Wednesday, November 28, 2007

not so smart cars

I know I should welcome the 'smart' car, but I don't. Calling an object smart makes me nervous. Could it be that I might be outsmarted by a car or a toaster? To me, smart implies a certain level of sentience.The thought that an object might have a more rewarding life experience than me because it has figured out all that I cannot, is not comforting.

My mother decided she wanted one this past summer. I don't know why. My parents have two SUVs and a truck as well as a tractor (plus a car up on blocks). Granted, they live near the top of a mountain on a west coast island... but how does a smart car fit in? That little pod of a auto surely couldn't make it up the 1.5 km switchback drive way. I believe she thought it was cute. I also believe she told me about it to fill in 30 minutes of silence that I was enjoying before the phone rang.

In the end, she didn't get the 'smart' car. The deciding factor was the complete lack of cup holders. Cup Holders!

And that is how decisions are made.

If you happen to feel guilty about all the climate change and you want to do something about it to show the world you care, don't buy another car. Park the one you already have and walk. Cause in the end, a smart car is just another car on the road, and a pretty ugly one too.

Monday, November 26, 2007


It seems cruel to expect dogs to read french.

I'm not sure that it is at all clear to an illiterate dog that pooping is pas permis.

No one tells Roofdog where to shit.

Monday, November 19, 2007

a lamp post

Apparently I have nothing much to say today.
My brain is mostly empty.
I blame Stockwell Day.

Why do we elect morons?


I could tell that these birds were planning to shit on me, but they didn't.
That's a good lesson to any of you who might have been planning the same.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

too much negative

This sign post is nothing but confusion and negativity. It somewhat explains why I don't drive in Montréal. I'm not even sure what the bottom sign means. Is it no parking between noon and 1pm on tuesdays and fridays from April first to December first? That seems oddly specific.

Then someone added a bicycle logo with a red line through it. I guess that means no biking at this particular corner? Or does the above timeline apply to bicycling too?

This sort of sign is why the philosophy of logic is such an important class at universities the world over.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

leaves in my back alley

This is just some leaves.
I thought the alley looked nice in yellow.
There isn't any deeper meaning.

I've been spending too much time inside lately.

Monday, November 12, 2007

sunday at a café

We had a house guest over the weekend. She is 8 (almost 9), and it was a sleepover. The three of us watched a retelling of little red riding hood, Hoodwinked. I'm not sure why children's animation does not receive more respect. I'm not sure why animation does not get more respect.

Then, despite all the halloween booty that was eaten by all of us, everyone fell asleep around 11.

The next morning our friend's mom showed up and took us all out to this café around the corner that French Panic and I had been ignoring due to the expensive looking decor. It looks pretty much what I imagine Paris cafés look like; tasteful and elegant. Our young friend chose it because instead of bread in a basket, you get a basket of little pastries.

It was a pretty nice start to a sunday where I got next to nothing I had planned done. I'm going to give up trying to get things done on the weekend.

Friday, November 09, 2007

squirrels are taking over

They don't seem dangerous.

But wikipedia assures me that these frighteningly intelligent rodents
(as smart as a dog)
have brought down the NASDAQ, twice.

I don't know what the NASDAQ does exactly.

I don't have an MBA or investments.

But I am humbled that this little monster,
that insisted I take his picture,
knows exactly how to take down the system

and I don't.

Monday, November 05, 2007



Well not so much, I suppose, here in Québec.

Recently a commission has been traveling through the province in which I live, exposing a level of intolerance that causes me to blush with embarrassment the same way I do when I watch Steve Carell on The Office. It has been named the Reasonable Accommodation Commission. I’m not entirely sure what is so reasonable about it.

The theory is that immigrants are coming here to Canada and, holy shit, sticking together as cultural groups. They wear their funny hats, they say their prayers in strange languages, they have their very own customs. [Excuse me while I try to remember my own customs... oh yes, my morning cup of coffee while I come up with excuses for not going running that morning.]

