Tuesday, April 27, 2004

For the Record...

No matter where I live, be it at my parent's house or the various tenements I have resided in, the water that comes out of the faucet in the bathroom always tastes better than the water that comes from the kitchen faucet.

I'm not sure why that is, but it's one of life's little mysteries...

Friday, April 23, 2004

The Art of Avoidance

When I was a kid, I used to tell lies like it was going out of style. Apparently, this is a normal part of the growing up process when a kid starts to be able to distinguish between the truth and non-truth. I heard an interview on the CBC with a child psychologist about how a child start experimenting with truth and lies. The example was about a boy who breaks a lamp and then runs out to his mother and says "I didn't break the lamp and I'll never do it again."

It got so bad at one point that I was lying automatically instead of telling the truth automatically, so one day I just decided to stop lying (besides, it was getting too difficult to remember what I said to whom). Of course, now I'm a storyteller, so telling tall tales must mean I still have issues with my childhood. Feel free to analyze.

But before that happened, there was one particular incident I must relate. To you justice hounds, have no fear: I paid a severe price for this one.

This happened when I was in High School and I was dealing with the infamous Eileen Killgannan (God Rest Her Soul). She was a fire-and-brimstone, hard-as-nails Math teacher and she had no patience for any type of lolligagging (especially from the boys. To my mind, she was always easier on the girls in the class).

Like so many of my ilk, homework was always a problem, so on one particular incident when I didn't do it, Mrs. KIllgannan ranted and raved at me, saying that she was going to call my parents and have them straighten me out.

If you recall, having a teacher call your parents was the worst thing that could happen. It was an unnatural blending of school and home life and it rarely had happy endings. That must be why it feels so weird when your parents invite a teacher over for supper or the infamous Parent-Teacher night.

So to keep this from happening, I hatched a plan. Every day when I got back from school, I unplugged all the phones in the house from 3:30 pm until 6:30 pm (this is, of course, before the invention of the automatic answering machine). To avoid detection, I left the plug sitting in the outlet so it would look plugged in.

This worked for about a week, but Mrs. Killgannan eventually figured out that she could call after 8 pm. A quick comparison of notes and the jig was up. And it was a jig that ended up getting me in even more trouble than the original phone call would have. Kids are not known for their foresight.

Still... I look back on that little incident and I'm fairly impressed with myself. It was a damn clever, if not short-sighted, plan.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I'm going to give Bill a Nasty Papercut

This game is as close as I'll get to seeing any of the Kill Bill movies (thanks be to Scott).

I've never been a fan or horror films, but I've found that since 9/11, I've become extra-sensitive to violence in TV and movies. At first, I thought that I wouldn't be able to watch any kind of violence, but that's not true. I just don't like watching people suffer; I just can't detach myself from violent, graphic suffering.

I've heard about what goes on in the Kill Bill movies, and while I am a Tarantino fan, I know that I just wouldn't be able to handle it.

I went to see Hellboy last week with Drew. There was a point where she looked over to me and asked "Are you sure you can handle this level of violence?" I assured her that I could, because most of the violence was implied rather than exposed.

For example, there's a scene in the movie where two Disposable Crewmembers are tracking a beastie down in the sewers. Of course, they get separated and one of them gets jumped by the beastie. As the creature dispatches the lackey, its body blocks what its actually doing and the camera pans away, although you can hear his dying screams. He's clearly not being tickled to death.

That I can handle (although it does disturb me very slightly on some level), but if the camera had zoomed in on the guy and you saw the creature slice him open, break through his ribcage, and feast on his organs, I would be having shuddering for hours.

Oddly enough, I don't have this problem with video games. The gorier the video game is, the better I like it. For some reason, I can completely detach myself from the violence in a game that I'm playing instead of a movie that I'm watching.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Repeated viewing of this Post will make you go Blind

Note: Many of the links will lead to sticky situations at work.

So I walked into Cafe Eco-Vert on Sherbrooke for a quick tea and I perused the bulletin board (my friend Sasha was telling me something about a Co-operative Bartering group and their flyer was supposed to be here).

Instead, I found pamphlets for a very particular type of festival in May that just makes me grin and shake my head. When I think of the difficulty involved in organizing a Storytelling Festival (mostly to get venues and sponsorship money), I wonder how a festival like this gets off the ground.

