Monday, December 15, 2008

A Cognitive Behaviour Exercise

Monday mornings really stick in my craw.
There's something about a dark, rainy and cold morning that can dampen any spirit. Especially close to the holidays when emotions are in overdrive. So I watched this little video in an effort to lift my spirits.
Lemme know how it works out for you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Words to Live By

I've been reading a book by a Canadian author named Elizabeth Hay called "Late Nights on Air" which is set at a Yellowknife radio station in 1975. Not only is it beautifully written and intriguing, it won the 2007 Giller Prize, no small feat when up against seasoned authors such as Michael Ondaatje and M.G. Vassanji.
In it she mentions a Mr. Funk, a well known dictionary publisher and poet, who had taken the trouble to compile the 10 most beautiful words in the English language. In no particular order, I give you:
mist, hush, luminous, murmuring, dawn, chimes, lullaby, melody, tranquil and golden.
I love these words and agree with Mr. Funk but can't actually tell you why they're so pretty. It's more of a feeling than anything else.
Do you have any others to add?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

VW Adventures

It's time for my 32000 km checkup. I have, however, waited until 39000 km, something I probably shouldn't have done but the car didn't burst into flames so I'm fairly confident we're going to be ok.
I had to drive all the way to the west island, weaving through traffic and roadblocks to arrive at the des Sources Volkswagen. As I was just turning the corner onto Hymen Street (I know!) I stalled the car and couldn't get it up again. Now, anyone who has ever driven a manual transmission can attest to the fact that even the most skilled drivers will occasionally take their foot off the clutch prematurely. The engine cuts, the car stops. It's frustrating - but it's also more embarrassing than anything else. Especially when you've been driving a manual car for 12+ years......sigh.
During today's episode I had the misfortune of having someone behind me with the patience of my late father. That is to say, absolutey none at all, to the point of inexplicable rage and threat of bodily harm, including but not limited to lynching, decapitation and/or severe beating. I stalled and this guy leaned on his horn, repeatedly and agressively, to the point where I got flustered and couldn't get the car going again. Turns out we were both going to the VW dealership and when I got out I turned to him and said, "you know, I didn't mean to stop there. I stalled." So he told me I should have put my flashers on, to which I replied that it's hard to get going again with someone blasting their horn in your ass. His pathetic reply? It wasn't my fault. Afterwards I felt all shaky, blood pumping, kind of sick and rageful. I didn't like it.
Now I don't know how Stixie does it. She's able to fight with absolutely everyone, never thinking twice about airing her grievances. I've never been able to do that, instead I stew and think about how I should have told so and so where to go, how exactly to stick it, etc.
So I got to thinking about my reaction to a simple horn honking and how it illicited unabashed rage, fierce releases of adrenaline and murderous intent. What I've concluded, however, is that I become a different person when I get behind the wheel. While I'm generally a pretty calm and reasonable person (I hope) I turn into Dave when I get behind the wheel. The other day I yelled "dumb cunt!" to someone out my window after some (dumb cunt) in a mini van honked and shook her fists at me.
I think what enrages me most is the fact that I'm a better driver than all of these people. So when they accuse me of bad driving, I lose my mind. And it's something I've got to get under control because I don't like the fact that complete strangers are getting this kind of reaction out of me.
I'd like to go outside and key this guy's car. Who's with me?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Has anyone gotten tired of checking in and seeing "I Heart Satire" without any sign of a new post? I know I have, people, and I'm sorry for giving you hope only to dash your dreams. I do like your optimism, however, and today I'm gonna reward the hell out of it. Or at least try.
So what's been going on and what will today's little ditty be about? For starters, I'd like to make everyone au courant on the whole life is awesome situation. I've come to realize that life is pretty sweet these days and instead of waking up to that fact 30 years from now, I'm going to try this whole "living in the moment" philosophy and thank my lucky stars for the hand I've been dealt.
Some pretty cool stuff of late:

-extra time at 4645 with 3 of my faves...
-changing leaves
-a cross country visit from my soul sister
-tomorrow night's puck drop
-tomorrow night's pint drop
-an imminent stay in a Toronto hot spot
-more hands on time at work
-being almost reduced to tears by sheer gratitude.

I've like to go visit the girl I was 3 years ago and let her catch a glimpse of today's beauty. She wouldn't believe her eyes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Memory Lane

Sometimes I forget about how totally awesome U2 are. So while I was reminding myself I came across this little video I had seen years ago. And then I remembered that not only are they totally awesome, they're totally hot, too.

If you will:

However, thanks to this little charade that poor girl will never be able to look at another man for the rest of her life.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


I was having a rough day yesterday. Feeling a mite sorry for myself and let down in general, I spent a beautiful Saturday evening with my cats. The best place for me in one of those moods is usually by myself. I might feel a bit melancholy, spend the night alone recharging and then wake up generally feeling better. It also helps that I woke up sans hangover, unlike most of the men folk in my life, who no doubt all rose feeling remorse and nauseated. I had the privilege of smelling two of them today - rough.
Spending a Saturday night in is not something I do often, nor is it something I aspire to. Being able to enjoy one's own company, however, is something I am pleased to say I am capable of doing. So I rented a few movies, took a nice bath, read my book and had a delightful supper of nachos and cola. Ohhh yesss.
Perspective is also an amazing thing. There I was, feeling sorry for myself, a little sad and more than frustrated. So I watched this film:

It's billed as being inspirational, and in many ways it is. It is also very difficult to watch as you feel the protagonist's fear, his anger and frustration.
It also cleared up any residual shittiness I was going through. Amazing how someone else's problems seem to make your "problems" pale in comparison. I urge anyone who's ever felt sorry for themselves to watch this little number. Not only is it beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, it'll make you oh so grateful for everything you might take for granted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Soul Soundtrack

Whenever I discover a new song that really speaks to me I'll listen to it continuously for about a week, at which point it usually loses its oooomph and I'm in search of another.
During my love affair, however brief, the song becomes a sort of soundtrack for my thoughts and feelings, perhaps even mirroring back some of the same sentiments in my heart. Maybe this is what draws me to them in the first place.
This week it's the not so hidden hidden track at the end of Coldplay's Viva La Vida.


