Goodbye VHS


Well there we go. I’ve just thrown out the last of my VHS tapes. Garbage service just came through this morning so my three or four dozen video cassettes are just about the only thing inside the dumpster, making a rather fatalistic plastic crashing noise as I throw them into the metallic pit.

So its the end of an era. Its unlikely I will ever buy or watch VHS again, at least not any time soon. Maybe as an artistic gimmick, some nostalgic mashup piece reflecting on bygone days, but for all intents and purposes VHS is out of my life forever.

The timing is interesting, as HD-DVD and Blu-Ray sit poised to knockout DVDs. How long ago were we using punch cards? Data storage is an interesting thing in terms of, well, memory. As McLuhan said the medium is the massage and this is no less true of data storage than any other form of technology. How we record and playback does effect how we perceive and remember, so what does it mean being without analog magnetic tapes?

I’m too busy packing to discuss it right now, but think about it the next time you listen to an old EP or watch a movie on Blu-Ray HD. How does your experience differ? How is it the same?

Fuck. Still so much to get rid of. I hate throwing shit out, but sometimes its the only way…

Don’t Look Back

Last night I got myself into a bit of a tizzy over just how much money I’d be losing by moving to Montreal. I mean I can make $300 a day in Calgary fairly easily right now between video house tours, film crew calls and other freelance work. I’ve got the sweetness of a super flexible casual schedule at the airport, low taxes and the biggest, cheapest apartment in the whole damn city. All things said and done I have it pretty damn sweet here in Calgary. I was seriously considering whether it might not be worth it to stick around for another few months.

Then I did some research. The whole point of my moving to Montreal now was to get in on el-cheapo tuition as a Quebec resident, but I was wondering if I could potentially more than make up the difference working here in Alberta. Tuition is a little more than double for non-Quebec residents, $6369.20 per term versus $2996.60. But here’s the trick…

Situation 6: The Student has resided in Québec for twelve months before the beginning of the semester and was not studying full-time at a Québec educational institution during that 12-month period.

I forgot about that last bit. As long as I’m studying I’m not working towards residency, as a result I’d be paying the extra amount for the entire four years, two semesters a year, that’s $26,980.80! Could I rake up that much extra cash in Calgary over the next year? Probably not. Maybe, but probably not.

So there we go. That pretty much decides it for me. One way or another I’m going to be living in poverty again for a while. I think it better to be in Montreal, getting to know the city, making connections and enjoying myself than trying to make a small fortune in Calgary for the next year.

Now I just need an apartment. Fuck.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

So, I’m probably jumping on a plane tonight to go to Montreal again, and this time I’m not coming back without an apartment. Damn straight.

Seriously I don’t want to go this weekend, but this housing this is going to worry me until I do get it sussed out. Someone was just here drilling a hole in my ceiling to see which way the joists are setup. They must be getting serious about the renovations on this shithole, and I’ve yet to get someone to take it over from me. Smart. Very smart.

Thankfully this time around Geraldine, the girl who wrote the award winning film at the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto this year is going to help me out with finding a place. Isn’t networking great? Well…

It doesn’t change the fact that I’ll probably end up spending ten hours on planes and two or three hours in airports tomorrow. What joy. I would say that would allow me to catch up on some sleep, but I just had fourteen hours of sleep after my fourteen hours on the set of Snowglobe followed by another six hours on the tarmac at the airport. Did I mention my little sleep deprivation marathon? Let’s just say it was a good thing I didn’t have to push out any aircraft yesterday or they may have been towing them out of the ditch in the rain.

Ahh yes. I also have a flat tire, so I was bussing it yesterday. What joy.

So many things to do to prepare for the Burn and the move, and here I am clattering away on the old keyboard about it. Well enough. Time to walk down to the Bell Store and demand a better contract, a better phone and a number ending in 3456 in Montreal.


A louer

I find myself horrendously frustrated with my quest to find lodgings here in Montreal. Its one thing to hunt for apartments. Its one thing to navigate a city you dont know well. Its one thing to deal with an language that you only have partial proficiency and less confidence with. Add panic and fatigue. Mix.

