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mardi 29 mars 2011

Congratulations, "Hobo With a Shotgun"...

... you actually managed to surprise and shock me, which is saying something coming from a guy who enjoys seeing people getting brutally killed on film. This is primo Grindhouse entertainment that holds absolutely nothing back.

If you're planning to bring a date to see this flick, I have four words for you: "Bus full of kids". You have been warned.

Thankfully, there was also some eye candy in the form of Molly Dunsworth to help break up all the blood and gore, despite the fact that she eventually becomes entangled in all that as well. I don't normally go for blondes, but like the man said, I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating cookies.

The soundtrack is also very good, and even includes a surprise from us old school cartoon fans from the show "Raccoons". Can't find anything on YouTube yet, but keep your ear to the grindstone, folks!

mercredi 23 mars 2011

N'importe quoi

J'ai eu le "plaisir" d'assister à un match du Canadien de Montréal hier soir au Centre Bell, où nos glorieux affrontaient les Sabres de Buffalo. Les Habs étaient à peine là, et ils ont finalement perdu 2-0.

Lors du match, mon ami Marc-André et moi faisions nos commentaires typiques lorsque les choses ne vont pas bien, lesquels n'étaient parfois que l'écho des choses dites par les autres fans assis près de nous.

À un moment donné, Marc a dit "n'importe quoi", une expression fétiche de son cousin, que nous avons ensuite lancée selon l'air de la fameuse chanson d'Éric Lapointe, lors d'un jeu raté des Habs. Nous en avons ensuite rajouté, et avons eu l'idée d'écrire une version hockey de "N'importe quoi", pour souligner la médiocrité pouvant survenir lors d'un match. Il m'a fournit un début solide, et j'ai fignolé quelque chose.


"N'importe quoi (criss de Habs!)"

Tu m’avais dit qu’tu savais jouer au hockey
J’ai jamais vu un plus poche que toi
On dirait que ça te tentes même pas d’essayer
Fak que tu fais, n’importe quoi

Tu m’avais dit que tu t’avais pratiqué
À t’voir aller, chu pas sûr de ça
Tu me donnes le goût de crier
« Arrête de faire n’importe quoi! »

Ah ciboire! Tu pourrais déjouer l’adversaire
Ou faire une passe vers l’arrière
À place on te r’garde faire
N’importe quoi

Tu reçois une passe de l’ailier
Pis tu fais, n’importe quoi
Comme si t’avais peur de tirer
Ou du défenseur devant toi
Comme s’il mesurait plus d’huit pieds
N’importe quoi

T’es pas capable d’rester dans zone adverse
Tu sais pas c'que tu fais là
Quand finalement la ligne bleue tu traverses
T’es en hors jeu, n’importe quoi

Ah ciboire! Tu pourrais déjouer l’adversaire
Ou faire une passe vers l’arrière
À place on te r’garde faire
N’importe quoi

Tu reçois une passe de l’ailier
Pis tu fais, n’importe quoi
Comme si t’avais peur de tirer
Ou du défenseur devant toi
Comme s’il mesurait plus d’huit pieds
N’importe quoi

Pour toi, j’ai acheté mon billet
Une bière à 9 piastres, c’est ça que j’bois
T’es pas capable de mettre la puck dans l’filet
J’sais pas pourquoi tu fais encore n’importe quoi

N’importe quoi
Tu reçois une passe de l’ailier
Pis tu fais, n’importe quoi
Comme si t’avais peur de tirer
Ou du défenseur derrière toi
Comme s’il mesurait plus d’huit pieds
Comme s’il fallait que j’joue pour toi

Arrête donc de fuckailler

vendredi 11 mars 2011

Mother Nature: She Will Not Be Denied

As many of you have probably heard or read by now, Japan is in the grips of Nature's less gentle side. Indeed, an 8.9-level earthquake just hit the country off the coast of Sendai, the city where I taught English between 2003-5. To say the damage is extensive would be the understatement of the century.

Sendai-shi, the beautiful "City of Trees", has been practically, and quite literally, wiped off the map.

I spent the better part of the morning trying to contact friends that still live there. So far, no news from Sendai proper, as is to be expected, but I did hear from a few people in Tokyo, as well as those abroad who heard from their own ex-pat friends/relatives.

