Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Girlfriend Dared Me to Say This

I know I haven't been writing much lately, but my Christian girlfriend has been leaving her Bible in random places in the apartment, so my hands are so scalded from picking it up so often, it makes it difficult to type.

How's that for Culturally Appropriate Christmas Sentiment (tm)?

But this is from me:
'Tis the season to be jolly and grateful, so I just want to thank all of my readers who pop in to see what thoughtblob has being gracefully ejected from my brain and onto electronic techno-paper. I run into you people fairly regularly (like at tonight's Yule Ritual where I got to play Ra the Sun God) and I'm always pleased and flattered to find out that you take the time ("Oh yeah, I read your blog all the time." // "You do?!?!").

Happy Yule and a Merry Christmas to you all! I look forward to hoisting a pint with you in the New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

High-End Tea

I was out Xmas shopping yesterday and I swung by Hogg hardware on Sherbrooke to pick up a teapot and cup for a friend of mine. I had spotted this tea set about a month ago and decided this would be the present for her, but I hadn't checked the price. It's a teapot and a mug (from the Bridgewater set), I figured. I was sure I could afford it.

The teapot was white with black lettering, as was the mug. The mug itself could hold a pint of tea and it read "I'm not greedy. I just like a lot." Perfect, I thought.

Until I stopped in yesterday and saw the price: teapot: $125 // mug: $48. With jaw hanging askew, I put them back on the shelf and headed of to the Craft Fair at Bonaventure.

To get a teapot and mug for $175 (plus tax), it had better fill with Lady Grey tea magically on command. I wish I could be living in that lifestyle, but I'm far from it.

But speaking of big purchases, I spent last week looking at three types of cars and I decided I would take a decision on them. I've decided to go with a 2005 Toyota Matrix and I'll start the process of purchasing it on Monday. Hopefully, it will all go through. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Inner Green Man

This year, we've decided to go with the live tree thing for Christmas ("In the spirit of Christmas, we've gone out and killed a tree for you!"). We've been steadily decorating the green beast, but we don't want to overpower the thing with too many decorations. What's the point of having a tree in your house if you turn it into a hat rack?

This is Ms. Carotte's first Christmas in a place she feels she can call home. Remember that she spent the previous 8 years on the road with a touring theatre company, so Montreal is her first steady spot in quite a while. She's going a bit azy-cray with the glittering decorations on the house and the tree, but I'm trying to keep her reigned in. Here's what the tree looks like now.

In the meantime, I'm getting in touch with my inner greenman.

My contract is about to hit a lull, so I'll be using that time to go out and hunt down some Christmas presents. I still want to hit the craft exposition at Place Bonaventure, but I need to stop in the regular shops to get a few other items. Ms. Carotte has a few things under the tree already, so I need to start keeping up.

Only a week left or so before the holidays start up. Yikes! I hope you and I can meet up for a holiday pint sometime soon...

Friday, December 10, 2004

CSI Las Vegas wishes it were CSI Manitoba

So Ms. Carotte has gotten me hooked onto CSI (in its various regions). I've been watching more Las Vegas and Miami than New York (although I'm a big Gary Sinise fan), so I don't know if the other shows do this as well, but here's what I've noticed:

What is with the obsession with Canada in CSI?!? Typical Canadian that I am, I'm extra-sensitive to Canadian references in non-Canadian shows. Not that I have a problem with them (I love it), but I just notice it more.

What I've noticed is that, at least once an episode, there'll be one reference to Canada. That reference may be as a Canadian flag, the mention of a province or city, or of a news item. At first, I thought it was a fluke, but I was watching CSI last night and the investigators walked into a depanneur on the outskits of Vegas (I could've said "corner store", but this place was about 10 km from the closest corner) to investigate the clerk being shot.

Twice, the camera panned a set of license plates over the entrance door, and the second time, there was clearly a Quebec license plate, complete with the Je Me Souviens on the front of it (for those who don't know, "Je Me Souviens" translates roughly to "I got a souvenir").

I'm like that. I've always been looking in the backgrounds of scenes to see what the scene designer is trying to hide. I started noticing these things watching Looney Tunes and then the Simpsons. Having directed a few plays, I've been known to hide meaningful items in plain sight on the set, just to see who might notice them.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Skating Rink

Last night's freezing rain sure did a number on the attendance at my storytelling event. We had 20 reservations, but only nine people showed up. Still, the stories were good and the people were appreciative, so I'm going to count it as a success.

The owner of Shaika even said that she'd let us come back and do more shows like this anytime. Yay! Maybe next time, we'll get a bigger crowd and it'll take over more of the cafe. The noise levels were quite high last night (there was a knitting circle, of all things, clicking and guffawing in the front corner of the shop), but a larger crowd should take care of that.

