Monday, February 28, 2005

Disgruntled Acquisition Move

Seeing as how the voters on the upper East and West coasts didn't get Kerry into the White House, I think Canada should send delegates down to the movers and shakers in those states and organize a group-secession so that they can become part of Canada (territories at first, provinces later).

It's not such a stretch, is it? After all, we used to own much of that land in the first place. It was only a loan gone awry, so it's time we start reclaiming.

The problem is that we'd need someone a bit more charismatic as our leader to secure the deal. Would you abandon your Apple Pie heritage to join his Dodge Ball team? I wouldn't and I live here! That's a problem with the Canadian political system: we have a general disdain for everyone actively involved, but once they retire, respect begins to grow (or fester).

I think it has something to do with our national obsession with Heritage Moments. We prefer to look back fondly rather than appreciate currently (but we do also enjoy speculating cynically).

With that wee bit of historical real estate settled, I'd then give the natives New York state. It would amuse me greatly to see New York renamed to New Kahnewake.

The more I think about it, the more I think we need a King rather than a prime-minister.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Printed, Bound, and Stuck Together

The books are finally done and delivered (thanks to Relux), all 500 of them. We got them delivered to the house on Tuesday night, the books in one set of boxes and the CDs in another set of boxes. It only took a few hours to stick each CD at the back of each book.

So now they are ready for sale and we've already sold 15 copies (not bad for the first week). Our official book launch is on March 6th 2005 at Hurley's Pub at 7pm. We're going to have a 2-hour show with a few invited guests (Mike Burns, Jack Nissenson) and I'll see if I can get a couple of musicians to make an appearance.

I'm very excited about this new publication. We've been futzing with this book for months, so I'm relieved that it's finally moving into the next stage. I figure it'll take the better part of 2005 to sell them all, but I'm already speaking with Canada Council to help me with the next book.

The printer even gave us an extra 30 CDs (no charge), so we'll be using them to put together a press kit that we can send to festivals and get some new gigs. Wouldn't that be cool?

Very excited.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Memorial

I attended Deniz's memorial last night and it really helped bring some closure to her death. Her mother and brother were there, as well as 150+ people whose lives she touched. Deniz sang in a choir that practiced every Thursday night (it seems that most of the choirs in Montreal all practice on the same night), so the choir sang during the memorial while family and friends shared their memories of Deniz (including an ambassador from the Turkish Consulate!).

There are two passages I want to leave you with before I bring this to a close. The first one was read during the memorial and the second was not read, but I remembered it clearly during the service. It describes Deniz's presence at that memorial so perfectly, I could almost hear her whisper it to me.

Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green [1] pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest [2] my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. [3]

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
Mary Frye (1932)

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

Good night.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Is it that Age Already?

I've been struggling with this post for the past few days, writing and rewriting it, pondering, remembering.

I found out yesterday that I lost a friend over last weekend. Granted, we had drifted apart a few months ago, mainly over a difference of opinion, but I wished her nothing but a happy life. I kept reading her livejournal, was concerned over how much time she was spending at work, and I knew she could get through it somehow.

She was strong, smart, and beautiful. She had depth and substance. She was artistic and spiritual. She also had a difficult time communicating with people, so that might explain why we couldn't find that common ground. But even though we couldn't make that friendship work the way I had hoped, I knew she was a fantastic person and I couldn't regret the time I invested.

Deniz was good people and she didn't deserve to die at 27 years old, especially when a doctor she was suffering from nothing more than the flu (which was a misdiagnosis). I know I'm not the only person who basked in her smile and that's how I'll remember her best.

See you in the summerlands Deniz. I'll bring the Vindalou.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hiss, Hiss, Spit

Newton's been acting up lately. I had a few people over last night for a meeting and one of them had been around three cats before coming to my place. Newton almost never hisses, but when she picked him up, he hissed at her. However, he was perfectly sociable afterwards.

Newton's a very social cat and loves people/attention. When I play with him, he may gently bite me, but never hard. However, I've come to the realization that it's because he knows me. If other people he doesn't know try to rough-house with him, he'll bite harder. I have to remember to tell people that.

