Stories Category Archive

Esthetic urban decay by design

Decay Blocks 1

The view above is common in Tokyo: rough, old and weathered giant stone block walls. Images of ninja scrambling along them... er I digress.

Walking back to Shibuya from Harajuku a few weeks back, I noticed this wall:

Decay blocks 2

Obviously, some recent repair work had been done and a section of the wall renewed. However, I wondered why these new blocks were so dirty, and the older ones not? There was no puddle of mud on the road that could have splattered, even if so perfectly avoiding the old wall, onto them.

Upon closer inspection:

decay blocks 3

What is that? Why is there so much crap splattered over all these... oh wait a minute. This isn't dirt splatter; this is half rotten wood! Half rotten wood chips IN the concrete blocks!

Wood chips are mixed into the concrete blocks. Over time, with humidity and rain and temperature changes, the wood expands and contracts and accelerate surface erosion of the concrete blocks, giving them a nice, ancient, weathered rock look and feel, probably within a few months.

How great is that? It's a good thingTM


(rambling alert!!!)

Everything is a node.
And every node can be, at once, part of many contexts, and can also, just by being, create many contexts.
Every node has many properties.
And contexts can add and modify properties of nodes.
And every context has many properties as well.

This is what is on my mind. It is infused in everything I do and everything I am; from building multi context web aggregators, to how I view my self, society, and my place in it.

I am
I, the base node in my experience, who's core context, my self perception, which is only clear to me when I am lying quietly, alone... am.

Some examples

I do
Professional context: web specialist. This context groups me with a large number of people (globally). Some are friends, acquaintances, etc (relationship contexts), most I don't even know exist.

Where I do
I live and work in Montreal. This reduces the number of people in my professional context to a geographic context of "Montreal". (In my case this is deceptive: I am not part of the local web scene really and therefor I know very very few of my fellows here. But for arguments sake, let's ignore that.) We can further refine the geographic context with a location context: Laika. If I were more connected in teh social context of Montreal, very likely I could identify more web-workers at Laika.

Profession context: web-worker
Geographic context: Plateau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (AND or OR)
Location context: Laika, BoLab

What I like to do:
Professional interests context: web-based communications, mobile connectedness, peripheral awareness, etc etc.
Personal interests: (some overlap... ;) Phenomena of culture, movement of society, perception and translation of environment and how that affects, feeds, informs and drives the previous two.

Who I like to do with:
Relationship contexts. Some broad ones, many specific one, and as many individual ones as individual nodes I interact with. Much overlap (node from Friends Context A is [relative of] node in Acquaintance Context Y, etc)

Time context. File created? File updated? File last accessed? File access frequency, across time. Forgetfulness, fog of time.
(Replace "File" with "Relationship", "Interest", "Location", etc... When was the last time I was in Vienna? Often had I been there? How frequently do i return? When was the last time I thought of snowboarding? Went? When was the last time I saw her? Emailed him? ... ... ...)

And so on... just imagine.

RDF (Resource Descriptive Framework) exists for the purposes of modeling the information sphere on the reality of nodes and contexts.

Wheels within wheels, the myriad creatures.

re: 101 word short story contest - 9/6/95

"The year after the Last Century"

Nobody expected not to wake up; so nobody didn't. No one thought it was strange and, even if one had thought of it, no one thought anything of it. The fact was, that nothing really exceptional had happened, and consequently no one noticed.

No self-elected prophets foresaw or preached "it", and so, no warning was heard.

So the moment passed.

It happened somewhere, it happened everywhere. It continued, unmeasured and unaccounted for. That i show it was, is and will be; until someone notices it and gives it one hundred and one names.

(found in a box)

Been busy much?

I rarely talk about work here - and I will soon have a place to do only that - but I figure I should mention some of what's been keeping me busy lately.

Summer started with a bang really. On short notice I was flown down to Los Angeles to consult for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. That initial meeting was good and I have a funny story I may share at some later point. In any case, things with them are progressing slowly. While in Los Angeles, I also met with friends Scott Fisher and Justin Hall regarding the rebuilding of the University of Southern California's Interactive Media Department's website/weblog. That project officially started last week and I should be working on that instead of procrastination by blogging right now.

Shortly upon my return I got a call for help from Joi. Angelina Jolie and Gillian Caldwell from Witness were in Sierra Leone with some human rights recommendations they were to present to the president there. They had set up a TypePad weblog and needed it to look a bit better than just a plain default template. Voila.

Seeing they were infested with comment and trackback spam, I contacted and got authorization to install, setup and maintain spam fighting tools for both Lawrence Lessig and David Sifry's weblogs. Redesigns are pending and possibly forthcoming... ;)

Ejovi Nuwere, who's personal weblog's templates I cleaned up a little while ago as well, asked me to completely rebuild and redesign his InfoSecDaily website. In the process, it sorta became "our InfoSecDaily site"... more to come on that. (For the curious, take a glance at the original, before I got my paws on it.)

Later this week, hopefully, I am also launching my total rework of the Global Voices Online website. I am *really* happy to be working with the fantastic Rebecca MacKinnon, for who's North Korea Blog I also did some work, and awesome Ethan Zuckerman. They are doing some really important stuff at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and I am happy, honored and humbled to be allowed the opportunity to help. I have a lot of ideas of things we can do together going forward...

(I've been meaning to reduce my use of such words as fantastic, awesome and "totally mindbending man", but in the above case they are warranted.)

Michael will tell you that I may pursue something with Witness as well, but I say we'll see how I do this...

Ok! Back to work! Slackers!

Money, death and the French

The word "mortgage", which is french, translates directly to "death bet": when the bank gives someone a mortgage, they are essentially gambling on the hopes that the poor sod will pay them back before he dies. In french however, a mortgage is called "une hypothèque", which, while I do not have the exact etymological information on hand, does have the same root as "hypothesis" and "hypothetical". So, 'hypothetically', he'd be paying them back before he "buys the farm", so to speak.

I suppose some frenchman at L'Academie at one point thought "mortgage" was a bit too morbid and blatant. Not that it matters; one has to pass a medical exam and have life insurance these days to get any money from a bank anyways, so it really isn't much of a gamble anymore, is it? Not much sportsmanship left in banking... and faith and trust never worked too well with financial matters to begin with.

Another such an example is "entrepreneur". Also a french word, literally translated it comes out as "between taker", but the meaning is "one who undertakes [something]"... or, put another way, an undertaker...

Go figure.

Yes, Minister

It always seemed rather strange to even myself that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this British political satire situation comedy. The writing was simply superb, the characters equally profoundly witty, when not nit-witted, and the clever pace helped via laughter, one's supper along it's digestion route.

B's in hoity-toity complicated english mode...

I think the only other person I've ever met who let alone knew the show, but also enjoyed it's ludic linguistics, was Anders.