Monday, August 25, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

It is a widely popular fact that the only way to achieve true happiness is to live in the present moment. In looking back one can become sad or regretful about past experiences, looking towards the future can lead people to anxiety or fear about the unknown. In the present, however, nothing is ever that bad, life is safe. Right now, for example, I am sitting in my lovely home, cat on my lap, coffee to my right, Ray Lamontagne serenading me. Not bad I suppose. Yet something is amiss, I feel, dare I say it, sad and a little blue. This bothers me. How can one feel icky in the presence of all this good?
In the depths of my grief I was unable to see the forest for the trees. That is to say, I was so immersed in my own fear and pain that I failed to see all the good things in my life. I then worked really hard to focus on the positive rather than dwelling on what was missing. Yes my mother had died, but she had loved me deeply and without question. The forest was becoming clearer.
It is no easy task and I am certainly simplifying it to a level which baffles me even as I live in the present moment. And I suppose I have been no good at it lately since I've been feeling rotten and can't seem to get out of the funk. Not rotten all the time, however, but enough times to make me sit up and think, "I've lost sight of the forest again." My grief counselor compared this phenomenon to a crack in the sidewalk. It starts out small but once you trip on it, it gets bigger and bigger until it finally swallows you whole. What started out as "I feel kind of lonely" has spiraled into me being a fat loser with no future and no chance at happiness.
Whoa......wait a second. Fear is a terrible thing and so damaging as it attacks our deepest vulnerabilities. My greatest ambition in life is a simple one, to find a wonderful man with whom I can start a loving family. I don't have lofty career ambitions, don't fancy climbing Everest or circumnavigating the globe. I want to be loved deeply and completely and wish to extend the same to someone truly exceptional. Any fear or self doubt that creep into my mind somehow play into the notion of this dream never being realized - that I won't get this family I so deeply need. And that is the scariest thing I can think of.
Going to these dark and scary places takes guts and courage and the strength of mind to realize that these places don't really exist - they are abstract notions. But I do think, every now and then, it's nice to drop in because it gives you an idea of what you might need to actually reach your destination. The danger, however, is getting stuck, failing to live in the present, and accepting your fears as reality.
So what's a dreamer to do?
How about a list of things that makes my heart burst:
1) I live in an amazing city, snow, cold and ice included. My mother always told me that there can't be a God if there is no Devil.
2) I walked home from the market the other day, baguette in hand, sunshine at my back, company coming for dinner.
3) Exceptional friendships, both physical and emotional.
4) A black and white cat. A grey and beige cat.
5) A job I love in a field that excites me.
6) Napping with Em, trying to trick Mateo into a nap. Succeeding.
7) Driving with the windows open.
8) Knowledge that even the deepest pain and wounding does not break the human spirit.

I've never been one for scripture and have shunned religion for a few reasons. There is, however, a passage from the bible that I've often responded to:

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."

What it means is, I have more than enough for my needs. And it's true. Yes there are certain things in my life that could use a little tweaking, some fears that can't always be placated, some wounds that run to the bone. But there is a bumper crop of beauty I couldn't have even imagined. And I am grateful for all of it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

For a Minute there, I lost myself

35,000 fans flocked to Parc Jean Drapeau the other night to witness a thing of beauty.
Radiohead on stage, the moon and the city skyline in the background, Mont Royal's famous cross poking out. As if that wasn't enough, fireworks off to the side completed this picture perfect evening. It helps having your Dud by your side as well....

For all you who missed it, here's but a small taste.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beauty is Pain

For all you sadists out there who enjoy physical pain and verbal abuse, I have got the spot for you.
It started out innocently enough.
"Do you have any openings after 3," I innocently inquired.
"How about 3:30?"
I was excited. I knew it wouldn't be a walk in the park, they never are, but I knew the end result would bring me great pleasure. I mean, have you ever had a facial?
I arrived a little early, eager to get the ball rolling, at the Worst Place On Earth, Westmount Square. Now, what makes the WPON so horrible is a combination of old lady stores, old ladies from Westmount and snobs. It's a breeding ground for jerks. I had a gift certificate I had lost and found and was anxious to take care of some less than awesome developments on my face.
Enter the Bringer of Pain (BOP). Otherwise known as Celina, the Russian esthetician who would be performing today's emotional rape.
We go into the treatment room. Our first exchange lets me in on what will soon become painfully clear - this woman has no soul or sense of humour. If you will:
(heavy Russian accent) BOP: take off clothes, jewellery, bra. get on bed.
(giggling nervously) me: my skirt too?
BOP: no. get on bed.
me: ok good. i was wondering what kind of facial this was!
(unable to process joke at hand in an effort to diffuse tension) BOP: will not know what kind of facial to give until I see skin.
Yes. Of course. How silly of me to joke at a time like this.
I am then asked when the last time was I received a facial. This line of questioning is akin to the "How many alcoholic drinks do you have in one week?" from your doctor and the "How often do you floss?" from your dentist. You will never answer correctly and as such there will be judging. I mumble something about 6 years ago and we proceed. I tell her I'm afraid I might have a touch of rosacea as I've always been a little pink. She pulls out her 5000 watt lightbulb/magnifying mirror and takes a look.
"Oh yes. You have rosacea. Big time." Heavy Russian accent.
I'm starting to feel bad about myself. Big time.
But before she can do anything, she needs to wax off half my eyebrow (searing pain) because it's "too big" and tells me I should get some electrolysis on my chin. I remind myself that I am paying this woman to make my feel bad about myself. Now I am amused.
Then with utter disgust, she says, "Your skin is dry and full of dead skin cells. And blackheads. I can't do anything until you get rid of the dead skin." Self-esteem plumetting. BOP suggests I try this "Microdermabrasion" that all the soccer moms and old battle axes are using to look nothing like their real age. BOP says it will get rid of my dead skin. Anything to get my sense of self-worth back on track. I agree. BOP has just upsold me on another $40 treatment, effectively scaring me into getting my face sanded off.
BOP then proceeds to run a sander/vacuum all over my face. I start thinking about how hilarious this whole situation really is. Great idea for blog starts flowing through head. BOP will become famous sadist, will have me to thank for all her life's success. She will then have no choice but to sand and vacuum my face for free.
BOP decides it's time to get the blackheads out. I'll spare you the details but will tell you this: Not only was it some of the most intense pain of my life, she had two alcohol soaked rags she used to perform the task. These rags were draped across my mouth and nose. A foggy image of ether soaked rags flickers through my now sluggish mind - is BOP part of some underground Russian mob that sands your face off and then knocks you out?
The whole thing took 2 hours. Some of it was nice - there was some rubbing and a nice facial mask (which didn't feel all that good as BOP left the room for something like 20 minutes and I really had to pee).
In BOPs defense, my skin actually looks pretty good now, and my self-esteem is back on track. I probably won't go back, unless my sense of self worth gets overly inflated, at which point I'll head on in for a reality check.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Talk talk talk