I had no idea that May 16th was declared National Masturbation Day. If I had known, I would've saved up (actually, no I wouldn't have). Although I've never been a fan of sponsored Whatever-athons, you can download forms for the Masturbate-A-Thon and get your friends and co-workers to sponsor you in a day of self-bliss! That should jazz up discussions around the water cooler.

There are also Gala Events (known as the Jerk Off Cabaret) and a series of Workshops.

The next time someone gives me grief about the validity of a storytelling festival, I'll be waving these pamphlets in his/her face saying "If we can have a festival that promotes Hairy Palms, why is storytelling so far-fetched?!?"

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Dream Homes

Oooooh... Arthur Black (the voice behind CBC's Basic Black) is on the Life Network with his show Weird Homes and he's going to be talking about my dream home: the Dome Home.

I've been obsessing about this type of house for years now, but the problem is that I would have to put it in a more rural part of the Montreal area. Not that I have a huge problem with that, but it would be a major change for me. It's not in the cards just yet.

Ever since I lived in that loft in Old Montreal (2 years in a 4000 sq.ft. loft), I've come to love the open-space concept. The Domehome is made of wood, it embraces the open-space concept fully, and it rotates! The entire structure sits on a 12 X 12 foot slab and it can rotate on itself. You have the option of unclamping the house and rotating it yourself, or you can get a motor installed that will rotate the house very slowly (so that you can force the living room to always face the sun).

These dome homes are kits you can buy and there's a place in Boisbriand where you can purchase them. I requested a price list a few years ago and got the package with the prices and the options. I did some research, pricing the land, the taxes, the work involved in construction (it takes about three months to put one of these together), and it all added up to a little over $200, 000. Pricey, but not too bad considering I'll have the house on a couple of acres of land.

We all have our dreams...

Friday, April 16, 2004

Lightspeed Meme

Picked up from Lightspeed Chick.

A meme:
1. Pick up a book.
2. Turn to page 23.
3. Pick out the fifth sentence.
4. Post it to your blog with these instructions.

The passage:

Popular culture has been determined to destroy respect for it, beginning with the "Maggie and Jiggs" and "Blondie and Dagwood" comics of the 1920s and 1930s, in which the man is always weak and foolish.

From Iron John by Robert Bly.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Neighborhood Old Guy

I'm officially old today. No... my birthday is less than a month from now, but I did something that turned me into that Old Guy in horror movies that ultimately bites it when the Godzilla-type monster rampages into town ("You're trampling my prized petunias, you freak of nature! I'm calling my Member of Parliment and then you'll be sorry!").

I was sitting in my office working on stuff when I heard an odd popping sound outside, followed by young tittering. I looked out my window and there were two kids (around 8 or 10 years old) breaking bottles in the street. My street is a dead end, stopping at the tracks and there are cars parked on either side.

Sighing, I got out on my balcony and shouted at them to stop. "All the cars on this street will get punctured tires from the broken glass!" The two kids looked around, almost seeing the cars for the first time. "Sorry," one of them called back. "We'll pick it up."

They picked most of it up, surprisingly. But I suddenly had an image of me standing on the balcony in a lime green shirt and brown pants, dropping my false teeth in my ranting and raving at the street kids.

I need to get a paintball gun. Heh.

Saturday, April 10, 2004


During a heated 100+ comments discussion at Hot Abercrombie Chick's blog, I happen to disagree with Ron, who seems to be of the opininon that Muslims, as a general rule, are not unliken the Devil. Disagreeing with Ron is a No No, you see. That's why he came onto my blog and took his shot (in the Tumbleweeds post).

If you think I'm exagerrating, check out his blog at Starsplash. But if you want to save yourself the eyespace, his blog is the type of claptrap that gives good honorable Christians a bad name. Somedays, I don't know who outnumbers whom.

I know, I know... I really shouldn't get into debates with looneys like this guy (something about engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed man), but my Looney Quota was low this month and I decided to poke holes in his logic.

During one heated debate, Ron's rebuke to one of my arguments was to call me a chicken and, to illustrate his point, he began to cluck like one. I always know I've won a point in a debate when my detractors start to imitate barnyard animals.