This evening, however, I stumbled upon a weblog simply titled " - a weblog in logic, philosophy of logic, and the philosophy of language". (I think, Anders, you will like this too.) Amongst the very, um, yes, how shall I say, profund (not a typo) insights, et cetera, were these choice quotes from the aforementioned television programme:

Sir Humphrey:
If local authorities don't send us the statistics that we ask for, then government figures will be a nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
They'll be incomplete.
But government figures are a nonsense anyway.
I think Sir Humphrey wants to ensure they're a complete nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
It is so difficult for me you see, as I am wearing two hats.
Yes, isn't that rather awkward for you.
Sir Humphrey:
Not if one is in two minds.
Or has two faces.
Sir Humphrey:
A clarification is not to make oneself clear, it is to put oneself in the clear.
Sir Humphrey:
East Yemen, isn't that a democracy?
Sir Richard:
Its' full name is the Peoples' Democratic Republic of East Yemen.
Sir Humphrey:
Ah I see, so it's a communist dictatorship.
Personally I find it hard enough to believe that one of us was one of them, but if two of us were one of them ... two of them, all of us could be ... um could be ... um ...
All of them.

More great quotes from the show here, linguist breakdown of The Simpsons here...

Yeah check this out:

Episode: Mountain of Madness, Episode # 812 4F10
Deixis in personal pronouns:
Homer has brought his family along on a business team-building exercise in the woods, and Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are stuck in the National Park Service building while all the employees are off team-building. Bart is standing in front of a Smokey the Bear statue, who has an electronic voice and a little 'quiz' to administer. Bart and Smokey have the following exchange:

Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"Who is the only one who can stop forest fires?
(examines response panel, which has two buttons, marked "you" and "me". He presses "you").
Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"You pressed YOU, meaning me. This is incorrect. You should have pressed ME, meaning you.
For those not familiar with "Smokey the Bear", his admonishment, or catch phrase, is "Only YOU can stop forest fires!".

Brilliant. Good commentary on UI design as well right there. :)


Steven dreams out loud about where he'd like to be someday:

I managed to hitch a ride on the floating city 'GCS New Mosul' by agreeing to give my presentation 'Safeguarding your cyberprivacy - without slowing down your interface' at the S. Hussein Center for Social Justice, coordinates 7B (just next to the Cuisine Bangkok Thai restaurant). Holomsg me if you happen to be in town on board!

As I sit here in the helicab on the way to the port, I think back and can't believe that just 10 years ago, only the business elite and technorati were able to travel anywhere in the world on a whim. How did they go on about things like how the world was getting smaller or the "Global Village" when you actually had to have money to take advantage of it?

A fun, tongue in cheek, but not entirely impossible "blog post from the future". :)

The Old Man and the Sea

On monday night I went and watched "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou". I went alone.
It took until last night for me to fully absorb it and realize that I really liked it.

A straight-faced dead-pan comedy adaption of Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea", shot with imagination and color. I found it mildly depressing for a day or two, despite the giggling fits brought on by listening to the soundtrack almost constantly for the last three days.

Google movie reviews (hmmm based on the ratings aggregated there, I'd say most people are equally perplexed emotionally by this film...)

Back in high school, being part of one of the worst rabble-rousing classes in the whole private french school I attended, over a five year period we went through four different english teachers. Mrs Nolan, from my 7th grade year, got promoted to vice-principal and the following 3 replacements all quit at various points out of disgust. with our treatment of them. That first year I had handed in a book report on "The Old Man and the Sea" and had gotten a fairly good grade. Taking advantage of the teacher rotation that followed, I managed to pass that same paper off 3 years in a row. Well sorta... On the third try, Mrs Nolan called me into her office and, smiling said to me: "You must really like that Hemingway story..." Seems the current english prof had told her "Boris handed in a really good book report..."

We laughed about that. And then Hemingway punched me in the mouth.

Open Source Religion

"Release early, release often."

(disclaimer: many of the facts - names of cultures, places, people and dates - are not terribly known to me. I am not a scholar, I'm a hobbyist.)

There exists a fantastic Open Source project that has been under active development for well over five thousand years. I shall refer to it here as "The::WoRd", a cleverly played acronym for "Theologism - Western Religions".

Though there is disagreement over where and when the project exactly started, it is generally understood that various groups of people in various regions of the area we currently refer to as "The Middle East" started it. Each started with the basic goal of somehow explaining "The Great Mystery of what is Life and Death all about". (One would assume that prior to the beginning of the project, this involved a lot of gesturing, humming-and-ahhing, and head scratching... as is still very much the case today...)

In the initial Alpha stages, each group just sorta started from scratch, using their own language, and built up terribly buggy frameworks. Some quit, some crashed, others got picked up by local governments seeking to streamline their processes (as that whole project was also just beginning...).

Over time, developers from many of these efforts would sometimes meet, presumably at Bird-of-a-feather sessions or Foo Siege Camps. They'd swap ideas, what worked, what didn't, "how did you fix that problem?", etc. Every now and then some intrepid soul would come by and talk about standardizing and everybody would blink and take another sip of their coffee. Or whig out and kill him. Depended.

Some of these projects had neat codenames like "Zoroastrianism"! Still in use today even. Sumerians, the Ebla culture, the Mitannians, the Hittites, indus civ... a few amongst a seeming plethora.

Trade was booming thanks to the development of city states (hellooo government!), and one group seemed to move around quite a bit back then. Babylon, Egypt... all over really. It was during one of their mass migrations, or rather Exodus, that one of these aforementioned standardizers, fellow by the name of Moses, had a blazing vision and declared: "Enough of this Golden Bullsh!t."

Behold The::WoRd version 1.0. Codename: Judaism. Ten rules, two stone tablets and One God.

And thus begins a long process of unifying codebases, standardizing language (more or less... this whole project is amazingly language agnostic...), calculations, revisions, revisions, revisions, annotations, etc.

Every good Open Source project eventually branches. New needs, new features, new bugs. Heh. A brash young hell-raiser, Jesus, raised as a carpenter and so a real practical, hands on kinda guy, figures he wants to simplify it all. Things had gotten out of control, feature creep and whatnot. He felt the original power was hidden in too many doodads. (He wasn't to be the last.)

At this cross-roads, we are introduced to The::WoRd version 2.0., Codename: Christianity. What a killer app, w00t!

The rest of the story is fraught with many many more branches, revisions and all the holy wars and bloodshed such things normally entail. Not long after 2.0, one Mohammed shows up and declares he's got an even better idea and releases 3.0: Islam. Lean, mean and even more flexible than it's ideological inheritance, Islam is a smash hit with all the hip kids who are into this "new" thing called "open communication" and spreads like wildfire, or, if you prefer, like fresh hummus on a pita. (Mohammed's words, unlike his predecessor's, were immediately written down and copied and distributed. A bunch of northerners from Europe swiped the whole Christian codebase, bolted on a fancy, if bloated, GUI, limiting what one could do with it and enforced a monopoly known as the Christian Dark Ages of Silence. Meanwhile, the Middle East became the center of learning and culture; the processing and storage needed to saturate the lines of communication...)

