Monday, June 27, 2011

productivity burps

Judging by where I woke up Sunday morning, it didn't figure to be a productive day.

After a Friday evening, where I imbibed a tad too liberally, I woke up in full-hermit mode Saturday afternoon and shunned invitations to pick up beds and watch fireworks, in favor of trudging down Papineau to Ontario to find some kind of nourishment before visiting my girlfriend's cat, which I said I'd do last week.

I found a delicious Portuguese bakery and, with corned beef sandwich, cheesecake and Coca-Cola in tow, I marched toward my destination, to visit a cat that had been meowing at passerbys at her window since being left to herself Thursday evening. When I arrived, the grey-black enigma, which has so far treated me in a very hot-and-cold fashion, followed me around like my shadow as I dumped some kitty chow into her bowl and blew my allergies into a kleenex in the bathroom and then turned the lights on. I laid down and started into my sammy, sharing pieces of beef with the culinarily curious kitty. I opened a book, stared at the words for five minutes, before opting for some Planet Earth. After the Future disc, I went to Great Plains and, after that, the Pole to Pole one and then Caves. I could hear the fireworks, but I didn't want to think about them or anything. I wanted to marvel at the world's greatest and most inspiring creations, while simultaneously retreating from them inside a small, black apartment with a cat that just wanted to lay next to something. (It's debatable whether I did more for the cat than it did for me.)

Nine hours of Planet Earth later: I woke up crusty-eyed (no allergy pills) and hacking, nearly fully-clothed (always too hot to wear a t-shirt inside here in the summer) sometime around dawn, on an improvised duvet, not meant for sleeping on. I laid there, reluctantly coming to terms with the upcoming day, debating whether I should turn off the Planet Earth menu, which ended up playing on a 15-second loop for probably about three hours. (At one point, I had each of the 18 shots memorized in sequence. These are things I probably shouldn't be telling anyone.)

After a day where I literally laid on a couch with a cat, I couldn't fathom how I'd be able to muster the energy to do all the things I had to do - ie. haul a bed frame home at noon, fix my bike tire... and that's it. That's the state I was in.

When the menu had driven me to my breaking point, I got up, turned it off, gave the cat one last pet and one last treat, threw on my shirt and hoofed it home. From there, I received a call from the Fitz, asking when I'd be by to pick up the bed frame. I called my buddy Jones and he said he'd be there at noon. I started off. I got there. We taped up the bed. Jones arrived and we hauled it painstakingly from West of St. Laurent, down Sherbrooke, to my place East of Park Lafontaine, to the amusement of nearly everyone we passed. That's how I roll. Stubbornly.

I was tired, but I felt good, knocking something so important off my list of ever-expanding things to do. Hey, it only took me 8 months to acquire a bed!

We called up Heee-Ren and went up to a Vegan spot to eat some lunch. (Who does this Herbiberous think he is? Don't worry, it gets better.) On our way up there, I spy a garage sale of sorts and say, hey boys, we should go check out what they've got.

Good call.

Turns out these kids are selling a record player. "How much?"

"Oh everything's cheap. Five bucks?"

"It works?" I asked, shocked.

"Yeah, I think it just needs a new needle."

Sold. I look over and beside the turntable, they've got a stack of records. Sgt. Peppers, Dark Side of the Moon, James Bond themes....

"How much for the records?"

"Cheap. 50 cents each," the chick says.

I look at the boys and we start to laugh. Score.

We throw her $15 and now I own a record player with a burgeoning record collection.

(Aside: If you're keeping track at home, this now means that I'm a fixed-speed bike and smoking habit away from becoming a fully functioning Hipster. Actually, I also need an ironic moustache, since part of my hermitude on Saturday morning had me shaving off my faux-handlebar nose-neighbour in disgust. I'm clean-shaven for the first time since before St. Patricks day. A girl at work called me "little boy" today.)

So, how's that for productive? We have a healthy lunch (for a change.) I had a vegan BLT, with the bacon substituted for bacon-smoked coconut chips. If you're through Montreal, check this place out - Aux Vivres. You eat these huge wraps and the food just floats inside you. You don't feel heavy at all.

