Wednesday, September 29, 2004


All I have to say about Dunchurch is that it's a long long long way to drive. Thank goodness that the Budget rent-a-car had unlimited mileage on it because driving to Dunchurch on Friday and then driving back to Montreal via Toronto (to get Ms. Carotte's things) racked up 1600 km on the odometer.

It also satisfied any need on my part for long-distance travel for a good long while. I'm still craving a car though. The car I want doesn't even have to be as sporty as the Grand Am I rented for the weekend (although it was fun having the thing take off like a bat out of Lethbridge when I mashed the accelerator). Right now, I've got my eyes set on a Toyota Echo (hatchback) or a Ford Focus Wagon. I've always had a thing for the practicality of hatchbacks.

But the long and the short of it is that Ms. Carotte is pretty much settled into my pad. We've got a few more things to take care of to make her arrival official, but all in due time. After six years of living alone, having someone share my space is an adjustment, but so far, so good.

CD News: I spent more time in the studio than I expected, but the CD is almost done. Gern needs to make a few more tweaks and the CD will be ready to go. Click here to listen to a 25-second clip (mp3) of Jack Cures the Doctor (what I refer to as my Jim Carrey moment).

If anyone is interested in pre-ordering the Book/CD ($20), email me at I'll add you to the list and I'll make sure you get an autographed copy!

Monday, September 27, 2004


Just a quick shout-out to Kristy who claims that I'm inspiring. Did ya hear that? I'm an inspiration to young Canadian women. Move over Roberta Bondar!

So Kristy has been busy. She's got a blog, a photo journal, and a bunch-o-photos over at Yahoo. Way to get linked girlfriend.

Oh but wait... I can't call Kristy by her real name, so I will be referring to her as Magaly from now on. Thanks for the all the nice complements Magaly.

I just got back from Northern Ontario with my Toronto Mail-Order girlfriend. She's made grilled cheese for me. Gotta run.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Tales from the Golden Gryphon

Last night, we had our first official WOMP night of storytelling since the Fringe: Tales from the Golden Gryphon. It was held at the Gryphon D'Or cafe on Monkland and there's another one tonight. The place is a bit small (holding only about 20 people), but it makes for an intimate space and it's very cozy. Perfect for storytelling.

For tonight, we've got 16 people reserved, so I'm hoping another 4 will turn up today (I always want a place to sell out). So far, the turn-out has been strong, so we're seriously considering turning it into a regular gig (like once a month).

But this show was designed to promote a much bigger event at the end of October that will span the three days of Halloween. Stay tuned for more information!

All this and the Book/CD is nearing completion. Very exciting times...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cellular Ding-a-Ling

I wish I had a cellphone that supported this. Green Day has come out with their latest album (must add them to the list) and to promote it, they've come up with Green Day ringtones. But these ringtones are more talky than ringy.

In fact, I probably wouldn't answer the cellphone just to let the ring play itself out, especially if I'm on a crowded bus or metro. The thought of someone's cellphone saying "Hey! It's Responsibility over here! Pick up your fucking phone" makes me giggle like a school girl.

You can visit the Green Day website to hear the ringtones, but I warn you that when you load the page, it starts playing a preview of the ringtones right away and quite loudly too, so modulate your volume in response to it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Blather, Blintz, Bleat

This must be a sign of getting older, but I get so impatient with people who do not speak in an efficient manner. Instead of thinking about what they want to say, they'll work it all out aloud, giving the rest of us an unwanted window into their thought processes. Then the point of whatever they're saying starts turning blue from lack of oxygen because it gets piled over prefaces, life examples, and disclaimers.

Says the guy who seems incapable of writing a short blog entry. I recognize it. Shut up.

I was at a meeting last night and there were a few people there who either didn't know how to cut to the chase or couldn't be bothered to. And me sitting quietly at my chair, eyes boring into the floor, my mind screaming "shutupshutupshutupshutupshutupshutupshutup" and "gettothepointgettothepointgettothepointgettothepointgettothepointgettothepoint."

Here's an example:

Question: So do you agree with Proposition A?

Answer: Well I don't know, y'know? But, like, it's kinda like this thing that happened last week when I was at school, whatever? There was, like, I don't know, a teacher? And he was, like talking to us and -- I don't know -- well, I started thing about, I don't know, life? And how big it was when you-- whatever. Anyways,I think it's a good idea, but I don't know, like whatever. But then there was this presentation on elephants, and like y'know, how they never forget? And I was thinking, yeah like, this is just so like Proposition A, but then again, I don't know-- whatever.

