Friday, February 28, 2003

Flabio goes Dating: Part I

Mental note: Lap Dancers and Laplanders are not terms that can be used synonymously.

However, both types of people have a strong right-hook.

Ow.
The Horrors of Pickle Juice

Drew has been complaining that Tales has been a bit dry lately, so I want to share this moment from my past with you.

Every once in a while, I have a day where everything goes wrong. The kind of day that just wasn't worth chewing through the ropes in the morning. We've all had them. It the kind of day when dogs choose you over the hydrant.

But sometimes the amount of stuff that goes wrong can reach ridiculous levels, causing me to laugh hysterically instead of sob uncontrolably. This was one of those days.

I was bopping around town with my girlfriend Nathalia (not her actual name) and we just decided to pop into the Harvey's down on Peel for a quick bite before heading off somewhere else.

I placed an order for a burger with bacon and cheese with fries and a Coke. I wasn't really paying attention when they put the toppings on it, but when I got back to my table, I took a bite and realized there was no bacon or cheese in it. "Just another chapter in this rotten day," I commented to Nathalia before I got up to change the burger.

"I ordered a bacon/cheese burger. There's no bacon or cheese in this. Can you replace it please?" The Harvey drones did so and re-did the toppings. Again, I must not have been paying attention because they put pickles on the burger. I hate pickles.

"I didn't want pickles on this" I pointed to the burger with a section bitten out of it. "Now there's pickle juice everywhere. Can you give me a fresh one?" They did, although the burger clerk was starting to smirk.

By the time I get back to my table. Nathalia is starting to giggle at my situation. "Fucking day," I mumbled as I started to chow down on the burger. I took a sip of the drink, but there was something wrong. "Nathalia... Try this. Is it Coke?" She took a sip, rolled it on her tongue and pondered the carbonated goodness for a moment. "No," she replied. "It's Root Beer."

I went back to the counter, and grinning in a slightly annoyed way, I pointed to the drink. "I ordered Coke. This is Root Beer. Can you change it please?" They did, although the patty-flippers started to look interested in the unfolding drama.

I sat back at my table. By now, Nathalia had polished off her meal and was just waiting for the next gremlin to take a stab at my day. She didn't have to wait long. I took a long drag on the Coke and rolled my eyes.

"This Coke is warm," I said to the Harvey's drone, much to Nathalia's amusement as her laughter filled the room."Can you put some ice in it please?"

When I finally get back to my table with everything I need, the burger was half done, the fries were cold (I wasn't going to tempt Fate again, thank you). I managed to consume it all admist Nathalia's grinning and poking in my shoulder. Feeling a certain need, I announced that I would return from the Little Calaberos room presently. "Watch this. With my luck, there'll be no toilet paper." Nathalia laughed as I walk away.

I know you're going to think I made this up, but I really didn't think to check first. It's only after I've done my business that I noticed that there is indeed no toilet paper.

Nathalia burst out laughing when she heard a muffled cry of "Fucking Day!" from the bathroom and continued as I appeared, walking ungainly to the Harvey's drones, gritting my teeth as I hissed my request for more toilet paper.

We went home after that, not wanting to tempt Fate any further. The Fates were busy enough that day, methinks.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Comments are down

Haloscan's been having problems with its commenting system since Sunday, so my commenting system has seemingly disappeared into the ether. Drat.

Hopefully, they'll work the thing out soon. I really don't want to have to change the commenting system again.

In other news, Drew's back from her Florida sojourn. Yay!

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Generational Supermen

How cool is this: Christopher Reeve as a guest star on Smallville. I won't spoil the episode for you, but I wonder how weird it must've been for Reeve to take the stage with the modern incarnation of Clark Kent.

And then for Tom Welling, I wonder how he felt meeting the actor who personifies Superman for anyone who lived through the 70s and 80s.

Adam West should make an appearance in one of the Batman movies.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Books on the Floor

My love of books has once again translated into books being piled up upon each other and strewn out on the floor. Therefore, since Drew was kind enough to let me have use of her wheels while she was away, I hopped off to Ikea last night and picked up a shelving unit.

What I wanted to get was this high bookcase unit, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it into the truck safely (Drew filled my head with all sorts of dire consequences if anything were to go awry with the truck during her absence).

