Thursday, January 30, 2003

Tap, tap... Is this thing on?

My friend Anastatia took me out for kareoke on the weekend, which was pretty much my first time following that bouncing ball. Uncharacteristically, I was more than a bit nervous getting up on that stage. There was a time I used to sing in the pubs, but you know what they say: storytellers are failed singers.

The best song was the duet I did with Anastatia with Man of Constant Sorrow (from the O'Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack). Of course, that meant I could cover up my warbling with a southern accent.

I also sang Dancing with Myself (B.Idol), Rock This Town (Stray Cats), Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics), and I Left My Heart in San Francisco (D. Martin). The worst by far was San Francisco. The next time I do that one, I'll do a Porky Pig imitation.

All in all, it was great fun! Anastatia has a beautiful voice (she used to sing in a band), so it's no trouble for her I used to take singing lessons so that I could get better parts in musicals, but it's been years since I've sung on a regular basis.

But no worries... I'll be sticking to storytelling. I'll only inflict my warbling voice upon the masses once in a blue moon. I'll try to give you enough notice next time to purchase your earmuffs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

SUV Princess' need to see where they're going

Stereotyping is just so wrong, it really is. It's wrong to assume anything about anybody just based on where they live, what they wear, what they do/don't drive, etc...

But then again, sometimes, it's difficult to ignore certain signal flags that go up during certain situations. I got one of those signal flags today and I don't, in any way, think that this is typical of my friend Drew or says anything concrete about her, so neither should you.

Drew lives in Westmount, although she adamantly maintains that she is NOT a Westmounter, and she drives a big-honking-Jesus SUV. After going to see The Hours (which is an excellent film, but don't go see it if you don't want to get weepy), Drew asked me if I knew how to refill the windshield washer tank. I said I did.

She then retrieved the brand new jug of washer fluid and proceeded down to the front of the truck. She looked up to me expectantly and I said "You need to pop the hood."

"Right! Right, right... I knew that." She went to the driver side and started searching for a button, a lever, or somekind of doohickey that would do that. I heard something crack open and she said "I'm assuming this isn't it, right?"

She held a rectangular plastic box out, dangling it like a dead rat in front of me. "No sweetie... That's the circuit box. You're getting warmer though."

I was about to go to the User Manual that came with the SUV (imagine!) to find out where this lever was when I heard the tell-tale pop-thunk come from the front of the truck. The hood had popped-up ever so slightly. "I got it!" she cried.

We both went back to the front of the truck, Drew holding the jug of washer fluid and looking up at me expectantly. "You need to unlatch the hood now," I suggested, my lips quivering ever so slightly.

"I knew that! There's some kind of doohickey under the hood here... Got it!" The hood yawned open and she hooked it so it would stay open. She found the fluid tank (marked with a windshield symbol) and gingerly poured the washer fluid in. Satisfied, she recapped the washer fluid tank, lower the hood, and we both hopped back into the truck.

"What are you laughing at," she shot back, giggling herself. "I did all that on my own. You only supervised." She's right. That's all I did.

Guess where this all took place. Cavendish Mall, right behind Caplan Duval. Only true Montrealers will be able to appreciate the relevance of that.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Spaghetti and Tomato Soup Spice Cake

I had a little supper party last night with six friends of mine. We've been having a hard time hooking up lately, so I decided to bring us all back together for a meal.

I had forgotten how much fun throwing one of these things together is. I was providing the spaghetti and sauce and the others brought the garlic bread, salad, wine, and dessert. A spaghetti dinner is one of the easiest things to prepare, but I had also fogotten how much running to and fro the host must do to keep the evening going. The music, the wine, serving the plates, picking them up afterwards, serving dessert, and preparing the coffee/tea.

I had a great time and loved every minute of it. Now I got loads of dish to do, but I'm thinking back on the evening and smiling.

I used to throw more of these parties when I lived in my loft in Old Montreal. With 4000 sq. ft. at my disposal, I was never worried about having enough room for people to sit comfortably. Now that I live in a 5 1/2, I always feel a bit more cramped.

Then again, I had 40 people over for a Wine/Cheese/Dessert party in September and everyone fit in just fine, so I'm probably just being paranoid.

I need to throw another one of those. Soon.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Storytelling: A Preview

Tonight, I'll be telling a story written by the late Thomas E. Fuller called The Hall of Wonders. I found this story on one of my favorite storytelling sites called The Moonlit Road. Mr. Fuller was an award-winning sci-fi author and a major contributor to the Wishbone series (the history show with the talking terrier).

