First Post (27FEB2005)
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ramblings of an information troubleshooter
movin' through the crowd and the midnight heat
so, i'm posting from an internet cafe in montréal.
just got out of the cinéma du parc, after watching
'nobody knows', the latest film by kore-eda hirokazu, the
director of 'after life', one of my faves. a very sad
film, but definitely worth watching - the young actor
playing 'akira' definitely deserved his cannes award.
being in a city gives me a burst of energy. as i'm
walking thru the streets, i feel like an electron,
bouncing from one atom to the next, never sticking
around too long. i like the anonymity, the chance
to be someone new with every interaction. the idea
that there are few consequences to screwing up, that
i can smile at a pretty girl, or not, as i choose in
the moment, knowing that i'll likely never see her
i love the idea of being in a city that never sleeps.
the absolute best part of being in a city like montréal
is that i can step into a handful of the chinese
restaurants just off of st. laurent at 2 in the
morning and still have the option of a sit-down
meal. with my night-owl proclivities, it only makes
sense :) (i had scallops and snow peas, btw).
i overnighted at my fave place to stay in montréal,
Auberge du Vieux-Montréal - it's got a
great common area and is within walking distance of
nearly everything in montréal that is interesting
to me. i try to book early enough in advance to get
the private room to guarantee that i can get a decent night's sleep.
another day spent travelling, this time from
montréal to calgary via air canada (i had
flown down to montréal from iqaluit on
first air). the flight touched down in toronto
for a transfer, but was otherwise uneventful.
i remember the days when i was still working for slb,
when i would fly back into houston and have to pay
$60 US for a cab to take me back to my apartment
in suburbia, way outside the beltway. i always loved
to contrast this with my usual experience flying in to
cowtown, where i can hop onto a city bus outside the
airport terminal, get driven to the whitehorn c-train
station, and from there, basically get just about
anywhere in town for 2 bucks or less.
i repeated this feat again today, meeting my brother
at his workplace downtown, before continuing on the
c-train to his apartment in sunnyside, still using
the same transfer that i got when i climbed aboard
at the airport. so, even in this SUV wasteland,
there are oases of environmental sanity - kudos to
the visionaries of calgary transit who put this
infrastructure in place, helping benefit more than
just the people who happen to own cars.
of course, that whole monologue that i riffed
yesterday is all undercut by this - that feeling
of being able to be self-sufficient in a city is
merely a delusion, built up on ignorance of all of
the infrastructure elements that are required to
make a city tick, that are never made obvious to
most city-dwellers. like the scene in the matrix
reloaded where the city elder takes neo down to
the water purification tanks - so much needs to
happen that is dirty and unpleasant in order for
me to be able to drift thru as if i'm the king of
got up later in the morning to head downtown to
the chinese cultural centre to meet up with kailen,
his parents and julie for a dim sum lunch.
from there, i veered towards city hall to check out the
gallery, one of my faves. they always seem to
put on an interesting show. this particular exhibit
was of a bunch of ceramics, not my usual fancy, and
i wasn't sure it would interest me, but once i got there,
i found myself getting drawn in. pieces that stood out for
me were some mugs with pistol shapes hanging off both ends,
an installation of what looked like roof-top exhaust pipes
and a series of hollowed out busts that had interior
spaces that you could peek into and spot the hidden
after that, i hit hmv to use up the gift certificate
that i had received from clb and spent a couple of
hundred dollars - hey, for me, that's an example of
restraint! i picked up an oj from the food court at the
top of the eaton centre and wandered over to the devonian
gardens above the td square mall to chill out with the
plants for a bit. then, i hooked up with kailen and
robin for supper at a vietnamese place off centre street.
the evening was spent tuning robin at texas hold-'em and
then taking on kailen and julie at scrabble. i managed
to prevail in the scoring, but julie was able to come up
with words like naive and jade that were way better than
anything that i could come up with. i'll expect a
stronger performance from kailen next time ...
slept in a bit until mid-morning before heading to
the bow valley square mall downtown to catch a play
read-thru hosted by
Theatre. the play was 'sub wars' by calgary
playwright jason long. it was the first time that
i had attended a read-thru where the audience was
invited to provide feedback to the writer and
director. the play itself was pretty funny, with
strong character acting. the theme of resisting
corporate domination of life was mixed with the idea
that self-help programs may not be the most
effective means of handling emotional issues for
in the afternoon, i sat beside the bow river and
read a chapter of arthur zajonc's 'catching the light:
the entwined history of light and mind'. it's been
sitting on my bookshelf for almost a decade, but
i've always been interested in optics (legacy of
my own bad eyes) and this book looked like it might
give a good overview of both the philosophy and the
physics of sight. it's a bit of a slow slog, but
i'm glad i'm finally getting thru it.