But the skating rink that the city sidewalk turned into...! I've dislocated both knees in my lifetime, so I get quite paranoid about walking on Montreal's sloping sidewalks. After years of not owning winter boots, I think I need to break down and get some. Does anyone know a particular kind that would give me more traction on these icy roads?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Tough Crowd

I had a pro bono gig on Sunday night with the Montreal Children's Hospital at the Novotel on de la Montagne. It was a special weekend where the kids who were being treated got to spend time with their friends and families doing a variety of activities, including a sleepover and a visit from Santa on Monday morning.

So they contacted me to ask if I'd be willing to volunteer some time and tales for about 60 kids. I said sure, but I made sure to mention that I'd need a room that didn't have too much traffic and noise in which to tell me stories. The event organizer said that would be no problem.

When I showed up, the 60 people (kids and parents) were sitting in a huge room where they had just had supper and were now doing arts and crafts. They cleared a space for me in the corner and announced the storytelling, but only 20 of the 60 people left their tables to come and listen.

The rest of them stayed at their tables working on their arts and crafts and speaking at an above average level, which meant I had to practically shout my stories to be heard. I asked one of the organizers to ask the others to keep their voices down. To her credit, she tried, but the hordes paid no attention to her and kept talking, shouting and laughing.

By the end of the show, my own voice was hoarse although the kids stayed with me right until the last story. The organizers were very grateful and very apologetic, saying that they would make sure I had a quieter space next year when they did this event again.

Speaking of events, are you coming to our Winter Tales show on Tuesday night (entitled Twas the Night Before)? It's at the Shaika Cafe (5526 Sherbrooke, corner Old Orchard) at 7pm. You can download the poster here.

C'mon.. can you imagine a better way to spend an evening? Cup of hot chai, a pastry, and Winter Tales to warm the soul?

Friday, December 03, 2004

Dirty Words

I was at a meeting yesterday where one of the members was asked to bring an inspirational quote. This member stood up and read the following quote:

Men of principle are principal men
- Palmer (I think)

Immediately, there was a wave of murmuring in the group and one of the women crossed her arms and stated "I am not a man! You should change that to people."

Confused, the guy who read quote said "It was a quote, so I can't really do that. To me, the "man" in this quote means men or women."

"It's still not appropriate," she replied. "You should've said "people" and not "man". "

And the debate ended pretty much there, except I was left stewing in my corner. Since when is the word "man" a dirty, derogatory word? We were all adults around that table (I figured) and we're all intelligent to know what the spirit of that quote meant, so why must the terminology be changed?

The man who read the quote has always been an upstanding professional and has never done anything to suggest otherwise. I found it insulting that his character was attacked in this way, suggesting that he was somehow discriminating against women because he read a quote that said "man" rather than "people".

So rather than learning from a noble quotation, another person decided to use it as a soapbox to flaunt an unrelated issue and, as a side bonus, attempt to damage his character. If she had a problem with the word "man", she could've just as easily spoken to the guy privately and made her displeasure known to him.

I thought about raising this issue with the woman in question, but I checked with Ms. Carotte first. She said I shouldn't say anything, that most of the people in that room would not agree with me, and I might only damage my own standing in the group. "It's wrong, but this is how society views men nowadays. Let it go."

I'd like to be a man of principle, but apparently, because I'm a man, I'll just have to do my best, handicapped as I am with that pesky Y chromosone.

Principles indeed.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

My Yuletide List Just Got Funky

I just figured out what I really want for Yule, but I can't think of who would get this for me. I need to make more friends in the UK. When you check out the link, scroll down and listen to the sounds these bad boys make. I was only so-so on the idea of owning one of these until I heard them hum.

Speaking of weaponry, I sure could use an Orc Detector. Since Frodo Baggins has made his home in BC (where did you think that ship was really going in Return of the King?!?), he doesn't really need it. Besides... I live near a tunnel! Orcs abound!

Then again, an Orb attuned to my computer could be fun. A mood ring for geeks!

Would it be dangerous to have earth's magnetic poles so close to my computer?

Actually... Just hearing from you for the holidays will be great. And if you don't, I'll bop you with my plastic toy that hums! Oh yeah... You know what I'm talking about...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Upstaging of Death

Frick: "Didja hear the news yesterday?"

Frack: "Sure did... Unbelievable."

Frick: "I guess this day had to come sooner or later, but it's still sad."

Frack: "Yep... I wish I could've gone to Ottawa to join in the protest."

Frick: "Protest? Whaddya mean protest? How can you protest about a man dying of heart failure?"

Frack: "Wha--? George Bush didn't die of heart failure! He was visiting Ottawa!"

Frick: "George who?"

Pierre Burton died yesterday. I'm sure it would bring a smile to the old historians lips that his death upstaged Mr. Bush's visit to Ottawa. We Canadians have plenty to be sad about, really. But it's snowing outside, so it can't be that bad.