Argh! I think it's time I pick up one of those wooden canes so I can shake it like a Poloroid Picture at those kids breaking bottles on my street. I seem to be well on my way to brown pants, white sneakers, and bifocals galore.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Dinner Parties

Growing up in my parent's house, my folks loved to host a dinner with a few friends. My Dad had an extension to the table so that you could seat 8 around the table or if we had more, he'd get out the sheet of plywood (which would then seat 10). The kiddie table was always set in the laundry room.

My mum would spend the day cooking: groceries in the morning, bubbling pot lids in the afternoon, and the house would smell of roast beast. My Dad even used to make his own wine, so it would be La Cuvée Pops for the table wine (my Dad is the oldest of four kids, so they nicknamed him Pops).

The food was always perfect, the lights would be low, and the conversation was lively. By the time the tea/coffee arrived after dessert, we would all be stuffed.

So when I host a dinner party at my own house, I tend to go a little over the top. I keep wanting to recreate the mood that I grew accustomed to at family dinner table. So last night, I had a few close friends over for a sit-down roast beast meal. Everyone contributed something and we were all putting it together in the kitchen.

We all pulled up our chairs to the dinner table and we began to feast. It being Harvest time, we were all in the mood for a bountiful Harvest supper. And ye Gods, we weren't disappointed. The roast beast was juicy and flavourful, the mashed potatoes and the salad were delish, and the tea and dessert finished everything off nicely.

That was the closest I've ever come to recreating the dinner mood in my parent's house in the 15 years I've been away from home. I loved it.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Turning Points
  • Last night's studio session was productive. The CD portion of the Book/CD is almost done. We'll be getting the First Draft of the Master CD on Monday. Oooooh.

  • Fate has introduced me to a guy who might be able to get me a good price to put the Book/CD together. It's going to be expensive any way you cut it, but hopefully sales will be good. You'll buy one, won't you?

  • This Sunday afternoon, I'll be doing my first solo performance at Band Camp. Ask me if I'm nervous or if I feel prepared.

  • On September 27th, my life will be changing forever and definitely in a good way. Ms. Carotte will be sharing my living space. Prepare for oodles of lemon scones and couple stuff. That reminds me... I need to clean this place up.

  • On September 29th, I'll be leading my first Men's Circle ritual. This is hopefully the first in a series of rituals being offered this year that will explore male spirituality and the male mystery. Ask me if I'm nervous.

  • At the end of October (Halloween), the second installment of our storytelling festival will be taking place. Three days of storytelling, ending on Halloween night at Hurley's Pub. Stay tuned for more info.
In the midst of all this, I'm hoping to get a new client or contract. These months are going to be busy.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

My Own Private Box

So last night, the Admiral invited me out to see some Avant-Garde theatre out in the Village. We went to see The Boxman at Station C. I hadn't been in the Village in years and it's always an experience.

When I first moved to Montreal, Aengus took me for a tour of the interesting places, including the Village, but he didn't tell me that at first. We were walking down Ste. Catherine street and I looked in the cafes and bars and I said "Wow... It's a slow in the bars. Not many women out tonight." THAT's when he decided to let me in on the secret.

Anyhoo, onto the play. The audience was let into a large room that had a set of cardboard box booths laid-out in a square and facing inwards. Each booth had its own chair, flashlight, water, facecloth, and toilet paper. The inside of the booth was decorated with a collage of pages from magazines and newspapers.

Then the play began... It's difficult to describe exactly what was going on. Because it's avant-garde, it doesn't follow and traditional rules of theatre. The best way I can describe it is that it's a series of loosely connected vignettes, centered around people who live in cardboard boxes and watch us live our lives.

Interesting idea, but the delivery was only so-so. Some of the actors need to learn how to project their voices because I missed most of what they were saying. Also, this play was over two hours in length with no intermission. That's a long time to stay focussed and in your seat.

Visually, the play was facinating: the visuals were strong and remarkable. It mixed recorded images and claymation with live stage performance. It was also fun to have the flashlights to throw extra light on what we wanted to see on the stage.