So I settled for a smaller version of that bookcase (about the half the size). When I brought the bookcase home, I realized I might have to do some creative rearranging to get it to fit. If I move the altar into the bedroom, the new bookcase should fit fine in the living room.

Sometimes I feel cramped in my apartment and I wish I had my dreamhouse. Hells Bells... I always wish I had my dreamhouse.

Monday, February 24, 2003

In Development

No worries... I won't be writing a longish report on the four-day weekend I spent at the 25th Annual Toronto Storytelling Festival. Suffice it to say that I had a fantastic time and my telling sets went without a hitch and were very well received.

What I will say is that this festival has left me feeling inspired.

I've been working on my storytelling craft for the past six years, but I decided to focus on it in this past year. This decision has been productive and fruitful. It has allowed me to produce a CD of my own, organize a local festival, attend other festivals, learn more stories, and improve the ones I already know. It has also made me available for more gigs, which is an experience in of itself.

My decision to focus on storytelling meant that I had to drop my long-standing passion for the theatre. Since the theatre life tends to be all-consuming, there was just no way I could juggle both. But truth be told, the theatre stage was starting to lose its lustre in its latter years. Although I enjoyed the process, working with the other actors, and finally being beneath the lights, the adrenaline rush just wasn't there anymore.

My first reaction to this was to drop acting and move into directing. I really did enjoy that and the plays I directed were well-received. But if I thought acting was time-consuming, directing was life-cosuming. Satisfying, but draining.

Being a storyteller, I can bring more of myself to a performance, allowing for more of a personal connection to my audience. I don't have lines to stick to or blocking to follow. And the adrenaline rush is back (and how).

But there's also a magic in transporting my listeners to another time, another place, which for many, they have not done since they were children. Somewhere along the telling of it, people's eyes begin to light up as they suddenly realize where the tale is going. And when the tale ends the way they expected, a child-like glee and satisfaction fills their face.

They aren't disappointed that the story ended the way they predicted. They are elated that the villains got their come-uppances and the heroes rode off into the sunset. As a storyteller, being able to see that in their faces, is the most rewarding part of the performance.

So yes, the Toronto festival has left me feeling inspired. Being a storyteller is the right path for me and I have so much farther to go along this path. I hope you all get to share this road with me.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Mysterious Pop-Ups

A weird thing has happened to this blog today. When I view the blog, pop-up ads start appearing. This is new and it's certainly not something I instituted. Have I been hacked or does it have something to do with the Google-Pyra take-over?

I've got through my Template, but I can't find any part of it that would cause these pop-ups to occur. Can someone do a View Source on this page and find the bit of code that is causing this to happen.

Argh. I hate pop-up ads. If this is a Blogger thing now, I'll be moving this site to somewhere else.

Update: Okay, I found the spot of code that seems to be causing the ads, but it's not part of my original Blogger template. So somehow it's getting added by someone else. I suspect it's the following line that's causing the ads to appear: http://pagead.googlesyndication.com/ca/show_ads.js. I sure didn't put this here, so where did it come from?

I've contacted Pyra about this and hopefully they can fix the problem or explain why it's happening. I checked a few other blog site and it doesn't seem to be happening to them (yet). I noticed that other blogspot blogs were winking in and out of accessibility this morning, so it might be related.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Echo Effect

Anastasia and I were riding the escalators in Lucien-L'Allier metro when she looked up, admiring the brickwork and realizing how deep below the street level we actually were.

"Where are we anyways?" she craned her neck. "The Mines of Moria?"

In a deep, resounding voice, I boomed out "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!" That line sounds great, rebounding and echoing in that place. You should give it a try sometime (if you need an occasion, try April Fool's Day).

Gandalf the Metro Attendant

"YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!"
"Wha--? But I've got a metro pass!"
"What? Oh... Then go ahead. *pointing* YOU!"
"Me?"
"Yes you! YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!"
"But I have exact change!"
"Dammit! I hate this job..."

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

PQ Boobery

I get cranky in the morning without my cretons on toastI was listening to CBC radio this morning (the loyal Canadian that I am) and I heard that some group is demanding an apology from Bernie Landry for insensitive comments he made in a private meeting about child hunger in Qu├ębec. I'm trying to find a link to this story, but I haven't found it yet.

He was quoted as saying something like:

"I don't understand why children are going to school hungry. Birds have tiny brains and somehow they manage to feed their offspring properly."

