Monday, March 31, 2003

Oogly Boogly

Mental note: Don't watch scary movies before going to bed.

I don't like scary movies as a rule. The only exception I made to this rule was Blair Witch Project, and I only did that because I liked the concept. And make no mistake: it scared the bejesus out of me.

It was playing on Space last night, so I watched part of it. In the dark. Right before going to bed. Bad move.

The only thing that saved me was that I also watch the sequel to it which was God-Awful. Even a scardey-cat like myself was not put-off by this film (okay, so I switched channels on the gut-stabbing parts).

At least Newton curled up in his familiar spot next to me. Aside from the comfort factor, not having the cat making noises in the rest of the house is Bump In The Night factor I don't have to deal with. Yes... at 33 years old, I'm still scared of the dark.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Stood Up ... Feel Low

Josephine called me today and asked me to help her put up signs that promote her candidacy. I was so conflicted that I didn't know what to say.

In the end, I said no. No, I won't help you put up your posters. I hoped that it would end there, but of course she asked me why, so I told her.

I only hear from you when you need help. I've supported you through a myriad of crisis' in your life and I've gotten very little back. The few times I extended a hand of help, you've taken it and smacked me with it at some point. I feel that you're taking advantage of my generous nature in the name of friendship. I have to put a stop to this.

At first she laughed and cajoled me, but I said "You think this is funny, but I'm serious." That calmed her down and she listened. In the end, she said "Although I have no memory of these events, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I won't ask you for help anymore. Good-bye."

I knew I had to do this. I couldn't let it go on. When I see her next, she'll probably freeze me in place with a look. If this was the right thing to do, why do I feel like crap?

Thursday, March 27, 2003

A Window to the World

Just as in September 11th, when New York Bloggers shared their uncensored news with the world, Raed is providing an insider's view on the War in Iraq. There's nothing like actually being there.

At least this blog isn't Pentagon approved (I hope).

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

When Words Fail Me

I've been trying to spend more time in my home in the evenings for both financial and relaxation reasons. Of course, this means I'm home to receive bizarre calls like this one.

I mainly have dealings with Josephine when we randomly bump into each other in the city. The other time I will hear from her is if she wants to complain about her life or if she needs something from me. For this reason, I do not keep in close contact with the girl. It's just too draining.

She recently moved into my neighborhood, so I bumped into her during St. Paddy's Day weekend. She called me up the other night and asked me for a favour. I told her to come on over for tea, which she did (I don't receive enough visitors).

Over tea, she tells me about a request that she received from a friend. It seems this friend has a nephew who's visa papers are about to expire and would Josephine be willing to marry him for two days in exchange for a few thousand dollars. "So, should I do it?" she asks me, sipping her cup non-chalantly.

I'm sure most of you have seen LOTR: Fellowship. You know that scene in the mines of Moria where Gandalf is squaring-off against the Balrog? If he were to say "No" instead of "You Shall Not Pass", it would've sounded like the resounding "No" I gave to Josephine.

Incredulously, and bit taken aback from my reaction, Josephine looks up from her cup and inquires "Why not?" Imagine much spluttering and failing words. I can't believe I'm going to have to explain why this is a bad idea.

Now aside from obvious legal and personal ramifications of playing such a game with Immigration, I must mention that Josephine is seriously considering running for local office for one of the political parties. When I mention that there can be some serious political impact to her credibility as a policitian for that whole "breaking the law for money" thing, she shrugs it off and says "Oh... that's just American law. I want to be a Canadian politician. It's not the same. Why should I care about their piddly rules?"

Again, words are failing me, so I take a final stab at trying to dissuade her from this course of action. I take the morality angle, the legal angle, the political angle. Nothing. In fact, she just looks at me bemused and says "I can't believe you're such a square. Everybody does it, the laws have been put in place by corrupt people, so it's not really a moral crime to break them, and I really need the money."

I hate being called a square. This is when I suddenly remember the last time Josephine called me a naive square because I wouldn't defraud my insurance company when I got robbed (I know I blogged about this, but I can't remember the date). I promptly gave up, collected the tea, and said I needed to get to bed.