Here is a look at just how powerless we are in the face of the Earth itself, or, in this case, water:

No matter how advanced and prepared we are, we can do nothing when Nature decides to assert itself. Japan is renowned for its earthquake preparedness, but tsunamis are a tricky thing, as are any water disasters. One cannot control it, only deal with its wake.

My heart and prayers go out to Japan, and especially to Miyagi-ken and Sendai-shi residents. May you find the will to survive and the energy to pick up the pieces. The human spirit is stronger than many of us may think.

mardi 1 mars 2011

Tales of the Flabbergasted - Part 1: You're not the bus of me

Public transportation. I've always had a love/hate relationship with it. On the one had, it's eco-friendly and convenient, but on the the other it is a veritable melting pot of social behaviour that, for the most part, bothers the crap out of me. As an example, I give you the 80/535 bus line (for all the non-Montrealers that may happen to be reading this, this is a major city bus line that runs through a wide variety of neighbourhoods).

The "bus experience" can vary dramatically depending on which part of a given city you live in. As the 80 gets quite full pretty much all the time, one really gets to witness human behaviour and the trappings of social etiquette.

Let's start with embarkation. A very baffling thing I've noticed is how people treat catching a bus as if it's the only thing that can save them from being overwhelmed by a swarm of bees or Pygmy warriors. Of course, if you're heading home at 1 a.m., feeling pissed about just missing a bus is fully understandable. However, if you're going to work during rush hour, I'll let you in on a little secret: THERE'LL BE ANOTHER FRIGGIN' BUS COMING A MERE FIVE MINUTES FROM NOW. Sure, it may be winter, but a little cold ain't gonna kill you, sport, unless perhaps you happen to be standing there naked, but then catching a bus may not be what you really should be doing right now.

Furthermore, let's not forget about people doing the "Price is Right" mad dash, arms flailing to and fro. The driver probably saw you, but if the light's green and the vehicle's already in motion, guess what: he doesn't have to stop for you. You are not special. Your gesticulating did nothing, and now I get to watch the utter despair on your face as I roll on by. Your angst, it feeds my cynical soul.

Let's say you manage to catch the bus and you're getting on, now comes payment. Ideally, you would have already prepared it while waiting in line. If not, congrats! You're now holding up the line. This might be great for Captain Flailing who's grateful he managed to cross two lanes of oncoming traffic to catch the bus, not so much for me and my fellow travelers.

The beautiful thing about the payment process is that some folks actually manage to turn something that was supposed to speed it up, namely the chip card, into a baffling ordeal. Some are apparently afraid the card reader will harm them, or perhaps their card, in some way. They gingerly wave it a few centimeters away or barely touch it to the scanner. When they realize that this doesn't work, well perhaps a more vigourous waving is in order. It isn't, chief. What IS needed is solid, prolonged contact. You gots to romance that pleasant beeping sound out of that thing. Show it some love and watch it respond. To some people, this means rubbing their card on the scanner. Perhaps they took my romance comment out of context. It ain't a clit, people. Doesn't matter if you do the clockwise, the counter-clockwise, the up-and-down, the wipers or even the alphabet. Pressure, not friction, is the way to go.

Then you have ladies with the giant, clunky purses who, instead of removing the card from their Bag of Holding (shameless D&D ref - yes, I'm a giant geek), decide to manipulate said receptacle in such a way that the card will eventually detect that it's kinda sorta over the scanner, probably out of sheer frustration. Speaking of which, lady, do you see the look the driver's giving you. I think he just died a little inside. He's a civil servant, ffs, let's not precipitate the inevitable meltdown. And guys, you ain't off the hook here, that big-ass wallet you've stuffed your card in isn't helping, either. Take that card out and proceed. Afterwards, you can stuff that manwich in your back pocket, move on with your life and wait for the eventual back problems.

At this point, I'd like to give a special shout out to That Old Lady With the Blue and Purple Shawl that managed to get not only a laugh but a wave of nostalgia out of me recently. As she was taking her card out of her purse, I braced myself for the upcoming rubbing or waving around. Instead, she slapped that bad boy directly onto the scanner. There was pressure, there was assuredness, yet no pleasant beeping. Puzzled, she lifted the card to her mouth, BLEW ON IT, and slapped it back down. It worked. The Old Lady used an old Nintendo trick whereby one would blow onto the exposed electronic board of a faulty cassette to dislodge dust or debris in order to make it work. This totally made my day. If you're reading this, Old Lady, I tip my hat to you. May your shawl collection be forever varied and interesting.