Waaay back in January I decided enough was enough, joined the Y, got myself a trainer and went to town on my "problem areas". Her name is Veronica. She's a tiny thing in great shape, one of those people who gets up at 6am without the help of coffee or dynamite. She has shoulder length blond hair, stands about 5 foot tall, is 55 years old and has a constant smear of coral coloured lipstick on her teeth. At first, I would tell her about the lipstick, but now that I dislike her more and more with every passing second, I let her leave it there. Ha. Take that, dignity. Before I delve into the meat of the matter, let me just say this: she is a kind and thoughtful person, energetic and motivating.
Oh yes, but. She never shuts up. Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk TALK. And more talk. Not only does she talk talk talk to me, she is talk talk talking to everyone else in the gym. Now I'm all for community and open lines of communication - but not so much on my dime, and not on a constant basis. If you will:
It's early, I haven't had coffee, (coffee before gym makes me extra sweaty) I don't feel like working out, I'm pissed about something I can't put my finger on. Enter The Trainer. She's 5 minutes late. She is bubbly, talking to everyone, waving at me. She comes over, she wants to TALK. And talk she does, "Hi, how was your workout? How was your weekend? I went to a yoga retreat, my ear hurts, I saw a cool play last night, the traffic was bad." Teeth covered in lipstick. I shudder.
Now, when someone is really talking to me, I mean really, it feels like an assault. They are more talking at you than to you. What I tend to do in these situations is send them messages through my head without actually speaking. While she talks, I am thinking "Shut it. Shut it now. Stopping it and shutting it immediately. Talking - you, stop now. I will end you. Dear sweet Jesus, the talking must end. I will smash your face in to end this infernal talking." I am not listening to a word she is saying as I am concentrating all my efforts into making it stop. And throughout this verbal assault, lipstick on teeth. Ughhhhhh.
The relationship didn't start out this way, of course. We began as most do, with a series of polite exchanges, a few lame jokes here and there to break the tension. It didn't take too long for me to realize that something was amiss. The constant ass out hugs should have tipped me off, the 5 minutes late here and there should have sent me running, the talking. Shit. The TALKING. But, it's the inappropriateness that begs the final question: what am I still doing with her? Inappropriate you say? How so? A few months ago she had put a pull up into my routine. I had to lie on the ground in the squat cage and pull myself up, effectively touching my chest to the bar. No small feat. Well, in trying to explain to me how to do it, she could have said, "Touch your chest to the bar." You know, like a normal person. She says, "Kiss the bar with your nipples." Oh dear.
On another occasion she was making me do a particularly unpleasant exercise so she turned to some dude and said, "Oh, aren't I horrible to her?" To which I chirped in with, "Yeah you can practically see her horns" (because she's the Devil, right?). She then says, "I don't have horns but I am HORNY."
Wow. Ever throw up in your mouth before? Yeah...
So what's a girl to do? I want to keep working out but I can't see this woman anymore. She makes me psychotic with rage. I can't talk to her about this stuff and it would be weird to train with someone else, like cheating on your hairdresser. Dudsie says not to do anything out of guilt and to that I agree. And as much as she makes me crazy, she's good material. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Yesterday, in a wild burst of Domestic Goddess-ery, I decided to turn the rotting bananas on my counter into delicious banana bread. Having procured a loaf pan earlier that day, I decided to strike while the iron was hot. While sauteing onions and garlic for dinner, I managed to measure, scoop, mash and cream my ingredients together in my Kitchen-Aid, an indispensable tool if one wishes to make anything fabulous. I scraped everything into my buttered and floured loaf pan, threw it in the oven and ate my dinner with a sense of contentment generally reserved for more talented people.
After it had come out and cooled a little, I cut 2 slices and realized what I had done. Shit. The thing was raw in the middle. Pride deflated, sense of contentment tucked back into ante-chamber where it will lie in wait for other faux successes, disappointment. Now most people say it's ok to have baked goods that are a little raw and to that I agree. But this one wasn't just a little raw. It was unhealthily raw. Which brings me to the subject of today's post- (or rant or latest installment of What Grinds My Gears, take your pick) my culinary blunders of late.
I realized a few weeks ago that I do very little cooking anymore. Living alone makes dinner a rather sombre event as cooking a well balanced meal for one is just too pathetic for words. So I go out to eat, or I take in, or I assemble bread and cheese haphazardly into a dinner sandwich. I decided the other day to get back on the horse and roast a chicken. It was Sunday night, the house was clean, it needed to smell like roasting meat. I rubbed the chicken with olive oil, seasoned him up with salt and pepper, stuffed his cavity with lemons, garlic and onions and bade him a fond farewell as I tucked him into the oven. "Yes my friend. I will see you when you're golden and delicious. Oh Yes."
Again, I was more than pleased with myself. Here I was, cleaning, roasting, baking, setting the bar uncomfortably high for all women. 40 minutes in I decided to check on him. Something looked funny.
He was upside down. No wonder I couldn't truss him properly. Feeling I hadn't really ruined him, I turned him around and finished him on his back. In doing so he went from a nice juicy bird to a dried out, leathery carcass. I won't even get started on the "gravy" I made which was little more than cooked fat and flour. I even forgot to season it. Really? Really????
I'm pretty sure I went to cooking school. I'm pretty sure I worked in restaurants and have considered cooking and food related things to be not only my passion but in some cases, my actual raison d'etre.
As you can imagine, when one no longer identifies with the things that identify them, the very core of your being is rocked. The notion of me being a bad cook is more than upsetting, it makes me feel like I've been living some sort of lie.
What I've come to realize, however, is that cooking, like all craft, requires practice and in the absence of practice, skills will rust and tarnish. All is not lost, though. I've taken it upon myself to gloss over recent less than stellar performances and shoot for the stars once again.
So I extend to you a dinner invitation. Call me, email me, join me for dinner. I cannot guarantee success, but I can promise you this, there will be passion.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Some Embarrassing Truths

I've recently been accused of being hip. Hip? Hardly. I'm actually quite nerdy and a little uncool. I've put together a short list of reasons as to why the above statement isn't true.

1) Computers confuse me. When asked about ram and gigs and such I feel like setting myself on fire to avoid the situation. The real kicker is that I worked at an internet company for a year and a half. I'm also really terrible at using the internet. I check my emails, facebook, I blog a little, check the weather and movie listings, read the Globe online. That's it. I tire of it after about an hour. Then there's Monia who has spent the better part of her adulthood glued to her computer. She's the only person I know who shops on ebay.
2) I went to see "The Bridges of Madison County" a few years ago with John and my mom and cried so hard during the damn thing that I was unrecognizable afterward. My face was all swollen and red.
3) I've never taken a physics class. To be honest, I'm not even sure what physics is. Atoms? Positively charged ions? Uhhhhhh. Wikipedia says physics is the study of matter and its motion as well as the study of space and time. That doesn't really clarify anything for me. In fact, it makes me feel stupider than when I set out to get some answers.
4) I'll use the same piece of Kleenex over and over again.
5) I cannot cook rice. What makes this one even worse is the fact that I went to cooking school and have worked in restaurants. Everyone can cook rice, it is the main food staple for half the world's population but is somehow a mystery to me.

Here's the worst one.

6) Up until very recently I didn't understand what ovulation was. I've been ovulating for years now, totally unaware of what was going on. I took biology in grade 9 and am pretty sure this was covered. So I told Dudsie I didn't understand and she explained it to me, right after she (and with good reason) judged me for not knowing in the first place. A few weeks later I was telling Emeline what happened so she asked me to tell her what I had learned. Pop quiz. Fuck. So I told her what I had learned.
A blank expression crossed her face. "Wow. Yeah....that's not what ovulation is." She then took out a piece of paper and drew me a little diagram of my ovaries and fallopian tubes and explained to me the journey a woman's egg takes when it doesn't get fertilized. I'm pretty sure I've got a handle on it now. I could be wrong. Please don't test me.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Has anyone ever noticed that Scott (aka the Sausage King) looks like Sam the Eagle from the Muppets?

Does anyone else see it?


I've turned into that person who brings their laptop everywhere.

So I'm sitting in the exact same spot I was in a few weeks ago. The spot where I was moved by a Celine Dion video. The spot where I discovered I'm an old lady masquerading as a 30 year old. You'll be happy to know that the Celine Dion video is playing once again and this time I feel nothing but annoyed. Talk about reclaiming ones youth. And dignity.

Be Patient.