I don't think Josephine will go through with this idea, but it blows my mind that 1) she would even consider it and 2) she thinks I'm a knob because I wouldn't consider it.

It's times like these when I feel truly alone. Either that, or I'm surrounded by idiots. Either way, I've got no one to talk to.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Oscar Soapbox

Okay... I don't blame Michael Moore for using the Oscar podium as a soapbox for his anti-war tirade. He pretty much had to, especially considering he had to go to Canada to get his movie put together (no one in the States would touch him). If he had gone up there and gushed a whole lot of thank-yous, it would've been a complete sell-out and against everything he's ever said.

But even then, I think he went a bit too far. He should have stopped at the "fictitious election/president/war" statement, 'cause after that, he just came off as a pretentious lunatic. Even he should know that when it comes to the camera, less is definitely more (or Moore, if you're so pun inclined).

Although I was impressed that Aiden Brody was able to stop the music for him to get his acceptance speech out, he lost his momentum somewhere along the way. Always prepare your speech, whether you know you're going to win or not. Still, anyone who thinks he can make-out with Halle Berry in exchange for a naked gold statue definitely doesn't have confidence issues.

I wonder if Berry could bring Brody up on sexual assault charges for that? She looked none too impressed standing off to the side, waiting for him to get to the point.

As Oscars go, it was a pretty subdued event over all. I'm going to have to see The Pianist, Far From Heaven, and Y Tu Mama Tambien, since they got nominated in almost everything.

I've always been a huge animation fan, especially the traditional 2D stuff. 3D animation is great too, but it just doesn't have the same magic. Animation studios are just now getting the hang of blending the 2D and the 3D animations together so that you're not distracted by the technology. Disney's Hercules is an example of what happens when this DOESN'T blend.

Saturday mornings, I've taken to taping 1.5 hours of animation on YTV which consiste of X-Men Evolution, Justice League, and Samurai Jack. The YTV Saturday line-up of cartoons are pretty well-selected.

But on one particular Justice League episode, they threw in an exchange between two superheroes that I thought was pretty daring for a Saturday morning cartoon show. Let me provide you with some context:

In this episode, Hawkgirl, Flash, J'onn J'onzz, and Green Lantern accidentally get transported to an alternate universe. In this universe, there are a bunch of superheroes too (called the Justice Guild who bear an uncanny resemblance to DC's Justice Society), but they spout out the corny lines and dialogue that was more commonly found in comic books from the 1950's.

John Stewart as the Green LanternIn one scene, Green Lantern (aka John Stewart (see photo)) and the Streak (a Flash look-alike) are having a quick conversation before battling the bad guy. It goes like this:

GL: It's an honour to fight by your side.
S: The feeling is mutual. You're a credit to your people son.
GL: (looking uncomfortable) Ummm... Thanks.

I wonder if the writers had to debate this exchange with their managers or the censoring board (do they still have censors?).

Thursday, March 20, 2003


I had my first restless night in wartime. First of many, I'm sure.

With the new business stress weighing on my mind, I can't be dealing with the constant thoughts of the repercussions of this Blood for Oil war. It will stop me dead in my tracks and I won't be able to get the stuff I need to have done done.

Although this letter from Michael Moore to Mister Bush made me feel a bit better (thanks Blork). No one's buying into your company line Mr. Bush. The World is not made up of the sheep you expected to find. You'd make a rotten shepherd: "No you damn sheep... Come here! Here! Come here!" (pardon the Fawlty Towers reference).

So I'm taking a moment to thank the Gods every morning I can wake up in my house successfully without cellophane and duct tape on my windows.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Just Finish a Sentence!

Ever talk to someone like this?

    So this is what happened: I was walking down the... No wait, before that I... Okay, you need to understand that yesterday I was talking to... By the way, I really like that hat! It so suits you! It's just like my mum who is the... Have you heard from your mum lately? Anyways, I'm getting off track. I do that all the time, like the time I was talking to this guy and he... well first, you need to know that at the time I was dating Brian who... Did you meet Brian? Weird, 'cause he had nothing but good things to say about you! Or was that Ellen? Anyways, I was walking down the street and I saw... well, you know what I mean.