With the boys heading off to baseball, I decide to try for a trifecta of sorts: let's get this damned bike fixed.

So I walk all the way from Mont Royal and St. Laurent to the Canadian Tire in Hochelaga. By this time, the chafe has set in. My inner thighs are like two slightly moist pieces of rubber rubbing against each other. My balls are sandpaper. I'm in pain. But I press on. I've been walking all day. I get to Canadian Tire finally at five after 5 p.m. and, somehow, on a Sunday, the store is closed. Shake of the head. Wag of the finger. Tears for the ballsack.

Oh well. I get home and have a rest and wait for Fitz to call, as he's got some more stuff for me. Eventually, he rings back at around 10 p.m. and I set out again and, after a glass of vino and a semi-goodbye, I'm back out the door with a electrical fan in my right hand, a plant in my left and a bookbag packed with various knick-knacks that I may never need.

I got home last night and dropped the new apartment accoutrement on the floor and I barely recognized my place. It reminded me of that skit in the Simpsons were Homer takes advantage of Flanders' financial troubles and buys all his furniture from him at a bargain-basement price and then he's sitting around outside, watching TV, drinking beers and BBQ-ing with Flanders' stuff. I'm living in the Casa del Fitzy, right now.

This whole episode taught me that life is all about balance. Well, balance for normal people. And for me too, in a way, in that I'll probably always wind up at some median level of ambition, energy, etc., but that I ride the peaks and valleys hard... and with a vengeance.

Sadly though, this story also illustrates that Montreal has lost another hero in the gradual, but seemingly endless exodus of great folks from the city. Fitzy and Tameens, I'll see you guys in July, but I've had a grand old time getting to know you guys over the last year or so. I'll tell you that in a much more intimate and slurred way this time next month.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

awesome band names #18,939 and 18,940

I assure you that, at some point, I will respond to the Canucks playoff run. The post is coming but it's sprawling and it hurts - like a snake that just ate a hippo:

"Wait for it... wait for it... OH GOOD CHRIST!!!"

Anyhow, my boy Patch came up with an awesome band name the other day: Kinipshinfit.

He thought it was a good metal band name, but when I hear Kinipshinfit, I'm not going to lie, I hear Swedish dance-pop duo.

But I was just reading an article on colorectal cancer and came across a line that I thought would make an epic metal band name: The Fecal Occult Blood Test.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

there are things that happen...

You think I'm going to get on here to start huffing and puffing about my temporary disillusionment with the Vancouver Canucks and how it's turning a poor young-middle-aged biberous into a jittery, nervous, bipolarized crack pot, don't you?

Well, if I had any energy after last night's 8 - 1 fisting, I probably would have, but cooler (read: sweatier and better fed) heads did prevail and even though my emotional journey this last month would have made for must-read drama, I am far too friggin superstitious to get into any of it right now.

(Brief tangent: The old man and I speak carefully like polished politicians when discussing the Canucks' chances these days. Whenever I've been away from Yellowknife for any length of time, the Nucks have dominated our phone call conversations to the point where we'll argue for 30 minutes about whether we think Cody Hodgson is a defensive liability or not. (For the record: I say he isn't.) In recent calls home though, talk of the team is limited to a scant sentence or two: "We're in the Finals." "Yes, it certainly is exciting..." "Ah... (one of us will say before the other gets too worked up) but Boston has a good team, let us not forget." "Indeed." We both twirl the corners of our moustaches.)

So I'm left to shrug it off and hope for the best tomorrow night. I will say that I didn't do my part by getting obliterated at the Sports Station, like I did before/during/after games one and two, so I'll be pulling up a seat to one of their beer tap tables tomorrow night to muck it up for the boys. (Yes, beer tap tables. The taps are built into the table and you pay by fluid ounce or something.)

All I'm going to give you right now is my immediate reaction to Game 3:

"Shea Weber did have a beard."

And don't think I don't remember that Happy Gilmore, one of my childhood heroes, is a Bruins fan. Happy? We're on hiatus, brotha.