Turns out I'm not much for waiting. After swearing I would wait until the new Macs came out, I went off to the Mac store and bought a macbook. I've never been good at waiting. I've also been accused of being impatient. Maybe. I'm not so sure anymore. I'd like to think I'm fairly patient, or wait, getting better. I suppose it all has to do with one's mood.
I volunteer at a school for blind kids 2 days a week. Before you get all, "Hilary, that is so kind and generous of you" on me, I'll let you in on a little secret. I call them the Blindies and I hate one of them. And yes, it's ok to hate someone even if they're blind and mentally delayed. Plus he's not blind, just highly visually impaired. Think Coke bottle bottom glasses. But thicker.
This kid tries my patience. With him I have almost none, to the point where I worry I might lash out and strike him. The thing is, he kind of repulses me, which makes me question my very humanity, but there you have it. He's always snotty and boogery and just wet looking. He also rubs up against me with his snotty hands. Ugh. Sick.
I have infinite patience when I've been drinking. I once spent the better part of an hour explaining and demonstrating to Michelle how to roll the perfect joint. Thankfully the night is hazy and I can't remember too much of it although I'm fairly certain I was bossy and overly confident.
There are certain things I will not wait for. Like something delicious to eat, the perfect coffee, time with my Duddy, etc. But there are other things I've been waiting my whole life for. And I've grown tired of it.
Maybe if I didn't hate the mentally delayed, visually impaired 13 year old karma would deliver.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Forced Sabbatical

As I'm sure you've surmised by now, something is amiss in my blogosphere. As karma is wont to do, it reared its ugly head and now I am computerless. The very same day I posted about my useless PC was the day it met its maker.  An impromptu night of heavy drinking and foolish decision making resulted in half a beer funnelling its way through my keyboard straight to the motherboard.  I now have no computer and am waiting for the new macs to be released in August or September.
I am missing the internet.  I am also, however, entirely more productive in its absence.  I no longer spend 5 hours a day poring over facebook and wondering why people aren't poking and/or messaging me.  It's quite liberating, really.  Sadly, though, I am unable to tend to Roo for Dummies - at least for the next few weeks.  
I wish you all happy days and love filled evenings.  

Monday, June 23, 2008

To the Junkie who Verbally Abused Me Saturday Night

Ha ha my life is better than yours.

I win.


Many of you will have probably noticed that I've been staggeringly MIA on this web based thought provoking forum. For awhile I thought it was laziness, writers block, or (gasp) sheer stupidity and unintelligence on my part, but I've come to understand what the real problem is. It is my piece of shit computer. Yes, that's right, piece of shit computer. I've never been all that computer savvy, although I did manage to fake my way through 18 months working at a less than reputable internet company. But that's another story entirely, and frankly, one that isn't all that interesting. So here I sit with a 3 year old Dell whose problems run the gamut from defunct tab button to broken cd-rom. I've decided to get myself a new computer - and it's going to be a MAC.
The world is divided into 2 camps. Those who are PC users and MAC users. For some reason, the PC users and staunchly anti-mac. The mac users don't seem to give a shit. They know they've got superior machines and can't be bothered to even argue the merits of their choice. I'll admit that I was anti-mac for a long time, an unreasonable stance to take when I didn't know the first thing about either machine. Can you say sheep?
When Rebekah got her mac a few years ago I was unreasonably harsh with her. While my anthrax letter writing campaign to her was slightly over the top, I do think I had a few valid points. Namely, why are you spending $3000 (yes) on a machine you need for email? I'm pretty bad at using the internet, I'm equally bad at downloading music and attaching files. But I look like Steve Jobs compared to Rebekah. Not sure if she's ever heard the term IP Address - I'm pretty sure when referring to Web Browser she's referrring to herself. "But I'm browsing the internet!" Right. I am still waiting on pictures she took a year and a half ago. You'd think her $3000 now obsolete mac book would get the job done.
So why am I still puttering around on this pile of garbage? The truth is, I need to sit with the idea of parting with $1300 before I can actually go out and do it. Yes, I will spend the money, get the new computer and blog like no one's business afterwards. But to drop $1300 without coming to terms about doing so is a bit hard to swallow. Unless I've been drinking heavily. Thank God the mac store closes at 5.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lame? Yes.

Something very bizarre has happened.

A few weeks ago Duddy and I were at Lily Nails getting tandem pedicures when I noticed that the kindly Vietnamese owners had procured a rather fancy looking television. Would we like to watch a DVD while our callouses were buffed and obliterated? Yes, yes we would. Well on came the Celine Dion DVD so I gave my obligatory eye roll, "God, she is soooo laaaame", etc. Then a funny thing happened. I found myself not only enjoying her performance but actually feeling something. Like my soul had been touched. Feeling somewhat ashamed, I tried to attribute this reaction to another scenario entirely.
Bear with me.
My mother and John would have dinner parties almost every weekend. She would cook all day, take a nap in the afternoon and drink all night with her friends, not a bad way to live, I might add. Before the guests arrived she would put on the music while John made the bruscetta. There was always bruscetta. My mom rotated between 2 cds, Loreena McKennitt and Celin Dion, both lame and both total Mom music.
Back to Lily Nails. Could it be that hearing the Celine Dion brings back painful memories of my departed mother? I'd like to think so. You see, the problem is, I actually like some of her music. Fuck me. So I can't dredge up a whole bunch of dead mother stuff and blame it on that, which would be convenient. I'm just going to have to face the fact that I am lame and might have shitty taste in music.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tonight we Dine in Hell?

Well I solved my dinner dilemma. Instead of eating a well balanced meal at the table complete with cutlery, place mat, napkin and pants that don't have an elastic waistband, I tried something else.
Last night I ate a pizza directly off the cutting board sitting on my couch in my pyjamas while watching "How I Met Your Mother." No cutlery, no plates, no witty banter regarding my day with the cats - no "real" pants. And it was glorious. It was the anti-thesis of lonely, somehow less pitiful than my dinner for one scenario the other night.
I urge all single people out there to throw off the shackles of dinner as you know it. Take it back from the table and onto the couch - dinner music should make way for Jeopardy theme songs, plates and cutlery be damned - all pants can go to hell!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tonight's Dinner

Yellow fin tuna crusted in a parsley, kaffir lime leaf, mint, chili and ginger rub scorched on the bbq served with bbqed eggplant and fresh asparagus from Trois Rivieres.
Yes, it was a sumptuous feast - somewhat tempered by the fact that I ate it alone at my dining room table. I just can't seem to push through the fact that eating along is pitiful. It's a visual right up there with walking home alone in the rain. I wish I could get over this stigma as making sure I eat out with other people is taking its toll on my pocket book.
I want to cook at home and eat dinner at my dining room table like normal people. Yet in the absence of a dining companion I generally ask the television or the internet to join me. It feels less pitiful but I know it's just a band-aid, a temporary balm for my dining alone dilemma.
Oh yes. The cats want to join, they long to fan their tails alongside my plate of tuna, my locally sourced greens. My sauvignon blanc is their sauvignon blanc, n'est pas?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Over the course of my working life I've had some pretty strange jobs. While not all the jobs could be viewed as strange in and of themselves, I had to do a lot of strange and/or odd tasks while at work.
I once worked at a company where my sole task was to scan pages into the computer. They wanted electronic records of their board of directors meetings that dated back to what seemed like 500 BC. So there I was, 19 years old, with my own office, scanning page after page into a computer that is now obsolete.
I worked at a law firm one summer where my "job" was to update law books. This is how you update law books: rip one page out, put another in. Yes. It was that boring. I believe that was the summer I developed a taste for pot and beer. I mean, who wouldn't?
During my brief career as a cook, I was forced to attend to a myriad of disgusting tasks. Here are a few of the better ones:
1) smashing a bag of ice with a chair leg to make the crushed ice for the seafood platter.
2) pouring bleach on the maggots behind the garbage cans
3) dispensing with all forms of societal norms and sexual harassment claims

I also spent a few months working at a local bakery/cafe here in Montreal run by 3 sisters with little business sense and the people skills to match. The place was a filthy mess. They insisted on storing egg and tuna sandwiches in a display case with a broken fridge. It was July. It was hot - fish and mayonnaise were involved, bacteria were multiplying at an alarming rate. When it was suggested to one of the sisters that someone might get poisoned, she replied, "no one's died yet." When the cafe closed a few months later the new proprieters revelead that they had found 18 dead rats in the basement.

