Friday, October 31, 2003

Habu the Unsaved

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.

Bah. Boo!
Breakfast and Munchies

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

Too Full For Tokyo

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

Phone Etiquette... Too Much To Ask?

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:


Him: Allo?
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

Whoops... He's done it encore une fois!

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."

Any suggestions?

Monday, October 20, 2003

Stories on the Mountain

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

Haven't done one of these in awhile... Arrrr!

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

In Passing

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

Being a Montrealer

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

Things that make you go Brrrr!

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

Run around, Run away

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.