The funny thing is, as a dear friend likes to put it, right around the same time all this started, a couple of chinese figured it all out, smiled and farted.


Some little stories from the last 24 hours of my life. Not in any order.

Generic brand mouthwash.
Unlike seemingly everyone on The Plateau (the part of Montreal where I live), I like going to the new PharmaPrix pharmacy. It's big, clean and since it seems to be being boycotted by everyone, it is always a quiet and expedient shopping experience. Not to mention they always have plenty of everything in stock AND reduced prices. (Probably for the same reason... ;)

By far the best part, however, is their generic brand, "Life". Everytime I go I discover a new knock-off, literally half the price of the brand name. I love it. The packaging designers at "Life" must have a field day copying "juuuust close enough" the packaging of the brand they are cannibalizing, and doing so in quite tasteful and appealing way.

Today I discovered their Listerine killer. At half the price, and 0.01% more of each of the medicinal ingredients, what more could I possibly ask for? I wish they didn't have to use artificial and carcinogenic colorants like Yellow #9 and Green #7, but eh. I ain't drinking the stuff. Yet.

Cable Television Decoder
Decided to ditch my cable TV service. I haven't watched the tube in 6 months, so hasta la bista baby. Pack the box up and drive down to the Videotron outlet. On the way I think "Now why am I coming to this one when there is one around the corner from my house? Sheesh... Oh man and these one way streets around here... what a pain..." Whatever, I'll stop in at the asian grocery store nearby and get some daikon so I can enjoy some Tsuyu Soba again.

So I walk in with the box, buddy behind the counter opens it up to inspect... "Ah, you forgot the remote... that's ok, you can bring it by later or tomorrow." Ok.

As I walk out I think: "Now that was stupid... I could have kept the box and just walked up to the other Videotron later... Now I have to come back down here, during downtown rush hour traffic. Argh." Tough life.

Cancelation of old cellphone service
Having switched to a new carrier about 3 weeks ago, i figured it was high time to cancel my old service. This went quite smoothly actually, and even provided some comedy.

Note to self: next time make it very clear from onset that I do not want to be sold anything.

"May I ask what is the reason for your canceling your service with us today?"
"Um, I am leaving the country" (A lie I thought would spare me any "please stay with us" drama...)
"Oh! You're SO LUCKY!"

At this point a dizzying array of silly replies and presumptions filled my mind...

"Wow you must really hate your job!"
"I am moving to Afghanistan."
"I've inherited a chicken farm in Abu Dhabi, where an arranged marriage with a half-cousin awaits..."

Being quick as lightening I answered: "Uh, yeah."

"Ok well... let's see... Oh! It says here that you are still eligible for to-the-second billing! Are you sure you want to cancel your service?"
"Ummm... Well... I'm leaving the country..."
"Right... Ok let me just double check your address here. Oh and do you have an email address?
"What for please?"
"So we can send you promotional materials from time to time..."

This is where I almost started name calling...

"You see, I am leaving, and I'm not coming back..."
"Oh right! You are SO LUCKY!"

Poor girl.

Debugging a display issue on Joi's blog when viewed via Internet Explorer 6 on PC (a.k.a. "The Most Vile Web Browser Whore of Babylon")
Two hours of save & reload while Steven graciously served as my remote eyes on his PC and relayed results to me via IM.

It came down to a "padding: 0;" CSS directive which PC/IE apparently does not like when applied to malformed (hehe) blockquotes. "padding-left: 0;" solved the issue.

I hope.

Late breakfast
Somehow, by the grace of the Almighty, Chez José had piping hot fresh apple turnovers today at 12:30pm. Bliss.

Meshing storylines from my life

There are narratives in my life that have quietly threaded along in the background, closely following me. Slowly parts of these stories have meshed into my "real life", and this morning another part intersected for the second time with my blog-life.

In the summer of 1999, I came across a french musician by the name of Philippe Katerine. He had become quite popular here in Montreal that summer with a song entitled "Je vous emmerde" ("I am annoying you"), which is about a drunk poet annoying a girl in a bar by trying to pick her up.

On the same album, "Les Créatures" ("The Creatures"), is a track entitled "Jamais je ne t'ai dit que je t'aimerais toujours, oh mon amour" ("I never told you I'd always love you, oh my love"). The song is a duet with a whispy, childish female voice. That is how I came across Kahimi Karie.

Kahimi Karie is a japanese songstress who sings in japanese, french, english and italian. She and Katerine had collaborated on a few projects. She sang with him, he produced an album, or some songs, for her, with her, etc...

So I started grabbing Kahimi Karie tracks. Turns out she'd collaborated with two other gentlemen (and more, but these two are significant to my story): Cornelius, her boyfriend at the time, and Momus. Both were unknown to me at the time but I grew to enjoy their work as well.

Here the story forks, frays actually. The Cornelius thread crossed over to my blog-life a few months ago, the Katerine thread during my recent jaunt to Tokyo, and the Momus thread this morning.

And the tie that binds all this together, believe it or not, is my friend Joi Ito...

Bear with me.

The Cornelius Thread
Cornelius's work quickly became some of my favorite music. Awesome stuff. Turns out, he is Joi's second cousin. What were the odds of that?

One night during my recent trip to Tokyo, Joi took me to a bar run by his old friend Ko and his wife NaNa: the Tera bar in Sangenjaya. Joi had also invited Cornelius to come by and hang out. Awesome. Joi showed him a little video project I am working on which uses a track Cornelius apparently had released using a Creative Commons license. He thought it was "sugoi" (cool). Double awesome.

Later that night, I noticed on the wall behind me a poster for a Jean-Luc Goddard film from 1965 called "Pierrot le fou", starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina...

The Katerine Thread
The next day, waking up on the futon I was sleeping on at Jim and Yuka's, I turn my head to see a stack of DVDs under the desk beside me.

In this stack of DVDs is a copy of "Pierrot le fou". Zoinks! A few nights later, with nothing else to do, I decide to watch it.

Twenty minutes into it, my jaw drops. Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo start to sing "Jamais je ne t'ai dit que je t'aimerais toujours, oh mon amour"... A bit of Googling and it turns out 1- Katerine is an Anna Karina fan and they even collaborated on an album: "Histoire D'Amour" ("Love Story"), 2000 and 2- the song had been written by one Rezvani for the Goddard movie.

The Momus Thread
The Momus Thread is ... weird... Perhaps because Momus is weird. Perhaps because his is the thread that has come closest to my real life a few times, without crossing over, and for the first time today crossed into my blog life. What makes this doubly strange is that Momus has kept an online journal for years, publishing insightful articles on a regular basis, posting picture collages of his travels, etc... He is a blogger sans a blog. And has been for a loooong time. Also, Momus was galavanting across Japan at the same time I was last year... we were in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo only days apart... It even went so far as him playing a show in the same venue, Super Deluxe, where I had attended the 1IMC (1st International Moblog Conference), where I had finally met and befriended Joi!