My professional life has had its ups and downs. But it's also been rife with hilarity and a cast of crazies to rival those in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Here are some of the best ones:

1) John Jose O'Reilley
I worked for Dave's father for a few months right after university. I had no money and had just moved in with Joe and needed a paycheck stat to prove to my mother that I wasn't, in fact, ruining my life (I was). O'Reilley was a lawyer who may or may not have been disbarred. Someone was always threatening to report him, such was his character. O'Reilley was a pathological liar who often wore a surgical mask to work, claiming he didn't want to get sick. One of the girls at the firm claims to have seen a cockroach climbing out of his jacket one day. He claimed to have a farm in the country with hoards of cows and chickens - I think he had a dirty apartment full of surgical masks and bowties and very little else. Anyhow, that year for Christmas he gave us all Raclette cheese from his "cows in the country" - cheese that he had made himself. Cheese made by the cockroachey, surgical mask wearing, pathological lying grease monkey. It sat in my fridge for 3 months before I threw it out.

2) Nina Whose Last Name I Can't Remember
Nina worked as a notary in the same office as Dave's father. Nina was from Poland, about 300 pounds and paranoid like nothing I've ever seen before. She had wild and coarse grey hair that shot out in every direction imaginable. She wore electric blue eyeshadow applied haphazardly across her darty eyes, mascara brushed across her eyebrows. He had about 4 teeth, each shooting off in opposite directions, often stained with coffee and peach lipstick. Nasty. Nina was so paranoid that someone was going to break into her office that she placed a filing cabinet in front of said office and worked in the hallway. Perpetually on a diet, Nina had been advised by her "doctor" (most likely Polish) that a diet of heavy cream and peanut butter was her key to weight loss success. So Nina drank cream out of a styrofoam cup stained with peach lipstick and marred by jagged teeth marks akin to rat incisors. Nina and O'Reilley loathed one another - watching their psychotic yelling matches was the best part of my job. Personally, I think there may have been a drunken indiscretion at some point which resulted in shame and eventual hatred. Ah, office romances - who says they don't work out?

3) Ravi the Dishwasher
This one was really weird. A Tamil tiger AND pathological liar, Ravi washed dishes at one of the restaurants I worked at. Ravi told us he lived in Scarborough with his wife and 3 kids. Said he washed dishes for us and another place down on Queen street. Seemed to be a stand up guy - drove a nicer car than all of us. In truth, Ravi had no family, spent all his free time gambling at the casino in Niagara Falls and pining for white women to impregnate. He chain smoked and kept king cans of Bud in the garage which he drank thirstily from during his shift. His command of the English language was....not good. Turns out that Ravi had been working under someone else's Social Insurance Number and collecting EI on his own. Nice.

There are, of course, many more. Like Nancy the schizophrenic dishwasher and Greg the pathetic diabetic who worked seemingly in reverse he was so slow. Or the sad guy who ate his lunch in the bathroom such was his social anxiety.
I wonder how I figure into this mess. Maybe unbeknownst to be, I'm one of the crazies in someone else's blog.
"Then there was Hilary..."

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Sometimes, when I can't pinpoint what I miss most about you, I am drawn to the bare bones of the matter.
No one will ever love me the way you did.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An open letter to all Montreal drivers apart from myself

Dear All Montreal Drivers,

Go fuck yourselves.

That is all.

Oh, and kindly stop driving like a bunch of douchebags.

Warm regards,


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Touching!

The other day my trainer gave me one of those ass out hugs at the end of our session. You know the hug I’m talking about – stiff arms, 90 degree elbows, face turned away from you, body rigid with the stress of avoiding contact at all costs. It’s an anti-hug, really. It says, “I need to make contact with you and this is how I’m going to do it.” There are other options – the ass out hug should only be attempted in the direst of circumstances.

There’s the handshake which, between two women, can come across as too formal after the initial handshake. Women rarely shake hands again after the first handshake – it’s either 2 kisses or a hug (a real one) after that. A light touch on the shoulder is also good – anything but the ass out hug.

I’m a big fan of touching. No, no, don’t get all up in arms and assume it’s some nasty sex thing. I just really like touching and being touched by other people. Yes, sometimes it really is a sex thing, but for the most part it’s a “feeling close to another human being thing”, which, let me tell you, is pretty good. Rub, scratch, poke and prod away my friends - I like it all. I've also been known to accept own palm slaps across the face when plied with booze. I'm also happy to administer them.

There is, however, one caveat. I loathe, nay, despise, being slapped on the ass. I don't know what it is or why it happens, but when I get smacked on the ass I am seized with a rage that I am unable to control. It is this "white fury" that I hear so much about from all the local psychos. I am almost certain that there's a wealth of untapped wrath trapped somewhere in my ass and each little smack reminds it that it's trapped, forever a prisoner. For about 5 seconds after the initial smack I feel like I might throw up due to the sheer volume of seething hate and ire coarsing through my veins. You would be correct in assuming that this visceral reaction to something so mundane and ordinary is, well, unsettling to say the least.

They got it right on Arrested Development. No Touching indeed!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sleep? Hello?

I don't even know when it began, or why, for that matter, but it appears as if sleep and I are no longer in cahoots. Night after night I wake up between 8 and 10 times at various hours, sometimes for lengths at a time. Last night I was awake from 4-4:30. The hours at which I stir are seemingly random, my body seems impartial to odd and even numbers, whole and half hours, quarters to or after. What I am suffering from here is a serious lack of deep sleep, actual rest - and it is taking its toll. I had a mental breakdown in the grocery store the other day because I couldn't find the flat leaf parsley or mint. This enraged me for the following reasons:
(keep in mind that I was irrationally angry)
1. How dare they only have curly leaf parsley - as if I can cook anything with such a bastard herb. I don't work at Red Lobster.
2. I come all the way to the grocery store for something as simple as mint and flat leaf parsley and these MOTHERFUCKERS can't even give me what I need. (yeah - who's insane?)
3. Why is there so much dill and summer savoury? Who could ever use so much goddamn dill?

My rage quickly spiralled into tears, right there, in front of the dill. In front of other rational people hopped up on REM sleep. The injustice.

