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

Moving On, Moving Out, Moving In!

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!
Beady Red Eye

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

Hate Mail: Second Flinging

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

Pissing off the Masses

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

Tooting my Own Photographic Horn

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 original

The edited version

Pretty cool eh? I is so good. Toot! Toot!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The Apartment Search Goes On

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

The World View in a Single Scribble

I sooooo needed this today. A laugh was exactly what I needed. Thanks Drew!

Check out this assessment of the world's problems in a single Flash animation.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The Road to Hell has Downloadable Ring Tones

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

Telling Tales in Ontari-ari-ario

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

Flashing Lights

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

Every Day has its Dog

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

Trick or Treat

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.