after that, i wandered up 10th street and picked up
a replacement ankh from a goth shop before heading
next door to the gelatto vendor for a fix of mango
and cheesecake. then i ducked into an internet
café for an hours worth of blogging before
hooking up with nancy and vance for supper at
sushi hiro downtown.
after that, we wandered toward the west end of
downtown to check out some of the condos under
construction. my sister just got a substantial
raise earlier this year and the money is burning
a hole in her pocket. me, i've put aside a little
nest egg that also isn't building itself very
quickly. my sister feels that real estate might
be a way to make a decent return, and while i have
my doubts, i'll throw a share into the kitty if
she can convince me that she's found a good deal.
me, i figure that i could probably make more
money playing poker at the casino, but the timing
for a trial run this trip just didn't work out.
i'll have to make sure to work that into my plans
on my next trip to cowtown.
i find it intriguing that i'm able to fill up
each day of my trip here with so many events. i
mean, i lived here for over a year from 2000-2001,
and yet i can't remember ever being as busy as i
am during my visits, or even as busy as i am in
iqaluit. there's a weird time compression effect
that seems to happen when you're on vacation - things
that would be too much trouble to do on a day-to-day
basis, suddenly become all the rage as part of an
extended scheduling exercise.
the evening was closed off by another round of
scrabble, as kailen and julie swung by with the
game board. vance revealed that he was a
scrabble shark, not only by getting the top score,
but also by knocking julie down to last place as
she had the misfortune to be seated to his left.
kailen and i duked it out and i barely managed
to pass him on the last stretch after he
successfully challenged one of my words.
hung around vance's in the morning to wait for the
movers from jay's, who, of course, got lost looking
for the apartment. after a phone call to sort things
out, i was astounded by the 30+ boxes / items that i
had left with them to store for the past 3 years.
testing the office chair that they returned to me,
i found that it was *way* more comfortable than the
$800 chair that i had been forced to pick up at tittaq
i didn't have time to scope the whole collection
right then, as i had to run downtown to fulfill a
lunch appointment with rhonda. i checked out the
digs at her new location and we swapped tales of
library layout and design woes.
spent the afternoon digging thru the detritus that
i had left behind 3 years ago. the reason i'm
dealing with it now, is because my employer was
willing to pay for storing it for the first 3 years
of my time in iqaluit, but since december, i've had
to pay the monthly storage fee myself. i decided to
impose on my brother who has a spare room, and give
him the money to store it instead - this means that
i'll have better access if i need any particular item.
most of the stuff was either bulky shelving / chairs,
stuff that i didn't have time to dispose of properly,
or boxes of mainly unread books - i was always more
ambitious in selecting reading material, than i was
able to actually find the time or mood to actually
read the stuff. anyway, i managed to free up a bag
of clothing to donate and boxed up a couple of care
packages to mail to myself. still didn't come across
my LP's so they must be in my other storage locker -
i'll clear that out the next time i'm in town.
late in the afternoon, brother bruce finally arrived
with his buddy gerd. bruce gifted me with a nice
chess set from krakow. i handed my set of keys to
vance's place over to bruce, and kailen helped me to
haul all of my stuff over to his condo where i will
spend friday and saturday nite.
kailen also invited me to join him for their family's
early mother's day supper at another sushi joint on
16th ave. n. i pigged out from the 'all you can eat'
menu and could barely walk to the 7-eleven afterwards
to pick up the day's ration of oj. then, while kailen
was away at a d.j. event for the evening, i hijacked
his pc to compose this post.
- IP idiocy link of the day:
stupidity pact ? James Boyle comments on the
leap-frogging copyright term extensions on either side
of the atlantic:
"Since only about 4 per cent of copyrighted
works more than 20 years old are commercially
available, this locks up 96 percent of 20th
century culture to benefit 4 per cent. The
harm to the public is huge, the benefit to
authors, tiny. In any other field, the
officials responsible would be fired."
- link of the day:
Motivate, Don't Demotivate. Key Points:
- don't exclude from decision-making
- be consistent
- don't monitor excessively
in the afternoon, i borrowed kailen's
pc to watch his downloaded version of
'harold and kumar go to white castle'
which i was seeing for the first time.
not the hilarious riot-fest that i had
been led to believe, but lots of fun
in the evening, we gathered for an
extended family supper at the silver
dragon restaurant downtown. besides
all of our calgary cousins, we also
invited kailen and kailee's respective
families, so we basically took over a
whole corner of the joint. we waited
a *long* time for the food, but once
it started to arrive in wave after
wave, we were able to stuff ourselves
afterwards, vance accompanied us back
to kailen's where we had a scrabble
game with bin. i laid down the last
tiles and tied vance's score after the
subtraction of his unused pieces, but
vance got the win since he had a higher
score before the subtraction.
First Post (27FEB2005)
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