Thursday, December 17, 2009

best email of the year.

I have friends. It's true.

Many of them chose to message me on facebook, which I dislike. They all get forwarded to my email anyhow, so it probably doesn't matter other than I disagree with middle management, both real and artificial.

But it feels strangely like more effort was made to email me. In reality, a similar number of keystrokes were probably made, so I shouldn't attach extra sentimentality, but I do.

Today I choose to honour the very best direct to me email I have received. It asks for my expert coffee advice. I have become semi famous for making fine coffee in the most unlikely places such as swamps, mountain tops, abandoned cabins, the middle of a forest fire. In fact, I have been known to make coffee before putting out the forest fire... you need to pause and calm down and plan shit out before you fight most forest fires. I will now digress from proclaiming my own fame.

Here is my friend's email to me. It is very well written with only the minimum amount of typos which is impressive as he is currently working for Alberta Forestry where spelling errors are mandated.

I didn't think it would happen to me. I thought I was stronger. I thought I could handle it. This summer, the coffee, the espresso. It was so good. I tried to pretend that it was just OK. That I wouldn't want it once the summer ended.

I would lie in bed at night, alone in my tidy bunk, shaking, waiting til morning to hear the snap and crackle sound of naptha heating the water to extract the cozy blanket goodness out of the rookie grounded beans. Then to couple that with a smoke of freshly rolled DRUM tobacco....words can not explain my friend.

A paranoid part of me thinks you planned this. A classic Pusher Ploy. Offer small 'doses' of the espresso..."Morning Tingley...want some coffee?"......"Coffee?"...."mmmm. This coffee is delicious" and so forth. Knowing all along that once the summer ended
BAM no more coffee for two months and I would eventually have to come back to you to fill the void. Well you gave the man a fish and here I stand, Broken, Shameless, Wanting. Hook me up pusher. So Christina says the other day, "we should get an espresso maker". Out of the blue, well, close to Christmas mind you. Instantly it all came rushing back, the aroma, the taste, the comfort, tha accomanying cigarette.

Any suggestions on 'getting into' espresso? We don't even own a coffe maker jsut to let you know what your dealing with here.

Then he added a link to this video.... don't spread for no roses, my friends.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

claw retractor.

the desk of carrie carm full o' charm.
avoid the claw retractor.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

do not take away haiku.

Do not take away
the stamp or what is stamped
I will kick your ass

Saturday, December 12, 2009

je comprend bien le français.

Recently, due completely to my own version of grumpy old man syndrome, I posted a comment to the website of a Québecois television program. The comment linked to my post pointing out my perception of the snobbery of Montréal.

I probably shouldn't have. I'm not sure what I was trying to prove. Perhaps it was only because I wanted more hits on this blog thing. Perhaps I was lacking the proper amount of coffee and forgot my rule about angry emails.

Predictably someone, I assume associated with the show, read my post. It would be better to say that she/he completely mis read my post. I responded in anger, which I have taken down because I don't like my angry self.

So calmly, I would like to respond to my Québecois critic.

I'm sorry that you misunderstood the nature of my post. It was not an attack on french canada. I am very fond of french canada. My problem is how regional Canada is and how childish and false the concept is. The perception I had after 5 years living in Montréal was that the west is generally perceived as a backwater full of red necks. It is perhaps a clash of culture and language that created this view, but I feel it is important to correct it when possible.

This isn't my imagination. People actually said as much quite clearly. There was incredulity when I told tales of entire communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba that function nearly entirely in French, that I hold a degree that is from a french faculty from a western university. Even the fact that I might be speaking french to them was suddenly ignored when they learnt that I was from out west.

So, my french friend, I did not misunderstand the video piece. I think I saw it for what it was. It certainly wasn't intentionally insulting or nasty or curse the smelly anglos. It's just that the good intentions missed the mark. No one wants their home to be compared to an innocent pretty girl, too young to order a beer. It comes across as snotty. And the people out here are not in the least shy. You may be confusing that with friendly smiles.

And finally, this is where I tend to get angry, I can speak and understand and though my grammar is sloppy, I can even write in french. I don't need a translator, but I'm starting to wonder if perhaps you need to re-read my post with a translator.

Friday, December 11, 2009

yaletown revisited.

I was unfair to Yaletown way back last spring. I was in a bad/sad mood and I didn't appreciate what I saw. Now I walk downtown 3 times a week. It's a 40 minute walk one way that I find I know need for my sanity.

I have grown to love the yuppy homes, so tall and made of glass. They really are quite incredible. I've also become much more open minded about yuppies as a result. I can see what they like about living there now. It seems like an easy way to live, although expensive. Besides that, I recently got a ride in a BMW and it is much more comfortable than the bus or government van (that last reference is work related, not prison related).

I'd still rather walk though. You see so much more when you walk.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the library.