In the 70's, Momus briefly studied at McGill Univeristy (in Montreal). During Kahimi Karie's last North American tour, Momus appeared with her in Montreal where he recorded two tracks with local pop heros, Bran Van 3000. I know at least one Bran Van alumni personally, and have often often often crossed paths with three of the main Bran Van 3000 "celebrities": James DiSalvio (who in an interview in a local weekly once listed my favorite bar as his favorite bar... oooooo), Sahra (who for a while was a regular there too), Jean Leloup (a Quebecois rock god whom I admired much as a teenager and whom I've had numerous encounters with over the years). Oh and all three could be spotted on any given day at one of two popular Café's in Montreal's Mile End district... an area I too frequent quite often.

But I digress...

So, this morning... This morning, in my RSS aggregator, I read an entry by Seb Paquet on Corante's Many-to-many weblog, where he links to an article Momus published in 1991 with the sub-heading "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 people". Seb's entry is about, roughly, some social implications of weblogging, while Momus' article seems to be about the future of the recording industry (haven't read it yet... heh...).

While I missed my chance to meet Seb face-to-face last week (my apologies to both Seb AND Mike...), we have chatted briefly, on #joiito, and he is a very respected voice in the blogosphere. He is also a friend of a dear friend of mine, Karl Dubost, who, it must be said is one of the originators of my blog-life...

This story could have been told from the perspective of my blog-life, as well as my real life. There are many many people, close and dear to me, who are also implicated in all this. I became friends with Karl during our trip to SxSW 2003, which I attended only because friend Warren's company, Plank Multimedia, had been nominated for their work on Michael Moore's websites, and they had an extra pass. Plank Multimedia is where I worked, along side one of my very best friends, Stevey, when this particular story started... I met Jim in Joi's IRC channel last year when he ever go graciously offered to let me stay at his place during my first trip to Japan. We became fast friends, and Jim now works for Six Apart Japan, a company Joi is an investor in.

The threads intertwine, and sometimes they connect...

That night at Tera Bar, Joi and John, another great new friend I've met because of all this blog stuff, chided me for having no "ochi": my stories have no clear ending, no punch line, no point.

Perhaps I am a bad story teller. I'd rather believe that stories have no end, and that what I do is point out observations of mine, narrative outakes from my lives... but that's another story.

The California Road Trip Fiasco

Sitting down for lunch on the last day of the ETech conference in San Diego, I pull out my mobile to find it is turned off. It's been off for at least two days. Damn. I have a hunch that Soli's been trying to reach me, as he said he'd meet me down here. The plans were vague and not confirmed. Turning it on, I find four messages from him, starting the previous afternoon and getting progressively nastier. The last one was left 30 minutes ago.

Soli had landed in San Diego the previous evening and had already picked up the VW van he had agreed to drive back up to Vancouver. He also had already managed to lose his wallet and have a new Visa card sent to him. I excuse myself to John, my lunch companion and new friend, and call Soli. He's ecstatic. He'll meet me at the hotel shortly.

After saying my goodbyes in the Hotel lobby, Soli and I take off on our journey. If we only knew...

Part One

A quick stop at a pier north of San Diego to catch the sunset, and off we head for Los Angeles. Chris and Raluca, old friends from Montreal, just moved to L.A. and were graciously hosting us for a night. The original directions were to take the 5 North to the 405, then get off at Sunset Boulevard.

Somewhere near county limits we hit a small amount of traffic. Slowly we inch forward until we come to a checkpoint of sorts. One row of cars ahead of us the entire backup is stopped. It is a checkpoint for illegal aliens. At this moment, 2 miles of backed up traffic is entirely held back by two or three Highway Patrolmen. An enormous amount of steel and potential thrust, held at bay by two raised hands. They are packing up for their evening's task. Within moments the way is opened and the column races ahead.

A short time later, we stop for fuel. Pulling into the gas station, I roll up my window and the handle stays in my hand. A sign of things to come? Checking the oil, Soli curses VW engineers for making the dipstick on this model so terribly hard to remove and replace. Attempting to pay with his new Visa, he is told the card is not yet activated. Hilarity ensues with the non-english speaking attendant. I pull out the cash. Done. Already slightly irritated by the dipstick and the attendant, Soli begins to wrestle with the gas cap which despite our best efforts neither of can put back on. We pull out with a wad of paper as a gas cap.

Raluca calls to tell us she and Chris are going to see a friend's band at the Viper room and we should meet them there, we'll be on the guestlist. Bonus! She gives me revised directions: forget the 405. Just stay on the 5 until Sunset, hang a left.

Soli, who is driving, says he thinks something may be wrong... the van doesn't seem to have as much power as it had. The gas cap maybe? A pressure issue of some sort? Hrm. We pull over on the narrow shoulder. I yank out the paper wad as Soli once again fiddles with the gas cap. No dice. Fack it, the Viper room awaits! We drive on.

There's L.A.! We're close now! ... There goes L.A.! We're past it! What the heck? Call to Raluca. They are at the club already, we are past Valencia. Too far, double back, catch the 405 from the north and call back. So we do that.

A little bit after merging to the 405 we hear a "bang!" Hrm... Soli says he thinks he hit something lying on the road. No big deal. Ok. I dial Raluca, to tell her we'll be there in ten minutes. As she reiterates final directions from the 405 to the Viper room, Soli lets out a yelp and pulls over violently, the van shaking and shuddering, almost flipping over itself as we hit the 3 inch deep drainage canal that passes as a shoulder on the 405. "What the hell are you doing!? And what's that smell... Oh... no..."

"Raluca... we just pulled over... one of our tires is shredded... Yeah. I'll call you back."

Formula One style, we whip out and locate everything we need. Wrench under my seat, jack under Soli's, spare under the front of the vehicle. Go go go. Seven minutes and we're back on the road. Viper room here we come!

"Hi Raluca. Yeah tire's fixed we're coming! Oh... Show's over? You'll be at the Red Rock Bar which is next door... ok... yeah... we'll be there in ten... See ya. Click" Daaaamn. Aw well. At least we made it. In one piece.

When we get to the bar, Raluca informs us that had we followed the original directions, we'd have been changing our tire in South Central L.A. I shudder and try not think of it.

A few drinks, some unwinding and a night in our host's living room. Perfect.

Part Two

After breakfast bagel sandwiches, Chris leads us to an area where we find a tire shop. Soli orders four new tires. We leave the van there and head to Venice Beach were we rent two bicycles and putz around for two hours.

