling out. I looked over to the Copie Express and I noticed that the guy in the window was gone. I started to pick myself up when I saw him running towards me. I was getting ready for him to offer to help me up when he stopped short and said "Are you going to the Copie Express?"
*blink* Surprised, I turned on my side and looked at him, as if reclining on a sofa. "Er... No."
"Then move your truck. You're parking in my lot." He pointed to a sign I had not noticed before that read Reserved for Clients of Copie Express.
"S-Sorry," I stammered standing up finally, clothes soaked and head aching. "I'll move it right away."
"Thanks. Happy Holidays!" With a flourish, Oblvio the Copy Guy whirled around and disappeared. Sighing, I found another parking space and got on with my day.
I can see how people can get cynical when you get exposed to folks like this. As usual, I struggle against being like that. I fed a few expired parking meters that day and felt better.
But if this guy ever ends up stranded on the side of the highway, I hope it takes a few hours before someone stops to help him. But knowing how the Gods enjoy mocking me, I'll probably be the one who pulls over and helps him change his tire. They really think stuff like that is funny.
Friday, December 19, 2003
Today is Yule (aka the Winter Solstice): it's the longest night of the year and after this (although we may not really notice it when we're freezing our keisters off in February), the days will be gettting longer until the end of June (the Summer Solstice). I'll be lighting candles tonight and thinking about the opportunities coming up in 2004.
The year is showing much promise, but I need to have the courage to step forward and grasp the opportunities that are presented. My company is doing relatively well and there have been a few leads I need to follow-up in January. It's scary, it's formidable, but I won't get anywhere if I back away.
I also predict it'll be a big year in the storytelling circles. I've got a few festivals coming up, the Montreal Fringe Festival in the summer, and a project that might have me teling stories in schools a few times a month. I think if I could be making a living out of telling stories and writing, that would be great.
It's amazing to me how clarity comes to you when someone asks you a simple question. I was at a Yule ritual yesterday when the group was asked to talk about what Yule meant to them. While I was waiting for the chance to speak, I thought about the new year, the birth of the Sun God (days getting longer), of untold potential being actualized through birth.
When it was my time to speak, I spoke of how at Samhain (Halloween), we think about loved ones who have passed on. It's a transitory time when we let go of the things we no longer need or want and refocus our energy towards the things we do need or want. With the arrival of Yule, it can be a time when you start to transform thoughts into action to get those things you want or need. Normally, the results of these actions take some time before they can yield results, but by keeping the momentum going, you might start getting results by the spring.
This might sound all flakey-granola to some of you, but I'm betting you're already going through the same process. After the Halloween decorations were put away, the Christmas decorations started appearing in the stores and you started looking foward to (or in dread of) the upcoming Holidays. And with the thought of the Holidays comes New Year's Eve and the dreaded New Year's Eve resolution. You become a bit introspective, looking at yourself and thinking about the bad habits you don't want, the new habits you should be picking up, and the New Year's Eve resolution you'll take. Normally, this resolution gets put into motion on January 1st. I've noticed that the make-or-break time for these resolutions is about two months, which leads us to March (pretty much the beginning of spring).
It doesn't sound that different, does it? Tom-eh-to, Tom-ah-to.
I wish you all a happy, safe, and prosperous holiday, however you choose to mark it. You're all in my thoughts and I'll be raising a glass in your honour. Overall, it's been a good year and I'm grateful that I was able to spend some of it with all of you.
Monday, December 15, 2003
Tristan, a recent immigrant to Montreal sidewalks, has been complaining to me for the past few weeks that we've not been getting the snow he expected from Canadian weather. Until last night, everyone else around us seemed to be getting hit with snow, but Montreal was remaining relatively unshovelled.
I wish I could've see Tristan and Iseult's faces this morning when they looked outside and saw the street completed blanketed in white. The pic on the right is what I saw when I opened the door to the front balcony to shovel it off this morning.
It reminds me of growing up in Quebec city, getting that first big snowfall, having to dig out the front door. At night, I'd wake-up to see my bedroom filled with pulsating yellow light, hearing the beep-beep-beep of the passing snowblowers, and then not being able to see the street from my bedroom because of the eight-foot high snowbanks.
I heard on the radio this morning that six morons took their skidoos for a joyride from the south shore, across the bridge, and down on Crescent street (one was caught, four others got away).
Actually, I can't say I blame them. That sounded like fun. That first big snow will do that to people. How do you celebrate the first big snow?
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Onto happier news: I got word of this last week, but after a brief phone call with Mainline Theatre, it's been confirmed.
Yours truly, along with my storytelling partner Zimmerman, will be in the Montreal Fringe Festival in 2004 (June 10th to 20th).
I submitted two proposals to the Fringe Festival: a two-man storytelling show (which Zimmerman and I performed in Ottawa a few weeks back) called Jack Goes A-Wanderin' and a solo storytelling show called Thieves, Wizards, Tricksters, and Other Scoundrels. The two-man show was accepted and confirmed, while the solo show is number 4 on the waiting list (which means it is very likely to be performed in the end).
This will be my second Fringe Festival, having acted in a show a few years ago as a slimey life-insurance salesman (is there any other kind?). But this is quite a feather in my cap as a storyteller. Woohoo!
My friend Esmerata has agreed to be our producer for these two shows, so we're supposed to get together in the new year to discuss the shows and see if there are any changes we'd need (costumes, lights, music, sound, make-up, SFX, etc.).
Monday, December 08, 2003
I was working this morning, listening to CHOM on the radio, when the following ad from Kids Help Phone came on and disturbed me greatly:
- I am a wall. I can't speak, but if I could, I would tell you stories. About what happens when Lisa goes to bed at night. About how her father touches her. About how she cries herself to sleep every night. I am a wall. I can't speak, but if I could, I would scream.
I am disturbed by this ad, but maybe not for the reasons you would think. Of course, child molestation is a horrible crime, but what's worse is how this ad, and hundreds more like it, portray fathers (and men) to be Ticking Time Bombs of Perversion and Evil, just waiting to go off.
I used to do volunteer work with children a few years ago (in the Scouting movement). I had to stop because my work schedule got too crazy for me to continue, but there was another level of me being tired of being looked at cross-ways because I was a single man, no kids, and I was volunteering my time to be with kids.
To make matters worse, I was a leader in the French Girl Guide system (in Quebec, men are allowed to be leaders in all girl groups, as opposed to Girl Guides of Canada which strictly prohibits this). I once told a guy from BC that I was a Girl Guide leader and, shocked, he said "If you did tried that in BC, they'd hang you from the nearest tree."
How are men supposed to feel good about themselves when they are constantly being viewed with suspiscion? The media bombards us with these images constantly: men being violent, men being perverted, men being evil. In a world where racial stereptyping in media is wrong, why is it okay to vilify men?
I know what you're going to say: statistically, when it comes to child molestation, men are supposedly more likely to commit these crimes than women. A friend of mine once told me that it would be impossible for a mother to molest her child, but with fathers, it was far more likely. She was shocked to learn later that there are a growing number of female pedophiles in the world (about a third of all reported cases in a year).
However, this doesn't get reflected in the media. I'm not saying that women should be vilified as much as men in these arenas to provide a balanced view, but the negative portrayal of men to call attention to an issue does as much damage in other areas as it strikes a chord in the targetted arena.
In terms of cultural and media perception, intimacy between and adult male and a minor female is seen as a crime while the same between an adult female and a minor male is seen as a Right of Passage.
I caught a blatant example of this while watching a rap video that had a 14 year old boy sitting on a couch with two late-20s bombshell women on either side of him playing with his hair and caressing him lovingly. This seemed to be a perfectly acceptable image to broadcast, but if the roles were reversed (a 14 year old girl with two adult men), that would be highly offensive.
I realize this whole issue is an extreme reaction to a once overly-patriarchal world, but while I believe that equality of the sexes is a goal worthy of pursuit, the vilification of men in our culture and media cannot be the answer.
