Friday, February 27, 2009

it's okay to feel good.

This video made me happy... but I didn't make this.

Search youtube for French Panic until she becomes viral.... but not actually viral. I miss her and I'd rather not get her back sick.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

French Panic speaks out and Pamplemousse agrees with her

Living in Canada is a good thing... mostly.

All the medicare and democracy in the world doesn't quite make up for the months of January, February and March. It is usually cold and miserable. When it isn't quite as cold, it tends to be melty, which leads to slush, which is cold anyway. So unless you get a sunny day and a dry spot, you are pretty much certain to be uncomfortable to some degree outside. There is no christmas like holiday in the lot of those 3 months. Just some lame runners up created not to celebrate the joy of life, but instead to prop up the greeting card industry and the makers of green beer.

Having been born and raised here, I fully expect winter. The snow and ice come every year, and unless you live on the west coast, there is no exception to this.

However, Canadians also love to bitch and whine. And what do they whine about? The one thing none of us can do anything about: the weather.

I have never once heard a farmer in Canada happy with the weather. It's either 'too wet' or 'too dry' or 'too hot' or 'too cold' and then when it does get wet they manage to complain about the timing of it all... as if it's the government's fault.

That seems to be a key element to the Canadian lifestyle; No matter what the issue is, you can be sure that us Canadians are blaming the government of the land for it.

It isn't just farmers that whinge, mind you. Having recently been out to Vancouver, a spot in Canada mostly seeing winter as one long rain shower where the grass stays green all year, I can tell you that even those in Lotus land still manage to complain about the winter.

'It's real cold out today, don't yah think?'

Well no, 5 degrees above (Celsius America... 41 Farenheit) in February is actual quite warm. Does Vancouver honestly expect that the temperature should always be 22 degrees C?

'But it's a wet cold, you see. And there is a small pile of snow over there. Please don't step in it. We're trying to perserve it for as long as we can.'

Yeah, so put on a sweater and down vest and try walking a little faster. Problem solved.

Every province and territory has the same lame ass joke, and each region thinks it is their Dad's wisdom, exclusive to that area. The joke invariably goes 'Don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes!" This is followed by laughing on the part of the supposed comedian which is never a good sign humour.

I thought that maybe in my move to the land of the French I would avoid such pointless weather talk and we could talk instead about minority rights and how hard done by everyone here is. I am sad to say that the Québecois also talk about the weather. And when they find out that you are from somewhere else, they like to ask how cold a winter you've dealt with.

Being from a prairie town means that both French Panic and I have both muddled through temperatures as cold as -50 on the occasional winter. It is rare that things dip so low in Edmonton, but it has happened. Usually the schools would close, but not always. I still remember going out the door at -40. Honestly, for those who haven't had the pleasure, it feels exactly like going outside in -20 weather, but it all happens faster. Also, in either case, it feels like someone has punched you in the lungs. I'm not meaning to join in the bitch session. I accept that every year it will get cold out... until it doesn't and then watch out.

When I've informed a happy Québecer that I have seen -50, they quickly tell me how 'around here, it is 'a wet cold, tu vois? It feel much colder.'

Sound familiar? That's because that is exactly what West Coast folk say, which is exactly what the east coast folk will say. It comes from being located next to a large body of water. Idiots. Why not just mention over and over again how the sky is blue, each time being more surprised than the last?

It's a stupid conversation/competition. No one's winter is easy. Though I would suggest that Vancouver and Victoria folk have quite a bit less to whine about. We all get cranky and stay inside more and put on a few extra pounds. But we all want to have had the worst winter.

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that we humans are collectively stupid. It's sort of scary. Winter happens every year, yet that first snow day brings endless lists of fender benders. Does the suddenly whitish road not clue drivers into the fact that it is now slippery? Apparently not.

While I've heard many jokes at the expense of westerners in my stay out here in Montréal, (who knew that an Alberta joke would be the new newfie joke of our day) the one thing that happens in winter in the west is that we help each other out. You see someone stuck in a snow bank, you stop and if you have time, help push them out.

This is the benefit of misery; if others are suffering they will be more likely to help out those suffering more. Out west I've seen the most unlikely people helping each other out. Hippy helping redneck. Racist helping out a Pakistani person. Misery brings us closer together. No one wants a medal. Just a smile and a thanks.

Apparently not in Montréal. I have helped drivers out and at first it was just because that is how I grew up. Here they don't want the help. I have pushed without asking, knowing there was no other way out of the situation, only to be glared at. Granted, many more people have been very thankful and surprised.