No! I have no idea what you mean! It's like someone has a remote control and is changing this person's topic channels every 10 seconds.

Sorry... I can only hang onto so many subplots before I start losing track of the thread of the story. All the attention span of a bug zapper.

And Gods help you if you ask her to re-explain. My only advice is to get yourself comfortable and make yourself a sandwich.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

It's Not Easy Feeling Green

Another successful St. Patrick's Day has come and gone and, according to tradition, I took the Monday following parade day off.

It's uncanny how the weather for parade day has been consistently warm and pleasant for the last five years or so. St. Patrick's Day is one of those few all inclusive celebrations where everyone is just happy. The warm weather certainly helps, but there's also a sense of infectious camaraderie that takes hold of everyone who attends. It's a big social event and every year, I meet new and interesting people.

Other than La Fete de la St. Jean and Canada Day (which have more obvious political overtones), I can't think of a celebratory day that brings more people together. Of course, those two celebrations kinda state the obvious (Canada Day celebrations for Canadians living in Canada), so it tends to dilute the enthusiasm. As Spirit of the West said "There's none more Scots than the Scots Abroad" (apply Irish liberally in this statement).

Now I can understand how some people view the day with cynicism. There's a darker side to the holiday as well that can lead to drunkeness and consequently, boobery. I heard that there was a rumble that took place outside of Hurleys, a stabbing on Crescent, and what people leave behind on the streets is just shameful.

But I prefer to focus on the positive side to the celebration. I was able to meet with friends (both old and new), share a laugh and a story or two over a pint, listen to some fantastic music, and even get my famous Irish Kiss.

Works for me.

P.S.: Haloscan's having some trouble with their commenting servers, so some of the more recent posts were temporarily lost. They assure me that they'll be cleaning this up shortly, so write-up your comments on a post-it note and stay tuned.

Friday, March 14, 2003


I'm not sure what to blog about today. On the one hand, I could say a thing or two about the upcoming St. Patrick's Day celebration (Paul's got a bee in his bonnet about all the Guinness advertising, which I have to concede the point to him).

On the other hand, I could blog about how it feels to be dumped (yet again) by Drew. Unfortunately, I don't know how to blog about that issue without it coming off as whiney. I don't think there is a way to do that and besides, who would want to read about it? I sure wouldn't.

Despite the fact that many people see SPD as only an excuse to drink to excess, it's also a great time to meet people (everyone's in a sociable mood), listen to fantastic celtic music, and take part in other forms of celtic culture (storytelling, dance, art). There's a movement in Pagan circles to have us wear snake buttons to celebrate the fact that St. Patrick didn't completely eradicate *all* the snakes from Ireland (you didn't think they were real snakes, did you?).

But if you'd rather whine about how Guinness is just using the holiday to make money, then I'd better not see you eating chocolate at Easter, buying flowers on Mother's Day, buying a tie for Father's Day, carousing around an open bonfire on St. Jean Baptiste Day, hanging up cardboard skeletons on Halloween, stuffing a turkey on Thanksgiving, stringing up lights on a plastic tree on Christmas, or buying heart-shaped boxes of chocolate on Valentines day.

This blog was brought to you today by Guinness, Hersheys, Canada Florists, Molsons, Jean Coutu, Butterball, Canadian Tire, and Hallmark.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

War of the Forks

I am reminded of when Drew commented how my Dad makes kick-ass French Toast. Little did she know how she was betraying our neighbours to the South with her Culinary Propaganda.

(Link via Toast who, while not free, is a bit French)

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Radio Gaga

In line with St. Paddy's Day festivities, I've got a few storytelling gigs going on this coming weekend (in addition to lying about the percentage of Irish blood in my veins).