Today, he got out of the apartment and into the basement. This shouldn't be a problem except that I share the basement with my landlord who has a couple of cats of his own. We've had incidents before and I can tell you, they don't get along.

So I went down into the basement to look for him. I could hear him hissing at something and then caught the flash of his eyes from beneath the stairs. There was a nasty growl coming from the other side and when I went to check, there was another cat poised to attack.

I knew better than to reach under the stairs for Newton when he's like this. I tried to coax him out, but he was completely freaked out. He was breathing hard, drooling slightly, and his tail was bushy (twice its original size). So I got some wet food in a dish and led him back upstairs. He's fine now, but still a bit skittish.

This worries me because Ms. Carotte and I have been thinking about getting a kitten. How is Newton going to react to having another cat in the house? I know there's a period of adjustment needed for both cats to get used to each other, but I don't want to end up with one cat who owns the apartment while the other spends his life hiding under the bed.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

So... So Close

I spoke with the printer yesterday and the pages of the book have been set and are ready for printing. The CD has been scanned and is ready for printing. That leaves just one more thing:

The cover. The cover is being such a bitch. It's supposed to be a deep red with gold and white lettering. I've generated a PDF of the book and handed it off to the printer, but when the printer printed the proof, dark red came out as a muddy brown.

Weird. Apparently, Macs and PCs have different ways of printing color. A PC will use the color you see on the screen while a Mac will process the mathematical color you've chosen, no matter how it looks on the screen. We've tried changing the pantone color to something more specific, but it still comes out as brown. Nuts.

So now the printer will be remaking the cover in Quark Express (I used Framemaker). I'm supposed to go see the proofs today and hopefully approve them. If they get approved today, I'm told I should get my 500 copies by Friday or Monday.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Update: the cover has been approved (with a couple of minor corrections) as well as the CD label. There were a couple of pages with pictures that were too close to the edge, so I've resized and repositionned them. I also found that the font size for the body text to be too big, so I brought it down a point (Book Antiqua, 11 pt).

The printer assures me that he'll have them printed and bound by Monday afternoon. A bit tight, but that means we should have them ready for the Love is Blind show on Monday night. Are you coming to that?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Strawberry Flavoured

Ms. Carotte and I went to the Salon de L'amour et Seduction at the Big O (tee hee) on Saturday afternoon. I was warned by some that it would a festival of tackiness, but I found it to be fun and pretty conservative considering the topic.

There were plenty of shops and vendors selling clothing, toys, and lotions of all kinds. It's fun to go to one of these things if you and your partner can be open-minded (and Ms. Carotte is definitely that). The demonstrations alone were worth the price of admission.

Everbody's got their own website nowadays. The most memorable guy there (just because of his uniqueness) was The Hugger Busker. He was offering free hugs for those who couldn't afford to buy love.

So after a couple of hours, we were leaving the expo and we decided to pick-up a gift for The Admiral (a naughty fridge magnet). We then realized we hadn't bought something for ourselves! So we headed for a particular booth, picked up something for ourselves, and went straight home to try it out.

It was a good idea after all, Ms. Carotte.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Witchy Thing

A bunch of us were out on Total Sushi Pig Out at Sushi Moushi (on Decarie below Queen Mary). We've been there a few times and it's always fun, but they should have a trolley service to haul their clientele's sushified carcasses home. We always walked (or rolled) our way out of Sushi Moushi stuffed.

While we were waiting for our sushi (that's the one downside to ordering fresh sushi: you will definitely wait), Mary-Anna turned to Ms. Carotte and asked her when we were planning on getting married.

Let me state for the record that I have no intention of marrying Ms. Carotte in the near future. I'm not saying that I will never get married, but (ye Gods) we only started dating in April of 2003. I'm not in a hurry to tie the knot and I feel no obligation to do so as of this moment. I have great respect for the institution of marriage and that means that I will approach the marriage thing when I feel ready for it, not before. Too many people see marriage as some kind of obligation while I see it as an option, no proof of how you feel about someone.

But that will be a rant for another day.