It's yet another phase we've gone through in our societal development, but now it has to stop. The overwhelming majority of men are good fathers, good husbands, good people. Making sweeping statements on a group of people based on a couple of bad eggs has never done anything constructive for anyone.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
The move finally took 5.5 hours to complete and the movers were an hour late (the truck didn't start this morning due to the cold, so they say). Almost everything was moved into my new apartment. I went back to pick up something and noticed that the microwave is still sitting on top of the fridge. Drat. Oh well... I intend to go back in a couple of days to finish cleaning up... I'll just need to pick that up and take it with me.
Now I've found that Drew, in her Good Samaritan Zeal, put my toothbrush and razor in the medicine cabinet and failed to mention that to me. Must add that to the list.
And I can't find my sleeping bag. It must still be in the closet. Drat.
Wouldn't it be funny if I went back to my old apartment and found everything still there it their original positions? Then Rod Serling would step out of the hall closet and I would punch him in the head. Or at least slap him around a little, just for kicks.
I like my new pad. I'll like it even more when I find everything I packed up.
Monday, December 01, 2003
In the past 15 years, I think I've changed address about nine times. So far, I've spent the last 5.5 years in NDG.
Everytime I move though, there's a great dumping of stuff. I take the opportunity to rid myself of junk I've been accumulating over the years. I'm definitely a bit of a packrat, but when it comes to moving out, I don't have trouble throwing things out.
Rodrigo and Prost came by yesterday to help me pack my dishes and other breakables. Rodrigo remarked "Y'know... moving is a great time to lose stuff. How about leaving these (he pointed to some decorative bottles) behind?"
"The bottles? I can't! I know they're pretty ugly, but they belonged to my grandmother!"
"Okay... what about that?"
"My crank-record player? No! It's an antique and it still works!" I have loads of 78s I've picked up over the years, but I only play them once in awhile.
"Sigh... How about this?"
"I'll have you know that that camera was given to my father when he was 17 years old!"
Rodrigo then gave up and went back to wrapping the bottles. It was just then that I pictured my grave site. I would probably have to be half-an-acre in size so that I can take all my stuff with me.
So I'm still packing today in preparation for the hired goons who are coming tomorrow morning. I'm filled with a horrible dread though, like I won't be ready in time. I'm feeling faint from the panicked hyperventilation.
One more box... just one more box... Focus on the new place... One more box....
Sunday, November 30, 2003
My packing is mostly done, but what's left is freaking me out. I still have to pack up the dishes in the kitchen, bedroom stuff, and all of my clothes. But the place is now a disaster area with boxes strewn everywhere, some full, some not.
And the dust. We will not speak of the dust and the variety of tumbleweeds that have been set loose as I move my furniture about. I feel like I'm on the set of some old Western. Dustbusters at high noon, you cowpoke.
I have some friends coming by today and tomorrow to help me with the last of it. I wish I could move all the furniture and packed boxes out now so I could see what was left. It would make me feel better, like I've accomplished something.
Must get back to it. I've only got 1.5 days left. Argh.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
It's official now, so I guess I can talk about it: Hobbes is on the move. I just signed my lease in my new pad and I'll be moving in next week sometime.
It's a gorgeous place and has pretty much everything my current place has. It's an upper duplex with W/D outlets in the basement. It has a huge front balcony with a smaller balcony in the back. The kitchen is HUGE and expands into a dining area. My old apartment had a TINY kitchen with the dining room in another room, so consequently, I almost never ate in the dining room. Figures.
The bedroom needs to be repainted (it's an unmanly sky blue), but the rest of the place is fine the way it is (if memory serves). The only thing I'd like to do is strip the paint off the moldings around the doors and windows, but I'll probably wait until the spring before I attempt that.
I should be moving in sometime next week. In the meantime, I'll be tossing out all the junk I don't need and packing up the rest. I detest moving, but I've got a few friends coming by to help me pack up the stuff and stack it in the dining room.
Next week, I'll be hiring some goons to do the heavy lifting and get it all lumped into the new place. Then comes the fun part of redecorating the new pad. Wheeee!
And I won't let the new place get to the shameful state that the current one is in. I promise I won't, really. Pinky swear!
I had heard that the Sci-Fi channel was remaking Battlestar Galactica into a mini-series (slated for January 2004). You can view the trailers for it here.
It looks like the Cylons have gotten an upgrade and the robots look just like humans. Bonus for the make-up department, bad news for the costume department.
Aside from the ships, I thought the greatest parts about Battlestar Galactica were the villains, their lifeless monotone voices, and their wong-wong eye that just screamed evil indifference. Of course, the Cylons were sooooooo dumb... I guess you can't make a believable mini-series nowadays with such antiquated equipment.
Oooh... Starbuck and Boomer are now women! And hey... where's Boxy? Drat. At least Adama and Baltar are still there.
I hope that some of the surviving members of the 70's classic make cameos in the new series. I always love it when they do that.
Saturday, November 22, 2003
I've exchanged a few emails with RB, which can be summed up as follows:
- Email 1: Your blog review of my presentation is a huge lie. I'm insulted! You are a poophead! Now admit that I'm right, damn you!
Reply 1: I just didn't like your presentation. Don't get all bent out of shape about it.
Email 2: Ooooh... A plague on your houses! You haven't admitted that I'm right yet, so you must be a enormous idoit! I will make all sorts of assumptions about the quality of your genetic makeup, your family, and your talent as a writer. I'm so much better than you are, now admit it!
Reply 2: Someone needs to take an Anger Management course. No need to get personal. We just have a difference of opinion. Get over yourself.
Email 3: Another insult! Release the hounds! My anger knows no bounds, my revenge will be sweet! Draw the swords! Light the fires! Huzzah! By the way, I'm avoiding all reference to you and your ill-mannered ilk so that my superiority will never ever be questionned again!
Wow... I hope this guy never makes a movie and John Moore (a Montreal movie reviewer) says anything bad about it. The blast from this guy's temper tantrum might level the city.
Actually, I find all this quite amusing. I've read and re-read my original post a few times and I don't think there's anything there to warrant this type of reaction (unless somone's not been getting their medication). In the email exchange, he launched a few nasty things my way that, if I had gotten it from a friend I respected, could've been pretty hurtful. But since this guy seems to be pretty much of a raving lunatic, it's pretty easy to ignore.
Check this excerpt from his last email. Do ya think he sends out lots of heartfelt Christmas cards?
- I guess a low-life failure such as you would rather write bullshit in a blog and open his loud mouth behind people's back instead of having the courage to face the truth and confront people face to face. [Ed. Note: Kinda ironic considering he's saying all this in email.]
You were born a loser, you are a loser and you will die a loser.
No wonder nobody wants to hire you, your writing sucks. I guess now your empty life has something more to rant about behind people back, you hypocritical coward!
Goodbye, king of whiners.
Hey... I'm a King! Woohoo!
Update: It turns out, this guy is a part of Net infamy! In the late 80's, he intentionally spread a mostly harmless virus that infected thousands of Macs across the world. You can read more about it here. This just keeps getting better and better.
Friday, November 21, 2003
Okay... this might not be on the level of the Hate Mail that Davezilla gets, but it's a first stab at it.
Back in September 2002, I went to see a presentation on new trends in the technological world. The presentation itself was okay and it had a few funny bits, but there was a point where the presentor said that bad documentation was because technical writers were lazy and really should care more about their profession.
Apparently, this was supposed to be enlightening to the bunch of technical writers that were sitting there listening to it. Personally, I found it insulting. There's more going on in this industry than just bad technical writers. There are impossible deadlines, tiny budgets, and half-assed development schedules that have unrealistic expectations of the documentation teams. There's are many factors that can impact the documentation, most of which are out of the writer's control.
So I blogged about it the next day. You can read it here.
But now, the presentor has found the blog post over a year later. Unless he's going through my blog entries post by post, I'm guessing that he must've been doing a name search on the Internet to be able to find it. Draw your own conclusions from that.
So far, he's written two emails to me accusing me of being a liar, a whiner, and a mediocre writer who is struggling to find work with a dwindling bank account. Apparently, because I didn't agree with his viewpoint, that makes me a brainless hack. Charming.