Sorted, Soli drops me off at Mimi's for the afternoon and picks me up again around 8pm. Seems sometime in the afternoon one of the fan belts started squeaking. No big deal. We meet Chris and Raluca for dinner, after which they invite us to stay a second night in their apartment, since by now it is late and we haven't made hotel arrangements and they are super cool. Excellent. We drop off the van in their garage and head of to the Chateau Montmartre (?) where two other Blizzarts regulars, Natasha and Jessica, are hanging out. Afterwards, we wander around Mulhulland Drive. Westmount, eat your heart out.

Returning the apartment garage, we notice the van is leaking coolant. Damn. We'll sort it out in the morning when we head off for our journey up the coast.

Part Three

Sure enough, the coolant hose at the front of the van has popped off. The theory is that when the tire guys put the spare back on, they nicked it off. No big deal, Soli fastens it back on. We refill the coolant and hit the 5 North. Ciao L.A.!

Half an hour out, an annoying alarm buzz starts sounding. This should have set off major alarms in our heads but for some reason it didn't (see disclaimer at end). We pull into a gas station and sure enough, that coolant hose popped off again. What the hell. The engine's in the back.. why is this hose even up here? Whatever, Soli fastens it up again, we refill and take off again.

Now, our plan was to hug the coast all the way up, but now, on the 5 North, we find ourselves a hundred miles from the coast. Dammit. I chart us the next road heading due West. An absolutely stunning detour drive along the 166 later we pull into Pismo Beach. That annoying buzz alarm hounded us the whole way but Soli figured out that by revving the engine he could make it go away for extended periods. As we hit town, down shifting into lower gears, the fan belt isn't squeaking anymore, it is outright screaming. Only at lower gears though. We push on. The 1 is ahead and our jouney awaits. On to Monterey!

Still no alarms in our heads. In hindsight, i have to wonder just what the hell WAS in our heads...

Unbeknownst to us, the 1 between San Simeon and Monterey is one of the most insane bits of road in the world. Hairpin turns, steep inclines, solid stone walls to the east, sheer cliff drops to the Pacific to west, with a narrow two lanes to negotiate.

It is dark and foggy and Soli does a valiant job keeping us alive. No shit falling rocks! Had we hit that boulder, there would be no more blog entries...

So, a screaming fan belt and a mysterious buzzing alarm, both coming and going seemingly at will, mysteriously.

At Big Sur, the dashboard lights up. All alert lights have come to life. SUV tailing us, nay, tailgating us. Sweet Jeebus. Soli swerves out into a driveway. The rear of the van is smoking. Not good.

Fan belt is gone. A fat trail of coolant greases the concrete behind us. Big Sur is within a mile... we have to try to get there. There must be a garage of at least a gas station. We make maybe a mile. We come to a stop in the driveway of some Resort/Inn.

Two employees from the resort drive by on their way out for the night. They give us the number to call the Inn. Ten minutes later a young guy shows up. Valet parking attendant. Talking to him he offers me a smoke and the understanding that we are in one of the most expensive and exclusive areas in all of California. The cheapest room at this particular place starts at $550, and even if we could afford it we'd be out of luck since the whole town is booked up due to Valentine's Day. This would be a recurring theme.

Five minutes later two Lexus SUV screech down the driveway. The manager and four other guys pop out. We can't leave the van where it is. It is blocking the sign. They push us ten feet to the side of road, to a non-existing shoulder. Soli has already called triple A. Tow truck is on it's way.

The stars are marvelously clear out here, aren't they Soli? Wow.
We laugh.

Flatbed tow truck arrives with a dolt of an operator. We stop twice to refasten the chains. I actually nod of as Soli, with white knucles, fears for both our lives as this arguably stoned hick barrelasses the rest of the way to Monterey.

Ah Monterey! I have visions of Steinbeck... Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat... The best laid pans Of Mice And Men, indeed!

Instead we find a garage who's lights, at 11:30 at night, are on like a beacon for idiots like ourselves...

"Tony" is quick to help us. Or try to anyways. Looks to be in his mid-forties, balding, hair sorter than mine except for in the back where he wears a salt and pepper ponytail, and some sort of a finely groomed goatee-slash-beard type of thing. Tattoos pick up on his forearms where the grease of being a mechanic trails off. He could have walked right out of Mad Max...

We figure all we need is a new fan belt and a clamp for the coolant hose. No problem. Let's see, ok how does this fan belt hook up to what. Ok this goes with that... but that... hrmph... is seized.. what is that? Must be the water pump. The water pump gear is seized... that's why the belt overheated and snapped. That's why the coolant overheated, expanded and cause the hose to burst off.

Can't get a water pump till morning fellas. Sorry. Let's go find you a motel.

Tony drives us up and down the strip, as well as over to the 400+ room Holiday Inn over in the nicer part of town. Would you believe that every hotel and motel in this dump is booked solid? We tried at least twenty. Valentine's Day. Ohhhh how we hate Valentine's Day now.

Tony's being really nice. A real mensch. Born again Christian style. Soli's being real chummy with him so Tony starts "opening up". Little tidbits, he is reluctant to share too much. Something of a past it seems. Just got off probation, he avoids the cops, driving across town to a second 7-11 when the first one had a patrol car parked in front of it. Nice. Soli asks if he's from here, if he likes it here. Born and raised, though the place has gone to the dogs last few years... Damn african americans (he used the less nice term...) and mexicans. "They come in here, 10 to a house, set up shop... I don't mind so much really except when I go to McDonald's and they don't understand my order." Soli and I probably thought the same thing at that moment: "Oh... crap..." Ask and ye shall receive, Soli. Stories of bitches who used him, buddies who totaled his cars... Ugh.

So, back to the van. Tony runs home and brings us blankets for the night. We lock ourselves in. I sleep. Soli, apparently, not so much.


As mentioned, Soli lost his wallet at San Diego Airport. All he has is his passport, a Gold Visa card and his cellphone (aside from his clothes, an IBM notebook, an iPod, a digital camera, a case of beer and a bottle of vodka). I am traveling with a wad of Benjamin Franklins and all my gear.

We are camped out behind a garage in what it turns out is the slums of Monterey. It is a wonder nothing happened...

Part Four

After feasting on Jack-In-The-Box breakfast McMuffins, Soli decides to go do laundry at the laundromat around the corner, while I wait for Tony to show up. I start reading Cory's new book.

Soli comes back half an hour later quite agitated. Seems there was some weirdness at the laundromat which culminated with Soli's cellphone falling into a full washing machine. No more cellphone for you, Soli. On the walk back he got yelled at by some scary looking dude in spanish.

Tony shows up with some bad news. No water pump until tomorrow. "Take us to the airport Tony", I say, "we're gonna rent a car. We'll leave the van here for a few days."

The rest of the journey to San Francisco goes smoothly, as we relax into the boat-like luxury of the Ford Taurus. The coast north of Santa Cruz is beautiful. Driving into San Francisco we hook up with Joi, Peter and Jonas at the Café de la Presse before checking into a Holiday Inn on North Van Ness.