I've thought about this lack of sleep and can't come up with a reasonable explanation. I don't have a stressful job to keep me awake at nights, nor do I have a pack of babies demanding food and attention around the clock. I don't live under a bowling alley or next to a shooting range. Last time I checked this was Montreal and not Baghdad, no blitzkriegs here either. So what's the deal then?

I am going to see my accupuncturist tomorrow in search of a solution to my dilemma. Maybe she'll poke loose whatever is blocking my potential restful sleep. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 14, 2008


I realize I've been copping out lately and posting videos rather than actually writing anything. But the truth is, I've been rather busy and some of my more inspired posts really took a lot more time than I've got right now. There's no time for prose when your tires need changing and warmer weather begs for time spent outside.
I came across this little number on youtube and wanted to share it with you guys as it made me feel about 15 again. I went to the Frente concert at Club Soda when I was 15 or 16, can't remember which. At the time I had a German exchange student staying with me by the name of (and I shit you not) Dirk Weissenburger which I think means white burger - hilarious. He came to Montreal with a suitcase full of Nutella. It was all he would ever eat. He and I also fought like cats and dogs or katze und hunds, whichever you like. He was a bit of a douche but we were also young and I think I may have been a lot meaner then, so, in the spirit of Mondays and German exchange students, I give you Labour of Love by Frente and hope its lively melodies brighten your day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

EVERY goddamn morning...

Some genius on youtube created a cartoon of what his cat does to wake him up. I am pretty sure he's got a hidden camera in my bedroom as this little gem tells the story of my life.
Thanks to Val for this piece of heaven:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Oh Dear.

Every now and then I get paralyzed by incredible bouts of loneliness. If I really put my mind to it I can get over it and function as a normal human being. But, sometimes I kind of like wallowing in it which is self-defeating and a little messed up. I guess sometimes it feels good to feel bad.
Here are some tools for making the most of your loneliness:
1) listen to really depressing music - stuff about people dying or being alone works really well.
2) call no one.
3) stare blankly at the walls
4) check your facebook about 500 times an hour - you'll feel "better" knowing no one has written to you.
5) keep the lights off - aritifical light might accidentally snap you out of said loneliness.
6) analyze all conversations had over the past 48 hours to find evidence that yes, no one wants to spend time with you and that people don't care about you.
7) make a ridiculous list poking fun at the futility of your actions.

Shit I've gone and done it again. I mocked myself into feeling better. Damn. And I was SO enjoying the wallowing.

Monday, March 31, 2008


I find it insulting that I'm year of the snake. Forced to crawl on my belly for all of eternity for tempting Adam and Eve. Feared by most, the object of sin and horror in most literature and cinemas. Snake is by far the worst year. I would rather be year of the rat. Or year of the sloth.
Who's with me?

Free Hugs

Now that I've figured out how to embed youtube videos you're all gonna get an eye/earful. I acutally had to google "how to embed youtube video in blogger" which was kind of embarassing but the internet was gentle and informative without the slightest bit of judgement. So, here's a little video I enjoy. The music is a little too generic rock but the message is great.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Birthday

OK so I've got 20 minutes according to the clock on my pc.
My dear readers, I have been drinking so it's possible this post is riddled with typos and/or idiocies.
Today is someone's birthday who is very special to me. And with all special people, there is always a soundtrack. This one is outdated but still pertintent. Regardless of time or circumstances, this track will always make me think of the birthday boy.
This clip is rough. It is also from the BR concert in Montreal on my 30th birthday that I wanted to attend but was unable to. Youtube has also disabled the embedding function so you'll have to bear with me.

Regardless, Happy Birthday, my special friend. You are loved.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Life Changes

It's amazing how something as banal as taking your cat to the vet can set the tone for the rest of your day. My little Monkey has been bothered recently by a swollen left eye. I left for Toronto hoping it would clear up but found it just as bad upon my return. So off we went this afternoon for a little jaunt to the Animal Health Clinic.
Turns out that yes, her eye is infected but applying my newly acquired ointment 3 times a day for 1 week would clear the situation right up. There were a few delays during the consult, namely the fact that some of the equipment couldn't be accessed right away as there was a euthanasia being performed in the next room. The vet displayed a certain sensitivity to the matter, saying she would obtain the equipment when the "deed was done." I felt kind of sad but put it out of my mind.
When I came out, one of the vet techs was collapsing a cage that had belonged to a newly departed kitty. The cage, along with fluffy blanket, was being shoved into a garbage bag, their tenure as home and bed, now terminated. I then saw the red and swollen face of the owner. She had come in with her dear cat and left with a garbage bag. The whole thing damn near broke my heart and I was struck by the notion that the cage and blanket could easily have belonged to Monkey or Minou. Those sad and swollen eyes could belong to me. I had to get out of there.
Once outside, I saw a casket being carried to a hearse by 8 pallbearers, throngs of mourners streaming out the door of the funeral home.
I am immediately transported through time. It is 3 years ago and I am sitting outside Princess Margaret Hospital, 30 minutes after my mother has died. It is a beautiful spring evening. The trees are blooming, the tulips and crocuses are out, optimism runs rampant throughout the streets. People are rushing home from work, dinner, family and friends on their minds. My life had just changed forever, my heart has broken, the impact of what has happened has not fully set in. These people rushing about do not know what has happened to me, what I have lost. The tulips and sunshine do not reflect the reality of my situation. I find it soothing, this hustle and bustle, this "life goes on" sentiment makes me feel less isolated.
My world had ground to a halt - yet the clocks kept ticking, the sun shone and people met their friends for dinner. What was tragic and life altering for me was just an ordinary spring night for someone else. There is something comforting in that notion.
Today I looked at the woman who lost her cat and the mourners who had lost someone dear to them and I thought, yeah, today is a horrible day for you. But they will only get better. I too had that horrible day and it got better. It continues to get better.
A few years ago I was watching an episode of Scrubs (love it!) where Dr. Cox loses a dear friend and doesn't fully realize the extent of his pain until the last scene. It speaks volumes to me about the power of grief and the eventual power to heal. It too, gives me comfort. As do you, my dear readers.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Hey gang!

Wanted to give all y'all the heads up that I'm in Toronto for the weekend and not planning on updating this here blog.
Hope you're enjoying the day!


Monday, March 17, 2008


Happy Monday all! I know...."happy" Monday -and yes. Why not? I know not every day can be a carefree and magical Saturday but Mondays don't have to be all that bad.
Perhaps I'm optimistic this week as I'll be making my way to Toronto to see some of my favourite people. It shocks me to think that I've been back in Montreal for two and a half years now after having lived in the Dot for 3. Big chunks of my life are starting to add up creating a total number of years that is getting staggeringly high. I met some pretty awesome people there and even though my heart is firmly grounded in La Belle Ville, I make the trip down the 401 every couple of months. This trip is extra special.
I grew up as an only child and when I was 18, my mother married again, thus giving me 2 step sisters and a step father. I had never grown up with family (apart from my parents) and was suddenly awash in family dinners and all things family. Bonds were slow to form, intimacies forged over years. Letting someone in is often a slow process, especially when you plan to keep them there forever. And I do.