Anyways, I just wanted to mark this occasion with my first bit of hate mail. Personally, I would like to get more emails from the religious right-wing, but they haven't found me yet. I just need to be patient.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
I tells ya, I got a future in photo editing. It won't be long before I'm discovered and working for the National Enquirer, splicing pictures together that offer "proof" of some torrid affair between the alleged BatBoy, Jackie Onassis, with Micheal Jackson looking on (taking notes).
I took these photos at a Halloween party a few weeks ago. There were five guys who agreed to dress up as members of the Village People and during the party, they got their groove on to the tune of YMCA. Of course, we all took out the digicams and started snapping pictures. You can see them all at Xeti's Gallery (I'm dressed as the White Boy Rapper).
But there was one picture that I particularly liked, but Drew was standing right in front of me and her hand got in the way. Fortunately, I was able to edit out her hand and splice another photo in its place. Here's the result.
The edited version
Pretty cool eh? I is so good. Toot! Toot!
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
I saw a new place last night: a 4 1/2 down on Decarie and Cote St. Luc. It's right next to the Cuban Consolate, but right on the Decare expressway. A bit noisy and dusty, to say the least.
The apartment itself was okay: art-deco style, stained wood trim around the doors and windows, a faux-fireplace/mantlepiece, hardwood floors, decently-sized kitchen. Still, there's no place to put my washer/dryer and an enormous mahogany table I refuse to part with.
It's tough finding an affordable place in NDG, which is where I'd rather stay. I've made friends here, I like the neighborhood feel, and it's close to everything I'm involved in. What's worse is that I'm currently living in an upper duplex and the thought of going back to an apartment building feels like such a step back. I'm going to miss my own door and clothes line.
And the search goes on...
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
I finally caved. I got a cellphone with all the gadgets and a color screen. Oy.
I've been resisting this for the longest time. I dislike cellphone users with their cute ringing jingles and loud one-sided conversations. I'm not going to be like that, I swear.
My initial reaction to the need for a cellphone manifested itself as a pager. That was as available as I wanted to be, and besides, I thought I'd never be so far from a phone that I couldn't return the call.
But in the last couple of weeks, I've been stranded in various places without a phone or a quarter, so the cell would've been handy. So I bit the bullet and got one.
Now I'm going through the User's Guide (as a responsible techwriter should) and learning all about the features on my new doodad. But I'm not getting hooked on this thing.
Nope. Not getting hooked.
Ooooh... it has a speaker phone!
Monday, November 10, 2003
I just got back from a storytelling festival in Ottawa, our nation's capital. Not a bad festival, really. Met lots of interesting folks from all over the country. I spent Saturday evening chatting with the organizers of the Walkerton Water Stories Project, which was facinating because these are people who actually make a living out of storytelling. I can tell you that those people are few and far between.
At my end, I've started working on organizing the next edition of the Harvest Gala (a three-day storytelling festival which should take place next October), and I think it would be great to invite the people from the Walkerton Water Stories Project. Gotta get cracking on that.
Zimmerman and I had a set of Jack tales to tell on Saturday. I was supposed to tell two stories and Zimmerman was supposed to tell three, but we ended up being under time with five minutes to spare, so I was able to throw in an extra one about Jack and the World's Greatest Thief. The set was well-received (we got about 20 people), but at the end of it, I was dying to tell more! Ah... the fabled effects of adrenaline.
I spent the next two days running from room to room to catch all the other sets. I usually make it a point NOT to watch Montreal tellers (since I can see them anytime back home), but I did make an exception for Yvon because I knew that he was going to tell in his second language (English), and I never get a chance to see that in Montreal. As I expected, Yvon stumbled over the language, but it only added to the charm of the story. Fortunately, he's a veteran storyteller, so his presence and pacing were just as masterful as they would have been had he been telling in French.
I hope I come off half as good as he does when I tell in French.
I picked up a few new books from the booth sellers, including an old edition of Stuart Little, two Jack Tales books, and a CD of folk songs by Tom Lips.
And I heard three great stories that I plan on telling myself: The Cracked Pot (by Yvon), Sister Lace, and Dr. Fraudulo's Wonderful Inventions (Tom Lips). I only borrow from the best people.
So next stop: the Toronto Storytelling Festival in 2004. Zimmerman and I will be taking our Jack Tales show on the road! See you there!
Thursday, November 06, 2003
When I was headed home last night, I noticed sets of flashing blue and red lights right in front of my house. That never bodes well.
When I got closer, I saw that the cops had taped off the blocks around Somerled and Grand (in NDG) and the cop vans were sealing off the roads for one whole block around that intersection. Whew... my house wasn't on fire after all.
I approached one of the officers and asked him what was going on. "Un accident, monsieur," he replied grim-faced. I peered over his van and saw cops taking measurements and photos around a car that sat in the middle of the intersection with no visible dents in it. I've never seen them do that for a simple automobile accident.
"Quel sorte d'accident?" I asked.
"Je ne peux pas vous dire ca," the cop waved me away, so I made my way to my apartment. I got closer to the taped-off section and spoke with some of the other bystanders. They told me that the cops have been there for at least half-an-hour. About 10 minutes earlier, the ambulance had left the scene without lighting its lights or blaring its siren. That's not a good sign.
Someone else suggested it was a stabbing or at the very least, a murder of some kind. That would certainly make sense considering the way the cops were treating the scene.
It was bizarre to watch this scene. The lights were flashing, the bystanders were whispering, and the cops worked in silence. The lack of noise around this particular intersection just screamed tragedy.
I slept poorly, jumping at every sound during the night.
I found out today that a 66 year-old man was killed in a hit and run accident. Apparently, the man was jaywalking when he was struck down and he was killed on the spot. Yikes.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
I went to Mardi-Gras last night to tell a new story in French. The story was the Hall of Wonders which translates into Maison des Merveilles. It's one of my favorite stories and I thought it would translate well.
It may very well translate nicely, but I didn't do a good job at it. I stumbled and tumbled my way through the story, mangling the French translation, and generally sounding like an idiot. I've seen French tellers tell stories in English and they also trip over the language, make weird translations, and just plain ask the audience for the right word. But with them, I find it charming.
The audience liked the story, however. They reacted in all the right places and the story ended on a high note. But personally, I thought it could've gone over much better, even though the French tellers came to congratulate me on the story afterwards. However, I could see it in their eyes: they were being polite and encouraging.
But that's the danger of storytelling. The only way to hone your craft is to tell your stories is live and in front of a crowd. Sometimes it'll go over well, and sometimes it makes you realize you need to spend more time with your story.
Just do me a favour: if you've never seen me tell a story, don't make your first time one of my French stories. I'm just not there yet.
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Almost every year on Halloween, I decorate the front of my house, play spooky music out the windows (I use the soundtrack from Myst I), and dress-up in a scary wooden mask and cloak to hand out candies to the kiddies.
When the ToTers ring my doorbell, I'm already downstairs by the door. I wait five seconds and then yank the door open suddenly, rushing out onto the front stoop with a growl. This has been known to elicit screams, crying, startled jumps, and hands clutching hearts.
It's lots of fun.
But these kids... It's all business to them. They've only got so long to visit as many houses as possible and collect as much candy as possible, so they're not into loads of conversation. I'm lucky to find out what they are dressed as and crack a joke or two before they are jumping the hedges to the next house.
And Teens... it's completely about the free candy to them. They think they can show up with an empty Provigo bag wearing their regular clothes ("I'm a Super Model on vacation") and expect to get loads of candies. Next year, I'm getting a bag of cheap toothbrushes and handing them out to these lazy ragamuffins who can't be bothered to work for a lollipop.
The funniest ToTer was a kid dressed as Batman. Once he recovered from the shock of me appearing at the doorway, I growled "And what are you supposed to be?"
"Uh... I'm Batman. And what are you supposed to be?"
"I'm the scariest ghoul on the block, of course!" I growled.
The Batman-tot gave me a quick look up and down and said simply "I could take you."
He got an extra generous load of candy from me that night and I emptied out my jar of pennies for his Unicef box. Classic.
Friday, October 31, 2003
I can't figure out if this website is a joke or if it's serious.
I haven't found one of these website in awhile. They amuse me while saddening and frightening me at the same time. A plethora of emotions all wrapped up in a single sacred sheep.
