Tag Archives: fall

Doors Open Season

Toronto

Saturday! Woke early to go to the gym and and a breakfast burrito (yes, quite low fat thank you, when you build them yourself – more later). We grab a tea and make our way to CBC early for Open Doors Toronto 2009. We thought with all the layoffs the Ceeb is facing soon, it would probably be a great time to go have a gander at this government funded media bunker.

And bunker it was. Security was buzzing, trying to keep track of volunteer staff, who bitched and complained to each other on their headsets. I’m sure the level of security you would normally have to pass through is there to protect Peter Armstrong from marauding fans, and not to hide the somewhat extravagant hallway decorations placed there for the general public not to see… We were first for The Hour studio tour and had to endure some poor volunteer’s worker’s utter mental breakdown for lack of organization in her line. We were shunted to an elevator which ironically (?) the doors would not close due to overcrowding. With all of us explaining to the elevator operator that we needed to lose 2 people, the poor volunteer staffer was about shout “I’M JUST A VIDEO ARCHIVIST! I KNOW FUCK ALL ABOUT HOW TO OPERATE AN ELEVATOR!!” when two people volunteered to get the next one.

The studio was pretty flash, even though the seats looked “cheap wedding uncomfortable” so we know that the money going to the Ceeb isn’t going back into the public. No, it’s being spent on huge screen TVs to tart up talk shows only 1/3rd the Canadian public watches. Here Sharkboy and I are playing George Stroumboulopoulos and Jean Chretien:
Kylie Shows Up

We took the next tour of the radio department and had an interesting run of various sound proof rooms. Quite interesting.

After that we went to Osgoode Hall and wandered the dusty hallways of justice.
I'm Channelling Gregory Peck

We then tried to get to the Don Jail but they turned us away due to a 4 hour wait, which was too late past the closing time. I thought to myself “Who would wait four hours to see an old jail?” Disclaimer: I use to manage a traveller’s hostel in Ottawa that was converted from a 165 yr old jail.

We Arrive... Early?

Me apparently. Sunday we were back there at 945am and in line. Warned that the line was 4-5 hours long, we stuck it out. And stuck it out. And braved line-jumpers and fidgety kids.

ALL IN THE NAME OF GETTING READY FOR DISNEY!

Bored, in-line video:

The jail itself was probably not worth the 4 hours wait due to the state of the building. But it did remind me of the use to live in the jail/hostel I managed and it just brought back memories of impossible maintenance hoops our staff had to jump through every so often. Pipes bursting, kids falling off bunks, flooding, etc.
Stairs Up

After 5 hours in the sun, SharkBoy’s neck looks like an ad for an S&M Red Lobster outlet. Being red-green colourblind and able to see the shade should let you know how bad he got it across the back of his neck.

On the upside, my Wii is no longer calling me Obese. At 214lb, I have moved into the realm of Overweight. Yeah! I made my Disney weight goal with a few days to spare!

Last night I dreamed of O Boy’s Ribs on West Colonial Dr, Orlando. Oh yes, there will be binge and purging…

Full Flickr Set Here.

Reconnecting

Distractions, Personal Bits
Here Be Dave

Here Be Dave

In the fall of 1981 I met Dave while doing props for a community youth theatre show. A few of us went over to his house for lunch on a break between rehearsals and while I was chewing away on a sandwich, Dave concocted a 2-second blood pack of ketchup and a ziplock bag, behind an open fridge door. He tried to throw at me as a joke and it didn’t work so he resorted to exploding it across his chest. Dave was obsessed with horror movies, you see. Not sure what happened, but when the prank failed miserably, I thought his cunning was a thing to be reckoned with.

Dave was one of two friends I did acid with for the first time. And was the reason I will never be 100% welcome back into his house by his mother. She’s convinced I shoved the tab into Dave’s pure and vestal mouth, when it was Dave who upped the ante with pot and a few drinks at his sister’s house while we waited for the drug to kick in. And kick in it did. When the acid refused to recede from our reality, Dave called his Dad to come get him before he “died”. What ensued was a comedy of sorts, seen through the fog of teenage drama, heightened by LSD: Police were going to be called; one friend’s career in the RCMP was going to be ruined; my mom would find out and I would cease to exist with one glare.

Things sorted themselves out when Dave’s older sister stepped in and told his mom that time will bring Dave down (he had tread a groove in his bedroom carpet walking off the acid) and that everyone should just calm down.

As you’ve probably guessed, Dave was the fearless one in our circle of friends. He would try anything if it meant getting a reaction from anyone.

And fearless he is. He has a wife and two kids and a house in the Beaches and is now sporting a huge CSI/Grisham-style beard because “it pisses everyone off”. Glad we were able to reconnect!

Family, Secrets. In Repose and Response

Personal Bits, Queer stuff

Weekend Pictures Here

What can you learn of someone within 3 minutes? 30 minutes? 3 hours? 3 days?

This long weekend, we ventured up into the Gatineau area to visit SharkBoy’s “Summer Place” – Notre Dame Du Pontmain to be exact.