Before I forget, I will also be telling stories on February 14th 2003 (on Valentines day) at Cafe Perk on Parc Avenue. This is another little venue that we've found and organized for storytelling. I'll tell you more about it later.

If you can't make it, wish me luck at around 8 pm 'cause that's when I should be performing. Yikes!

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Upcoming Storytelling Event

Must stay focussed on what I need to do. Must stay focussed...

I can't believe I forgot to advertise this event on my own blog. Sorry for the late notice. I hope you can make it!
    I am pleased to announce that there will be a night of storytelling taking place at Melange Magique (1928 Ste. Catherine Street -- near Guy-Concordia metro) on January 23rd at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7 pm).

    There will be four storytellers performing in this evening namely: David "Hobbes" Hickey (that's me!), Jack Nissenson, Margaret Nicholai, and Elizabeth MacDonnell. All are members of the Montreal Storyteller's Guild, they will weave you an evening of story, song, legend, and magic.

    A little background information: These four storytellers have been invited to tell their stories at the 25th Annual Toronto Storytelling Festival at the end of February. This is one of the top storytelling festivals in North America and it brings in storytellers from all over the world. It's quite an honour to be invited, I can tell you!

    In order to prepare for this event, the tellers have put this storytelling show together and have been rehearsing it a few times in preparation. But since there's no substitute for a live audience, I asked them if they would be willing to perform our show for an audience and, at the same time, raise funds for the Montreal Pagan Resource Center. Graciously, the tellers agreed.

    The suggested donation for this evening of storytelling will be a $5 per person with all the funds going to the MPRC; the storytellers involved are donating their time freely and will not receive any monetary compensation.

    So I hope to see you all at this performance which is guarenteed to entertain! If you have any questions about it or the MPRC, please email me.
Square One

Just once, I'd like to get involved in something that doesn't end with "You're a great guy, I love you and everything about you, but let's just be friends." Of course, this excludes the break-ups I've had that you could've seen from space.

I thought I had gotten ahold of something amazing, something that seemed custom-built for me. I seemed to be doing everything right, the connection between us was so strong, and despite a few ups and downs, we were happy. And even for all that, I still lost in the end.

I had written something much more detailed about this, but it just came off whiney (can you imagine?). PMS, indeed.
Moody Blues

Everyonce in a while, I get a bad case of the Bad Mood (tm). I'm not particularly pissed off about anything, but the Bad Mood (tm) just hits me for no particular reason (or maybe for every reason) and I go into major moping mode. I have no energy, everything annoys me, I'm seriously unmotivated to do anything that involves any effort beyond sighing heavily. This is why I tend to hide myself away from folks when I'm like this.

The problem is that the only way out of this is time. The Bad Mood (tm) is fleeting. It eventually passes and I'm back to myself again. People who see me on a more-or-less regular basis know that I'm a pretty upbeat happy type, so if they happen to see me like this, they figure something horrible must've happened.

One of my ex-gfs (who eventually learned how to deal with me when I'm like this) came up with a term for it. She called it PMS for men. Of course, in a male's case, PMS stands for Poor Me Syndrome.

Fortunately, it lasts only a day or so. I'm awaiting potential good career news today, so that might lift my spirits.

*crossing fingers, toes, and anything else I can find*

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Shield your Eyes!

Thanks to the blog mistress at Ni Vu Ni Connu, for she has added a portal into the Hobbesidian Den of Blogger Madness.

That reminds me... I must finish the dishes.
Neon Bowlerama

Sunday night, I went bowling at Sharks with some old friends from Toon Boom. I've been to Sharks a few times to play pool, but I had never tried their bowling alleys.

The bowling experience itself is great. The black lights on the ceiling make the bowling balls glow bizarre fluorescent tones and the lane is illuminated in purple. There are multicolored running lights on either side of the lane and the pins glow. Other than that, it's a pretty regular game of bowling.

The problem with Sharks is, although they hire a plethora of Beautiful People, the staff tends to have all the personality of a rock garden. The answer the bare minimum of questions with a milligram of charm, basting you with a baleful look as if to say, "Like, stop wasting my time, okay? Can't you, like, seeing that I'm busy being beautiful? Okay, like... what-ever."