On Friday afternoon around 5 pm, I'll be telling an Irish tale of thievery on Home Run with Anne Lagacé-Dowson on CBC radio (88.5 FM). I got this gig because I'll also be telling tales to kids on Saturday at the Loblaws on St. Jacques during a day of festivities. The woman who organized that event is getting some air time on the CBC and invited me to tell tales.

This is the third time I've told stories on CBC radio, so maybe a little shameless self-promotion will put me in their good books and they'll call me more often for storytelling. Gotta make more storytelling business cards.

I've got a few Irish stories in my repertoire, but not many. Out of 30 stories, I'd say only 4 are actually celtic stories. I'm not sure why that is though. When I tear through my collections of folktales, the celtic tales never seem to call to me. I love listening to celtic folktales, but I never feel drawn to telling them myself.

For the CBC show, I'll be telling the story of the World's Greatest Thief. This is really a 10 minute story, but I need to whittle it down to 3 minutes. I'll be timing myself tonight, trying to make it fit.

I hope you'll be listening! If you're not near a radio, you can listen through the Internet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Left/Right Balance

The right side of my headset has gone dead, so I'm hearing a completely different version of my fave tunes from the 70's and 80's. I had no idea David Bowie sorta sang off-key on the leftside track for Major Tom.

I can still kinda hear the recording on the rightside track, but it sounds like it's playing in a jar in another room. I don't remember fiddling with the L/R Balance switches on my old stereo (with the eight track slot) to hear these funky versions. What did I miss out on?

I don't like listening to my music in mono, so I'm twisting the headset wire in all sorts of directions to jury-rig the right side to play properly. And yes, I do wear my socks until my heel sticks out the back end and my toes poke through the holes.

Value for money, my friend. You'd be best to write that down. You'll thank me later, I promise you!
I'm so sorry.... that I didn't actually write this

This speech has been making the rounds, but since it's topical and I need something light to offset the previous post, here you go. By the way, Vote for Marg The Princess Warrior for Prime Mistress!

On behalf of Canadians everywhere I'd like to offer an apology to the United States of America. We haven't been getting along very well recently and for that, I am truly sorry.

I'm sorry we called George Bush a moron.

He is a moron but, it wasn't nice of us to point it out. If it's any consolation, the fact that he's a moron shouldn't reflect poorly on the people of America. After all it's not like you actually elected him.

I'm sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than you doesn't give us the right to sell you lumber that's cheaper and better than your own.

I'm sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defense I guess our excuse would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than yours.

I'm sorry we burnt down your white house during the war of 1812. I notice you've rebuilt it! It's Very Nice.

I'm sorry about your beer. I know we had nothing to do with your beer but, we Feel your Pain.

I'm sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you're going up against a crazed dictator, you wanna have your friends by your side. I realize it took more than two years before you guys pitched in against Hitler, but that was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.

And finally on behalf of all Canadians, I'm sorry that we're constantly apologizing for things in a passive-aggressive way which is really a thinly veiled criticism. I sincerely hope that you're not upset over this. We've seen what you do to countries you get upset with.

Thank you.

Colin Mochrie from This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Monday, March 10, 2003

Life Lesson

I learnt an important life lesson this weekend. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just cut to the chase:

1. Friendship, trust, and compassion pale in importance when it comes to money. Do whatever it takes to pay people what they're owed on time. If you ask them to wait and they say that they understand, they are lying.

2. If you make a mistake, make sure you explain yourself clearly so that no one misunderstands you. No one is interested in giving you the benefit of the doubt and the worst case scenario is the one that people will latch onto.

3. If people feel that they have a moral high-horse to sit on, they can justify anything to "teach you a lesson". Their moral outrage allows them to act without impudence because they feel that "you deserve it", even if they are not directly involved in the incident.

Hell of a week.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Impressing your Date

Drew and I were having some kick-ass General Tao chicken at the Wok Cafe down on Ste. Catherine street (some of the best General Tao in town) when I remarked "You can't say I don't take you to the nice places." We then began to think about all the great eateries in this town and the diversity of foodstuff offered.