The Vancouver library is such a cool place that it is featured in the future. Yup, Battlestar Galactica style future (or is does that merely make it far far away? I sort of lost interest in Battlestar Galactica after season 1 when I discovered that they wouldn't be making a robot dog like in the original.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I don't eat at Denny's. It reminds me of Smitty's where I was introduced to the reality of the working world. Reality often pisses me off.

Monday, December 07, 2009

oh montréal, you are such a snob.

Carrie Carm and I spent about 5ish years living in Montréal. We are largely fond of the experience. I really liked the fact that my french immersion education was finally useful on a daily basis. Finding paying work was another matter.

And then we got a horrible phone call and very suddenly the whole Montréal experience came to an end.

So we came out here to Vancouver. We live in an area known as Mount Pleasant. I’m almost as pleased about that as when we lived on Parc Ave on the border of Mile End and Outremont. And just like the name, the Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood is very nice. Yup, people smile back, and it is pleasant.

Before we left La Belle Province, we heard from some friends how Vancouver has no ‘soul’ (I’m paraphrasing here, I don’t know that anyone said soul. One friend said that Vancouver has no genitals. I quite liked that statement, though I’m still trying to figure out what that means since East Hastings strikes me as the anus of Canada, so the proverbial genitals can’t be that far away.)

A former colleague told me that I would have no creative/professional future in Vancouver, despite it’s status as Hollywood North. This is the same colleague who promised me much money and fame in Montréal... but when the EI ran out, the promised funds never managed to make the short trip to my bank account. Their are plenty of wealthy people in Montréal. The money just doesn’t seem to flow all that well. I think there is some sort of blockage between Westmount and Mile End.

I’m not entirely bitter about my friends saying these things though. Our sudden exodus was not done under happy circumstances and mostly our friends just didn’t want us to leave.

However, I had already heard much of what Montréalers had had to say about the west in general. Being from Edmonton meant that I couldn’t possibly speak french and that my education couldn’t possibly be up to par. Sometimes I laughed at the ignorance, but it began to grate on me after not too long as it seemed to be tied to how I was viewed professionally.

Clearly a slightly delusional view of their city had clouded their collective brains. When a documentary director I was working with asked a former hassidic jew how he defined himself, he proudly declared that he saw himself as a montréaler before anything else, including jewish, male, human or canadian. I stayed silent, but outraged. There is something ironically small minded about thinking that simply living in a certain city will provide you with an open mind and artistic heart. When people gasp around the world at the Cirque de Soleil, it only adds to the mystique.

Yesterday, Carrie provided me with this link to a video blog done by a cute montréal francophone named Catherine. It certainly has production value. The intro clearly shows Montréal as a party capital. Montréalers tend to think that they are the only folks in Canada having sex, that anglophones don’t even masturbate, don’t know how to express themselves, aren't in the least artistic and are painfully shy.

Well, Catherine certainly didn’t disappoint. Vancouver is described as “a pretty 16 year old girl who hasn’t learnt to drink yet.” I’m not even stretching the truth here. That is a word for word translation.

Furthermore, Vancouverites are viewed as shy, friendly people. Really? Shy and friendly? Can’t say that the evidence even in their video clips shows this. The host goes on to interview Nardwuar the human serviette, which pretty much blows her view of Vancouver to shreds. What a freak! And there is a long list of strange and wonderfully unique people who came from out west.

Somehow Catherine and her interview subjects, two of which are montréalers that moved here, see themselves as open and relaxed artists amongst a bunch of prudes. All this while walking around my new neighbourhood and enjoying the cute, artistic boutiques and cafés of East Vancouver, failing to see how similar East Van is to the Plateau area of Montréal. Sure the architecture is different, but the same sort of comic books and artistic shops exist. The rent is just double.

Yesterday I spent a good hour at an over crowded craft fair selling the exact same sort of knitted goods, belt buckles, artisan chocolates and other assorted gifts. It was only a slightly smaller version of expozine in Montréal. The main difference was that the sellers were friendly and happy to engage in conversation even if you didn't buy anything. Despite the lack of french being spoken, I couldn't really tell the difference between the Mile end craft fair and the Commercial Drive craft fair. See how similar it all is?

I’m a little tired of this incredible regionalism, especially as it pertains to Québec. They are a distinct society, but so is Edmonton, Yellowknife, St. John’s, and so and and so forth. Canada is full of distinct societies. I have been lucky enough to visit and live in many of them and certainly not all. But on focusing on ridiculously pointless facts such as french being ranked at only the 9th most spoken language in Vancouver, what are you really saying? By putting down an entire city as being too innocent to live in the sexually charged way that Montréal does is not only insulting, but completely false.

On one final note, the back pages of the weekly art newspapers out here have just as many ads to cater to the pervert in all of us. Montréal, you are not as distinct as you think, especially in matters regarding genitals, proverbial and otherwise.

You do make a fine, unequaled bagel though.