Don't take it personal. I had to boycott Neil Young during our San Jose Sharks series. And we're cool, right?

Note: The herbiberous beard is at shaggy, patchiness never before seen and, as a result, I've gained a new respect for bearded folk. Unless you've dealt with one of these things before, you have no idea how often you get sauce or crumbs or boogers caught in there and there's no way to tell they're there unless you get all Howard Hughes about it.

Rant time:

There are things that happen to you as you get older: you find yourself only thinking about sex around 4,000 times a day; your back is sore, but when you crack it, it's still not fixed; you can get boogers stuck in your beard; and, unfortunately, you start becoming a little too serious about your life and what you're doing with it.

Now, my hiatus with this blog has nothing to do with Happy Gilmore superstitions or excuses. It has more to do with my inability to process the past month or two into any relatable narrative, since I still feel weird about everything.

Here's an attempt:

Long story short: I went up to Fort Simpson, NT to work for my old newspaper company for two weeks and then went home for three days and it was there that I realized how much things had changed... or more accurately, how much life had gone on.

I felt like an obsolete data processor trying to deal with all the information I was being fed: houses, weddings, babies, projects. It was overload, but in a fucking awesome way really, in that I saw all my best and closest friends in the world - my brothers - becoming adults or, I should say, men.

I was so proud looking at Slader, with his baby girl (a future Canucks fan! kidding) splayed out on his stomach, while we watched hockey. Brook was barely six weeks old at the time and Slader looked like he'd been a dad for time eternal. We had two dinners at Mindy and Mindy's new house, which is a perfect spot and I was so impressed - even when Mindy showed off the entertainment centre he made in Charlie's woodshop. Patch made us a gigantic, improvised fish dinner from scratch that 10 of us couldn't polish off. Feltch was talking new house and relationship and dog and bringing over home brews. I seriously sat in awe at all of these guys, whom I inexcusably hadn't seen in more than a year, and how they'd grown and matured into these people.

I was only back for three days and I tried to have a good time and connect with everyone like the old days, but I felt really distant, in that I knew I would soon be leaving again with return unknown, without a suitable explanation as to why I was heading back to Montreal. I felt like it was the elephant in the room and I felt insincere, not being able to say why I was leaving all these people that I care about and who care about me, when I don't really have a career or something keeping me down here.

The thing is, I love Montreal. This city is what all organized conglomerations of people should aspire to become and I invite anyone to come visit me here. On a summer day, the parks are full of people picnicking, drinking beers and wine, the streets are closed for festivals, there are free shows and festivals everywhere and things are cheap. I've seen a ton of shows, ate some scrumptious food, met a lot of new people with wild interests from around the globe, including some like-minded writerly-comedy types.

Montreal hasn't lost its luster yet.

Since I've been back, I've wanted to start getting something going for myself down here, mostly fueled by my own dissatisfaction with my current work situation, but also, pathetically, in a small way in order to partially justify my move here. (A girl, who I had only met for one night, boiled me down to two words: "sensitive and restless." Yep and yep.)

Where this blog rant fits in? Because I've wanted to start freelancing stories or articles or whatever, I've viewed the blog as a roadblock, as a venue where I was writing goofy things for free that I could maybe pitch to a magazine or paper or website for some $$$ or at least publication. And that's what happened, really.

And you want to know what happened, really? I stopped writing altogether. This isn't to say that the last month has been a complete loss or anything. Quite the opposite, actually. I've met a girl who I'm really getting on with (and who I may be guilty of doing the 'don't talk about it' superstition stuff with) and it feels like I'm busy doing something every night/day.

But that writing stuff has dried up like a turd in the sun and that has got to stop.

And I know I shouldn't have to explain myself for what I want to do and I know all my buddies are happy for me, but because I am who I am and because I over think everything, I wanted to get this off of my chest. We'll always be brothers, brothers.

(And you have to put up with these crazy rants every once in a while on here. You should know that by now.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Today is going to be sunny with a chance of showers.