So here's a list of places I would recommend, especially if you're trying to impress a date:
  • Santropole: Best visited in the summer months, this resto reveals your bohemian side. The terrace lies mostly beneath a canopy of trees and comes complete with a creek and rock garden. Romantic and quirky at the same time. This place is great for a first date.
  • Fondumentale: In this fast-paced world, it's great to just sit and relax over food that takes it's time to cook. This resto on Ste. Denis is actually set in rooms of an old house, so it has that homey feel to it. The lights are low, candles add to the ambience, and you can gaze at your sweetie through swirls of steam from the cooking pot between the two of you. This place is great for a third or fourth date, when you know that there's some serious romance going on.
  • Stash's Cafe: Unfortunately, I think this place has disappeared, but it was a great spot for some delicious polynesian food in Old Montreal. Dimly lit, intimate, and lush, the resto had a serene atmosphere and the food was unparalleled. Afterwards, you could always go for a walk in Old Montreal and the Old Port, which could be very romantic (especially at night).
  • Kaizen (on Ste. Catherine, Westmount) and Sakata (on St. Laurent): Two of the best places in town for Sushi. Stylish, classy, these places will reveal a debonair side to your personality that may or may not be there. In the meantime, enjoy the fantastic service and even more refined sushi. Save this place for a special occasion.
Does anyone else have places to recommend? Feel free to leave a comment here or place it on your own blog with a link back to here!

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Too Much Knowledge

I've got a Technical Writer's knowledge of how Microsoft Word works. In case you don't know what that means, it means that I understand how Word uses a Styles Template to format the layout of a document. Word is still a piece of crap when it comes to technical documentation, but if you accept that fact, you can make it do what you want.

The people where I work have a layman's knowledge of Word, so it's really frustrating to watch them format everything by hand instead of using a Style Template. There's a push here to make all the docs consistent, but nobody understands Word well enough to be able to enforce that consistency. I could teach them how to use Word properly to achieve this consistent look, but there's also an undercurrent push going the other way against change.

So for now, I'm just standing here and grinding my teeth slowly. How do I explain how and why this frustrates me? It's like... It's like... Oh wait... I've got the perfect scenario:

Stand in front of my father with a fully-unfolded map and then try to fold it back up, but incorrectly. Get it?

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Morning Inspiration

Like most writers, I tend to be the most inspired in the morning as I laze about in bed. When I woke up, with my little kitty Newton curled up in the crook of my knees, I was thinking about the upcoming evening of storytelling and Drew. Then my thoughts flowed from there.

So I rose from the warmth and comfort of my bed, made my way through the cold morning air to the PC, and added another scene to a movie script I've been working on for the past couple of months. Since any writing teacher will tell you to write what you know, the movie script is revolving around an up-and-coming storyteller.

I've got the basic layout done, including the beginning, muddle, and the end (or a few possible endings), so I'm just filling in the sections piecemeal. This morning, I added a section to the opening scene.

But now I'm realizing I need a nemesis of some kind to drive a wedge between the hero and the love interest. It might be a situation, it might be trust issues, it might be past history, it might be another physcial person. I haven't really decided. I need to think about it some more.

I wonder if that's the general process for writers. Bounce ideas around in your head until they solidify, then write them down when they stop bouncing.

All I know is that I want to cast John Cusack as the storyteller and Liv Tyler as the love interest. I think Cusack and Tyler could have some amazing on-screen chemistry (I don't think they've been cast before, do you?).

Do you think Cusack could capture the inner Hobbes?

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Up Hill, Both Ways

This whole Deep-Freeze/Quick-Thaw disco craze in the current weather patterns is definitely for the birds. And since they're all in Florida, it just another example of how birds, with their tiny brains, are smarter than your local PQ Representative. Has anyone tried feeding him a worm for breakfast (other than the tequila-variety recommended by M. Parizeau whenever he loses at Risk)?

When I was a kid, the cold never really bothered me. Oh sure, nobody likes anything colder than -20 degrees Centigrade, but I remember skiing in that weather rather easily (back in the days when the skis were physically tied to your boots).