Soli and I spent 2 nights (a day and a half) in San Francisco before I, honestly, rudely told him to take a hike. I had things to do and he really should get back to the van. Soli, my apologies, but it had to be done. ;)

In subsequent phone calls and comments left in previous entries here, Soli recounts how the rental car got a flat in Monterey before he could return it. How, never mind the water pump, the master cylinder was blown and he now had to rent a U-Haul to tow the van back down to San Diego (he was supposed to go back there anyways since the engine in the van was actually a new one and the mechanic had told him to drive 700 miles and bring it back for a final tweak...) How once there, he jumped on a bus to hit the beach one more time only for the bus to be hit by a car and having to wait 2 hours for the cops to make sure no one would sue. How he finally jumped on a plane to visit his sister in Arizona, which was also part of his original itinerary.

Soli, it was a blast, and I hope, no I pray, your bad luck has run out for a looong time.

Soli and I are NOT normally this stupid. We know cars well enough, and know better than to ignore alarms and loud noises. What happened to us was, bad luck aside, very much the fault of two overly excited boys, exulted by the scenery and the California dream. I also suspect Soli was somehow under the impression that I was in a mad rush to get to San Francisco, which I wasn't really. But he knows me well enough, and I him, that this misunderstanding is totally plausible, since by precedent he was not entirely wrong in thinking I may be.

Sometimes, when you are deep in shit, you don't smell it.

Skipping stone

I grew up on a four and half acre piece of forest where the Lake of Two Mountains flows into the Rivière Des Prairies. Our immense Tudor style home was on the western tip of Ile Bizard, at the end of Monk's Point road. If it sounds surreal, then you'll already know me a bit better.

One of my absolute favorite pastimes was going down to the waterfront and skipping stones. My father had taught me how at a young age and I soon fancied myself a real pro, often imagining myself winning stone-skipping world championships.

One... two... three... four, five, six 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14... Fourteen skips! Perfect straight line, clear across the river! Yeah!

Though I never managed it, the river being about half a kilometer wide, I tried so hard to land that stone on the other side, in Pierrefonds.

After a while, I stopped counting.

Tac... tac... tac, tac, tac, tac, tctctctctctctc shloob.

Hm. Shloob.

After such a glorious flight... shloob... the stones disappeared. Caught by the surface and pulled under, into the depths.

Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one, a moment, in childhood when it first occurred to you that you don't go on for ever. It must have been shattering - stamped into one's memory. And yet I can't remember it. It never occurred to me at all. What does one make of that? We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the words for it, before we know that there are words, out we come, bloodied and squalling with the knowledge that for all the compasses in the world, there's only one direction, and time is its only measure. (He reflects, getting more desperate and rapid.) A Hindu, a Buddhist and a lion-tamer chanced to meet, in a circus on the Indo-Chinese border.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

Revisiting ironies

I just got an impulse to drive out to the suburbs where I grew up and visit the private french school I attended for eleven years. It was the kind of business where we wore uniforms, stood when the beloved leader (principal/owner) entered the classroom and were repeatedly told we were being shaped to be "Les leaders de demain!" ("the leaders of tomorrow"... many ironies here...).

Over the years I've learnt that most if not all my fellow inmates profoundly despised, and continue to despise, this school. I know more than one whose lives have been inextricably affected for the worse by having gone through it's doors. My oldest friend, whom I met in first grade, once declared: "I love my parents, absolutely, but I will NEVER forgive them for having sent me there." Harsh words. I've heard desires for class-action suits around reunion dinner tables.

Oddly, myself, I never minded it. I was so... hmmm... oblivious/unreachable. My eyes and ears were open and i just took it all in, stored it in the databases and made loose connections. Never asked questions and never studied for exams. Nothing affected me. And I was always in the top five, grade wise. Remarkably unremarkable.

Aside from the math, history, grammar and latin, I learnt one thing very well which our fuhrer probably didn't intend. I learnt, intrinsically, how fascism works, and how absurdly perverse it is. How it parades about in a luster of pretense and false justness. How, on an educational level, it seeks to "instill knowledge", rather than "foster understanding". How, through rigid application of discipline, it seeks to destroy individuality in an effort to maintain order.

I think this is why I was not affected as others were by my detention in this school... to me it was a big joke, utterly comical. For someone who went home everyday to the woods and the river and the trees and and the animals, it all seemed so unnatural and otherworldly. "This can't be serious! Nothing can truly grow and prosper this way." I didn't rebel though since I also knew that it was a safe and clean environment to get at least some of the basics of a "good" education. Well, in all honesty, that was lack luster as well, but anyways.

I lied and the Ville de Montreal are jerkoffs

I ended last night's entry about the whole snowclearing/parking fiasco by stating that by 3am my street had been cleared. This was a lie; a bit of poetic license I exercised to give the story a nice ending. Not to mention I figured since the monsters where working on the next street over, surely they'd have mine done within the hour.

It is one in the afternoon the next day, and, lo and behold... My street is NOT cleared. They have even removed the little orange signs saying that they would clear the street.

Nevermind that I am parked now in a spot one street over where I am quite safe for a few days at least, but... eatshitanddie, Ville de Montreal.

Oh and while I'm at it I send out a hardy "fuck you" to whoever completely destroyed my passenger side side-view mirror last week. Much appreciated.

Sigh. Ok I feel better now. My apologies for the expletives.

Oh I so didn't need this though

Car in Snow, before and after

After the trek up Mount Royal, I came back to see that the signs were up indicating the snowplows would be clearing the side of the street I was parked on, sometime between 7pm and 7am.

So I shoveled it out. Fun fun. But the real work lay ahead. You can imagine with this much snow (snowbanks were at about 2-3 feet), the amount of available parking space is drastically reduced. Add to that the fact that everybody of course wants to park overnight somewhere were they can leave the car till morning. It was past five. The working class was home and had claimed all available spots.

This would be a game of checkers...

So the wait began. The wait for the tow trucks that make three passes blowing sirens alerting the owners of cars still parked on the to-be-cleared side that the plows are coming. Miss the third warning and you get towed and fined. $45 for the parking fine, $40 for the tow.

Nine o'clock, the first siren blows. I get dressed and trudge out. I have a plan. I'll drive down to China Town and have dinner at my favorite Vietnamese Pho joint.

Ten o'clock, return to see that the street has not yet been cleared. Damn. At this point, forget parking: the natives are restless and every spare inch is parked. Plan B: up to Kilo in the Mile End for a slice of cheesecake and (horrifyingly bad) coffee. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all.

Eleven o'clock, return to see the street has still not been cleared. Damn. What the hell. Ok, run upstairs, grab book, iBook, notebook, pencil and pen. Gonna hope for a space a few streets over and have a glass of wine at Laïka and read. (This is where my logic got screwed... if I find a spot a few streets over, what the heck, leave it there and come home... duh.)

