Conflict!

I never thought I would be the victim of such a predicament, a classic example of man vs. circumstance. On Friday October 5th Buck 65 is playing here in Montreal as part of the POP Montreal festival. The kink, the trick, the dagger that vexes me is that DJ Krush is playing nay but a few blocks away at the very same instant. Damn you Montreal for being so cool and hip that Im forced to choose between a demi-god turntablist and a honky tonk hip hop marvel. Damn damn damn.

The other problem being that of course I have nobody to go to either show with at this point because I still dont really know very many people here. I suppose it happens that way when you first move, and though Im a touch lonely and bored there really is no reason for dismay. Theres something in the air here that lacks in Calgary. I feel like creativity, art and culture are palpable here. I can actually touch it, taste it, immerse myself in it. When I watched BravoFact tonight for instance the filmmakers and musicians were from Montreal. My neighbours and colleagues. Like a fish being plucked from a desert watering hole and thrown into the ocean. Theres so much here, its exactly what I wanted, even if its going to be hard going for the first few months.

Still Burning Man obsessed. This year its really taken root in my psyche. Going two years in a row did the trick. Im obsessed with my performance art piece, which my sponsors wont let me talk about. Its as though despite all of this, Burning Man is all Im looking forward to. I think maybe because Montreal, for its more liberal culture, ethnic diversity and artistic flair does less to quelch the Burning fervor than it does to enflame it. So heres to the French and their insistence on keeping the St. Laurent for themselves!

P.S.: Started the process of figuring out whether I can get any work through IATSE here. Also signed up to volunteer at a computer game development conference and signed onto a couple of other local mailing lists. Also talked to a Burner originally from San Fran whos living in Montreal now. Things are a movin, especially with me moving on Sunday. Woot!

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Strange bedfellows

Youve heard the term sleeping with the fishes – well Ive got a new one for ya – sleeping with the pigeons. A few nights ago a seemingly normal night of UE turned into something altogether new.

Nel, Controleman and a couple of other local Francophone* explorers invited me out last weekend to try out a new entrance to an otherwise sealed set of silos. Right away we had complications as one of the explorers couldnt fit through the first gap in the fence and try as we could there didnt seem to be any other way through for him. So we bid him farewell and proceeded to climb the girders up into the silos…

Silos are always impressively large, but as you explore you come to realise that one set of silos is usually much like another so even though they were interesting and fun they werent necessarily anything to write home about. While on the roof taking photos someone, I think jokingly said that we should stay until sunrise on the roof. Nobody objected, and so, oddly enough, just after midnight, not having planned it at all we all settled in for the night on the concrete floor a hundred feet above the ground. I initially tried to sleep a level above the rest, figuing that the upper levels were less dirty (trash falls down afterall).

I managed to get an hour or two of sleep in on the concrete though all I remember is a lot of thrashing around to try and get comfortable. The others told me they came up at one point and shined their lights directly on me – I have no recollection of this so I mustve gotten some sleep. Finally I got up, so cold that I was shaking uncontrolably and went down to join the others. It was only a degree or two warmer down there so we relocated to the warmest location we could find, the electrical room. Unlike the rest of the silos the electrical room had no windows and was made of solid concrete instead of a combination of concrete and metal siding. In the inky blackness of the tiny room we managed to sleep another three or four hours until six am as the sky was just beginning to glow warm orangy tones on the eastern horizon.

And so we watched the sun rise from the upper levels of the silos, snapping photographs and stretching our aching limbs, celibrating our victory over the cold, hard night. We explored in the golden morning rays, snapping photographs and looking at the machinery that was cold and sickly looking the night before, warm and radiant in the morning light. It was tiring, but well worth it. We left the silos around nine am so were inside very nearly twelve straight hours. We went for breakfast, and who should join us but our big chested friend from the night before. Desole.

Im sad I hadnt brought my DSLR or my full sized tripod for photos, but I got a few acceptable shots. Controleman as usual made some amazing captures. Im just glad I had the experience. Sure a blanket or even a jacket would have been nice, but a camera bag makes an okay pillow and if you cant take it, well, find another hobby.

Photos later, when I get my computer setup.

* Exploring in French is all well and good, except for one thing – whispering. Sometimes doing UE its important to be quiet, but Ill be damned if I can tell the difference between a tenir ca and a tabarnac when theyre whispering.

Lots of sex

It seems I have a lot of sex related things on my life list. I noticed this when I added another one today; Have sex on Mont Royale. I remember reading an article in a magazine or newspaper on top public places to have sex on Mont Royale park in Montreal was in there, and why not. Seems a good vantage point, nice and green and one should be able to find a shady spot on a warm summer night. So there it is. I cant move out of Montreal until Ive accomplished that. See. Its good to have attainable goals that serve as benchmarks giving you an idea of your progress in any given venture.