And so. One of my dear sisters has decided to leave Toronto and try her fortune out in London. She leaves a week from today. I was looking at some of her wedding photos earlier and came across this one of her father watching her say her vows. He knows she's leaving, she's getting married, she's leaving him behind.
This photograph brings something up inside me that I am unable to process. Maybe it is the sad truth that my father won't look at me that way at my wedding. He won't walk me down the aisle or weep at the thought of me starting a new family. His heart won't break at the thought of me moving away from him. I love this photo because there is no question as to how much he loves her. You can almost touch it.
So I'd like to wish my sister the best of luck and try to express just how much I'm going to miss her. How her place in my heart has changed my life, how the experiences we've shared have bonded her to me forever. When you leave Tuesday I shall have the same look on my face as your dear dad. And I will eagerly await your return.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being White

I'm a pretty white white person. Not in mannerisms or musical tastes (although that too) but in the actual colour of my flesh. I am really white with a slightly pinkish tinge - I've also been known to break into a red rash after too much red wine. It happens with beer from time to time as well and is super awkward because not only have I had too much to drink, my face betrays me before words ever can. Judas!

Being this white isn't all bad. I make a good living moonlighting at the local haunted house and my photo has graced the cover of "Albino Weekly" on more than one occasion. Problems arise, however, when my milky white Canadian flesh comes into contact with a UV ray higher than 5. And, even worse, Caribbean and/or tropical sun.

A few years ago I decided to go on vacation by myself to the Club Med in Turks and Caicos. A great idea in theory - I had a terrible time. Not because it wasn't serenely beautiful, which it was, but because I was horribly lonely. I also underestimated the ferocity of the sun. After a languid morning of pina coladas and cigarettes, I took a little nap (no I did NOT pass out) in a hammock which I thought to be in the shade. When I woke up I was pretty sure that I had made a horrible mistake - the full impact of what I had done wouldn't be revealed to me until later.

Shortly thereafter the sunburn finally revealed what it was made of. So much so that the aloe vera I applied felt like boiling acid. Boiling acid. That's right. People would stop in their tracks and give me a "Oh my got some sun" while backing away, pity and revulsion in their eyes. I had to visit the clinic where I was met with much of the same sentiment and sent away with various ointments. I spent 2 days in my room. After which, I looked like this:

It went away, of course. But I learned my lesson.

On a positive note, I took a walk along the beach and was accosted by one of the locals! You see, I have what can only be described as an hourglass figure, one that is generally appealing to men of African descent. I was told by "Whitey" that I had "more cushion for the pushin'" - so the whole trip wasn't ruined. Just really, really awkward.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hey Oh!

Can I get a hey oh! for the number #1 team in the east? Hey Oh!!!
This is an exciting time of year. With playoffs looming and a number 1 team in town, methinks these next few months are going to be all sorts of awesome. There is nothing as exciting as a full pint of beer, a bar full of hockey fans and a winning team. Just thinking about it makes me want to do something foolish like smashing out all my windows with a sledgehammer. The fact that I am usually a pretty reasonable person makes this feeling somewhat alarming.

Montreal is Hockey Town by nature. Our baseball team is gone and while football garners some attention, all eyes are generally glued on the Habs. It defies class and language, uniting one and all towards one common goal: the Cup. Habs fans are loud, the are fickle, they are merciless and passionate. It is quite something to be wholly united with someone you have nothing in common with, someone with whom you share a soul crushing desire for victory. Hockey fan or not, nothing can compare with the spirit of camaraderie that exists at every Habs game.

And so, tomorrow night I will be out at the Old Orchard Pub, pint in hand, cheering for my beloved Habitants as they face the Senators here in La Belle Ville. Bring it......

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Old and Hip? Sadly, just old.

Folks, I have successfully lived through the weekend despite blizzards and hangovers. And here we are.
I was invited to a friend's 17th birthday party Sunday afternoon. Even though I was having the time of my life with the vacuum and mop, I decided to dust off my dancing shoes and join the celebration.
I use the term "dancing shoes" loosely as I am not one who usually "cuts the rug" at dancing affairs. I dance when forced, i.e. two weeks ago at Chez Pierre, or when highly intoxicated (also 2 weeks ago at Chez Pierre.)
But I digress.
I suppose it's odd that I have a friend who just turned 17 given that I am now 30. To be fair, and not creepy, her mother and I are friends she she and I have become friends as a result. If I were a scientist, I would say that her mother is the catalyst in our relationship. As I am not, I will refer to her as "The Facilitator" for clarity's sake.
As I was getting ready I was struck with a horrifying thought – she and her friends would think of me as “one of the parents” at the party. Now that I am no longer in my twenties and certainly not in my teens, I have fallen into some sort of vague parental age regardless of offspring, husband or RRSP contribution limit. And, because I am still young, I can easily remember what it was like to be 17, to spend time with “adults”, to find them impediments to my sneaking off to smoke cigarettes and weed. Shit.
Oh man. Seized with panic, I tried to think of certain things I could say or do to seem hip and/or youthful.

1) Bust out some cigarettes and start smoking

2) Casually drop in, “I got so hammered last night I blacked out”

3) Swear a lot. Adults don’t say “Fuck”, right?

4) Offer to buy them beer

Then I realized that trying to be hip or cool (by doing lame things, I might add) would only make my stock plummet further. When did this happen? When did I become old enough to begin worrying about this kind of ridiculousness? I had never felt old until just then because, when I really thought about it, my lifestyle hasn’t changed that much from when I was 18. Sure, I can drink more (I would love to have a drinking contest with 18 year old me. I would annihilate her) and I’ve got more money. I’m also more educated and “street wise” than I was then thus giving me good material for drunk and/or stoned talk. But I still go to a lot of the same bars. And I’ve been known to drink too much….and smoke too much and make bad decisions. Which is what I did at 18 and still at 30. Oh dear.
So I guess there’s no answer to this one. Just be and don’t worry too much about acting your age. All those 17 year olds are trying to be older anyways.
I did have a good time at the party, although I hid in the kitchen for most of it since I didn’t know anyone. Perhaps that’s what drove me to cooking, a deliberate desire to flee the crowd. Most cooks I know are anti-social and awkward by nature thereby relying heavily on the drink to facilitate conversation.
Check in with me again in 10 years – hopefully I won’t be trying to impress a bunch of 30 year olds with my bong making abilities…..

Friday, March 7, 2008


Yes, I know I am the quintessential Canadian by posting on weather - but this bears mentioning. So far, Montreal has received what can only be called a shitload of snow. A metric shitload, to be exact. So much so that we are expected to break the record of 373cm set in 1971. I think we're at about 330cm right now with a good solid month of winter left so it stands to reason that the 1971 record is on its way out.
Tomorrow we are due for another snow storm, which means lots more people bitching about being cooped up in their houses and unable to drive. Personally, I enjoy a good storm. Anything that takes a bustling metropolis and brings it to its knees is something I can get down with. I think we often forget that nature is indeed a force to be reckoned with and all our fancy technology and opposable thumbs really mean nada in the face of the elements.
However, even I am blown away by what's on its way. Tomorrow we are due to receive 50cm of snow. That's right - FIFTY. Which means we will most likely break the record. Which means, and this really astounds me, that this will be the snowiest winter of my lifetime. And I'm not that young either - 30 winters all leading up to this point.
But 50cm - has sort of an apocalyptic feel to it, no? What's next? Horsemen? Locusts?
Now, all I need are a few good movies and some warm bodies to hunker down in front of the fire with.
Who's in?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Note on Music

After yesterday's bit on heartbreaking music and lack of Romance, I thought it only apt to let y'all know which little ditties speak to my soul. This is by no means a complete library. Some of these rip open my chest and make sweet yet gentle love to my heart - others are more forceful prompting sometimes visceral reactions.
In no particular order, we have:

1- "To Build a Home" by the Cinematic Orchestra
A good friend of mine presented a slide show during her wedding featuring various photos of her and her newly betrothed. Separate shots of them as children, their friends, then shots of them together, buying a house, photos of their families and loved ones, essentially telling the story, through photos, of their coming together. It was wonderfully touching - and set to the above mentioned song. Take beautiful pictures, set them to beautiful music and I'm done for. I do remember thinking that there's a fine line between joy and sorrow as that whole bit would have fit in just as well at a funeral. Lovely, lovely.