So I actually find a spot a few streets over. I am exactly half way between my place and bar. What do you think I do? Bar. Monday night at Laïka... should be dead, nice and quiet, right? Wrong. Staff party. Dammit all.

The idea that I could just go home still hasn't come to me. It's not because I somehow need to go to the bar. It's the singleminded determination to wait for the street to be cleared and park right in front of my place. I can be severely daft sometimes.

So I trudge to my second home. Two Guinness, one chapter, one good conversation and a smattering of bar-talk later, I figure "Ok it's one o'clock. The have had to have passed by now.

Argh. They are clearing the next street over. Oh well. Park it there.

It is now quarter past three in the morning. There are about 20 clean and clear parking spots outside my door. I will be DAMNED if I go out there and move the car now.


MontrÈal, are you ready to ROCK?!

Well, this weekend I finally make it down to New York City, but more importantly, Joey DaVilla, a.k.a. Accordion Guy is visiting Montreal! In exchange for lodging, Joey agreed to feed my cat. Fair deal, methinks. :)

So if you see Joey and his accordion say hi! Or, you can also say "hey Accordion Guy, play us a song and we'll buy you a beer!"

Have a blast Joey!

As long as you don't get caught

- "Hello again!" say I. I'd met her the previous evening sitting with a friend of mine in the self same bistro where we now were.

- "Hi! Can you watch my stuff while I get something to eat? I'm starving!"

As she walks to the counter I notice she is wearing the same trend making urban style she had on yesterday. The "stuff" I am asked to watch is shopping bags: urban fashion store and DJ record shop. Hm. It's mid-friday afternoon; never mind I'm not where I should be - work, that is - but where is she not? What is it she is not doing to be here doing this?

- "Hah, I just ate the same thing."
- "Mmmm, it's good." Smile.

A bit of chit-chat. I told her the rain this afternoon reminded me of Miyajima and how it rained as hard when I visited the Torii in the Bay there. She's been there too.

- "What do you do?" I couldn't help asking.
- "I... ah... I sell drugs..."
- "Ah... wow! Which specifically?"
- "Pretty much anything they want. I only sell to *friends*; people I know and trust. No weirdoes or strung out junkies."
- "Makes sense. May I ask how much you make, approximately?"
- "Sure! I'm kinda proud of it actually. I just did the math for this month and I should clear $10k. That's profit."

Obviously, there is something very wrong here. But I'm glad at least that such a seemingly nice and well-balanced individual is able to reach for her dreams, by hook or by crook.


Slowy getting to blogging more bits of last week's Toronto trip (I know I know, a week + later.. what can I say...).

As I said, I hooked up with Joey a.k.a Accordion Guy. Here's a small video montage of the illustrious one in action.

The first sequence was outside the Village Idiot before the DECONversation. The second was after. The closing shot is of the disabled fellow. For explanation of all this, see my previous post.

One day I will have a full picture gallery setup as well... sigh...

Cruise control


I really wanted to get home. I set my cruise control at 150km/h and cruised. Bloody Ontario drivers who never learnt that 1- the left lane is for passing and 2- when the guy behind you is coming at you at 150 and flashing his highbeams, you best haul ass into the right lane.

At this speed I make sure to be fully aware of a couple of things: all cars ahead and behind me and any possible spots the Highway Patrol may be lurking.

I let my guard down for 10 seconds. I had just pulled out of the rest area/gas station, putting away the wrapper of the candy bar I had just inhaled and was settling into my cruise controlled ride. Check the rearview mirror; damn. Damn damn damn.

Anyone who's driven down the 401 between Montreal and Toronto has seen the big signs which tell you exactly how much the fines are for speeding. They stop listing at 140km/h: $295CND.


- "Buddy do you have *any* idea how fast you were going?"
- "Holy shit man... erm.. no?"
- "I clocked ya at 148! Where in god's name were you going at that speed!?"
- "Oh man! I... I'm heading home to Montreal..."
- "Where you coming from?"
- "I just spent the weekend in Toronto.. I just reeeaally want to get home.. I didn't realise... Man I am SO sorry..."
- "Papers please... I'll be right back..."

Hoooooo nelly. Dozens of slomos I'd passed 20 minutes ago zip by, presumably laughing at me. Sigh. "You gotta pay to play" I thought to myself. This is gonna hurt.

- "I dropped you down to 120... fer chrissakes slowdown buddy... drive safe."
- "... thank you! I will!"

$130 ticket. Phew.

I was damn lucky. I behaved till I crossed back into Quebec. SQ don't patrol the highways so much around them parts.

*Click* cruise control.

Toronto Blackout!


Four and a half hours down the 401 and I'm in Toronto. I race up Yonge, twist around Dundas Square and park half way up to College, pararllel on Baldwin, behind the Deconism Gallery. Ken has already sensed my presence in the city and calls me as I walk towards the Gallery. He'll meet me there in half an hour.

Inside, bodies move about: preparations for tonight's Deconversation. Three men, Steve Mann, Maurice Benayoun and Patrick Levy, will philosophise in a hot tub while Derrick DeKerkhove eggs them on.

My father's eyes


My eyes are actually my mother's. One of the few traits of hers I inherited. Her dark eyes, as well as her love and ability for driving. Fast. (Not in the least reckless, by the way, as some of you may have concluded. I'll explain that in another post sometime.)

My father, however, had blue eyes and loved Mercedes-Benz. He drove Mercedes for almost all the years between my birth and his death. It was a matter of pride for him, and his family. They come from Stuttgart afterall.

BMW was poopooed. Not outright, but it was just not something that was wanted.

I learned to drive mostly in my mother's Saab 9000 Turbo: a front wheel drive. My father's E300 at the time was rear-wheel. Very different. I didn't like it. It did unpredictable things, though I understand one learns to drive differently depending on the drivetrain. In any case, the bloody thing's rear end would fishtail anytime it got air (yes I would loft cars over nice rolls in the road on Bord-Du-Lac road on Ile Bizard, where I grew up), and I never got the hang of it for handbrake spins.

BMW's are mostly front-wheel drive. And they are soooo sex. Merco's are more "distinguished gentleman"; Audi, too "executive". BMW's are sex.
And BMW's come in 4 wheel drive too. Which around here is a damn good thing. Try getting a rear-wheel drive out of a 4 foot snowbank sometime.

Now, I am nowhere near being able to afford either of them (I *could* swing a lease on a low-end model, but naaaahhh... I'd die of starvation and exposure to the elements), and I am by no means a car freak (really! I swear!), but poking around every now and then on the companies' respective websites and seeing macked out M3's and AMG's all around me, I can't help imagining.

And so I wonder... Sex? Or Distinguished gentleman? Which will it be, if and when the time comes?

It breaks my mother's heart that my dark eyes are turning blue on the edges...

First leg

See picture gallery!