Today I officially graduated from work training – finally. Its been an exhausting two weeks and Im glad to be done with it all. Lots of sitting in a stuffy, hot, smelly, yellow room in front of blazing monitors. In fact our training classes name was Sweet Stinky Yellow and Hot because of the sugar we ate to keep going, the stink from the roofing going on right outside our window, the yellow walls of the room and the heat from the oppressive stuffiness of the room. Glad to be done with it and on to work.

I was going to go out tonight, but at this point I just want to kick back and relax. Tomorrow I think Im going to go walk around town with my camera snapping shots. Ive already done a fair amount of exploring, taking a different route home from work once this week and last night wandering along the canal drinking a beer after locking myself out of Nels apartment. Oops. On the bright side I got to see the most gorgeous girl I think Ive ever laid eyes on, and get this – she was wearing a tail. I swear it was like being at Burning Man. My only fault was in not approaching her, but, cest la vie.

I will be vlogging more, some of you have seen my vlogs on facebook, when I get my computer out of its box and running Ill be able to edit the videos and play with them a bit more, hopefully getting them up here on WordPress. Ive also decided to vlog in both official languages with subtitles in the language not being spoken. But until I get my computer running I cant do that so Ill stick to English. Practicing and improving my French is a big priority for me though. I can handle most one on one interactions, but bring in noise, multiple people, distractions and slang and I have no hope.

Cest tout. Talk at ya soon.

A city of 10s

One problem with Montreal that Im trying to cope with is the fact that Im wandering around with a nearly perpetual boner. Yes its constant wood around here because my friends, the talent on the streets is damn near biblical in its beauty. There is a serious excess of gorgeous women in this city and its hard not to walk into traffic thanks to all the silky, curvy distractions. I dont relish the thought of being carted away in a body bag whilst pitching a tent in the plastic. Thats a bit too Kevin Smith for me.

Local men must develop a kind of tolerance or desensitization to it, either that or theres a lot of jerking off going on around the corner and down the lane. Or theres a release. Public displays of affection (PDAs) are much more prevalent here than out west so I can only conclude that theres even more hanky panky in private as well. And thats good because if I had to look at tight French thighs, pouty lips and lustrous hair every day without getting my hands on some of it I think Id get so backed up Id explode.

Though it is ackward dealing in another language that you feel only partially competent in. Last night I spent partying with my future colocs (roommates) and everyone except one other guy at the party was Francophone. The limits of my linguistic skill became painfully clear, but things werent so bad. Most of them complimented me on my French, a few spoke to me in English, but most continued in French and helped me when required. I specifically remember a couple of girls telling me that I dont even need that much French to pick up — Tes cheveux sont beaux — would do just fine.

Its funny, the Anglophone Paul at one point in the evening, a bit drunk looked over at his French girlfriend and said; Fuck my girlfriends hot.

So its all going to be very interesting, between customer service at the airport and conversing with my roommates I think my French is going to improve by leaps and bounds over the next few months – which is exactly what I want. If I can become truly bilingual, I can really enjoy everything this city has to offer, long legs and all. 😉

Post BRC

I’m fostering a bit of a Paul Addis complex right about now. How interesting. What compells a man to run around in tunnels, imitate Hunter S. Thompson and set ablaze the icon of a countercultural freakshow deep in the wilds of the Nevada desert? What strange confluence of mystical energies go into creating such a being? Holy fuck. What a freakstar!

I can vividly recall the mounting anxiety inside of me as I sat in our shade structure listening to Amira reading out the description of Paul Addis, the artisti-politico-pre-arsonator of the Man. It read like a bio of myself, and really, when I heard that the Man burnt early, well, I was pleased.

Mr. Addis gave an interview to Wired from the truck stop in Fernley (and I here officially insist on the installation of a commemorative plaque at the site imortalizing the event) and touched on numerous highly valid points. Hell we’ve all been thinking it. Every year Burning Man is more and more sanitized, regulated and castrated. Where the fuck have all the crazies gone? Not once this year did I truly fear for my life, and that in my opinion is a piss poor burn. Happily some freakjob from a bygone era showed up Monday looking for explosives and ultimately climbed up the tipi of trees at the base of the Man and set him a flickering. Thank fucking God. At least there’s something to talk about.

No knocking Burning Man. I love it no matter what happens, there’s just something creepily wrong when you never feel like things are spiralling out of control. A sign of the times… there wasn’t even graffiti in the porta potties this year. I mean what’s happening? A truckstop bathroom should never be more engaging that “the facilities” at Black Rock City.