Apparently, our fine-feathered friends have more in common with PQ leaders than previously believed.
Air Canada Jitters

I know, I know... Statistically, air travel is the safest way to move around. But I always get anxious when a loved one takes a plane to go anywhere.

Trains are so much more civilised. I'll be heading off to TO soon by train and I'm so looking forward to it. The chances of a nutbar hijacking a train to Cuba is that much slimmer.

"I said turn this train left. Left! Now! Cuba is that way, dammit! I hate taking the long way..."

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Those Hot Hot Lights

So what happened on Saturday is this: Jon the Fiddler called to ask me to tell stories in the Hudson Theatre during a show called A Brief Canadian History. It's basically an evening of songs about events in Canadian history accompanied by a multimedia presentation. Normally, they have Mike Burns telling two stories during the evening, but he couldn't make it that night.

I can't tell you how honoured and pleased I was to be asked to perform as a storyteller. It made me feel like an accomplished artist.

The evening went off pretty well. The Hudson Theatre is quite nice (I wouldn't mind putting a show on in there!) and we received a good-sized crowd. My first story (Ti-Fleur and the Magic Fiddler) went off pretty well, but I was a bit thrown by the spot light that was on me. Y'see, when I tell a story, I'm used to seeing the crowd I'm telling to. With the spotlight in my eyes, I couldn't see a single person. This unnerved me a bit and I blanked in the middle of the story, but I was still able to recover and keep going. The second story came off better.

I've known Jon the Fiddler for a few years now, but it's always been as a listener to his fiddle music. Jon has never heard me tell stories before; I don't think he'll ever look at me the same way again. Sweet.

This was a one-time gig, but I wouldn't be surprised (actually, quite pleased) if they call me up again in the future. More chances to tell stories? Hell yes!

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Days of Legend: Part 1

The past two days have been the stuff of legend.

The Valentine's Day Storytelling session was a tremendous success. We receive about 60 people for supper and storytelling, which simply packed the house to capacity. Not bad for a first event! We had a slight timing miscalculation and started the storytelling 40 minutes late, but otherwise everything went without a problem.

But if I may tout my own horn (of Gondor), I seriously rocked. My stories went without a hitch and the people really loved them. Dylan also rocked the crowd with his story of from the Mabinogion about Lord Pwyll and Rhiannon.

Dylan and I, we owned that night, without a doubt.

It was also great to see so many friends in the crowd. There was Drew (who graciously accepted to be my Valentine), Moka, and Kensington. There were my friends from the Guild, certainly, a few fellow bloggers, old workmates, drinking buddies, and a few others that I almost did not expect to see. But I also had other friends from other social circles come to see the show that had never seen me as a storyteller before. In particular were some fellow actors from my theatre days. I was especially glad that I had the chance to introduce them to my newfound love of storytelling.

Afterwards, a bunch of us headed down to Hurley's for a night of music, song, and pints galore. I'll admit to having played a bit of cupid with a couple of friends. The cutest moment was the Geeks in Love: Enrique and Marjolaine were spotted cuddling in a corner (although Marjo insisted to me that she was just cold) and at one point, the two of them had their Palm Pilots out, busily exchanging phone numbers and email addresses, both their grinning faces caught it the glow of their LCD screens.

That's the fate of cruising in the new millenium kiddies (or at least until the batteries run out).

And that was just Friday night! Just before I left for the Cafe night, I received a call from Jon the Fiddler who offered me a new storytelling gig. But that happened on Saturday, so you'll just have to wait for that story.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Valentine's Day Storytelling

Well... tonight's the big night! I've received about a dozen reservations and I spoke with the other organizers and they've received about the same number of reservations, so it should be a good night of it!

If we get a good turnout and a good response, I'm hoping we can turn this into a regular event, which would mean that we would have English storytelling every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month.

It's such a shame that Cafe Insomniac is going out of business. I wasn't able to make the last storytelling, but I was told there was a huge turnout for it (about 50+ people). We're having a hard time finding a new venue for the 1st Friday event. Ideally, it would be held somewhere in the West End of the island (NDG/Westmount area).

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Bardic Aspirations

You are a Bard!
Take the "How Do You Use Magic?" test! Written by Brimo

Speaking of which, on February 14th, I'll be hosting Straight from the Heart, a storytelling soiree which includes a scrumptious dinner! Cafe Perk Avenue, a charming antique shop and cafe, will be hosting this evening of storytelling and will be serving a meal to all those interested!

