Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Superman is such a Jerk

I had no idea that Superman could be such a jerk. Thanks be to Tal for opening my eyes.

In a related vein, I finally went to visit the comic book guy at Komico (on Queen Mary) after a 3.5 month absence. My bin was overflowing and I wince when I think of the damage.

My comic book hobby costs me about $18 per week (on average). I'm already thinking of dropping few titles (like Ultimate Spider-man, the new Green Lantern, Legion of Super-heroes, Batgirl, and one of the X-men titles). The ones I'm still definitely keeping are Robin, Usagi Yojimbo, Teen Titans, Birds of Prey, JSA, X-men (?), Nightwing, and Ultimate Fantastic Four.

Good thing I don't smoke and snort cocaine from the belly buttons of young children. I'd never make ends meet.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Good Ideas and Cold Feet

Why is it that when we get a good idea, that we know will work, that we know will be profitable, that we know will allow us to succeed, it takes every ounce of strength to put it into motion?

I've decided that I just need to push this idea ahead, put myself knee-deep into it, and then deal with what it means. I know this will work and I'm fairly sure I'll enjoy it, but I'm so afraid of committing myself to it.

Maybe the fear comes from this certainty I have about my idea. What if I'm so sure that my idea will work and then it fails. What does that say about me?

Then again, maybe I should stop whining, take it by the horns, and see where the wild ride takes me. Last year, I was whining about my book never being published and now I'm a published storyteller.

This is me jumping in feet first, eyes open, and chucking the life vest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

How much is there in a Beowolf Cluster?

Last week, something went awry with my home PC. It just wouldn't reboot -- it kept chugging in place, never moving forward. Fortunately, I had recently backed up everything important, but reformatting that drive will mean half-a-day lost. Argh.

Happily, I had a Linux boot CD lying around, so I rebooted from the CD and up popped my first Linux session. I've always intended to explore the Linux option, but until now, had not had the chance. The computer booted up and loaded a Linux desktop, allowing me to explore it. I have to say, it was pretty neat. There were a few things that acted weirdly, but overall, it was interesting. I need to explore this OS a bit more in the future.

Then again... if I intend to be a super-villain, maybe Linux is what I really need.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What was Old is New Again

I was listening to an epsiode of the Goon Show (a radio comedy series from the 1940's featuring the late, great Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Harry Secombe) and they mentionned that the episode was "especially writted for the Wireless".

It made me wonder at the evolution of technology and how it changed the lives of the people who used it. The old wireless radios brought people together from across the globe, allowing them all to share the same experiences at the same time. They could be a part of history as it unfolded instead of reading it in the newspaper a few days later. It was the global village in its infancy.

But evenutally, the term Wireless to refer to a Radio became antiquated and quaint, referring to and older time, a (seemingly) more innocent time.

And now here we are with our computers, our Internet, our laptops, and a plethora of gadgets. It used to be that, if you wanted to access the Internet (our new global village), you had to sit in your office, your basement, or somewhere static to connect and surf.

But now, thanks to the Wireless Routers, you can access that electronic global village from your cellphone, your laptop, or your PDA. You don't have to wait until you get home or get to the office to find out what's happening in the world or around the corner.

So let's bid a warm welcome back the great term Wireless, harkening back to a time when we had to do without. I can't wait to see what technological doodad will uncover terms like "horseless carriage", "grammaphone", and "voicebox" from the mothballs.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Suds and Stories

I was doing the dishes last night (gasp!) and I decided that listening to a story CD would take the sting out of the drudgery. I slipped the Eric Gauthier CD out of its sleeve, into the CD player, and selected my favourite tracks (1 & 5).

Track #1 is the story of how Ganesh got his elephant's head, told in a way that only Eric can pull off. He has a casual way of telling, filled with such Quebecois flavour, that it puts a new twist on such a classic tale, you'd swear this story happened in Chibougamou instead of India.

The only thing that embarrasses me is that I was apparently there when this CD was recorded and you can clearly hear me laughing. People often tell me that my laugh cannot be ignored, but having it recorded onto a CD for all time, it makes me *wince*.

If you get a chance to see Eric tell a tale, make sure you get yourself there. Just make sure that you're comfortable with the Quebecois accent and jargon, or you'll be mostly lost.