I actually don't know what B&M stands for, but the famous B&M has opened its doors right around the door from my current place (it used to be down on Monkland and Royal). It just figures that this will be my final year in my beloved pad. At least they finally opened while I was still here.
I've seen full-sized buildings get put up in less time. I don't know why it took so long for the B&M to finish renovating this space for its restaurant, but they've been working on it since April I think. B&M is by no means outstanding food, but it's cheap and predictable. I can deal with that.
So Happy Halloween, Happy Samhain, and Happy New Year to all of ya! I'll be receiving trick or treaters tonight and then dressing up as a White Boy Rapper (Yo! Yo!) and my date will be a Drew dressed as trashy ho.
[Insert Drew/Hobbes joke here]
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
A bunch of us went out to Fonduementale last night. It's a fantastic fondue place down on Ste. Denis and Marie-Anne. I've been there once before for Valentine's Day with my sweetie. It's a great place to bring a romantic date.
But we were there to celebrate Talia's 25th birthday and all the best people showed up, some of them bloggers! A few bloggers you might recognize were Autumn, Bunny, Ceri, and of course, Talia herself.
The decor in that place is very interesting. The building was originally a house and the rooms are long and with tables that can be rearranged to fit any number of people. The most interesting bit of decor was a glass shelf that ran the length of the wall behind the group. It was lit from the inside by about 25 lights which I had assumed would be electrical, but upon closer inspection, the light sources were 25 candles! Very cool.
The tables and chairs were less appealing. They seemed to have been designed by a welder with some unfinished issues concerning his suppers at the family dinner table. The chairs were low with a straight uncomfortable back bar (I had to lean forward most of the time) and the tables were made of the same material with the table legs being a bit too close together.
After sitting in those chairs for a few hours, someone would get up and seem like a giant. After the meal, I stood up, towered over my meal mates, and growled with my hands curved over my head "Must. Eat. Tokyo... but dammit I'm already stuffed."
Mucho delish. Highly recommended.
Monday, October 27, 2003
I noticed her sitting by herself at the bar. She was cute, sexy, and slightly eccentric: just my style. I spent a better part of the evening trying to figure out how to get her to come over and sit with me, but in the end, she dropped her coat on the chair next mine and stated "Pardon me for invading your personal space, but I'd like to get a good view of the band."
Heh. Sounds exactly like something I would say. I was hooked.
We chatted lightly, launching quirky expressions at each other, and running with them. She was a bit tight-lipped about herself, but I found if I just sat back and let her speak, she revealed what she wanted to reveal. The questions I threw at her made her nervous.
"People can hurt," she sipped her beer. "People can be so hurtful sometimes. All I want to do is not be so strict all the time. I just want to let go."
"No one's stopping you," I replied. "Live for the moment. Do whatever comes natural."
"I just want a meaningless boy. It's bad, I know. I want it and I don't want it. I want a man to want to kiss me. On my feet. On my knees. On my lips. Is that so much to ask for?"
And I kissed her suddenly. She smiled at first and the kiss was mostly teeth, but then she returned the kiss with softly surprised intentions. "I can't believe you just did that. I'm glad you did, but I didn't think you would."
Then she looked at me intensely, leaning forward. "I need to ask you a brutally honest question."
"Go ahead," I smiled, not breaking her gaze. "I'll be as brutally honest as I can."
"Do you think we will spend the night together, you and I?"
I blinked for a second, but returned with "It's a possibility."
"Can we just cuddle? Will you just hold me and not try anything else?"
"I can do that. You have my word."
Why she believed me, I can't imagine. This girl didn't know me from a hole in the wall, but for some reason, she trusted me. Some people say that I just have that kind of face, a trusting face. I value the trust people put in me. Once in awhile, I use poor judgement and I betray that trust. I'm only human and I do my humanly best.
Then again, I didn't know anything about this girl. My gut instinct told me that I had nothing to fear, so I went with it. We slipped under the covers, exchanged some light pillow talk, kissed each other good night, and then drifted off to sleep, arms and legs wrapped around each other. That's when I happened to notice a baseball bat leaning against her nighttable.
I slept lightly.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
We've had telephones for well over 100 years, so you'd think we could work up some basic etiquette by now. There have been mis-dials on telephones since the dial was invented, so could we possibly come up with a pleasant to deal with that?
Case in point, I tried to call a friend tonight and I mis-punched a number or two. This is what I got:
Me: Tristan? Is that you?
Him: Henh? Quoi?
Me: Uhh... Est-ce-que Tristan est la?
Him: Hey... Y'a pas de Tristan icitte.
Me: Ah... Mes excuses.
Him: Meuh... Crissse.
Would it have killed him to say "Pas de probleme... Salut!"? Once in awhile I get a pleasant person, but most of the time I get either hang-ups or some deragatory remark. I even one woman say "Don't call here again!". When did we ever get so impatient with people for mis-punching a single digit?
When I first moved to Montreal and got my first Montreal phone line, whoever had that particular exchange before me left lots of loose-ends with lots of people. I was getting calls from Hydro, Bell, Royal Bank, and even some video stores demanding to talk to some fella whose name I can't recall at the moment. I was even getting harried calls at 6 in the morning from a guy who spoke in a language that made me think he was waving a spear at a public phone in the middle of a junglish expanse.
Even last night at storytelling, a girl had forgotten to turn her cellphone off and got a call in the middle of one of the stories. Now we all sometimes forget to shut off our machines, that's understandable, but this girl took the call in the middle of the performance. How rude is that? Fortunately, one of the other tellers (who has a booming, commanding voice) told her to "Turn that off... Turn that off now". She promptly switched it off.
There's something Pavlovian about a ringing phone that just sets us in motion. I'm getting better about not dropping everything I'm doing (well, almost everything) to catch a phone call, but it still draws an instinctive fight-or-flight response.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
I went to the Mardis-Gras storytelling evening tonight at Bar L'Intrus (just north of the Lafontaine park) and enjoyed myself thoroughly. As you've read previously, the storytelling festival is in full-swing, so I was a bit surprised that many of the regulars were not at the storytelling tonight. They're probably busy at other events taking place in the city.
So I went up to the event organizer and asked when I could tell in French again. He looked into his scheduler and offered November 4th. I agreed and we shook on it.
November 4th?!? Am I crazy?!? I'm not ready for that! That gives me about two weeks to get a story ready! Fortunately, I've already selected my story (Hall of Wonders -- Maison des Merveilles), so now I just have to start rehearsing it (ie: talking to myself in French) and figure out how to translate all the various phrasings.
Here are just some of the translations I'm struggling with (with the word that I don't know in italics):
"His teeth were white and sharp"
"There were fish swimming around in glass tanks."
"Dr. Kavanaugh was an apothecary: a provider of pills, potions, and prescriptions."
"It's just wire wrapped in burlap and pigs bladders filled with air."
Monday, October 20, 2003
Yesterday I was at the Smith House, a museum of sorts on Mount-Royal (between the Chalet and Beaver Lake) telling tales in the Montreal Intercultural Storytelling Festival. We had a pretty good turn-out for it and the audience was warm and receptive.
While I waited for the audience to arrive and the show to get started, I decided to check out the exhibit. In one of the rooms, I found a stack of laminated newspaper articles about the mountain. One of the articles dealt with the proposal to build a road across the mountain to make it easier for motorists to access the park. This proposal was met with some pretty stiff opposition, so a reporter from the Standard (a Montreal newspaper) went into the park on Mount-Royal and interviewed the people there on the topic.
Gasping at what I read, I ran upstairs and brought back my digital camera to photograph this section of the article. Because of this section, I wondered if it was wise to include this article in the exhibit. But then again, it was 1937 and it is part of our history, so it shouldn't be swept under the rug.
I remember working on a project for one of my university classes where I had to write a report about something that had taken place in history. I selected the opening of Expo 1967 in Montreal. I pored over the newspapers on micro-fiche searching for some kind of scandal to write about, but there wasn't much. The only thing I found was that some landlords had kicked out their tenants under the guise of "renovation" when they were really making room for the Expo visitors, turning their buildings in temporary hotels.