This is apparently very upsetting to many people, including my mother, who lives in fear that someone will one day walk into her home and demand that the christmas tree be taken down because it offends someone.

First, let’s just clear up the christmas tree problem. It isn’t a christian symbol. It is a pagan symbol. Remember christians? The folks you burnt up in a rage claiming that they were at best heathens, at worst, witches and in league with the devil?

Besides, the only people who seem annoyed by christmas trees are far left liberals in the US suffering from white guilt, concerned that a tree placed inside a building might offend someone.

So I suppose the next worry is that these immigrants might band together and get up to no good. Kind of like, oh I don’t know, colonial expansion perhaps?

The first time I ever left North America, I found myself waiting, for 6 or more hours in the New Delhi International airport. The bathroom scared me. The masses of people scared me. The loud foreign language over the intercom scared me. So what did I do? I hung out with the other Canadians waiting. There was 6 of us. We spoke english, talked about how malaria wasn’t prevalent in Kathmandu, but it was in the New Delhi airport (none of us having anti-malaria pills or repellant on hand). More fear, as we created a sort of outward facing circle and swatted at any mosquitoes near us. We probably looked like retards at the zoo.

The point is, we huddled together and were bonded by two things; our Canadian citizenship and fear. Nothing else. When you are scared and unsure, you stick with what you know and learn when you feel brave.

As if the ignorance of Québecois rednecks (I can confirm my suspicion that ignorant rednecks exist everywhere and tend to have the loudest, most insistent voices around) wasn’t hard enough to stomach, the Parti Quebecois decided to propose a new law. This law would demand that all immigrants to the ‘nation of Québec’ take a french exam to establish their Québec citizenship.

Since this was announced, I have been having nightmares involving all of my french grammar teachers from grade one to university. These folks can easily be recognized for their high pitched call... ‘en français, s’il vous plait!!!’

I imagine them, together with a possibly justifiably angry bureaucrat, sitting around a large board room table, writing a french exam specifically for me. The kind that asks me when I should use the plus-que-parfait verb tense. The sort of test that is mostly the exceptions to the rules. The type of exam that involves a lengthy dictée (to those of you who weren’t in french immersion, that is a spelling test suspiciously full of silent letters).

This is the test of my nightmares. One covered in red ink, just like the ones I grew up with, except this one would actually prevent me from running for office, donating money for someone else to run for office, and denying me the basic, oh so Canadian, right of bitching and complaining to my government.

I wish I were joking.

The reason for these proposals is the fear that the french culture and language would be utterly destroyed if not for some level of protection. This could be a reasonable fear, if it wasn’t for the fact that Québec has remained french for well over 244 years of English and Canadian rule.

NO REASONABLE PERSON WANTS TO REMOVE FRENCH FROM QUEBEC. I promise. It would simply kill tourism and allow Stephen Harper one more reason to join the USA. (no offense meant towards American readers. I just don't happen to think of Canada as America's hat.)

But, my worried separatists, if you want the immigrants to the province of Québec to speak french, you have to make it an attractive proposition.

Many of these out of country folk are scared shitless. They sought out a safer, happier, cleaner place to live. Some of them probably just followed family and would have preferred to stay home. Why does everyone expect automatic happy feelings upon entering Canada? I’m sure not all of the Europeans who showed up in North America were overjoyed when they saw all the snow and ice.

So the solution is banal. Sit down for a coffee or a tea or just whatever and talk. Sell the advantages of the French language and culture. Here are some; Few languages have embraced the graphic novel as the French have. It is a wonderfully diplomatic language, current xenophobia aside. Many Americans find french irrationally sexy. 54 different countries use it on a regular basis and it happens to be one of the official languages of the UN. Chances are that the African immigrant already speaks french, albeit with a more different accent.

Just don’t introduce the new folk to Bonhomme Carnival. That is one scary fucking clown.