For only $15, you will be served a delicious supper (you can bring your own wine) and then be treated to a 2 hour storytelling performance featuring the best tellers from the Montreal Storytellers' Guild. If you only want to listen to the storytelling, you can come after supper and take a listen ($5).

If you're interested, you can RSVP with me and I'll see you on the Friday night! Let me know how many people you'll be bringing and I'll make the reservations.

So here are the particulars:

Straight From the Heart
Food for the Body // Stories for the Soul
February 14th, 2003

Dinner and storytelling: $15 (6:30 pm)
Storytelling only: $5 (8:00 pm)

Cafe Perk Avenue
4872 Parc Avenue
(just south of St. Joseph)

For reservations, email me (jdhobbes@yahoo.ca) or call me (514-488-5430).

Now if you really want to help me out in promoting this event, you can open this Word file, print it, and put it up on the bulletin board where you work, play, or study. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Floating

I'm now in my second week at my new contract and I still don't have a PC or a permanent desk! I'm just floating from flat surface to flat surface, lost and forlorn.

I never realized how addicted I was to having the Internet within easy reach. No wait... I did realize it, but I didn't suffer from it. Now in my second day without a PC of my own at work, my walkman batteries are dead, and I'm going stir crazy! It's so difficult to focus!

Now I'm sitting at a table with four people sitting around me clacking away at their PCs. There's one girl here who spends her days listening to TV Theme songs and she has the attention span of a bug zapper.

    "Do ya remember Magnum PI? Oooh... That was a good show. Tom Seeeelick and his Ferrari. And did you know, Henry Winkler is 57 years old. He was the Fonz on Happy Days. Did you watch Happy Days? I loved Happy Days. Everyone watched Happy Days. Happy Days was good. Not as good as Magnum PI though. For Christmas, I got the first season of Law and Order on DVD. It's that murder show and it's soooo good! Blabidty blablabla..."

Ye Gods... What I wouldn't do for a lightning strike right now. Zot!

Friday, February 07, 2003

Stubble to go

Before I sign-off for the weekend (most likely... I rarely blog on the weekends), let me just share these links about us Goateed folks. I dedicate these links to Elim, whose recently developped Goatee looks great on him (I hear he's having it trimmed by a Japanese gardner).

Famous Goatees
Evil Goatees

As you may have guessed, these links come from the Goatee Style website (thanks Bevie). He's got a blog too, which I might just start reading 'cause we have so many hairy chins in common.

Ooog... that didn't sound right. At all.
Business Attire

I see that the staff at my new contract don't seem to have a Casual Friday thing going on. I'm glad I erred on the side of caution and didn't wear my jeans today, but this means I'm going to have to get more dress pants.

Aldo also has at 50% off deal on their Doc Martin shoes. It wouldn't be a bad thing for me to pick up a new pair of black shoes for the office. At least no one is giving me any grief about my lack of tie. I don't really hate ties, but I do not like being expected to wear one.

So if they have no Casual Friday, I guess Nude Wednesdays are right out. Drat.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Time Marches On

You said your birthday is 5 / 4 / 1969
which means you are 33 years old and about:
52 years 6 months younger than Walter Cronkite, age 86
49 years 0 months younger than Pope John Paul II, age 82
44 years 11 months younger than George Herbert Bush, age 78
37 years 7 months younger than Barbara Walters, age 71
35 years 6 months younger than Larry King, age 69
29 years 3 months younger than Ted Koppel, age 62
25 years 10 months younger than Geraldo Rivera, age 59
22 years 10 months younger than George W. Bush, age 56
17 years 10 months younger than Jesse Ventura, age 51
13 years 6 months younger than Bill Gates, age 47
8 years 8 months younger than Cal Ripken Jr., age 42
2 years 10 months younger than Mike Tyson, age 36
1 year 3 months older than Jennifer Lopez, age 32
6 years 8 months older than Tiger Woods, age 27
13 years 2 months older than Prince William, age 20

and that you were:
32 years old at the time of the 9-11 attack on America
30 years old on the first day of Y2K
28 years old when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash
25 years old at the time of Oklahoma City bombing
25 years old when O. J. Simpson was charged with murder
23 years old at the time of the 93 bombing of the World Trade Center
21 years old when Operation Desert Storm began
20 years old during the fall of the Berlin Wall
16 years old when the space shuttle Challenger exploded
14 years old when Apple introduced the Macintosh
14 years old during Sally Ride's travel in space
11 years old when Pres. Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr.
10 years old at the time the Iran hostage crisis began
7 years old on the U.S.'s bicentennial Fourth of July
5 years old when President Nixon left office
3 years old when Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot
not yet 1 year old at the time the first man stepped on the moon