I have not been particularly sucessful thus far with my apartment search. I should have begun viewing earlier just to adjust my personal barometer as to what to look for, what represented good value, etc. As it stands I am only now beginning to get my bearings on finding a good apartment in a big, old city like this. Its far different from my experiences apartment hunting in Calgary.

My hope is that the industrial artists lofts a block away from Nels place will work out. Nobody has been available to show them to me or even let me know if theres anything available. But living in a loft has always been an ambition of mine and whether its run down and by the train tracks or not is no matter, as long as its spacious and affordable thats all I care about.

Otherwise it is a terror of location, location, location. Where do I want to be. Close to work. Close to the city. Close to a metro or close to a highway. Where I live determines in large part what I can get and for what price. The locals are not helpful in this regard, though they are trying to be.

Everyone here is of the opinion that their neighbourhood is best. This would be helpful if they lived in similar areas, but they dont. Everyone who has given me advice lives somewhere completely different. In fact everyone I know in Montreal is so spread out I cant even really apply the law of averages. On top of that I cant decide whether I will be much of a driver here or not. Proximity to the Metro would be good, but if I end up driving all the time anyways, who cares.

Difficult questions I am too overwhelmed right now to answer. Right now my instinct is to just grab what looks best from my limited selection and move later if the whim should catch me. Seems reasonable. Im not a prisoner here.

Moving here is definitely moving beyond my comfort zone. I guess thats good.

To my knees

I have been up to raw sewerage to my knees and I can confidently say that I do not enjoy it. Sewage itself isnt so bad once you adjust to the idea of what it really is. In reality sewage is 90% soapy water from washing machines, sinks and bathtubs. The actual fecal content is really pretty low. What you have is a kind of greyish, brownish greenish concoction that has a strange solventy smell to it. Unpleasant sure, but certainly tolerable.

We were in an 80 year old tunnel below Montreal, black cement that swallowed flashlight beams like smoke and this torrential roar of effluence rushing past our feet. It was a big pipe, an old pipe, we saw small sections of blue and yellow brick. Cool. But ultimately, it wasnt that pleasant. You see oppressive darkness and sewage is ok, but its the mist that you have to think about.

For all the liquid pouring past your rubberized leg armour there is an associated mist or spray, this airborne cologne that truly deserved the title eau de toilete. Sidepipes here and there and upstream where the tunnel finally splits into two collectors the sewage pummels down dropshafts, shit waterfalls if you will resulting in an ever present mist composed of everything you can dare imagine.

Seeing these thundrous chunder pools helped to dispel any misconceptions I had of clenliness. I mean the near non-existence of floaties certainly had more to do with the punneling action of these drops than an actual lack of chunks of shit. It was all just so thoroughly blended and pulverized that only the most robust coilers could have survived. And this blend of sewer puree was exactly what was being slowly deposited on my clothes and skin, leaving a clammy sensation on everything, and woe what was entering my precious lungs.

Sewering is okay if youre prepared for all that, and you also keep one final thing in mind. If you see something float by, dont let your gaze linger. It is human nature to track movement as our hunter ancestors did, but dont. You certainly dont want to hunt anything that floats by down here be it toilet paper or something inconceivably worse.

Set Sail!

So I’ve decided on another item to add to my Life List. Its innocuous, strange, exactly what I need, and its totally realistic.

Freighter travel.

You know those cargo ships with the thousands of railway containers onboard? Yup, that’s it. I’m going to ride on a cargo ship on a cross continental voyage. The trips can take a month or more depending on the size of your ship and the route. The destinations? All the coastal megacities, plus tons of obscure coastal ports.

Its the perfect candidate for a gonzo journalism vacation, studying this lifestyle, this way of experiencing travel and the sea, studying oneself, and, finally arriving at a port a whole ocean away.

Anyways it appeals to me, and despite all the hops around on airplanes I do these days I don’t get that same sense of travel from the experience. This would be a return to travel beyond my comfort zone.

The cost seems to be an average of $100 a day, which considering that’s five star accoms, meals, all of it, well it’s not too bad.

Okay enough of that. I’m stoned and worried that I’m making a total jackass out of myself. Not because I’m a freak. I already knew that. No I’m afraid my prose is coming off like cheap chimpanzee scribbles. Fine, think what you will. I’ve got my soul.

Oh yeah…

Montreal in a few days to find an apartment. The time is closing in…