It’s a tiny village nearly smack dab in the middle of a massive amount of small lakes about an hour and a bit north of Ottawa, in the Gatineaus. NDdP makes it’s living on the one hotel, the one depanneur and one boat launch and a lot of video rentals. I’ve never been before and I hope I go back. A lot. Mountains rise up out of so many lakes it’s like visiting BC but without the weed. Every morning and evening the sun puts on a display of colours you become drunk with the spectacle. Deer peer at you with those creepy eyes from the sides of the road. Bears have been seen. It truly is one of Quebec’s hidden treasures from the English.

We left late on Friday night to a wall of traffic that spanned downtown Pickering to Brockville, where after 6 hours in the car at 2am, we desperately tried to look for a hotel. All the details of the travel can be found on Sharkboy’s blog. One thing I did enjoy was playing “Senator and the Hooker” in the divey-est hotel on the outskirts of Ottawa that had stucco swipes as wall decoration and other 70s Swiss Chalet motifs (“Spank your bottom? That will be $5 extra, Senator!”).

On the drive we talked a lot about family. The one we started ourselves (cat included) and the ones I was going to meet. As usual, but not so much this time, I felt the apprehension of meeting up with the in-laws and not being able to communicate as much as I’d like. But that always disappears within moments of getting past the front door because SharkBoy’s mom is always so welcoming and friendly (inbetween the “tabanac” and “c├ólisse”) and we generally communicate in elaborate hand gestures, drinks and the odd translation assistance from SharkBoy’s sister, Syl.

We did eventually meet up and make our way over to SharkBoy’s uncle’s extremely secluded compound after a long drive up, down, through, along swamps and riverbanks. Oddly enough we could see the house we were staying at from his dock, which would have taken 1/100th the time it took to get there if we had walked directly from door to door. Unfortunately the two places are separated by a large river, so unless you’re Jesus, that’s not possible. Visible but secluded. For a reason. He owned the entire mountain behind his house.

Leasing the road to the top of the mountain for a cell phone tower, he’s sitting on a developer’s wet dream of prime cottage land that overlooked the lake. But he wants to keep it to himself for now. That kind of power you don’t come by easy. As we were to learn when the pictures came out. Images of SharkBoy’s dad and his two uncles were presented in all their black and white glory and I got to learn how Romuald became the person who gave me SharkBoy. We also learned of some other stuff that I will respect a certain person’s embarrassment due to certain childhood behaviour, but let’s just say that it involved a chicken and a horse.

Later, SharkBoy’s cousin and her girlfriend piled us into their lesbian truck (who knew it was rampant in his father’s side?) and took us 1/3rd the way up the mountain on the maintenance road to the cell tower. Then we walked the rest of the way. Nearly straight up. For a solid hour. That’s right, this fat, office cube chubbo walked up the side of a mountain to get utterly drenched in sweat (thank god they’re all family now). I also got to spend my first really private moments with Syl and we discussed ex-boyfriends and how sometimes a family’s responsibility is not to mention that we’re dating a jerk. Nothing new or shocking but she managed to make me feel like a brother in those few moments. I also snapped a few shots:

After bombing around on ATVs, we went tubing. First time for me behind a boat where I didn’t fall down within the first couple of seconds of it taking off (I suck at waterskiing).

That night, after saying our bon soirs, we discovered that seclusion has a price: the road back to the highway was washed out in a freak flash flood that came down from the side of the mountain after a short rainfall. Who knew that a mountain could “retain water”? This is where SharkBoy’s family shone: they all came out to the site on their ATVs and trucks to see the damage and within an hour, we had “rebuilt” the road, moved a down tree and scouted ahead the 3 miles to the highway on the ATV to make sure that the road was clear. It was an adventure, to be sure (we could have been at that part of the road during the flood), and his uncle and cousins were actually apologetic for the delay.

The next day the “kids” (without Sharkboy’s mom and aunt) set out to discover the waterfalls at Windigo, a swanky time-share like resort that I’d love to spend a week at some summer time (hint hint). There I saw a frog. Hold your Quebecois jokes. But before leaving, I was struck with the biggest stomach pain right between breakfast and the time we got into the car, which I kept mostly to myself until it started to subside. I wasn’t too chatty that morning. But it passed and I don’t blame anyone’s food…

At this time it was becoming quite evident that one of the guests was not feeling the same emotions for being away for the weekend and would not put down their cell phone for all the texting that was going on. I kept on remembering that when I was their age, I was yearning for not being at family outings either, and would sulk annoyingly over in some corner with a comic or tv show. Kids today (ugh. shoot me. I just wrote “kids today”) have better ways of sulking the fun from the moment by tapping messages to their friends on a small keyboard. I wanted to take them aside and tell them that family time is extremely precious, especially at 40something, and that they should savour the time they have. But of course, I kept my nose out of it. But I did felt old remembering how I behaved exactly the same (sans electroniques). This led to the weekend being cut short by hours (thankfully not by a day) and we managed to get back to Toronto at an extremely decent hour, so thanks teen angst!

In all, a good weekend. I’d love to go back again!