So if you've got my CD (You Don't Know Jack), pour some hot water on your dishes and give a listen. A good story is a great way to pass the time.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Another KG Come and Gone

I spent last weekend at Kaleidoscope Gathering 2005, a fair-sized pagan festival in eastern Ontario. This was my third KG and now I can't imagine my summer without attending one of these.

The current contract meant that I couldn't spend as much time at KG as I had originally intended. I could only get the Friday off, so I arrived on Friday at noon with Dez (a old friend who has accompanied me these last three years). Next year, if I've got a contract going on at this time, I'll tell my client I'm in Spain for this week with tickets already paid for and hotels reserved. I know people who were on site as of Tuesday (lucky buggers)!

I'll admit, KG is more of a party than a spiritual retreat, but that doesn't mean I don't get some spiritual deepening each time I go. With an attendance of 400 people, it's difficult not to have it turn into some kind of fiesta.

One of the events I always look forward to is the Stag King competition. It's a male-only event where the men get to compete in a series of trials (physical and intellectual) in the hopes of being crowned Stag King. Now I know I don't have a prayer of winning this event, but what I love about it is that the negative side of competition is non-existant. It's a bunch of guys competing for the fun of it, rather than it being an all-out smackdown to destroy your opponent. That is one of the reasons I'm not that competitive when it comes to sports (or life in general really).

The other part of KG I look forward to is the Bardic. It's an evening of entertainment presented by the attendees of KG itself. Of course, I always tell a tale, but it gets more and more difficult each year, mainly because we are restricted to 5 minutes each! Most of my stories are at least 10-20 minutes and it's a job-and-a-half to squish them down into the 5-minute constraint.

This year, I decided to tell the story of the Teamaster and the Samurai. I've been working on this story for a few months now (since my book launch back in February), but it took some doing to get it down to 5 minutes. I had noticed that Marcus had a katana (he had shown it off during the masquerade on Friday), so I went over to him to see if he'd lend it to me for the tale. He agreed, but we'll get back to that later.

When it was my turn to take the stage (or the firepit), I began to tell me tale. When I reached the part where the teamaster draws his sword, I drew the katana out of its sheath as I had been instructed. I drew it out slowly so that the blade could properly reflect the firelight, but also because I was afraid of it slipping out of my hands and impaling someone.

When it came time to resheath the sword, I stopped speaking so I could concentrate on not sticking it into my belly. As I slid the katana back in, I took a moment to scan the crowd. There must have been 300 people there and everyone was focussed on me. Despite the size of the crowd, there wasn't one word spoken, not one sound coming from them. It was as if they were all holding their collective breaths, waiting to see what would happen next.

I'll never forget that moment as long as I live. I remember thinking, "I don't care if I don't win the Bardic. I've just accomplished what I needed to do." I finished my story to tumultuous applause and cheering.

I went back to Marcus and handed back the blade. I took a step back as he inspected the blade for any blemishes and he began to swing it in a very ritualized fashion. I found out later that tradition dictates that if the blade is pulled from its sheath, blood must be paid. I figured this ritual he was performing might be a substitute for that blood price.

Once he was satisfied, he sheathed the sword and put it back into his bag. "Thanks Marcus," I said earnestly. "Your blade really added to the story I told."

"You're welcome," he replied, then looked thoughtful. "Y'know... Normally, I would not have let anyone else touch this blade. But because it's you, I made an exception."

"Th-thanks," I stammered, suprised. "But we don't really know each other that well. What do you mean by that?"

He smiled and replied, "It's true, we haven't known each other for that long, and most of the time, we tease each other mercilessly. But I've been hearing about you for years. You've got quite a reputation, not only in Montreal, but also in Ottawa and Toronto. Now that I've met you a few times, I'm glad to say that you more than live up to your reputation."

I was stunned. I have a reputation, one that extends beyond Montreal? I can't imagine how that happened. Sure, I post fairly regularly on elists and I stay fairly active in my own community, but I never thought that anyone would notice beyond that. I'm glad I didn't happen to be holding the katana at that point, because I would have probably dropped in shock.

And with that, another KG has left me in shock and deeply humbled. A fella could get used to his. There's more to my KG experience, but I've said enough here for now. I'll probably tell my other KG tales over here.