CUE PETE SEEGER

“Where have all the freakjobs gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the freakjobs gooone?
Long time ago
Where have all the freakjobs gone?
Gone to cubicles everyone
When will they ever learn?
When will they
Ever learn?”

There is hope. There are no vendors (Except that damn cafe. You can make a jet powered pendulum but you can’t brew your own coffee?! Come on!), no money (except to buy ecstacy and pot) and no real concept of time. People do share and gift and touch and forget about the bullshit and boundaries of the default world and that’s a beautiful thing, worthwhile in its own right, but goddamit, there could be so much more.

What Paul Addis did, whether you agree with his actions or not (I do get a kick out of the idea of flaming lumber falling on a stinky hippy) was wake up the citizens of Black Rock City of where the line used to be. It was way over there. We’ve given up too much, gotten too soft, too comfortable, too complacent. For many Black Rock City is the only true taste of freedom they will ever get, and they waste it. Push the boundaries people, and see what’s possible, see what happens when you mix A with F, what happens if you cross the streams or spit into the wind? I dunno. Let’s find out. Because everyone is behind you, no matter how strange, irrational or fucked up, they’re behind you and they’ll pick you up when you fall.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

There. Read it and understand it. For fucksakes that’s freedom, not the drivelling spew Georgie Bush spouts out at ya. Shooting Muslums isn’t freedom, its tyranny, building a fire canon and taking personal responsibility for it when you melt your eyebrows off is freedom. That’s how it cuts. Freedom and liberty are friggin’ dangerous things but they’re also beautiful and I’ll tell ya another thing. Ready for this?

Freedom is free. You’re free to do anything you want right here and now. Whatever you want to do. Do it. See? Now there might be consequences, but that’s not a price, that’s part of the product. Killing your best friend with said fire canon, well you bought that, ain’t nobody who bought that but you, and him for playing along.

So yeah. Shit. Got wrestled all over the place here didn’t I? Well no biggie. Fuck. Coming back to default is a bitch. So much bullshit, just to get by day to day, but you don’t need it. Its all choices. Take it. Got it. Have it. Sure as shit.

Speaking of default, got homework to do. How fucking ridiculous is that? Homework and tests. Shit. Goddam desert is the only place that makes sense anymore.

CONTENT CENSORED*

*Please address the Committee for Unfettered Thought (CUT) for fillibustering and abuse regarding this information.

Did I mention I’m thinking about being a Ranger too? 😉

Update from La Belle Province

This will sadly be brief because Im using a French keyboard and it makes me a bit crazy. Im also pretty buggered out from my long days of driving, apartment hunting and job training. No rest for the wicked right.

Well, last things first. Finally yesterday I got an apartment, at least for a while. From October 1 to Janurary 31 I will be living about here. Its a short term sublet, borrowing a room from a girl whos going to Uraguay for four months. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Im almost afraid to say because youll freak. Ready…

$275 per month everything included, electric, water, heat, internet, phone… Crazy eh. I dont even need to buy furniture. Could there be anything more perfect for someone just moving to a new city. Four months of cheap, worry free living. Ill be living with two French girls going to university so Ill get to practice my French all the time as well.

It wasnt so easy. I looked at a lot of places and was very tempted by another place that I absolutely adored right next to a farmers market, but in the end the low, low price tag got me. It gives me time to figure out what Im doing here. Its all so new. Fortunately my French is already improving. Its just going to take time.

Work is… work. Fortunately my airline background helps me out, but theres still a ridiculous amount to learn and being in training for ten hours a day is taking its toll. Ill be glad when these two weeks are over. Already though I have a video job lead. Its amazing the people I meet here are actually interesting, as opposed to the endless onslaught of engineers and accountants in Calgary (no offense, I know cool people in both professions, but lets be fair, most of them are dull).

Burning Man was amazing, last year was better. LOL. No it was good, but deserving of a more concentrated blog than this so Ill do it later. I have been recording video of the trip to the Burn, to Montreal and some of the trials and tribulations here. When my computer gets out of its cardboard prison Ill start uploading them. I may become a vlogger. Good god.

Yeah, so more to come, this is only the snowflake on the tip of the iceburg that is the past three weeks. Theres so much going on its ridiculous, but Im happy. This is a good change and, the perfect way to do it jumping right in right away.

Fuck I want to share everything, but really this isnt the time. Too much to do. Right now I need sleep. Up again in seven hours for another gruelling day at work.

P.S.: Got my first Montreal parking ticket today, not because I couldnt decode the insane parking signage, but because I set my alarm for PM instead of AM and slept in. Goddamit! I hate having a car in this city!