It was weird reading the TV listings and seeing that some channels were marked as "Color" or "B&W". But I also noticed an article that was not necessarily offensive, but would not be considered appropriate in modern journalistic standards (as skewed as they currently are).
It was an article with an illustration that was directed to "young ladies who lived alone" to show them how to change a doorknob. Of course, the author and editor just assumed that men would know how to do this, but women would not be able to figure this out without visual aids.
And that was just 30 years ago. Seems like another world to a young fella like me, but it's really not that far away. Growing up, you think the world has always been the way you see it, but I'm reminded of my age when I talk to someone in their early 20's about vinyl records and spotting that blank look that tells me they have no idea what it means to have flip the record over to hear the B-side.
Where did all these grey hairs come from?
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Your pirate name is:
Dirty Davy Flint
You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!
What's your pirate name?
Thanks be to Anastasia for this. She be a Captain Jack Sparrow groupie. Arrrr!
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
As some of you know, my great aunt Madeleine passed away last Friday after a long illness. I last saw her in August during one of my visits to the folks in Quebec city and she was still toughing it out. It's that Irish blood in her... it just won't quit.
Her nurse came for a house-visit while I was there and they began to talk about maybe moving her from her apartment to a home or the hospital. I knew that had to be a tough call for Madeleine who would have wanted to hunker down in her own things, being close to her sisters. She laughed when I told the nurse that she was a tough old Irish dame. And she was.
She was born on a farm in St. Malachie (about an hour south from Quebec city), which is where most of my father's family is from. Before my parents bought the family cottage, we used to spend many a summer's day at the Little House. The screen door on that house was always in swing as the people came for visits, chatted, smoked, and ate. I remember filling my days by going upstairs to read the National Enquirer on the bed, eating her famous strawberry pie, and listening to the grown-ups gossip and tell tales.
Whenever I hear that old saying that if you stand in one place long enough, you'll meet up with everyone you've ever met in your life. You could speed up that process by taking a comfortable seat and drinking your tea in the Little House. Little House was Madeleine's place and she loved the visits. She'd greet you with a joyous hello, a hug, and a kiss. Sit down, sit down, she'd say. What's new with you, where are you coming from, have you heard about So-and-So? And the conversation was in full-swing.
In the past couple of years, she couldn't visit the Little House as much as she'd like. From what my Dad has been telling me, the house has been slowly deteriorating as well. The celing has fallen in, the roof is leaking, and the whole building seems to be listing to the right.
I stopped by the Little House on the way back from the cemetary to take a couple of pictures, but my camera had mysteriously died. My cousin and I walked around the house and smiled, remembering the days when we would drink tea on the porch with my grandfather and played games in the driveway. I wanted to step inside, but the house was locked shut. Not being able to open the front door was strange, foreign. It brought home the thought that Madeleine was really gone.
I'll miss that tough old Irish dame. I need to learn how to make strawberry pie.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
This past week has seemed quiet because I didn't blog at all, but that impression was far from the truth. Most of this week was spent running about like mad trying to put the finishing touches on my latest contract. And it's still not done.
Add to the mix that one of my close friends, Anastatia, is moving away to England this week, so we took her out for a parting dinner at the Dragon Rouge. The funny part was that I was the only carnivore in this Send-Off party and it's being held in a medieval resto. It wasn't my idea, but I sure thought it was amusing. I'm going to miss that girl something awful.
After three litres of red wine (split between three people) I can tell you that I was mightily tipsy. It ended with a set of bumbling farewells and stumbling off to the metro.
I have to tell you that I have now reached a new level of being a Montrealer. Living in this town will expose you to all sorts of experiences that, while they may not be reserved for Montreal alone, many Montrealers will nod their heads and be lost in reverie. I will ponder the other Montrealer levels and post them separately.
In any case, my lastest level was achieved when I flumped into the metro, put on my walkman and fell asleep in the metro car. I woke up just in time to notice that I had missed my stop by two stations, so I got off at the next station, changed sides, and waited for the returning train.
And then fell asleep on the platform, waking up just in time to notice the metro pulling away from me. I did that twice.
I remember seeing the people in the metro car staring at me as I gazed at them sleepily. Then the horrible realization poked through my wine-soaked haze: I'm a drunken wino sleeping in the metro. I left Cote Ste.Catherine metro slightly dejected and grabbed a cab home.
And I fell asleep in the cab too.
Monday, October 06, 2003
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I prefer Autumn and Winter over Spring and Summer. Spring is muddy and Summer in this town can get uncomfortably warm. Autumn may be rainy, but the temperature is manageable and the scenery is awe-inspiring. Winter can be uncomfortably cold at times, but just put on a sweater and make some tea.
But I can tell you that waking up in a tent to rain, wind, and water flooding the tent floor is enough to make any man re-evaluate his priorities.
All in all, the Domaine weekend wasn't that cold. It rained a bit on Friday and Saturday, but we were kept busy enough playing the game that it was pretty easy to stay warm. It was just usually a mistake to stay standing in one spot for too long. Fortunately, the final game was very well run and we all had great fun playing it. When it rained, people stayed in shelters, but the animatators then provided more role-playing and less fighting.
And best of all, I lost no life tags during this weekend, so my character Valentino DiCarpacchio will live to see another Spring/Summer/Fall in the world of Domaine. I really enjoy playing this character because he is a larger-than-life Italian-type fella (yes, I fake an Italian accent in English and French (kinda/sorta)) and it gives me a chance to interact with almost everyone.
Some of the highlights from this weekend included a 1-on-1 battle to the death between me and an armoured tank of a fella (everyone was surprised I won that, including myself), being turned into a strength-sucking shadow demon, and being hit on at the Inn by a comely lass in leather pants.
You gotta love this game.
I can't remember if I posted this on the blog, but I made a little video made up of pictures from the game, so you can click here ot view it (you need Windows Media Player to view it). It's difficult to explain how this game works, so maybe some visuals will help.
Friday, October 03, 2003
Argh. Rain and cold this weekend. Argh.
It's the final weekend for Domaine (a Live Action Role Playing game (LARP)) and it promises to be a hectic one. We're expecting everyone to be there (since it's the last game of the season) and all the storylines should be tying themselves up. I've got four life tags left and I really hope I walk away with at least one because I really want my Valentino character to survive until next year.
I'm packing lots-o-sweaters, long johns, socks, and mittens. I realize it's going to rain (I actually use a shower curtain as a cape), but if it must, I can live with it being a light rain. Heavy rains are just depressing.
We have such plans for this weekend, one of them being that a few of us are going to pool our money together and bump another guy off. Or the best scenario would be that the assasin would beat this guy into unconsciousness and when he wakes up, we kill him. The way the game goes, a character doesn't remember the last minute of his life before he dies, so theoretically, he wouldn't know that we killed him. Then again, this guy is known to cheat (which is why we want some revenge).
Hey... why did you assume I would play a good character? Evil is always more fun. Where would the Good Guys be if it wasn't for us Villains?
Think some warm thoughts for me this weekend, gentle readers.
Monday, September 29, 2003
After spending the last two days in good/bad shock, I'm come to terms with all the latest change in my life. Everyone's been very supportive and are keeping their eyes open for new places. I'm not going to deal with the moving thing this week though. Too much on my plate as it is.
My Dad has strongly suggested that I try to buy a place of my own instead of "pouring my money into a hole". That's all well and good, but when NDG is the place where I'd like to be hanging my hat, the price of purchasing soars to new heights. The prices around here are ridiculous really: 200K+ for a ground-floor apartment with a postage-stamp-sized yard and heavy feet pounding above you.
Anyhoo... I'm going to keep my eyes open to both possibilities. Maybe something will present itself, Gods willing. Then again, maybe a little residential magick wouldn't hurt to move things along...
But no no... must focus on the new contract and my other responsibilities. Everything in its place, everything in its time.
Friday, September 26, 2003
Really Good News: my company won the contract that I've been bidding on for the past few weeks. Go me!
Really Bad News: my landlords just came to my door and told me that they want to take possession of the entire duplex, which means that I have to move out this year. I really love my apartment and where I live. I really don't want to move. Fuck.
If I find a place to move into by the end of December, my landlord will pay for my moving expenses. If not, they won't pay for my moving expenses. I could theoretically stay here until July, but then I would definitely have to move.