Nowadays, anything lower than -15 degrees 'causes me to rethink my whole game plan. And don't give me that crap about a humid cold is worse than a dry cold. Any temperature that causes your boogers to freeze in your nose is damn uncomfortable.

I guess it's time for me to invest in a Nordiques toque and a pair of Old Man galoshes. If you've seen me walk on these icy roads, you'll understand. I'm puttering along in baby steps, afraid of breaking my hip.


Sunday, March 02, 2003

Innie or Outie?

I was at a beer-tasting party last night at Pietro and Penelope's house (complete with Kensington and Drew, but minus a Moka), and I was chatting with Siobahn about personality types. We both admitted to dating people in the past that were markedly anti-social, even though we are very social people ourselves. I mean, what were we thinking?

For myself, I'm a very out-going person. Faced with a crowd of strangers, I will go to them, introduce myself, and strike-up a conversation (or attempt to at least). Sometimes, if I'm at a house-party at a strangers house, it can be difficult to break-in to the cliques that already exist. If I find myself in this situation, I usually pull out my tarot cards and offer to read for people. That usually works to break the ice.

I wasn't always out-going though. I used to be very shy, very introverted, a real wall-flower. But after awhile of watching other people enjoy themselves, I decided to stop worrying/being self-conscious and inflict myself upon the crowd. This backfires every once in awhile, but for the most part, it's a good plan.

But I'm not the type of person that draws a crowd. It's not a slight against myself; I'm just not a head-turner in a room. I don't have this magnetic presence that people see and think "Oooh... there's a guy I want to talk to." There are exceptions to this, of course, but in general, that's the way it is.

So to meet people, I have to go to them because they won't come to me on their own. The advantage to this is that I can to pick and choose who I want to speak with. The disadvantage is that I have to put myself on the line each time. There's a risk: it might work or I might get shot down.

For women on the other hand, they've got it made in the shade. Let's face it: it's a Boy-makes-first-move-on-Girl world. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard women bemoan "Oh... I wish that guy would come and talk to me."

"Why don't you just go and talk to him, if you're so interested?" I ask, knowing the answer.

"I couldn't do that," she replies. "I don't want to look desperate. But dammit... Why won't he come here and talk to me?!?"

Of course, this is the type of girl who goes out on the town with just enough money in her purse to buy one drink for herself and maybe a little extra for the coat check. I've ridden home on the metro listening to girls brag about how many drinks they didn't pay for, how sleazy the men were, and oh-why-oh-why can't they meet a nice guy.

It's enough to make me want to buy them a drink, just so I can pour it over their heads. They are exactly the reason why I don't buy into this Bribing Girls with Drinks thing. If you want to share my company, then great. But I shouldn't have to pay for that priviledge just because I'm a guy and you're a girl. The 50's are over baby and they ain't coming back.

Siobahn and I made a quick survery during the party:

  • Siobahn will go out to people, but she recognizes that she has the option of drawing people to her as well.
  • Johann is the kind of guy who will go to people and chat them up, but not with strangers, and he doesn't draw to himself.
  • However, his wife Gertrutia reports that she can just stand in bar and the men will approach her in no time.
  • Drew has no trouble reaching out to people or drawing them to her. I've taken her to several parties where she didn't know anyone, but by the end, she had chatted with everyone. This is one of the many things I love about her.

Of course, this all depends on the environment. In a pub, I have no trouble chatting up complete strangers. In a dance club, I can't approach anyone, mainly because no one can have an honest intention in a club. Everyone is suspecting everyone else of having a secret agenda. And since I draw no one to myself, I tend to just sit in a corner, sip my overpriced Vodka Ice, and people-watch.

Sometimes, I'm a social butterly. Sometimes, I'm a wallflower. As usual, it all depends on context. What type are you?

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Carving out My Own Little Home on the Web

It's official! I've registered my own little space on the web. Following the incorporation of my new company name, Documentia Inc., I've registered

So go have a look and let me know what you think! Hopefully, this will be the start of something great and exciting!