Thursday, October 31, 2002

Halloween weirdness
Strolling home from the metro yesterday, I start seeing all these orange posters stapled to signposts and taped to walls. It turns out that a chiropractor is offering, between 4 and 9 pm this evening—get this—free x-rays. Now, this isn't for people. Oh no, the chiropractor is offering to x-ray bags of candy, to make sure there are no pins, needles, syringes, safety razors, etc, hidden inside little Jean-Marc or Marie-Hélène's bite-size Snickers. Nothing like gamma rays to go along with your stale taffy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Yeah? Well, same here
Talking with the no-longer-significant other on the weekend, I was asked how the dinner during the preceding week with my mother went and, more importantly, whether my mother had inquired after K. Thinking back on the evening, I replied in the affirmative. “Oh, and does your mother miss me?” K asked. Um, well, I can’t remember them saying anything along those lines, good or bad.
“So, K? Do your folks miss me?”
K replies, “Oh, they were devastated.” And then laughs uproariously, unable to stop.
And to think of all those holidays I dragged my sorry (but, yeah, geometrically perfect) ass over there.

Owie owie
I’m sitting at my desk, and am suddenly stricken with violent back pain, which slowly and painfully migrates to the left side of my body. I ask myself, my left arm is slightly numb, so am I having back spasms or a heart attack? Anyone else ever get this?

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

What is it with people who sigh? Is life really so difficult that they have to announce to the world that, gosh darn it, they’re not as joyous and fresh as they can be? Really, if they’re that crappy, just swear. Get it out there. Don’t just exporate little passive-aggressive murmurs.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Hey baby, I feel your pain
So, here at work, two fellows signed up to have their heads shaved today as part of a local radio station’s “Shave to Save” campaign, a fundraiser for breast-cancer research. Now, don’t get me wrong—the community has to pick up where the government has failed when it comes to funding research—but I can’t help but feel cynical when guys agree to have their hair cut off in order to show empathy with women living with the consequences of breast cancer. Hell, the guys’ hair is going to grow back with a few weeks and I’m sure they’re hoping it will grow in thicker.
The way I figure it, if folks really want to show they care and that they are willing to experience the pain and discomfort of cancer treatment, I strongly suggest they take heavy doses of medical poison—preferably the emetic kind—lose about 25% of their body mass, lose their hair permanently, become so weak that even getting up to go to the bathroom requires all the thought and strength they have, possibly lose a body part, empty out their bank account, radically change their diet, and so much more stuff that I hope to never undergo. Yeah, that would grab my attention and my admiration.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Are you man enough?
“When I first hit Yosemite in 1957, I was a mountain trooper from Colorado, as straight as a lodgepole sapling and celibate to boot. Fortunately, two derelicts then in garbage-can residence soon put me straighter with vicious amounts of Red Mountain wine. When not busy laying the groundwork for the Golden Age (that's about all they were laying), it seemed to my neophyte eye they stayed drunk. Why not? Even many years later women were unknown to that distant world... The only thing down at Camp 4 in the Elder Days was dog shit and Tri-Delts surrounded by their betrailered parents, about as accessible as the Crab Nebula. So we had beatoff contests at the bivouac ledges, drenched our sleeping bags in semen, got drunk and indulged in towering fireside smut." Mike Borghoff, to which I answer:

Monday, October 21, 2002

Dinner for one?
Friday night, coming home from work, stopped off at La Boîte Noire to renew my video membership and rent The Others, which is surprisingly good in a Sixth Sense sorta way (love the fact that Tom Cruise is executive producer). Headed up St-Denis where, on the corner of St-Joseph, is this amazing fruit & veggie market whose name escapes me. Pick up some greens to go with my chicken in peanut sauce. Oh hey, a container of mixed greens, pick it up. Finally stopped at another market near the corner of Laurier and St-Denis to pick up some brews. Knowing that I was making crêpes this weekend, I also picked up some eggs, meaning I needed some bacon for breakfast. Hmm, croissants would go with that also. Butter, I need butter. Milk for my café au lait. Heading to the cash, I notice that the store stocks tiny dressing containers at the salad bar, 0.15$ each. At the cash, I look around; there are about six women and two other men waiting to pay, each of us laden with single-serving dinners, either already prepared or quick and easy to cook. All tail-end baby boomers or gen-x’ers, embarassements and disappointments to our parents because of our singlehood. I calculate that at least five of us are owned by cats. I had never noticed before how many of us there were out there, either content with our status or desperately lonely, and that there are stores that cater to such folks.
Saturday, I head down to the national book monopoly, and spend way too much coin on three tomes, which should keep me going for a week or two. Headed to Weir yesterday, a small town north of Morin Heights, snow bordering the roads. Turn off on a country road, and come face to face with megalithic antennas belonging to Téléglobe. It was a scene out of Hollywoood; huge parabolic antennas in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the forests’ fall colours, backed by huge granite cliffs. Walking along, found what seemed to be deer bones, sun- and time-bleached, at least a foot long. Coming back home last night—my first Sunday night in town in months—turn a corner to see the full moon just over the horizon, a mixture of pink and purple. Grozny.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Montreal Morning Scene
Walking to the metro this morning, I see the woman who hands out the free daily paper start running after two dogs, a beautiful Golden Retriever and a mid-size darker dog. Couldn’t understand what was happening, but the woman was nevertheless maintaining her regular cheerful contenance, so I thought she was simply playing with them. As I got closer, I realise that the golden is unleashed, adding more belief that the woman owns the dog. Closer still, and it becomes apparent that the darker dog is a Bernese mountain dog—besides making a great sauce, that region is definitely a progenitor of beautiful canines—in fact a seeing eye dog, and that is being jumped on and having its butt sniffed by the golden, all the while trying to guide its, um, mistress(?). Never saw that before.
I wonder if palace guards in London feel the same way when tourists try to make them smile.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Grizzly bear notice
"In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field. We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren't expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper."

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Mmmm, naked felines
Well, not really, they’ve blotted out the “naughty” parts.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

First Thanksgiving sans turkey
Went to the Shawangunks on Friday night, seven of us, arriving at around midnight. As we were driving through the Adirondaks, the rain started and did not let up for the whole drive. We arrived at Camp Slime (yes, it’s really called Camp Slime, for good reason), trying to set up our tents in the dark. Within five minutes, everything was drenched: the tent, the sleeping foams, all our clothes and, worst of all, our sleeping bags.
Awoke on Saturday morning several hours before anyone else, the rain pounding. I’m kinda depressed, and don’t even feel like making coffee. Took a walk for a few hours and, because I am a rain god, was followed by clouds who wanted to be close to me (5 points to anyone who gets the allusion). Get back to Slime and, feeling lonely and hungry, start throwing branches and pine cones on my friends’ tents, hoping to wake them up. By now, the rain has shifted into fourth gear. My friends wake up and, like me, are depressed and lethargic. What to do, what to do? “Let’s just go into town and grab a greasy-spoon breakfast and American coffee, we can decide what we want to do after.”
Drive to New Paltz, eat breakfast and head over to a gear shop and salivate for several hours over their selection of clothes. Luckily, there’s a video room in back, so I plonk myself down in front of the tube. We leave, wondering how to spend the hours until we can go back to sleep in our wet sleeping bags. We have a choice, drive another hour to NYC, or hang out at the theatre. Hey, the vote for a US$4 movie is unanimous. It’s decided that we’ll see Red Dragon, which is pretty good—if watching utter crap on celluloid is your kind of thing. At least the theatre is dry, and we all take this opportunity to remove our boots and socks, which stink almost as bad as the movie. After the movie, we head over to a tavern, getting slightly tanked and playing 7-person darts (cricket). One guy at the bar would tell us our age by looking at our calves. All a bit surreal. Have supper at a really good Greek restaurant and head over to some friends of mine who live in town. Spend a few more hours there, delaying the inevitable, and then we all head back to camp. Awoken at around midnight and kept up for a few hours by acquaintances from Quebec City who, having waited out the rain for five days, have given up hope and gone on an alcohol and pot bender, coming back to camp absolutely tanked and obnoxious. The noise doesn’t end until someone, pushed beyond their patience, yells for them to “shut the fuck up.” Hey, it worked.
Awake Sunday to drizzle, but at least the rain has stopped. I’m told that the weather is supposed to be beautiful the next day. Discuss with partners, and we decide to wait it out. Walk along the cliffs, sending out vibes to the rock to dry up. Spend all of Sunday in this endeavour. That night, we’re back at camp, where we chow down on tofu curry that I had prepared beforehand. Oh, and we polish off a bottle of whiskey. True to form, I was the butt of the women’s humour. I usually give as good (or better) as I get, but I was so completely out-manned, the three other guys sitting off to the side, enjoying the show. Stumble off to bed, not wanting to sleep in the water again. Kept up all night by the cold and the wind.
Was it all worth it? Well, Monday morning, awake to beautiful blue skies, the changing colour of trees, and this, which I led yesterday in these same conditions. Oh, yes, it was worth it.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Secret agent man
My blog code:
B3 d- t k+ s u-- f i- o+ x e+ l c++. I have no idea what it means.