Thanks to Bevie of the Blue Lightbulb who found this on Boy the Bear's Age Gauge.
Standing Tall and Alone

I have a couple of friends (Drew and Anastasia) and they've both been dealt hard blows by people they thought they should've been able to count on. Consequently, as they try to sort out their new lives without these deadbeats, they are searching for their newfound independence.

As a friend, it's tough to watch them go. They could use a friend to lean on, but they've become so gun-shy, they tend to push everyone away. "I'll figure this out on my own" is their war cry as they rebuild their lives, pushing it in new directions.

I've been where they are, so it's doubly-difficult. You don't want to depend on another people and neither do you want to burden them with your problems, but sometimes it can be so much to bear on your own.

The danger is that if you spending all your time pushing people away, you run the risk of not being able to ask for help with your really need it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, unless you place the burden of your problems entirely upon the shoulders of someone else.

Ultimately, you have to do the lion's share of the work to get through your problems, but there's no shame in asking friends for support. In the end, it can be a sign of strength. You can have the strength of character to recognize that you have the power to handle your own problems, but also allow your friends to support you in it.

Works for me, but will it work for them? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I'll just be standing here waiting...

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The Value of your Free Time

Drew just informed me of something that really burns my biscuit.

For as long as I can remember, I've been a volunteer in various organizations, giving my free time to benefit others. I've been a volunteer with Scouts Canada (Wolf Cub leader), Museum of Civilization (in Hull), Montreal Association for the Blind (reading books to tape), Montreal Pagan Resource Centre, and various other charities and good causes. The good feeling you get from volunteering has always been worth the effort.

But now Drew wanted to volunteer her time with the Montreal Fine Arts Museum and they told her that, for the privilege of working with such a fine institution, she would have to pay a fee.

Is it just me or does it seem a bit ingratuitous to make volunteers pay an organization so that they can give of their valuable time? Ultimately, the museum will benefit from the volunteer's generousity, but they also get to receive money from them?

With volunteers always lacking, it sounds to me that there must be another organization that would be more appreciative of their volunteer's time and energy...

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

The Old Grind is New Again

It's been two days at my new contract and I'm settling in not too badly. The first day was alot of waiting around 'cause they weren't really ready for me to arrive. I offered to take off early and not charge them for a whole day, but the client insisted I stick around. I did my best to keep busy, but it was mostly a waste.

I got my computer today, so that's allowed me to get started on the project. Of course, this is only a temporary office until they find me a more permanent spot to sit. The laptop they ordered for me will be arriving in two weeks, so the desktop PC will do me until the laptop shows up.

People are friendly and there's lots of activity going on around. From what I understand of the project they've given me, it looks pretty easy. I'm good with easy money, really I am.

I'm down on McGill College, so it's interesting being in town again. But I need to start making my lunches again. Eating out everyday is way too expensive in this part of town.

Update! I've redesigned my professional site, so go take a look! I haven't incorporated yet, but Doohickey Documentation is my main choice. I hope Quebec doesn't give me too much of a fuss for the French version of that (which is really just Documentation Doohickey).

The Robot design is temporary (mainly 'cause I cribbed it from the MS Clip Art Gallery). My friend Talyesin will be designing me some new kickass robots to use for my logo.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Job Allergies

Whenever I'm betweening jobs (and it's been happening more in the past year than I care to think about), a weird thing happens. My health is fine and stable during the off period, but when I finally find work, I pick up a cold which reaches its peak on the first day of the new job.

When I got the job at Toon Boom, I had to take half of the first day and the second day off because I was horribly sick (feverish, dizzy). Now I'm about to start a new six month contract and, sure enough, I'm coughing and have a sore throat. I'm popping the vitamin C and hoping to stave it off as much as possible.

But what's up with this? Is my body trying to tell me something (other than "Feed me Seymour")?