You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

Nevertheless, I am pleased that an English team won the Champions League Final and did so with a predominantly English attacking force. Alright. Having completed this attempt to boost my blog’s standings in the random search hits, I will turn to things I actually wanted to write about. (It’s Liverpool for me, by the way.)

What’s in it for the inanimate objects? What could they possibly stand to gain?

I have been contemplating recently my relationship with the inanimate objects that populate our busy planet. Yesterday at work, the printer, computer and phone were all conspiring against me — on a very hectic day too, I might add. This is their thing, you see, inanimate objects: they perform perfectly for days and days on end, and then, when you need them the most, they say, “Ah ha, now we’ll teach you for taking us for granted.”

I was fielding numerous, numerous requests for print ads, as well as doing end-of-the-month website updates. As I attempted to add the Price Lists for June to the intranet site, it kept crashing. The most endearing thing about Internet Explorer error messages is that they WILL NOT TELL YOU what the error is. Oh well. I went to print out some completed print ads. The colour printer was out of paper. No problem! I fed it some paper, and it gratefully regurgitated it later with the graphics proudly displayed in full colour. Thanks printer!  Then I printed to the black and white printer. Again, out of paper. I searched for new paper, fed this hungry little monster too, then tried to hit PRINT again. But no success. Why? The printer had been set for legal, not letter size. A colleague had to fix this. Meanwhile, I had to get back to fielding all the requests by phone and return several messages. I go to make my phone calls, but guess what? The 9 button is only working with a 50% success rate.

Have you ever considered how many phone numbers have the number 9 in them? Let me tell you. Well over half of them. It was a little infuriating to say the least to have to thump the 9 button over and over again in order to make the 9 come out. Especially delightful were those times when the sticky 9 button received its brusque punch from me and retaliated by spitting out TWO 9s! So I’d have to start dialing the number all over again.

Meanwhile over in email land, at the very time when my day was supposed to come to an end, I discovered that my Outlook program, upon which I depend 100% for sending and retrieving PDFs and other graphics files, has well exceeded its maximum limit. So it has slowed down to the pace of a snail scuba diving through a thick pea soup. Nothing is going out; nothing is coming in. Oh hell! I contact IT, who immediately commandeered navigation of my computer in front of my eyes. Have you ever had that experience? It’s weird. You watch the screen as some unseen Hand of God moves the cursor around all over the place. It’s eerie. It’s the closest I get these days to a Genuinely Haunting Experience.

I left work 52 minutes late. I know, cry me a river!  But look, I’m not American. I don’t do 60-hour work weeks. Me, I faithfully give it my all for 40 hours and then go home. On my desk, I left behind four projects that I had been meaning to start. None of them had been started even a little bit.

Thank you, inanimate objects. I sacrificed to you my Friday, alright. I just hope you will give me next week in return.

New York City is Great

I am probably person #97 million to observe this, but NYC really is a great town. It was my third trip there last weekend, and perhaps the first time where I thought, “I could live here. I really could.” I stayed at Saera’s new place in Green Point, Brooklyn, having just helped her move, along with Cyrus. Green Point has been inhabited predominantly by Polish people for over a hundred years. Many of the signs are in Polish, and on the street, you will hear as much of that language as English — even from children of 4 years old. I felt very much at home. Maybe because my girlfriend and her whole family speak Polish (although not to me!)

Hipsterville, Williamsburg, was just down the road from Green Point, and we went there one night and had a wonderful meal at a seafood restaurant. The service was exceptional. At one point, three staff members were fussing over me just because I had elected mid-meal to order a side of fried plantains. And when an order was up, the servers would run with it to the table. Unbelievable.

While in NYC I met with an editor from a very large publishing house. She gave me invaluable advice. I am now approaching ten agents because I guess what I need is representation. Blind Spot is not going to sell itself without professional help!

Here is Saera and me in the subway –memories of a great but too-short weekend.

NYC

91 subjects of experimentation

Upon returning to Montreal, I sent one of my more risque M.o.M. updates out by email. It was about a boy called Freddy Frenzy who gets hooked on Capitalist Pie and ends up inadvertently chewing half the face off a little boy lodged in said pie. Some people have since told me they found it disturbing. This writing business is excruciatingly embarrassing sometimes and I think a tough skin is the most valuable asset in the trade. If I find something like Freddy Frenzy and the Capitalist Pie funny, does that make me a sicko? In writing you are always aware of exposing your personal tastes to people who don’t necessarily share them. The M.o.M. has been running along merrily since early 2005, slowly growing a small readership list, and now it numbers 91, and I don’t even know everyone personally anymore. I have always considered it part of my “experimental” writing, in that nothing I send is serious — nothing comes with an attitude of “hey, I’d like to publish this one day.” But weirdly enough, my experimentees are currently the biggest audience I have for my fiction. So maybe I’m approaching things misguidedly here. Maybe I should send things that are pondered for longer than, oh, one day.

Do I still love Montreal? Beyond a doubt!

Monday to Friday it is easy to forget that I love Montreal because I spend most of the day outside of it. But walking from Verdun to downtown today, I fell in love all over again. Sure NYC is great, but Montreal is still home. As I walked down Sainte Catherine, I heard a mother reprimanding her boy in Arabic, and he was sullenly retorting in French. I love this linguistic mishmash. I encounter it also at work, where business is conducted 50/50 between English and French. For a word lover, this is the city to be.