2- "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez
I had recently made the acquaintance of a young gentleman with whom I only spent a few hours but who left an impact on me. He was, as you might imagine, on my mind. Shortly thereafter, in the throes of my daydreaming, a good friend of mine introduced me to this gem, which I listened to over and over. I cannot hear this song without thinking of those few hours with aching fondness.

3- "Do What you Have to Do" by Sarah McLachlan
Speaks for itself. "I know I can't be with you, I do what I have to do." Makes me think of a great love of mine who is no longer here.

4- "Angeles" by Elliott Smith
Come on. This guy knows angst - he stabbed himself in the heart thus ending his life.

5- "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell
I am transported to that scene in "Love Actually" where Emma Thompson realizes her husband is having an affair and struggles to regain her composure. You can see her coming apart but unable to give into it.

6- "What Happens When the Heart Just Stops" by the Frames
An Irish group, they are better known as the musical talent in the brilliant Irish film, "Once." This tune starts slowly and builds to a crescendo with Glen Hansard, the lead singer, finally saying, "and i'm disappointed. I'm disappointed." It just rings so true.

7- "Jolene" by Ray LaMontagne
Hard for me to narrow down my Ray pic cause he's just such a melancholic genius. I also give a nod to "Empty" from his latest album. His lyrics are gut wrenching.

8- "Breathe Me" by Sia
"Six Feet Under" fans will agree with me on this one. The "Six Feet Under" series finale left me broken for a week or so.

9- "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie.
I really think DCFC deserves their own section here. But this song takes the cake. Here are some others:
"I'll Follow you into the Dark"
"What Sarah Said"
"A Lack of Colour"

10-"November Rain" by G 'n'R
OK. This was the original "ouchie in my heartie" circa 1991. The video with the red wine spilling, the symbolism, the coffins. Ugh.

For the longest time I couldn't listen to Ben Harper's rendition of "The Drugs Don't Work" and I can't hear "Brick" by Ben Folds without a stirring in my gut. And, of course, a shout out to "Wheat Kings" by our own Tragically Hip. Timeless.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I've always responded very well to Romance. Not romance but Romance, capital R, no less. And I don't mean surface Romance sundries such as flowers and love songs. I scoff at the “Romance” put forth by John Mayer, Celine Dion and Sophie Kinsella. My Romance is a much more brooding kind, one that exists in your bones it runs so deep.

Romanticism, by definition, was a literary movement that took place between 1780 and 1848. Some of its most prolific writers were as follows: Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelly, Byron, Keats and the Bronte sisters. It is a difficult concept to define, because, much like its name suggests, it resists the urge to be defined, to be corralled or controlled. It thrives on uncertainty, the indefinite, the boundless. Romantic writers eschewed balance and order while favoring the value of spontaneity, wonder and emotional self-expression, often at dire costs. They did not identify with social order, the “man”, if you will, and as such their writings were rife with suffering, emotional pain and an “us against them” mentality.


Anyone who has ever been head over heels in love can certainly attest to the fact that you and your beloved are one united against the world. The depth and soul of your love knows no limits, resists definition, keeps evil at bay, turns back tides, parts seas and walks on water. In short, divine providence now resides in your very being. This love, akin to Godliness, (excuse me, dear Christians, for such blasphemy) is the church you now worship.

I have come to believe, however, that what I respond to is not Romance but the pain that comes with it. The yearning, the heartbreak, the pain and the horror, the horror. You see, for someone who identifies so strongly with something so universally understood and sought after, there has been very little Romance in my short life.

There has, however, been a fair amount of pain. Even Pain, if you will.

The sadder the song, the more heartbreaking the film, the more tragic the tale, the more I respond. A girlfriend of mine pointed this out to me the other day, posed more as a question than an observation. Why do I flock to these tales of woe, these heartbreaking ballads?

I think I know the answer. I think these purveyors of pain have somehow tapped into a part of my soul as yet untouched by another human being. In the absence of Love (notice the capital “L”) I have allowed for melodies and prose. And it is not enough.

Let me clarify. I have had my fair share of love. I am showered with it daily from more sources than I can even count. I am not even sure I can count that high to begin with such is my lucky lot in life. Alliterations aside, I am well aware of the pure and honest love offered to me by so many in my life. But what for Romance? Or Love, for that matter?

I remain an optimist. A wealth of untapped joy resides within me, spigot in hand, at the ready. I am undeterred by space or time, preferring to bend the continuum to my will. I believe there is no age, shape or form to life’s most simple goal: to love and be loved. Or Loved.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why I'm Not a Food Snob

Yes it's the first post to my brand new blog - and it should come as no surprise that I've decided to tackle the aforementioned subject. For those who know me, I have always loved to eat and cook. Every night a different adventure in gastronomic travel. Cookbooks, food magazines, restaurants and diners, all gold. People who talk about food, cook it, love it and most importantly, eat it. In fact, I loved to cook and eat so much that I enrolled in cooking school and subsequently worked in a few restaurants. I think it's pretty safe to say that I know food, can cook most of it and can usually tell if it's well done or if it's shit.
Here's where I get into trouble. You see, there is a lot of shit food out there posing as good food. And I don't mean greasy burgers or grilled cheeses with bacon or even cans of chef Boyardee. It's not haute cuisine but it's honest, it doesn't pretend to be good. It's dirty and it's good for hangovers or inducing diarrhea, whatever you require. What I'm talking about is a meal that is supposed to be good, supposed to be cooked well, flavourful and tasty, but is actually really, really shitty. Take for example the salmon tartar I had the other night. Small cubes of salmon mixed with equally small cubes of avocado. Should have been tasty. However, it was dry, underseasoned and badly presented. It needed salt, it needed oil, it needed to taste less like avocado and more like salmon. It needed to stop posing as good food. It was bad food masquerading as good food. This I cannot abide.
So, when I comment on food such as this, I'll usually say something witty like, "This is crap" or, my personal favourite, "this is really poorly done, someone in the kitchen needs to be fired." To which I am met with, "You're such a food snob." Hell NO my friends - what I am is someone who knows better, knows how easy it is to achieve decent flavour and taste in even the simplest dishes.
I don't need truffles, foie gras and lobster with every meal. And I don't need people fussing and fretting over garnishes and "accoutrements" - I just need something honest. And tasty.