Before we went into the theatre, I was a bit apprehensive because I read the program and the director/writer's two-cents on the piece. It could be basically summed up as follows:
    I don't write plays to entertain. We already have the Hollywood claptrap to stimulate our senses. I am an artist, I create. If you like what I've done, great. If you don't, great. Your approval or appreciation is not necessary or required. I am an artist and the my creation is the most important thing.
I'm torn on this isssue. On the one hand, I think it is important for artists to push the boundaries and be innovative, but not at the expense of their audience. If I go see a play about urban life and it's two hours of hookers flinging Kraft cheese slices at a photograph of Mr. Bush doing the cha-cha with Jean Chretien, I can't say my time/money has been well spent.

The writer/director may want to call it Art, but where's the consideration for his audience? Challenge your audience, yes, but don't leave them in dark, bound and helpless. You're not doing anyone any favours except indulging your own dark fantasies. Art can be therapeutic, but it shouldn't be a replacement for therapy.

Again, don't get me wrong: I think it is important to challenge the audience, but it's important to strike a balance between taking your audience to a new place while giving them something they can digest.

To do otherwise is lazy, self-indulgent, and does more to hurt the Art than to bring it to the next stage of evolution.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Circular Answers

During a touring show of Sleeping Beauty, I was armed with a video camera and turned to T! to ask him what he thought of working with such consumate professionals. The answer was as sarcastic as the question.

T! turned to me and gave me his answer using the same words I used in the question, but in various positions and juxtapositions.

Watching this video clip of Mr. Bush trying to stumble his way through an explanation reminded me of that (although T! was much more eloquent).

Sometimes it's just better to say "I don't understand your question" or even simpler "I don't know the answer to that".
Canada Rocks

Team Canada beat Finland last night 3 to 2 in the World Cup of Hockey. All the goals were solid except for one (it dribbled through an opening and into the goal (more luck than anything)). I was down at the Old Orchard watching the game, but I couldn't convince any of my cronies to come with.

When Team Canada won gold at the last Winter Olympics, we got a gang together and watched the game at the Cage au Sports in the Bell Forum. The place was packed and the cheers were deafening. After the game, the streets were overrun with celebrating fans. It was great.

I guess World Cup just doesn't have the same weight. The streets were quiet in NDG after the game, although I heard a few people saying that there were huge celebrations in town. I hope they didn't get out of hand.

Monday, September 13, 2004


It's a bad habit and it's getting me into more and more trouble. I never used to be chronically late like this, but now I'll be showing up to things 15 to 30 minutes late. I hate it.

So I used a meditation exercise suggested by a couple of victims of my lateness (thanks Autumn and Ash) and the horrible truth was revealed.

It's been about three years since I lost my dream job at Toon Boom and, unlike any other job I've held, I've been keeping tabs on what's been going on there since I left. In some ways, I'm glad I'm gone, but in other ways, I'm still wistful.

Back in 1999, I was freelancing my writing when I approached TB for a contract. The interviews went well, but then I was offered a job rather than a contract. I was so tempted by the offer that I put my freelancing days on hold to have a chance to work for this company.

Over the next two years, I poured everything I had into that company and I produced some of my best work (ZDNet even noticed the documentation, saying it was "Excellent"). To achieve this, I worked late nights, weekends, and I gave up personal time and cancelled plans to make sure I made the deadlines (which were largely unreasonable). I was very loyal to this company, despite a few bumps and rolls.

So you can imagine my devastation on September 19th 2001 (two years to the day I was hired) when I was laid-off with a dozen others. So much for loyalty or recognition. I gave my all to that company and in the end, I was reduced to a salary, to a number, and was cut from the group. One month later, I found another job (for a gaming company), but that one only lasted 9 months when I was laid-off again.

Since then, I've been finding it very difficult to give my projects all the attention and energy they need. I keep feeling like my contributions are meaningless in the grand scheme of things and I'm not as motivated to keep my promises or put in that extra effort. All my work and efforts at TB didn't prevent them from casting me loose so they could save a few bucks.

It's not a conscious decision, but it hangs around my neck like a dead weight. When I should be heading out the door to make my appointments, I let myself get distracted by other things, and consequently, I'm late.

Now that realize where this weight is coming from, I can start to fight against it, but it's so difficult. I don't enjoy being like this -- it robs me of the joy of my activities.

Mind you, I'm not trying to make excuses. I'm trying to figure out what's wrong and find a way to fix it.