Okay, everyone stop it already
Goran Kropp died a few days ago. For those not familiar with him, Kropp was a Swedish fellow who, back in 1995, packed all his stuff on his bicycle and biked all the way to Nepal. Once he got there, he hiked to the base of Mont Everest, solo climbed the thing without oxygen and without resupplying, came down, jumped on his bike and peddled back home.
He had recently taken up sailing, with the intention of solo-sailing from Sweden to Antartica. He was about to kayak around the entire coast of the United States, carrying the kayak across the southern and northern borders. He lived large.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Perusing an “alternative” weekly yesterday, came across an annoucement that Jonathan Richman will be playing at the Cabaret on November 7. Ooh, I’m all a-quiver. Before the Sex Pistols, before the Minutemen, before the Clash, there was Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Although he’s mellowed with age and become somewhat of a troubadour, this guy puts on an incredible show, and his little dancing spurts would put the old King to shame.
This is guy who, as a teenager, when he first heard the Velvet Underground, packed his stuff and left for NYC, sleeping on the floor of Andy Warhol’s “Factory.” Now, he sings songs like Vampire Girl, Dancing in a Lesbian Bar, Hey There Little Insect and, more popular, There’s Something About Mary.
For anyone who’s never seen or heard him, he’s definitely worth the effort.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Let’s all curtsy
Lindsay, an old friend of mine (well, not old, just someone I’ve known for almost 20 years), with whom I exchange regular e-mails, is now one of the producers of Play on Newsworld. She was previously one of the producers of On the Arts, before moving onto this show. Strange, back when we were punk rockers and new wavers in the mid-80s, we couldn’t have predicted the paths our lives would lead. I’m still tripping through my reality, she’s married and has a 3-year-old boy.
Now, the preceding has absolutely no relevance to anything, except for this: because she works at the corporation, and because she has a child, she has been selected to be one of the chosen few to meet the Queen on Thursday. Because she never grew up or lived in Québec, the British royalty holds some attraction. However, she also came down with a cold a few days ago, so she might just end up sneezing on the Queen or the Duke. We can only hope.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

New Survivor drinking game
Every time that Robb says “Dude,” take a drink. Every time Clay says “We’re going to whoop ass,” drain your bottle. Trust me, you’ll be absolutely hammered by the end of the show.

Do you give a fuck?
Lord knows, I don’t. Just as I always suspected.