Now I push people out of snow banks because I cannot stand the sound of a car engine in obvious distress. I hate the stench of rubber burning, of transmission fluid burning. It isn't healthy for anyone, and it won't get you out of the snow and ice any faster. At that point, only someone pushing, or some traction under your tires, will do anything at all for you.

Winter happens every fucking year. It really should not be a surprise anymore. And by now, Montréal, you should have figured out that gunning your engine until the snow under your tires is actually ice, will not get you any further ahead in life. I have heard people hit the gas pedal for over 45 minutes. I believe that is the definition of insanity... doing the same action repeatedly hoping for a different result.

Being far more to the point than me, as usual, here is French Panic in her online video debut.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the best thing I overheard today.

Question to Tibetan Lama: Do you know Oprah?

Answer from Tibetan Lama: The woman, right? Umm. Yes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

suddenly and unexpectedly in vancouver.

For reasons I’d rather not get into on the cold and heartless information super highway, I am in Vancouver for a largely undetermined amount of time.

Not only am I in Vancouver, but I’m living in Yaletown, temporarily.

I had not heard of Yaletown before, or if I had, I blissfully ignored it. Turns out it is what is growing out of what was, to my 13 year old self, the expo 86 site.

I barely remember anything from that time, except that my hypochondriac Nana had ‘forgotten’ to bring her handicap sign thereby pissing of my father who had counted on good parking for the motorhome. In his mind, that was the only advantage to having the old boot along. (My dad used to like to call her ‘old boot’. They did not get along in a manner that would, had it been in 30 minute increments and only once a week, made for a great sitcom. Sadly, it was a long trip from Edmonton to the 1986 Vancouver and families don’t function on a 30 minute, once a week timeline.)

My dad, ever the resourceful bush pilot did something amazing that you rarely see these days; he improvised. Suddenly a ruler, a yoghurt lid and a red marker was turned into a fresh, and convincing, forgery of a handicap sign.

Nana had a nasty habit of conveniently forgetting massively important items leaving her care givers in the lurch and causing a great deal of drama. My Nana loved the drama.

As a result, I abhor drama in my personal life. For me, it should be in movies only. However, no matter how you avoid it, tragedy will come to us all in some form. As I alluded to, I am currently getting through some of that sort of drama and looking forward to when it becomes a dramedy (comedy = tragedy + time, which becomes a dramedy when made into a touching film with laughs that can still qualify for an oscar). In this case, it is not likely to happen within my lifetime.

Yaletown is not expo 86 though. It is an area lacking soul. (I can't remember if Expo 86 had any soul either. It is only a blur of a memory now.) According to a close friend all of Vancouver not only lacks soul, but also genitals. I have not explored enough to accept this fully. However, I will agree that Yaletown lacks genitals. It seems very safe… like a Ken doll. It has many dogs that are taken care of not as dogs, but as children. And that means store fronts dedicated to doggy clothing, doggy grooming, doggy hospitals which I imagine also has doggy pediatricians for the puppies. There is a dog park or two, closely monitored to prevent dogs from ‘escaping’ into leash only areas.

I love dogs. But I know dogs enjoy being dogs and do not enjoy wearing raincoats. I can see it in their eyes. These are not the sort of dog that still have any wolf genetics left in them. How can a dog show any aggression after a 2 hour massage and reiki treatment? They look too relaxed to even sniff a butt or two.

There are also many cafés. That should appeal to me, but many are starbucks. Starbucks is the devil and has raped coffee. I will go to starbucks when I’m about to fly only because they are always in airports and do a moderately better job than Tim Horton’s. I know I’m pissing a lot of people off here, but coffee making is an art form, not something that can be automated and still provide the same level of enjoyment. As with anything artistic, it requires love, care and ritual. Ritual cannot be had where packaged world music is on sale.

Still, I needs me my coffee.

What is good about Yaletown? Well, some things. First off, there is a lovely path and when it rains, the yuppies stay inside and I can walk along by myself watching the rain drops on False Creek. The other night I was able to sneak up on a blue heron. She took off pretty quick when I finally made a noise. And, of course, there is the smell of the ocean.

I have to accept that yuppies are people too. They just have different priorities. I have met a pair of yuppies that I quite like. One even called me an interesting person, which I take as a compliment. I have always strived to be interesting, and this means I’m on the right path for that. I may not be rich, but I’m interesting to the rich.

Now if they could only pay my rent, I’ll gladly live somewhere else and visit Yaletown to drink their decidedly better wine than mine.