Got the contract. Yay!
Lost the apartment. Fuck!
Mood swing anyone?
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
One of the great regrets of my youth is that I didn't take more time to learn my father's skill at home renovation and just general fixer-up stuff. My Dad is a Jack of a Trades when it comes to building/fixing things around the house.
Over a period of 30 years, he's reworked the wiring and the plumbing in the house, as well as extended it several times (first building a patio, then a dining room, and then more recently a solarium). And in all this time, mostly in my youth, I've only helped him a bit here and there. I regret to say that I was mostly bored by it and only pitched in to help under great protest.
What a lazy little shit I was. Dammit. Now I can barely put in a shelf without setting my drapes on fire.
One night in my teen years, I had an Editorial Nightmare. In my dream, I was slouched on the couch watching Star Trek: TNG while my Dad was in the kitchen retiling the floor. There was a knock at the door, so I went to answer it, and to my surprise Marcus Greenwood was standing there with a toolbelt and a hammer in his hands.
Marcus was an acquaintence from school. I couldn't really call him a friend since we only ever saw each other in school, so this would've been the first time he was ever at my house. Shocked, I stammered "Marcus! What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to help your Dad with the retiling of the floor," he grinned and walked right past me into the kitchen.
Stunned, I followed him into the kitchen and watched him go to work. "But Dad," I spluttered. "Why didn't you ask me to help you?"
And the look my father gave me was a mixture of anger, frustration, and smugness. It's weird how dreams can stick so many images together in one place. "I didn't want to bother you son," he said. "I know that Star Trek was on and how you hate to miss it."
Feeling sick, I tried to offer my help, but my Dad waved me away and got to work with Marcus. I slumped back off to the living room feeling thoroughly wretched, listening to the two of them working and laughing.
Then I woke up.
Of course after that episode, I tried to help my Dad as much as I could, always offering. I wonder if my parents ever noticed the shift in my demeanor; I never told them about the dream since it shamed me so much.
I'm only thinking about this now because I had another one of these Editorial Nightmares last night. I'll be pondering the meaning of it over the next few days, but I hate it when my brain gets all Dr. Phil on my keister.
Monday, September 22, 2003
I rented a couple of games last Thursday (Vice City and Blue Shift -- No, these are not euphamisms for anything) and the sign said "3 Day Rental".
Now the sales girl might have told me that they were due on Saturday, but I don't quite remember if she did or not. When I showed up on Sunday to return the games, the kid behind the counter informed me that the games were a day late. Apparently, Thursday counted as one of the rental days, even though I picked up the game at 3 pm. I guess when it comes to a renter, a day need not have 24 hours in it for a company to charge you a fee.
When I tried to argue the point, the kid gave me attitude saying "Look, you can interpret it any way you like, but this is what we mean by 3 Day Rental. You were explained all of this when you got your membership." Yeah, like four years ago.
And then to drive the point home, he invoked Coporation Logic. "And anyways, Blockbuster charges this way, so you can't tell me it's not done in other places." Wow Bunky... you sure put me in my place.
To my mind, if I rent a game on Thursday for three days, then Friday counts as the first day, Saturday counts as the second day, and Sunday is the third day (and I have to return it). By their logic, if I rented a game for one day and I got it 30 minutes before the end of the business day, then I'd have 30 minutes to play it before I had to return it.
Where's the logic in that?
I'm still working on my New York post. I'm trying not to turn it into an epic tale of biblical proportions. I was only there for one day, fer God's sake.
I went rollerblading yesterday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the boys (Sr. Basura, Kirin, Fabio, and Dagda). Surprisingly, I didn't suck. It had been three years since I last bladed and even back then, the fluidity of my form was interupted by much windmilling of arms.
Of course, my entourage of blading buddies were much more comfortable on their blades (it has to do with the invincibility of their youth), so they were blading unnervingly close to me. Kirin kept tossing his sneakers like a bolo around my ankles. The wanker thinks he's friggin' Catwoman.
But despite all that, I didn't fall and leave five pounds of my flesh on the ashphalt. After a few minutes of wobbling uncertainty, I started finding my blade-legs again. It was great fun! The only thing that makes it difficult is that my feet get so sore after about an hour of it. Apparently, this discomfort is quite normal.
I wish I could blade around the city, but you don't really notice how cracked and broken the streets are until you realize that even the smallest twig can send you careening into traffic or the slightest tumble can mean leaving flesh and bone behind on the street.
I'll just walk or cycle, thanks.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
I'm writing my post about my one-day road trip to New York City as we speak, but this week is piling up, so y'all just need to be patient.
You! Be patient! Good dog... Here's a picture of a new NY City sight that I was encouraged to go take a peek at.
Last weekend, I went out with Drew for a movie (Once Upon a Time in Mexico) and pints at Hurley's. While we were at Hurley's, we ran into Theopilia and Kotomi and shared some conversation. Theopilia looked a bit down (she's usually quite perky and happy-go-lucky), so I was trying to cheer her up by complimenting her, flirting a bit (we always flirt a bit), and just being supportive.
Then the next day, I find out through a friend that Theopilia is "all worried that I want some kind of relationship with her". Geez! You give a girl some positive input and she spends the next few days/weeks/months/years wigging out about it instead of just leaving it as what it is! Or Gods forbid, she'd actually be upfront with you and ask you what's going on...
This is the beauty of being a guy. If we get some extra attention or flirting from a friend, we generally don't freak out about it. The whole event gets dealt with like this:
"Hey... she's been extra flirtacious tonight. This is great! I wonder if she's just being fun or does this mean she really digs me? Oh well... only time will tell, and in the meantime, this is fun! And look over there... something shiney! I wonder if it's edible/drinkable... etc."
I think it's an interesting statement on society on how we react differently to abuse or praise. We always seem ready to rebuff people if they're being rude to us, but we don't know how to handle people being positive or complimentary. We almost seem to fall into rebuff mode by default, not matter what the situation is, becoming instantly suspicious or dreading the worst.
Is it really that difficult to just accept the compliment, say Thank You, and trust in your friend's sincerity? Is it really so difficult to believe that other people think you're a good person?
Friday, September 12, 2003
John Ritter and Johnny Cash both died today. My first thought was that maybe they both got into a deadly fist fight over drinks in some seedy Hollywood bar, but alas, the two deaths were unrelated.
I'm going to have to pick up a Johnny Cash Greatest Hits CD. As for John Ritter, I always thought he was a fine actor. Maybe his choice of scripts weren't always that great, but his acting skill was something I always admired. He should have done more dramas. I think I'll rent Noises Off again.
This has been the week from hell in my professional life. It's not right that I go from two months of vacation to one week of crazy hecticness. On the upside, I'll be sharing a movie and a pint with a friend tonight and on Sunday, I'll probably be going on a road trip to New York city. Even though I'll only be there for a day, I'm excited 'cause I've never been to New York.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Sorry for the silence, but a whole bunch of things have been put into motion and I'm running to keep up. I'll keep you posted!
A couple of these in-motion things are new storytelling gigs! Here's what's coming up:
- On September 16th, sometime between 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm, I'll be telling The Blue Hippopotamus story in French for the first time during the Mardi-Gras evening of storytelling. This is the third time I've told a story in French, but it falls in line with my new committment with translating my stories and telling them in French more often. Check out the Mardi-Gras link for more info about the night, but I hope you can be there!
- On September 19th, at Cafe Perk (8 pm), I'm hosting a show of my own design: Je me Souviens/I remember the days -- An evening of French and English tales. I've got three French tellers, three English tellers, and Irish Storyteller Mike Burns who said he would tell a story that "blurs the line between English and French". I'm not sure what that means, but it should be interesting!
- On September 23rd, the Montreal chapter of the STC has asked me to tell stories at their annual Wine and Cheese party. Oddly enough, I'm the most worried about this show 'cause I'm not sure how open the audience will be to the stories. But as my storytelling friend Jackson once commented "If you get offered a gig, just do your job as best you can." I'll be going with that advice.
More to come as other things get finalized... Stay tuned!