So Mary-Anna asked her question about marriage, but she corrected herself immediately and said "Oh, I know there'll be two ceremonies: the normal one and then the witchy one."

She made a motion with her hands to emphasize the witchy-ness of the ceremony, but I can't really describe it here. If your browser is Flash-capable, you should be seeing a cartoon on the right side that recreates it (click here if you can't see it (created rough and quick with Toon Boom Studio).

We all laughed and I cried out "You respect my religion, but you feel the need to do that when you talk about it?"

Oh, I'll be the first to admit that there's a fluffy, hippie flower, granola crunching aspect to pagan communities, but I look horrid in floral print.

Still, I know she didn't mean anything bad about it, so it was pretty funny. I know some people who would be horribly offended by that, but they take themselves way too seriously. These are the same people who take great humour in mocking other religions, but whip out the cursing wand if you make a single Pagan Lightbulb joke.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Catching Up

Alot's been going on lately, so here's the catch-up post:
  • Loving the new car! It's been 6 years since I owned a car, but this is my first brand new car (with the new car smell). I'm really loving the freedom it provides to be able to get to places that are not accessible by bus/metro/walking (or it may be accessible by BMW, but it takes about 2 hours to get there as opposed to 20 minutes by car).

  • Business is picking up and more or less steady. I've really been pushing the networking thing lately, so I'm hoping one of my business cards will end up in the right spot at the right time.

  • Life with Ms. Carotte is great and we're working out the kinks and bumps of sharing a space together quite nicely. After six years of living alone, I've gotten right set in my ways without realizing it. The adjustment is worth it, but it is an adjustment.

  • The Book/CD is almooooooooooooost done. I know I've been saying this for months now, but the proofs for the book covers and the CDs are being printed up by the printer as we speak. We've gotten the ISBN number for the publication and we're registered with CIP, so we're an official Canadian publication.

    I sure hope this works. We're printing up 500 copies of the Book/CD to start. I figure it'll take the better part of the year to sell all of them. Otherwise, I may have to use the unsold ones as table steadiers or wall padding. It's not too late for a pre-order, so send me an email and I'll add you to the list for an autographed Book/CD at a reduced price!

  • We've got two big shows coming up:
    • On February 14th (Monday night), we've got a Valentine's Day supper and storytelling show at the Gryphon D'Or Cafe on Monkland (click here for more info).

    • On March 24th, we'll be hosting Melanie Ray from Vancouver who will be telling the story of Tristan and Iseult. We're still trying to find a space to put this on, but stay tuned for more information about it!
And that's pretty much it. Sorry about the long silence... I will endeavor to post more often.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Loblaws Blahblah Blues

Ms. Carotte had a craving for some ice creamy goodness last night, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and bring some empties to the local Loblaws. Many places won't take empty beer bottles nowadays, so I'm limited in where I can go. I'm not selling out, dammit!

So I drop the empties off at the info counter and while I waited for the change to come back, I noticed a sign that said there were community rooms to be booked. While I don't think I could rent a Loblaw room for a Full Moon Wiccan Ritual, it might be an alternative spot to have a workshop.

"Excuse me," I said to the Loblaws Henchman behind the counter. "How much is it to book one of the community rooms?"

The henchman looked at me blankly. "... What?"

Me: "The community rooms... How much are they to book?"

HM: "I don't know... I must scan first."

Me: "You need to scan--? What do you need to scan?"

HM: "What?"

Me: (sigh) "What do you need to scan? The room?"

HM: "What?"

Me: "Look... I just want to know how much it is to book a community room for a workshop."

HM: "I cannot tell you price until I scan." He points to the scanning machine and makes a sweeping motion.

Me: "Wait wait... What are you scanning?"

HM: "What?"

Me: "What are you scanning? Why can't you just tell me the price for booking a room?"

HM: (exasperated) "I need to scan your community book before I can tell you price."

Me: "I'm not buying a book!! I want to know the price of reserving a community room."

HM: "Oh. I don't know. Call this number tomorrow and he'll tell you."

Sheesh. And I still don't know how much it is to book a room at the Loblaws. I'm actually afraid to call and hear the guy trying to scan the phone to see how much he's paying per minute.