Other Ron gems, which were responses to my arguments, include:

And all I see is a liar and a cheater and a loser who is dead to God.
Hobbs,part of the lepard,enemy to the good honest hard working peoples of the world!

Personally, I love it when my detractors make basic spelling mistakes. My favorite has always been when someone called me an "idoit". It fills me with such satisfaction.

But Ron's blog is filled with such Hate Rhethoric that I thought it might violate the Blogger Terms of Service which state that a blog should not:

(a) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;

When I emailed Blogger to ask if it did violate the TOS, Blogger responded saying that it did not take responsibility for the contents of the blogs that it hosted.

I found that to be an odd contradiction. I'm sure if a pedophile was putting up pictures of the children he/she was involved with and describing their "dates", that site would get taken down, but a site that spews Racist remarks like "Muslims are Barbarians" and "Muslims ain't peaceful. They are of the Devil!", that gets to stay up.


Friday, April 09, 2004

Tumbleweeds have Stealth Mode

So my sister and her roommate have come by Montreal to visit for a couple of days and we'll be crashing with me, so I gave the apartment a quick once over. It's times like these that I wish I kept my house in a bit better shape. You never know when someone is going to come by unexpectedly and you're hastily snatching socks from the lampshades.

My sis is a bit allergic to cats, so I wanted to make sure there was no cat hair crammed into the corners and under furniture. My own vaccuum cleaner is on the fritz, so I borrowed the neightbor's upright. I scoured the floors, cleaned out the corners, moved furniture around, making sure I got everything.

When I moved out of my old place and all the furniture had been removed, there was so much cat hair behind stuff, it looked like a cat had exploded in every room. Embarrassing. I don't want my new place to get like that.

As I was packing up the upright, I was astonished to see a ball of cat hair roll past me, like a tumbleweed in an old western. Argh! I snatched it up and then started Swiffering.

The proof is in the pudding, however. My guests just left this morning and there have been no allergic reactions so far. But I need to make sure that the cat hair problem stays under control.

The vaccuum cleaner is on the fritz, but my clippers are working fine. Hmmmmmmmmmmm...

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Uniform Used to Mean Something

That whole Seinfeld/Superman thing finally gets film and offered on the Net (with a wee commercial spin that's not too distracting). Be sure to click on Uniform and enjoy (thanks be to Scott).

I love that the voice of Supes is none other than that of the Might Cronk. The Emperor's New Groove was the first DVD I bought when I got my player. I know why it did badly in the theatres, but that's because it can be a bit more subtle than something like Finding Nemo (which I liked, but les Triplettes should've won the Oscar -- call me an animation snob if you must).

My cold has now moved out of my head and has spent the evening setting itself up in my chest. Now the coughing rattles around in my noggin', leaving me weak and depleted.

I am reminded on an explanation given by my father (tongue in cheek, of course) about the difference between Male Germs and Female Germs. "Male Germs," he said, leaning forward, raising his finger, "are much more powerful and deveastating than Female Germs."

At this, my mum sighs dramatically and says "Franchement Reid."

"No no... It's true," he said. We're all grinning now. "When a man gets a cold, it completely destroys him. He can't do anything, he can't function. But when a woman gets a cold, she keeps right on going like there's nothing wrong. That must mean that if a man were to catch Female Germs, he could shrug them off. But if a woman were to catch Male Germs, they would probably kill her."

Just in case you were wondering where some of my sense of humour comes from...

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Weekend in Taranta

I've just gotten back from four days in the windy city. No... not Chicago! Toronto was unexpectedly cold and windy this past weekend, and so now I'm stuck with a head cold and a fever. Wah!

This year's Toronto Storytelling Festival was very uneven. Some nights were fantastic while others were painful in parts. The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night concert where I got to see some fantastic tellers including the famous Canadian storyteller and author Robert Munsch (the author of Love you Forever).

I got to tell a story or two over the weekend, but I was there mostly to hear stories. I heard a great story called The Blind Princess which I must now try to learn (it's already been requested).

I must also give a shout-out to Ms. Carotte who acted as my charming hostess in Toronto. My last few trips to TO weren't as fun, but apparently that was because I needed a quality tour guide.

I owe you a cranberry scone or two, Ms. Carotte. Offer only valid in Montreal. Void where prohibited.