Thank the Gods I was hanging with a good crowd. I don't get to see my old Toon Boom buddies often enough, and when Drew showed up a bit later on in the evening, the good times got even better.

But I have to come clean and admit something: remember my previous post about "failure to communicate"? After the evening of bowling, we went to Angelo's on DeMaisonneuve for a bite to eat. After we had consumed a pizza, we had to split the bill four ways. Drew did not miss noticing that I was struggling with the mathematics involved. She had a good titter at my expense and I suppose I deserved it.

But hey... if I could count, I wouldn't be a writer.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

My life needs an Undo button

Y'know when you try to explain something to somebody and, in your desperation to make your point, you end up using an illustrative example that just gets you into more trouble?

I do this. all. the. time. With alarming regularity. Drew: could you just take the point and drop the example please?

My life needs a Stop/Rewind button. *sigh*
Rainy Day Books

When I used to live in Old Montreal, there was a used bookstore down on St. Antoine called Russels. It was an enormous repository for discarded books of all genres, styles, and levels of publishing. If I happen to have the Sunday free, especially if it was raining that day, you would find me at Russells hunting for my next book.

There was something about the musty ambiance of that bookstore, especially when it was raining outside. Textured hardcovers, yellowing pages, the warm, yellowish lights flickering randomly, the rustling of pages, the thumping of rediscarded books, and the low murmur of conversation.

And the smell. The humidity of a rainy day just seemed to coax the smell out of aging books. 10 000 years of human experience sitting there on a bookshelf, waiting for you to turn a page and discover it. It's the smell of knowledge and it pulls the peruser in, alluring, teasing, intoxicating.

There was no sign that said "Quiet please". Used bookstore patrons are just naturally quiet and pensive in a bookshop. Oddly enough, the only person who is breaking this unwritten rule is the guy behind the cash. He'll be having some kind of conversation with a regular, about politics, world events, or the latest escapades of a mutual friend.

I buy books for the oddest reasons sometimes, especially in used bookstores. Sometimes I'll be interested in the book's content, but other times I'll buy a book as a work of art in of itself. I'll like the way the paper is cut or I'll be facinated by the texture on the hardcover. Sometimes I'll buy a book just because I like the inscription on the flyleaf. Sometimes I'll find an old keepsake hidden away in it's pages.

I'm always inspired to write more when I'm in a bookstore, but I have yet to carry all of this inspiration home with me. Sometimes I manage to carry some of this inspiration home and I'll start banging out some new idea, but the inspiration will just drift away from me lazily like smoke.

I need to get more books in my house. I need more shelves. And maybe someday, my book collection will end up in a musty old bookstore somewhere and, one rainy day, a treasure hunter will find within it an old drugstore receipt for cough syrup as a make-shift bookmark. Maybe he'll wonder why I stopped there at that page. Maybe he'll wonder who I was and what the mysterious inscription on the flyleaf really meant to me and to the person who wrote it.

A slight bit of immortality tied into a book. Seems fitting somehow.

Friday, January 17, 2003

What we have here is a failure to communicate...

If you want an indication at where our education system has failed us, no need to look far and wide, no need to be examining the micro/macrocosm of societal dynamics, no need to perform surveys and ask lots of multiple choice questions.

Just sit back and watch as three friends try to divide a resto bill three ways fairly (including tip).

I was at the Claremont yesterday night, enjoying a glass of wine with Drew's visiting friends (Gwen and Moka) before they headed out for a Girl's Night Out. They had the FMN boots on and they were ready to take the Boys by force. My sympathies, lads. You'll never truly know what hit you...

"What does this come to split three ways?"
"Don't forget the tip!"
"Right... How's X bucks?"
"Oh come on... that's way too much!"
"It's easy... just add up the tax and that's the guy's tip."
"What are you doing with my 20?"
"I need the change... I gave you two tens and a five for it."
"Yeah... but give me my 20 back!"
"I just gave you two tens and five--"
"Don't you mean two fives and a ten?"
"What--? Right, right... Two fives and a ten, so I took your 20 in exchange."
"That's fine.... but I want my 20 back!"

Mathematics and Communication, those are the skills missing in this societal genetic make-up. That and dividing by zero. Know what I mean?

If you don't know what I mean, you've just proven my point.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Cynic and the City

Sometimes it can be a struggle not to turn into a cynic when you live in a big city.