It's pulling up by the Boot-Straps time, but *whine* the boots are so far away...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Now with Pictures!

You'll find the photos of the Kayaking Weekend at the Admiral's Canned Photos site. The photos were taken with a Disposable Waterproof Kodak camera, so the quality ain't that great. I had the photo place develop the negatives and burn a CD.

There's only two pictures of yours truly (one of the problems with being the photographer) and they may not look very scary, but I can tell you the adrenaline is pumping when you're jumping the eddies, rolling with the current, and trying not to flip over.

I went to the Eye Doctor today to have my eyes dialated. I couldn't see straight for 3 hours after they put those drops in my eyes and it was difficult walking around in daylight (with the eyes fully dialated, the sun is plenty bright, thank you very much).

But I should be getting my new lenses and frame on Tuesday; I'll be keeping my current frame but have the new lenses placed at the end of next week. I'm not sure what's coming, but the Eye Doc assures me that my vision will be so much better.

Maybe then, I'll stop misplacing my glasses.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Hurts So Good

If my body was a oppressed village, there'd be open revolt right now for what I just put it through. Fat happy little villagers living their sedentary life are not pleased when they are suddenly forced to perform feats of strength with virtually no warm-up.

After my third white-water kayaking trip in four years, I'm in pain, but satisfied and happy.

I wish this was me, but it ain'tMy first kayaking trip was with Aengus and Kensington, organized by Aengus. He had heard through the grapevine at work that the H2O Adventure company offered a great course in kayaking that lasted two days (the weekend). So we picked a weekend that suited all of us and headed off to the white water.

That first time, we decided not to camp out with the other kayakers, which in the end was a mistake. After the first day, we all hopped into Aengus' fertility wagon (a mini-van) and headed back to Brossard (a 1.5 hour trip). In that time, my muscles had seized up so badly and I was in so much pain, I had to ask Aengus' girlfriend to cut my steak up for me: I couldn't put enough pressure on the knife to cut through the meat.

Since then, we bring out tents and sleeping bags with us, along with a few cans of beer and other assorted refreshments to share around the campfire. Not only does it allow us to hang with the other people (who were a very entertaining bunch this weekend), but the muscles don't cramp up as bad if you keep moving.

Our dry land is an island on the Rouge River and our wet land is the bottom of the Rouge itself. Unlike other kayaking companys, H2O doesn't start you at the top and forces you down the white water immediately. H2O starts you at the bottom in calm water so that you can learn and practice all the basic moves in a stress-free environment.

Then when you are ready (which is usually at the end of the first day), they take you up to the rapids at the bottom of the river. This means that you can choose how rough a rapid you wish to take on, based on your own skill and confidence level.

As I said, this was my third time on the Rouge, so Kensington and I took an advanced kayaking course which put us in the rapids after lunch on the first day. I didn't do too badly... I was able to surf the ways and jump from eddy to eddy with relative ease., although I flipped over a few times in the water water.

I meant to learn how to do the Eskimo Roll this year, but decided I'd rather spend the time paddling. Besides, I need to develop some more strength in my body to be able to flip the boat around (it's all in the hips).

So each time I flipped over, I would perform a Wet Exit, which means you exit the kayak while underwater. Looking back, I should've done more T-Rescues (using the tip of another kayaking to help you right yourself on the water). Doing a Wet Exit means you have to drag your kayak and paddle to the shore, empty the kayak out, and get back in. Very tiring. Still, each time I flipped over and Wet Exited, I just got back into the kayak and tried again.

On Saturday night, the kayakers were delighted with a fire-spinning demonstration by the Admiral, as well as a story from yours truly. Then it fells to jokes and teasing all around. At least we avoided Kumbaya (although narrowly). I shared some of the Fireball Whisky with the people, which was a very manly drink until one guy said that the taste of it reminded him of those little pink hearts you get on Valentine's day.

Argh. This was the revenge exacted upon me for my Ham story.

Sunday was again spent on the river, but now the whole lot of us were surfing the rapids, which made for a crowded river. Still, I was able to surf a few eddies with my buddies and get more confidence on the water.

Sunday afternoon was certainly bittersweet. I was glad to be heading back home, but I was going to miss the gang we hung out with all weekend. A big shout out to the whole gang, especially to Bill and the Bombardier Crew.

I'll be awaiting Spring Thaw 2005 on the Rouge River with anticipation. I hope all you can join us on the rapids!