Next up comes locating a place to sit or stand for the duration of one's journey. Generally, as the bus is filling up, the driver will, with increasing volume and urgency, suggest that passengers move to the back of the bus. However, without fail, many of those at the front will look around for a bit and tell themselves "Welp, that suggestion sure wasn't directed at me! I mean come on, I'm already next to the first wheel well over here, s'all good". No, it isn't. In fact, it's the complete opposite of "good". I think many people get that flashback of being on a school bus, where the back was reserved for the cool kids, the misfits and the badasses. Geeks didn't belong there, and neither did that foreign kid nor that chick with braces. They stayed up front, where it was safe. As this instinct is deeply ingrained during those key formative years, I suppose it's only natural that people still live by it.

What's not helping any of this is the backpack wearers. Take that shit off. Seriously. Or you know what? Leave it on. Yeah go ahead and grab one of your buddies and stand back-to-back between the first wheel wells at the front, so's I can have the pleasure of kicking you apart like saloon doors in a bad Western movie when it's time for me to disembark.

Which brings us to another illustrious passenger: the parent with a stroller. OK, what's going on here? Has anyone seen those new strollers? Are kids being randomly launched into space or something? These aren't strollers anymore, these are lunar modules, complete with double-track wheels, radiation shielding, a fully-sealable cockpit and ample storage, I guess in case you need to carry three other kids or something. That doesn't belong on a bus. Hell, if you added a lawnmower engine to that thing you could get to work yourself. I swear, sometimes I can't even see if there's an actual kid in there. Oh, and thanks for further clogging up the already narrow "corridor". Yes, I see that you're pulling the stroller closer to you in some sort of token attempt to be helpful. It ain't working. Now, the reinforced handlebar is in the way. *sigh*

Don't worry, folks, it's almost over. St-Catherine is coming up and that's our stop. This gives us a chance to observe the final part of the whole experience: disembarkation. When one wishes to disembark, one must first remember at which stop one wants to exit, press the button or pull the cord to indicate the desire to complete said exit and negotiate the opening of the doors that will bring you to sweet, sweet freedom. That's a lot of steps. Steps an addle-brained monkey used for drug testing could accomplish. And yet...

People, if you don't ring the bell to signal you want to disembark and there's no one waiting for the bus at your stop, guess what? The bus ain't stoppin', yo. When you're at a restaurant and you're ready to pay your bill, do you tell the waiter or do you just sorta get up, walk to the exit and impotently look at him. If you do the latter, then I wonder what else you do that's equally stupid and would like to get together with you to hammer out a script for this sitcom I just thought up. We'll call it "Think, dammit!" and it'll be about this guy who's a telepath but it only works on other telepaths. Unfortunately, he's the only telepath on Earth. Let's make lots of money.

There's really nothing quite like watching someone who hasn't figured out how bus doors work. It's like a seemingly normal human being regressing to the monkey state I just mentioned, except even further back. A key step to remember is that the doors won't even acknowledge your incessant flailing around or bar presses unless that green light above them is blinking. That light means the bus has arrived at the stop and is ready to vomit you back into society. Many people don't look at the light and rely on their inner ear, which controls balance thanks to its inner ear juice or something. When the inner ear juice stops sloshing around, they think it means they've arrived and must exit IMMEDIATELY! They tap the bars, wave their arm... but wait! Nothing is happening! Nevermind that the light just started blinking as you stop doing the loco-motion: something is seriously wrong here!

OK, so now you have to alert the driver, who is sitting about 20 feet away behind a bunch of people wearing heavy winter coats, as well as a little wall. At what volume should you be voicing your alarm? That's right: at the lowest volume possible. Make sure to add a touch of whine to your pitch to really get that message across. He can totally here you, even though he's focused on keeping a busload of people alive by carefully obeying traffic rules and listening to CHOM FM. He just chose to ignore you. Quick! Shove your way to the front of the bus to tell him! After all, the next stop is, like, a hundred feet away and that's just not acceptable. It just isn't.

Whew! Finally you're outside. The nightmare is over. If you could just turn around for a sec, I'll kiss you upside the cranium with my aluminum baseball bat (my name is mud).

Lâche pas lâche pas