I went into Peel metro and I wanted to buy a couple of passes for the last two weeks of January, so I was asking the ticket taker if I could do this. Just as I started doing this, a guy appeared behind me, sighed heavily in frustration, and barked "Mon metro est en train d'arriver, crisse."

"Bien vas-y, " I said as I stepped aside and let him buy his tickets.

As he walked away, I noticed his left a toony in the change slot, so I called out "Monsieur! T'as oublié ton deux dollars!"

His shoulders slumped in frustration and he stood there a moment, trying to decide if it was worth it to go back. He then rolled his eyes which seemed to guide his body in a spin-around and he jogged back to me as I held out the toony. He snatched the toony from my hand without so much of a "merci" and tore off downstairs to get his metro.

I don't want to become cynical, snapping at people who get in my way, people who might delay me from getting here and there. But I always feel so foolish when I try to be humane to someone who couldn't give a rat's ass. I would like to think that the guy made his metro and once he settled down, thought "Crisse... J'aurai-du dire merci." Yeah, I know... I won't hold my breath.

Oh wait... did that sound cynical? Drat.
Mother Knows Best

Horatio and I were exchanging techwriting horror stories yesterday after the STC Executive meeting and I was reminded of this incident that happened to me.

I had a contract with a company that was in the food service industry and I was writing the documentation for a touch-screen system for keeping track of orders in their restos.

Two weeks had passed since I dropped off the First Draft of the documentation and I was sitting in a review session with the Product Manager, the head of Marketing, the R&D Manager, and the programmer. My Product Manager, MellowKitty, was sitting next to me as we waited for their review.

The Product Manager spoke first and said "I know you gave the document to me to review, but I didn't have time to read it, so I passed it to Julie in Marketing." We all turned to Julie.

Julie said "I don't know how the system works! So I passed the document to Bill (the R&D Manager)."

Bill shrugged and said "I was too busy to read it, so I gave it to Mike to review it."

We all turned to Mike (the programmer) who held the document in his hands and spoke with authority. "I didn't really have time to read it either, so I gave it to my Mother. She read it and said she didn't like it. She said she thought the document that I wrote was better than this one."

MellowKitty, well-versed in Customer Relations, was kicking me furiously in the shins to keep me from saying what I was thinking. My mouth is still hanging open in shock.

Monday, January 13, 2003

The Weather Channel has it all

Who needs to watch the soaps? My windows are showing all the variety I could ever want. Cloudy, cloudy with light snow, windy without snow, snow squall, and finally sunny with blue skies.

Montreal doesn't get enough white-out blizzards, to my mind. Seeing my first one of the 2003 season (as brief as it was) made me nostalgic for my old hometown of Ste. Foy.

Maybe I'll go shovel the walk and remember blizzards past.

(and no, I'm not going to shovel your walk)

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Even eggs have their limits

While camping over the summer, I was introduced to a wonderful form of scrambled eggs which involved maple syrup. Previously, I didn't like scrambled eggs so I never made them (I think it was because my mum added milk to the mixture). Since then, maple syrup scrambled eggs have become a mainstay.

The other day, I ran out of maple syrup, so I substituted honey instead. Not bad. Then, encouraged by my experimentation, I poured some Porto into the mixture, hoping for a more European flavour.

I should've taken the color the eggs took on when I mixed it all together as an evil omen.


Friday, January 10, 2003

Question Period in the House

let's walk in the: Winter Wonderland
let's run through: this rehearsal one more time
who are those: freaky-looking pagans
what a nice: pair of hotpants
where did all these: jobs disappear to?
when will they: stop looking at us?
where is: my next lucky break
why can't you: focus on the moment
easier than: pie
closer than: ever
look at my: eyes and tell me what you see
i'll stay if: you ask me softly
silly little: goose
show me some: hope
the sky is: clear and sunny, so let's have a picnic
tell me a: story
hide me: behind your couch
love me: the only way you know how
my mom thinks you're: unknown to her
are you: ready to hear the unbridled truth?
i missed: you these past few days
can't you: admit what you're feeling?
lovely little: princess

Thanks to bevie who answered the questions first.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Outta the Mouth of a Babe

My bud Jane had a good suggestion about my blog. Imagine!

Whenever I talk about people on this blog, I usually refer to them by the first letter of their names to preserve their anonyminity (I've been taken to task on the alternative occasionally). If the person has a blog, then I usually use their name with a link.