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Last Saturday, the gang and I went out to Brutopia. Actually, we first went to Café L'Etranger for some live jazz that turned out to be non-existant, then we went to Upstairs, but it was packed. I really tried to go somewhere other than a pub, but it just keeps calling me back. Can't fight City Hall, I guess.
So we settled into a booth on the far side of the pub, not with the band but close enough to hear. After I orderd my pint of raspberry ale (the house brew), I noticed the six girls sitting next to us, especially the one with the veil. It had to be the quietest, most unassuming Bachlorette party I've ever seen. They're all sipping half-pints, talking quietly.
In the words of Chris Rock, that ain't right.
So the gang conferred on the problem, Mysty came up with the brilliant idea, to which we all agreed. I then turned to the girl in the veil and started up a conversation. You must take note that this conversation was punctuated by cries of "Hey!" and "What are you saying?" from Kirin at the other end of the booth. His protestations didn't hinder the situation, thankfully.
"So," I leaned into the girl with the veil. "Are you gal-pals at the beginning of your night or at the end? 'Cause I have to say, this has to be the quietest Bachlorette party I've ever seen."
"No no," she giggled. "We're just getting started." Half-pints at 10 pm is just getting started? Sheesh...
"Well, I wondering if you'd be interested in this proposition," I pointed to Kirin, who began to protest. "You see that guy over there? He just happens to be a stripper on his night off. Now normally he wouldn't be into this on his down-time, but he's got this thing about girls in veils. ("Hey!") I'm surprised he hasn't been struck by lightning, the groove thing he's shook in a variety of churches. ("What are you saying?")"
Now Kirin has gotten up and moved closer to my side. Perfect.
"Kirin would love to have a chance to strip for you. Would that be okay?" Veil Girl turned a bright red and her friends began to hoot and cheer, pointing to a confused Kirin.
I got up to talk to him semi-privately, "Get up on the boothl and shake your groove thing, you sexy beast." At first, he said no way, but with these three magical words, I secured the deal: "I dare you."
Kirin grinned and asked, "Which girl?"
Which girl?!?! "The one with the veil, you moron!" So Kirin jumped up on the booth behind Veiled Girl and shook his booty, stripping off his shirt. The room cheered and hooted, while Veil Girl turned an even brighter shade of red.
A bit later, the bouncer came in and picked her up, carrying her around the pub. All the guys at our table then took their shirts off and followed her around the pub. All good clean fun.
This girl was extremely shy and I suspect she's never been to a bachlorette before. When a girl is dressed in a veil, she can virtually get away with anything. She could almost make-out with a stranger while his girlfriend looks on. But this poor lassie was too embarrassed to even go up and hug a couple of guys at the behest of her gal-pals. Geez.
Hopefully, we made her evening memorable, but I hope that the action picked up a bit after we left. I wonder when/if she'll tell her husband?
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
As I was working away on my 'puter yesterday, I heard an odd fluttering from the kitchen. I wheeled away from the desk and noticed, to my dismay, that Newton had hopped up on the sink and was nosing around the window sill.
I had, at one time, been growing a new garlic plant that was showing promise, until my cat decided he needed to add more exotic herbs to his diet. Chomp, chomp, chomp... Garlic plant gone. I was afraid that Newton was now after the marigolds I had growing in the sill, although up until now he had left them alone.
Newton knows where he's not supposed to be, so when I clap my hands and call out his name, he usually backs down instantly. But when I moved closer to him as he peered over my teapots on the sill, he didn't move. Odd, I thought.
Then I moved one of the pots to see what he was looking at and spotted this ENORMOUS bug. It was a bit bigger than my thumb and it was fluttering its giant wings in the sill. Newton was keeping him down with his paw.
I'd never seen this type of flying bug before, so I grabbed my digicam and snapped this off. Click the image to get a bigger view. Does anyone know that kind of bug this is?
After I took the pic, Newton batted him off the sill and the bug took flight. The kitty was on the hunt, following the winged intruder around my pad, hopping up occasionally to catch him in his paws. Eventually, the prey and predator moved out onto the balcony and I closed the door. "Do what you want to do with your prey Newton," I said through the screen door. "But that thing ain't coming back in here."
Eventually, Newton clawed at the door to be let back in and the bug was no where to be seen. Either he became snack food or managed to get away. I hope Newton gets into this habit of chasing the odd bug that gets into my pad. Not only is it cute, but it gives him some extra variety to his diet.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Thanks to her runaway hit Gigli (Run! Run away!), singing-acting sensation JayLo has been able to realize a long-time dream and has decided to set up shop right here in NDG (Montreal)! As I wandered around my neighborhood on the long weekend, I found her hanging up the Closed sign, a contented little sigh erupting from her lips.
"Finally, it's what I've always wanted." she said to me, picking up her bag of fresh bagels. "Who knew that Gigli would get me a man and liberate me from my Hollywood duties enough to open my own shop."
"A dry-cleaning shop was your dream this whole time?!?" I replied flabbergasted, chewing on a bagel.
"Oh sure... but do you know what the rent is like in New York? You have to have a superstar's salary to open a, whatchamacallits... a depanneur. Now pardon me... Ben gets so cranky when he doesn't get his salmon cream cheese bagels on time."
She rolled her eyes, softly swearing a "tabarnacle" and scurried off up Monkland. It's enough to almost make me want to see Gigli. Almost.
Here's what some others have said about the movie (thanks be to www.rottentomatoes.com and to Le Cousin Andy for sending me the links).
"It's a sorry statement, when the actor that has the most subtle performance is the kid with Tourette's."
"Gigli rhymes with "really." As in "really bad," or "really offensive," or "really wish I’d remembered my gun so I could just shoot myself now and end the misery.""
"Jennifer Lopez plays a lesbian in Gigli, and Ben Affleck plays a heterosexual man, which means they have one thing in common: Both of them are in a crummy movie."
Gigli is so unrelentingly bad that people may want to see it just as a bonding experience; viewers (read: victims) will want to talk and comfort each other afterwards."
It's the stuff Mystery Science Theater 3000s are made of."
Ach. Oy. Woe and poo, bleccch and uck! ZZZZZ-zzz."
"Such an utter wreck of a movie you expect to see it lying on its side somewhere in rural Pennsylvania, with a small gang of engineers circling and a wisp of smoke rising from the caboose."
"It is an exquisitely bad movie: One to be savoured, marvelled over, shared with friends and generally appreciated in a state of awestruck wonder. Gourmet fromage."
There's virtually no story, no conflict, no tension and no suspense, just the endless droning of the worst dialogue written in recent memory."
There’s no rhythm to (the) putrid dialogue, no flow to (the) preposterous scenes."
It's worth knowing how to pronounce Gigli because it will enter the vocabulary as a word meaning 'massive box-office flop; an embarrassment caused by Hollywood's inability to say no to powerful creative types. See also: Ishtar.'"
"I fought the urge to punch someone once it finally ended."
"A rigli, rigli bad movie."
In a brief cameo, Christopher Walken sums up Affleck's screen presence when he tells Gigli: 'I know -- you don't know nothin'. I can tell just by lookin' at you.'"
"I am giving Gigli one star and that is only because of Walken: if Brest were smart, when the film hits DVD, he should only release that scene and stick the rest in the deleted scenes section."
(In an unrelated vein, I have a picture and story coming that involves some nekkidness from over the weekend, but I'm waiting for permissions. Patience!)
Saturday, August 30, 2003
Two girls had seat-sandwiched a young man in the bus: one was sitting next to him and the other sat in front of him, half-turned around to look him in the eye. The two girls were very smartly dressed, prim and proper. They had the tell-tale knapsacks and black name plaques pinned to their blouses: Christ Commandos from the Mormon Church.
So of course, I sat next to them and listened. The conversation was light and cheerful.
Girl1: So like, the Gospels, y'know? They've got all the answers to the questions you could ever ask. It's good stuff.
Girl2: Some people, like call themselves Christian, but they don't even follow like the 10 commandments from God, y'know? Not all of them. Sometimes not even some of them. Whatever!
Guy: Well... they can be difficult to follow sometimes. That doesn't mean you can't be a good Christian.