Twice this week, I have finished off the evening with two beers and then gone straight to bed. When I wake up, I feel rusty. Then I proceed to feel like shite for the rest of the day. So there we have it.  The experiment having been conducted twice with the conditions identical each time proves that I am now officially a lightweight.

This weekend I will be going to New York City with my friends. I am helping one of them move to that fair city.  It’s going to good to get to know Brooklyn a little better. I hear it’s a pretty cool place to live these days. There are lots of hipsters there…  I hope they won’t judge my deficient dress sense.

Ed purchased some Munchos and Sammy the cat really wants some.  Holy crap.  I’ve never seen a cat so worked up about a bag of chips.  As I type this, the cat keeps jumping onto the table where the coveted bag of chips is lying.  Her eyes have even become dilated, rather like a junkie’s.  I hope this cat doesn’t have a problem.  Every time I reach my hand into the bag of chips and make it crinkle, the cat jerks its head around with expectation and eagerness.  Easy now, Sammy, easy!  Not even I should be eating those chips, let alone you.

I have become distrustful of power.  I am not talking about the crackly stuff that comes through the wall and into my stereo where it becomes rockin’ good tunes.  No sir.  I am talking about the power that one person exercises over another, or a group of people exercise over the unwashed masses.  For example, I heard from a reliable source yesterday (someone with a PhD) that the police (either the Montreal or London police, can’t remember which) are working on a form of incapacitating weapon which they fire at people who are getting out of line.  Once assaulted with this weird new weapon, the unruly person is covered in a quick-drying foam and thus immobilized.

There is only one catch.  Sometimes the problem-person is suffocated!

It’s rather like Tasers.  In that case, occasionally the miscreant has a heart attack and dies!

I know I’m adding exclamation marks to the end of my sentences, but I do actually take this very seriously.  I don’t understand the justification for power any more.  Why do police get to stop people at whim and ask them questions?  Why am I not allowed, in turn, to stop a police officer and ask him questions?  And why are there border guards?  Why is it that geese get to fly over borders wherever they feel like it and nobody checks their passports?

Why did humans decide that they should have fewer rights than geese?

Humanity.  We’re a brazen lot.  For some reason, we think we have a right to interfere at will in the lives of the species with whom we share this planet.  I just read in the online Edmonton Journal about the 500 migratory ducks that landed in an oilsands tailing point in northern Alberta and were killed.  Canadian PM calls it a tragedy.  Alberta’s premier Ed Stelmach took the opportunity to let everyone know that 30,000 ducks die in American wind turbines every year.  His point?  I really don’t know, except maybe to prove to his macho Alberta constituents how insensitive to ducks he is.

Meanwhile, the young and beautiful of Montreal continue to gad about as if nothing much is wrong with the world.  God bless ‘em!  Yesterday, very briefly, I checked out a chocolate show at SAT on St Laurent.  At least, I (along with Teena and a visiting Angeleno) thought it would be a chocolate show.  It turned out to be a giant dance party complete with knob-twiddlers prancing about with their Apple computers on stage.  The theme of the party was only reinforced by a few trays of chocolate crumbs scattered about on glass here and there, rather like cocaine at a millionaire rockstar’s house party.  (Not that I’ve ever been to a millionaire rockstar’s house party to be able to confirm that this is how such affairs proceed, but I’m educatedly guessing they do.)

In 30 minutes or less, we had ascertained that this was simply a place to stand around looking young and beautiful, or to dance around looking young and beautiful.  It was not a place to pig out on chocolate, which was a disappointment.

$15 poorer but wiser.

Nevertheless, I can’t complain, with a CASH FLOW occuring in my life for the first time since July 2007.  Thanks to the approx. 55 hours I spend per week outside of Montreal (that is to say, either in St. Eustache or travelling there) I have the satisfaction of seeing money directly deposited to my CIBC chequing account.  This will keep me happy, but more importantly, keep CIBC as well as RBC very happy, both of whom are expecting frequent debt repayments from me right now.  In this way, I am faithfully doing my part to prop up the expanionist-capitalist-post-industrial-hegemonic power that is Western civilization.  I think it’s only fair in light of all that it has done (and continues to do) for me.

Exhibit 1: I can put $55 of gas in my car every week just by pressing down a nozzle on a pump.  Convenient!

Exhibit 2: I can be informed of all the important goings on among the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus.  In the latest goings on in the heavens, to which we all look for inspiration (that is so sorely lacking in our own lives) Rosie O’Donnell has confessed that she no longer has a crush on Tom Cruise.

Exhibit 3: Thanks to the media monopolies, such as CanWest Global (owner of the aforementioned Edmonton Journal) I can also stay up to date on the more earthly news too, such as the report on the dead ducks.  Next time I gas up my car, I can say a silent prayer for those ducks, who were sacrificed by the earth’s current dominant species in the aid of swifter locomotion.  A noble cause?

 

Work is consuming so much of my time and thoughts right now that I do not know what to talk about. Montreal was really warm and sunny for a while and now it is cold and rainy. Hmmm. I suppose I am not here to provide a weather update. Let us see. As I write this, the Canadiens appear to be on the brink of losing a very important game. But I do not feel too implicated because, in spite of everything, I still support the Oilers and no one else. Yeah!

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