But if I talk about two people with the same first name, it can lead to confusion. Therefore, à la Jane's suggestion, I'm going to come up with fake names for these people. I'll try to make them bizarre enough so you can know this is probably not the person's real name (like referring to Tom as Tiberius).

I'll have to keep a file to keep everyone's name straight. If you'd rather I refer to you with a bizarre name, let me know.

Last Minute Note: There's a new virus hoax going around that tells you to delete a file on your system called jdbmgr.exe (I've received three emails about it so far). Before you email me this thinking that you've been infected, read this. It's not real... it's a hoax. *Sigh*.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Split Second Decisions

I was finally able to catch Beau Kavanaugh and the Broken Hearted at Brutopia again last night. I saw them once about six months ago and since then, I kept missing their shows for one reason or another. I really need to get my Beau K CD back from R.

At one point on my way back from the bar with a fresh pint of Brutopia's fine Raspberry Ale and a Scotch Ale for my friend Eric, I crossed a girl who really knew how to make a statement. Only women can get away with stuff like this. She was wearing a pair of black hot pants which were really nothing more than a pair of black underwear. If I walked around pantless with my Daffy Duck boxer shorts lighting the catwalk aflame, I'd be soooo arrested and thrown in the Mexican Prison section of the local hoosegow.

By the time I got back to our table, I looked over to wear this girl was heading and she was now standing on the booth bench, bent over, while another girl spanked her in a theatrical manner. I commented that this was a hellava time not to have my digicam, so visiting D at the table handed me his.

By the time I got to the girl's table, the spanking session had ended but she was still gyrating provocatively. I asked her if she minded me taking a picture, so which she responded "Sure!".

I looked down at the camera for a second to locate the viewfinder and when I looked through it at the girl, I was more than a bit surprised when I noticed that she had stripped off her shirt and bra. Tanned titties bared for all to see. I very nearly dropped the camera (but not before snapping off a couple of pics).

I talked with her briefly (she wanted to see the pics). She was celebrating her 30th birthday that day and that she worked as a stripper at the Super Sexe. I always wondered what strippers did on their nights off (I figured they stayed home and built castles out of papier-maché).

Now I wonder if D will actually send me back those pictures. I know his wife was none too impressed with the provocative display and I'm worried she might insist that the pics be deleted. No one will believe me if I don't get photographic proof.

I'm not sure how this type of thing keeps happening to me. I'm not saying I constantly have strangers exposing themselves to me in the Erotica section of the Chapters bookstore or anything, but I've had more than my share of unique situations to adapt to.

I love this town. You just never know what's around the next corner.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Seasonal Screwies

Over the holidays, I spent six days in Quebec city surrounded by at least three feet of snow everywhere. That's a bit lower than usual (which should be four to five feet of snow), but it still makes for a white Christmas.

And then I come back here, Montreal, the tropical island of our Belle Province. No snow. A bit of ice. Seasonally balmy weather.

When I first moved away from home to Sherbrooke to attend university (at the Unversité de Sherbrooke), it threw off my seasonal clock not being surround by four feet of snow from November to April. And even after all these years, I still can't get used to it.

I'm an Autumn-Winter guy. I'm not a huge fan of Spring (too muddy) and I like Summer insofar as there's lots more to do (especially in Festival-ridden Montreal). But by far, Autumn is the most beautiful time of the year and Winter has a magic about it that I can't define.

Maybe that's it... maybe the amount of snow is what defines the magic of Winter. After all... if it's snowing out, it's not that cold really. And there are few things more peaceful than a heavy snow blanketting the earth (one of those things being colorful leaves falling from the trees).

Sure sure... Winter has it's downsides. Freezing rain, any temperature below -15, wind factor, slippery roads/sidewalks... But then again, there's skiing, skating, snowball fights, sledding, snowmen, Winter festivals, and the appreciation of warmer interiors.

But what's the point of Winter without snow? More snow, I say! I'll gladly bundle up in the warmest of sweaters to sift through mounds of the white stuff! And any nay-sayers will get a snowball to the head, so beware!

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Hang your hat, wipe your feet

Welcome to the New Digs! The Pooh Logs have now changed to Tales from the Hobbesidian Order. As some of you may know, Hobbes is my nickname in a few circles, so I'm experimenting with that.

There are a few things I still need to fix with this new look, but I'll be fixing that as I go. Thanks to Bevie for the basic style sheet and all her help! You rock girl!

So... any thoughts?