Thanks to 3bruces for the link.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Loki's country
I try to not mention climbing in my blogs, if only because I don't want wish to be identified solely for the fact that I happen to climb rocks. However, this past weekend was one of those magical times when all the elements conspired to produce beautiful memories. Friday night, a group of us left Montreal and headed up to Quebec City, which would serve as a pit stop on our way to Kamouraska. I hadn’t been to Quebec City in over 15 years, when I had spent a weekend there with my gf at the time, Maureen. Crashing at a fellow climber’s place, (Denis, with whom I climbed on Saturday) we stayed up until 4 in the morning, shooting shit, insulting each other, and drinking heavily. Just a typical evening among climbers.
We awoke on Saturday, expecting rain, but instead stepped outside to only cloudy skies and a warm breeze. Headed off to the cliffs, and spent the day enjoying ourselves. Later that night, we rented a motel cabin in town, cracked open the booze and repeated the previous night’s festivities. Woke up early on Sunday to even more brilliant weather: blue skies, a breeze coming off the St-Lawrence, and the smell of salt water in the air. Headed off to the cliffs and spent another amazing day on the mountain, with very few other people there, flocks of geese constantly flying overhead, the St-Lawrence river and its valley spread out below us.
Something unexplainable transpires when friends are together in a beautiful spot; competition wanes, the jokes are more light-hearted, and folks just seem to be more generous. Perhaps it’s the fact that we’re engaging in a potentially dangerous activity, I don’t know. These are simply moments that I live for.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Something tastes awful
Gosh, I wonder what the findings will be? It turns out that the geniuses in the Parti québécois have awarded a nearly $200 000 grant to Université de Laval professor Dominique Michaud to study the effects of GMOs on humans. Sounds like a good idea, and you would want to think that we finally have some progressive thought in Québec city. Only one little problem: Dominique Michaud is an avowed proponent of frankenfoods.

Paranoia, paranoia, na na na naa na
I’ve got to get a grip, I really do. For some reason, my e-mail crashed on me yesterday. Well, no real problem, I think, since it’s my work e-mail and I don’t get much intra-office stuff anyways. I’m also under the impression that it’s a department-wide problem, and someone will speak up. Nope. At the end of the day, I ask a co-worker whether her e-mail is on the fritz, but no.
So I figger that I’ll just call the IT department when I get back to work, but then I remember a few jobs ago, when there was this massive layoff. All of a sudden, those of us who were going to be laid off no longer had access to our e-mail or web. Crapola, thinks I, I’m going to get laid off. This sucks. I’ve just moved, haven’t socked away any cash, and I’m heading to Ikea to buy some furniture. Oh, should I? Go to Ikea regardless, and then go home and spend a restless night. Get to work today, and it turns out my password has expired. Enter a new password, and it takes almost five minutes for the computer to process it. Then, click on the e-mail icon, which also takes a while to boot. It finally does, and I breath a sigh of relief.
I hate working in this environment.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Non Angli sed angeli
I’m listening to the soundtrack to Angel Baby, an unfortunately little-seen movie outta Australia. I was given the soundtrack to review back when I was at the Mirror (the review was cut for lack of space), several months before the movie even hit these shores and, since I liked the soundtrack, I was looking forward to the movie, although I had no idea what it was going to be about. With John Lynch, who also starred in Cal (another excellent movie for the time) and Sliding Doors, among many others, this movie reconfirmed what I always knew: we’re so inundated with Hollywood crap that we forget the gems out there. Oh, and there’s no shitty happy ending on this one, either. For further proof that there are some amazing Ozzie films out there, rent The Castle.
But oh, the soundtrack! Quite the mish-mish of sounds, but all on the same theme, that being, naturally, angels. Masterminded by Peter Gabriel and Gavin Friday, the album spans the range of styles, from the Vogues to Norman Greenbaum to Gabriel himself. But then, on two songs, there are these ethereal vocalisations from a Norwegian singer called Anneli Drecker, who sings for Bel-Canto and Jah Wobble. Unfortunately, I’ve never heard anything else from her. (However, there are plenty of websites in her honour.)