Girl1: Oh but it does! You must do as our Lord says is you want to get into heaven. Giving yourself to Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, right?.
Girl2: We're in service of Jesus and we're like so very happy. Praise be to the Lord!
Girl1: When the second coming of Jesus Christ happens, you'll want to like be ready.
Guy: When is that supposed to be?
Girl2: Well... according to God's holy word, there will be signs all around us.
Girl1: And not all bad ones. Some signs will be good. But the world will be very wicked.
Guy: Worse than now?
Girl2: Much worse than now. Super wicked! If you think this is bad, wait until you see what's in store for us in just a few years. It's all in here (she held her black book aloft and thumped it lightly).
Girl1: One of the Good Signs will be that the Word of God will be accepted everywhere. We will have missionaries in all countries preaching the Good Word.
Guy: But that sounds like something you'd want... Why would Jesus have to come then? What would it accomplish? I thought he was coming to save us from evil.
Girl1: Well uh... he is! But... er...
Girl2: Marcie... isn't this our stop?
Girl1: Why yes! Yes it is. Sorry... we have to go now. May God bless you and keep you. Bye!
Gods be, like praised, y'know? Rock on, you Bodacious Beings of Divine Do-rightedness.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
It was Anastastia's b-day last night (the big two-nine!), and since she shares my compunction to do something special on the actual day of it, we hit the town with Ursula and Monique. It started with pints of the fine raspberry ale at Brutopia, moved on to spicy Mexican fare at Mexi's, and then ended with a rousing rendition of a variety of covered tunes at the Vocalz Kareoke bar.
Anastastia has recently introduced me to the joys of Kareoke, but we seem to have this weird tradition. Before we get to the bar, we decide to pretend like we're visiting tourists from Ireland. We both speak with the brogue, sing with Canadian accents, and give each other names like Rory/Seamus and Molly/Maggie. I can tell you right now that French-Canadian DJs have a really hard time pronouncing names like Rory or Seamus.
At one point over dinner at Mexi's, I suddenly realized that I was the only guy in this gaggle of women when they started discussing the pros and cons, as well as the distinguishing features, between G-strings and Thongs.
Apparently, the main difference is in the size of the strip of cloth that rides up your rear. If I recall properly, G-strings live up to their stringy reputation and the cloth is quite thin while Thongs are about an inch wide.
During this whole conversation, I'm just working quietly on my fajitas, downing the sangria, and thinking "Think unsexy thoughts. Think unsexy thoughts." It almost worked.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
I just learned an important business lesson: never buy the farm until your Sure Thing (tm) is a Signed, Sealed, and Delivered Thing (tm).
About a month ago, I "secured" a two-month contract with a client. We impressed the client, he picked my company over three others, and we would start work in a week. Yay, I thought. This contract will give me the opportunity to get a laptop. So I placed an order for a Dell laptop
So the week passed and then there was another slight delay. "A couple of days," my client assured me. No biggie. Then the days turned into weeks until it was a month later already and we still hadn't gotten started.
Until this morning when I got word that the client has decided not to take the documentation offer. Just like that... the contract dries up. And Bing Bong! There's the Purolator guy with my $2000 laptop paperweight.
Oh sure... I need a laptop for my business anyways. I'll find another contract and then having a laptop will be a handy thing. I just wish the timing would've been better, is all.
Sunday, August 24, 2003
In case any of you, gentle readers, are even remotely considering dating me in the coming years, I would like you to take note of the following pointers so we can avoid a bad first date experience.
Normally I wouldn't spell it out this way, mainly because I thought it would be kinda obvious. But considering the last few dates I've been on, there's a trend forming and I'd like to nip this in the bud.
- I know I'm a gregarious type, but don't leave it to me to make all the conversation.
Contribute to the conversation so that I can delight you with my witty repartee and unique colloquialisms. Sitting there patiently and quietly is flustering my internal dialogue machine. Input! Input!
- If you manage to contribute to the conversation, please try to keep it positive and entertaining.
I really don't want to hear about how your uncle has this projectile vomiting problem, how you hate your grandmother, and if your ex calls you one more time to locate his old porn tapes, you'll just plotz. Save this conversation for when I'm ready to mire myself in your personal affairs.
- Dating in your 30s involves dealing with second hand children, so I've come to terms with that.
However, while we are sitting in a relative empty pub, please don't list all the expletives your son heaped upon the pitcher when he beaned him with that softball. The barman is looking at me with a "I'm calling security" look on his face.
- It wouldn't be a horrible thing to ask me some questions about me occasionally.
I know I look really interested on how you saved $500 on your last washer dryer combo from Brault and Martineau, but I'm really only weathering the storm until more interesting topic comes up and/or you'll actually show some interest in getting to know me better.
Actually, I'm dying to tell you how I changed a light dimmer all by myself and I didn't short-out the cat or set the drapes on fire in the process.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Please take it as a compliment if I offer to buy you a drink. I actually only offer to do this to people who's company I enjoy.
I know that you are an independant woman with her own cash-and-carry issues and chances are your credit rating is sparkling compared to mine, but I'm not expecting easy access to your nether regions for the price of a drink that involves an umbrella and a green swizel stick in the shape of an arrow. Get over yourself.
- The first date is always slightly awkward, so if you're not feeling scads of chemistry right off the bat, don't worry about it. It doesn't mean we're a bad match, nor does it mean that you're wasting your time.
If you're having a good time and enjoy my company, that's what the first date should be about.
- And if you've already decided that I'm not your type, you can still make the effort to make the date pleasant.
Chances are that I'm not a horrible person to be spending your immediate time with, so please try to make the most of it. I know that's what I am trying to do.
There you have it. Now go buy me some flowers dammit.
I think it was Winston Churchill who once said that it was extremely satisfying to be fired upon without result.
Given the events of the past week, I must say that it is also extremely satisfying to have my detractors misspell the insults they attempt to heap upon me.
Case in point, I was called an "Idoit". I am now expecting such classics as Jurk, Fubbon, Bassterd, Moreon, and Sun of a Beach.
Somehow, death has lost its sting.
Friday, August 22, 2003
I've never been a huge fan of Twister, myself. My limbs just don't bend that way and I'm usually not physically up to the task of supporting three other drunken people while teetering on two hands and one leg. There must've been a gym class I missed.
So no, I don't think I'll be getting into the Twister Bedcover, thanks. It's just a little too obvious, too Austin Powers somehow. Besides... How am I going to get sweet lovin' if I've knocked myself out after falling out of the bed during one ill-placed Yellow-Right Hand?
I've already had one unfortunate incident involving almost falling out of the bed while entangled with my partner. What you must understand is that my mattress sits on a flat plank of plywood (no boxspring), so it tends to move around (I'm always having to recenter it).
My bed is near the window which also has a heater right below it (I get the warm air in the winter and a cool breeze in the summer). I leave a three-foot gap or so between the edge of the bed and the window so that I can physically get back there when I must.
During one particularly passionate tussle, I failed to notice that the mattress had shifted its way too far over the gap. When we moved over to that section, gravity took over and the mattress flipped up, pinning us both to the window.
After what seemed like an eternity, and some carefully negotiated moves, we managed to get the mattress flipped back down. We lay there for a few moments, looked at each other, looked at the window, looked back to each other, and exploded in laughter.
I'm so glad I don't have to deal with paparazzi. I probably would've knocked the latest "Lady Di and her torrid affair with Elvis" off the first page of every tabloid in the country. I'm not even going to imagine what the headline would've said.
(thanks be to Toast for the original link)
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
I was supposed to start a contract two weeks ago and my client is still dragging his feet. Argh. This is the part about contracting that can be difficult: The Wait.
I've got a second contract starting this week though, so in a fine old medical tradition, I've caught a cold right before my first day.
Since Toon Boom, I've been doing this steadily for every new job/contract. I'll be fine for months, and then right before the first day, I'll get the telltale tickle in my throat and achy muscles. I tried to scarf down some Vitamin C, and sometimes that works to stave it off, but not this time.
So now I've got the soup on the stove and surrounding myself with some comfort food. Hopefully, I can push this stuff off before I have to meet my clients this week, if they ever decide to finally meet with me.
*poot*snuffle* Pardon me...