Departure from Montreal delayed 2 hours. Means little for me: it was either sit for 3 hours in Detroit or in Montreal.

Just before boarding I see Maria, whom I know from CEGEP days. She's ended up in LA, being a movie star and writing scripts for Hallmark "movies-of-the-week". Bravo!

Flight starts off with worst turbulence I've ever experienced, and this DC-9 isn't in nearly as good shape as the flying trashcan my mother and I hopped from Cozumel to Cancun in when I was five.

Landing momentarily in Detroit, Motor City.

Ok. 14 hours in a plane is NOT fun. Not getting to sleep makes it worse. Bad bad bad Hollywood movies makes you think of pulling the emergency doors and jumping out.

Arrived at Narita. Falling asleep. Been awake for 48hours. Train ride to Tokyo is beautiful though overcast. Sitting beside me is Ken, a 32 year old frozen food production company employee. His english is perfect though he refuses to admit it ("oh no! my english is terrrrrible..." Buddy said my name perfectly the first time; an erswhile achievement for native japanese speakers...). We talk about shu mai, gyoza, his wife and the three massages he just got while on business in Thailand.

Tokyo stattion. Taxi. Lost driver. Jim and Yuka, super nice! Dinner in Shibuya. Head is spinning.. must sleeep!!! :)


I've been online since only 1996 or so, but I have never gotten into IRC (Internet Relay Chat)... until this past week. It is total virtual world immersion/time limbo induction. The week gone by seems like a speck of dust floating in a smokey room.

And I have never made so many new friends in so short a time. The experience, however, also extends into the "real world" (a term I dislike more and more as all is "real" to me now: online, offline, dream and awake... ) where in this past week I have also done more, moved more air, met more people and proactively participated more in my own life than I have in months.

Discussing identity and space in a virtual environment, preparing for a tattoo which will serve as a reminder of my physical form, planning a trip to a place I hope will push the last puzzle piece into place in my understanding of... well... I'll let you know when (if) it does. ;)

As long as you all, both online and off, in my space and in my dreams, are around, I'll know I am not insane, for reality is a discussion & consensus of perceptions, nothing more.

No really, I am fine. ;)

Shpeech impediment

Shometimes, online and off, I'll put on that shpecial kind of shcottish acshent that only Sean Connery sheemsh to do. It'sh shomething she and I youshed to do alot, after sheeing that Jeopardy shend.. ahem... send-up on Saturday Night Live... (S.C.: I'll take "Anal Bum Covers" for $500 Alecsh! A.T: An Album Cover, Mr Connery! AN ALBUM COVER!!!)

Earlier today, Sniffles asked why I didn't attend the YULBlog dinner last night.

My reply?

"Wash bushy"

Recent travel pics

These are temporary "galleries" of pics I took while on my recent travels. There are no comments, no stories no metadata of any kind. Why? Becasue I have yet to find a tool that does an acceptable job. ;)

Enjoy. Insofar as this can be enjoyed, of course.



<<What are your thoughts on Lily Chou-Chou?>>

<< [[ some thoughts about the movie "All About Lily Chou Chou" ]] >>

<<Erm... Not sure... I found it very difficult to follow (who is who, who does what, what are the relationships between the characters... When is what happening...), which is disconcerting in itself since my own life is really quite limbo-esque, meandering between "reality" and the inside of my head. I also found it extremely maddening.. The things these kids do to each other without anybody ever doing anything about it. Made me want to get up and scream a few times.>>

<<What I liked the most was some of the most awesome cinematographic "shots" I've seen in a looong time, and, though it was motion sickness inducing at times, I appreciated the use of the homevideocam for parts of the film. All in all, it's very modern and cool and all. I did enjoy it, but it left me in a quite emotionally perturbed state... >>

<<From: Bopuc>>

Cheap quick videocams

Here is why a videocamphone could potentially be a TON of fun.

My friend Louis recently bought a $150 "webcam" with integrated Flash memory, which means he can run around with it.

Here is his document of a trip to toronto (QT Mov. ~8.6Meg).

Yes it's not hi-res. So what; It's damn cool. ;)


Mmmm... I just opened a new package of Lavazza coffee grinds and made myself some with my stove-top espresso maker. I usually only make myself coffee on weekends, so one of these freeze dried packages tends to last me for quite a while. This causes a problem, especially since I had forgotten that one should NEVER freeze coffee.

That's right, I've been making myself a cup of swill every sunday for the last few months.

Taking all of this into consideration, I've decided no more Lavazza vacuum-packed for me. It just takes too long for me to go through and I can't adequately store it to keep it fresh. From now on, small baggies from Vielle Europe it will be.

Now, i left my smokes at the bar last night; I can't tell if the shakes I am experiencing at the moment are caused by nicotine withdrawal or the two cups of oh so yummy espresso I just shot back...

Prolly both...

Go east, young man.

Tout au long d'un souper sushi avec Karl, celui-ci me torturait: "Jaaaaapon... Jaaaaaaapon... tu dois aller au Jaaaaaaaapon... Jaaaaaapon..."

À la mer

Carole Guevin & hubby, J-F, took Karl and I to "Jazz", a cajun restaurant/bar, for lunch. After a half-pound of "u-peel" shrimp (served cold and covered in cajun spices. Yum!) three of us were simply blown away by our chosen platter: Chicken à la mer.

À la mer refers to a parmesan and white wine sauce with shrimp and crawfish. The chicken came deep-fried and smothered in this scrumptious sauce, served with "dirty" rice and sautéed zucchini. As my mother would have said: "zum kosten" (to be had/tried)... and as my father would have said: "pfui Teuffel ist das gut!" (damn the devil that is good).

[Update: Karl and I returned the next day and after much debate and oh-humming, ordered the same dish again!]

Some t-shirts available for sale at this location:

  • "If sex is the spice of life, I wanna be cajun."

  • "Crawfish have it best: they get their tails pinched and their heads sucked."


First meal in Austin, Texas and what do I order? A vietnamese beef satay soup. And oh my what a soup it was. Standard soup-meal bowl size: I managed half of it. I had not eaten since the day before, it was 4PM and I could not eat more than half the bowl. I was stuffed. Gorged. On, wait for it, big juicy, tender delicious chunks of texas beef.

So far I am liking this Texas thang... erm... thing...

Hot legs

Forgive me but I must say this: I have never seen so many hot chicks driving hot cars in my life. Rock on, ZZ-Top!

Off I go...

Running a tad late but eh.
Just hope this chest cold that is developping doesn't get too much worse... :\

Goin' to Texas

without being as critical or diamond jewelry judgemental. It didnt have to jewelryinolog be sublime - it was fun. It didn't jewelry have to be profound - it was religious jewelry social.
I bring this up because christian jewelry over the last several months, dog jewelry I've written something like seven silver jewelry songs straight now where the gold jewelry music is complete and finished man

as like I want it, and I don't have the words. And, I've written