A piece of the puzzle may have just clinked into place. Yesterday I found out about an idyllic fruit farm in B.C. that’s run by an older couple that bring in seasonal help for the fruit harvest. I could harvest cherries for two to four weeks. A working vacation! In a lush valley of trees, mountains and lakes. There could be worse things.

Maybe I could even get into some trouble with the B.C. burners and make that beat poetry film I wanted to make with Shayne Avec I Grec. Not a bad month. That sounds like a contract to me, a contract of my own making. I don’t even know what month this is I’m looking at… looks like usually late July, early August – thanks Google.

Mind you that’s prime wedding video season, but who wants to shoot wedding videos all summer? Not I. Maybe a few.

But the virtual house tours seem like the way to go. I just want to wander around mansions in Westmount and get paid for it – I’ll admit it.

Oh, put up a screen in the living room. We’re ready for winter now.

Except maybe that beach party…

Gotta get on with Cirque du Boudoir for that one. Also feelin’ a real yearning for some circusy fun.

Back to the wonderful life. Bye bye Internetland.

A brief note

From Midnight Poutine’s San Francisco office. The place is a mess. Not our mess mind you. The mess of a genius google employee who plays with lasers in her spare time. She’s moving, we’re sleeping on the floor, the futon, wherever aren’t boxes and books and other junk that spurts and foams from every conceivable place when you’re moving. Not sure where it all comes from, but there it is.

Buying things for the Burn. Only the Burn. What the hell is the point? Its strange to follow the path set down in what seems like a previous life. My intentions and values today aren’t exactly what I had in mind when I created this freight train, but with the momentum of a whole camp of people its impossible to sop, even if that’s what I wanted – and it isn’t really. Its just that I probably would never have conceived of something like this in my current incarnation, my new life, meNOW. Midnight Poutine is resource intensive, large scale, certainly not the poster of small simplicity that I’m striving for now. In that sense its a living relic, but what a relic.

I’m excited. This is going to be epic, but parts of it are hard to resolve with who I’ve become. I mean no matter what we do its going to be expensive and there’s going to be waste. Arrrrrrrgh! I need to accept that this is how these things roll. You have to break eggs to make cookies (omlettes don’t suit my palette). Still, I find myself asking what justifies it all sometimes. Beh. It doesn’t matter really. “Because its cool.” is the mantra of the Burn and that’s good enough for this year. I’m just making sure I’m aware that it might not be in the future.

Burning Man. I actually cringe a bit when I hear the word. I notice that I don’t use it much. I talk about “going to the desert” and being “on the playa” a lot more than I say “I’m going to Burning Man.” The very utterance of the words just conjures up the fabric of branding for me, of elitism, the cult. The goddamn desert cult. You go to Burning Man? That’s great. Nobody cares. You are not a special and unique snowflake just because you go and choke on prehistoric fish feces – I’m sorry.

This is not to say that I don’t like Burners or Burning Man. It is the more magical community I have ever found. I love it, but…

I suppose we are most critical of those people and things that we love the most. We see their potential and expect them to be that at all times when really, that’s impossible. So it is with Burning Man and all that goes with it. I am becoming a Cynical Old Burner – a COB. Well fine. That’s okay.

No, cynical isn’t right, perhaps a realist. I still love it and expect the best from it, but I’m not surprised or offended when it doesn’t deliver, and I’m willing to look at the parts that aren’t ideal. I think the main thing is simply this; Burning Man isn’t special. You aren’t special for going there. The art there isn’t special because its there. Its just a week in the desert, no more, no less. The magic that you may or may not experience there also exists in countless other corners of the globe at all times of the year. That is if you take the principles and ideas you find there with you. Hell, we all know people we’d call Burners who have never even been to the event. What more proof do you need that it really isn’t that special?

I would like to see the magic in more times and places. Gifting water at Burning Man – not so extraordinary. Gifting water in Parc Lafontaine on a hot summer day – kind of extraordinary. That’s what excites me these days. Burning Man is a model, a testing ground, a training centre, but its not in an of itself a terribly important place, what’s important about it is what happens when the world of the Burn intersects with the real world. If the energy that went into the Burn were instead directed outwards from the desert into other communities, cities and towns. That’s when the real, tangible, lasting magic starts to take place.

Its easy to create magic in a place where magic is acknowledged to exist. Its a much greater feat to create magic in a place that has forgotten or even suppressed what magic is. This then is the greater triumph and the greater quest.

So go the Burning Man. Dress like rabbits. Ride on rocket ships. Shoot flamethrowers. Do crazy drugs and have crazy sex. Just remember that its only a dress rehersal. The true spirit of it. The spirit not of Burning Man, not even of art, but the spirit of Life. That has to exist 52 weeks a year.

Just some stuff

There are many things I could write about tonight, so the question becomes, where is my passion right now? What is burning to get out? What needs to be released, or lost, aflutter on the breeze or buried in the long term memory banks, not to be seen or heard from again until some night as an old man a thousand miles from here? What indeed.

I suppose the quickest and easiest thing to do, if not necessarily the most insightful is just to make note, tick off the items that I’ve accomplished lately. How about that? That’s a reasonable start at least.

  • My application to Concordia University is ready to go. A bit of a revelation behind that. Its due tomorrow. I finished it today. See what I’ve discovered about myself, or rather accepted is that I work best under stress. That’s a positive way of saying that I procrastinate. And why not be positive about it? I mean if that’s the way I am, why be any other way? Planning, preparing, taking your time and being careful – that shit’s for chumps. Give me a three alarm deadline in half an hour – that’s when I shine. Ask for the impossible and you’ll get it. Ask for the possible and I’ll probably sleep in.
  • I bought a Macbook Pro. Now this is kind of a counter to the prior point because I planned the hell out of this one. Extensive research into Apple’s product rollouts told me that something was going to happen at the end of February, so I waited, and fastidiously kept track of the pricing on my particular model of choice. Sure enough when I looked today I found rumours circulating that Apple was upgrading its Macbooks to a new processor and a push was on to get rid of the old. When I looked at my model there it was… $650 cheaper. Bang! Sold! Should arrive sometime next week. Did I mention I hate Macs?
  • Carmella asked me to go to Cuba with her. She found a great deal and she’s going stir crazy and needs to get off this big glob of dirt we call North America. Fair enough. Trick is she wants to go SOON. How the heck am I going to get the time off? How the heck am I going to pay for it? Sure I just saved $650, but does that entitle me to blow it on a week in Cuba? Then again, she has a good point – once Castro’s gone things will start to change down there very quickly. Tempting…

Nuit Blanche is Saturday night. Best English translation is all night city wide art party. I have no idea where to go or what to do, but hell, its going to be fun. Chriz might even drop in for the night. Tomorrow night is the more pressing concern. Which of two or three parties to go to? I wussed out on the Pound tonight since I’ve got to deliver my application before work tomorrow and see if I can get an April 1 takeover for one of the St. Henri lofts. I still wussed out. Whatever. There’ll be plenty of time to boogey. I need to get some things done first.

Wow. What an efficient blog post. Not entirely profound or entertaining, but it gets the job done. Perhaps a 20/20 travelogue in hindsight for Chriz and I’s little Dominican adventure next. Why not?


So I’m adding a new one to my Life List. Yes adding more but not checking any off. Fine. Perhaps I’ll just go and make my Life List into my home page as a way of shaming, no, reminding myself of the shit I’ve got to get done before I kick the bucket. If it grows faster than it shrinks I guess I’ll just have to live forever, but that only works if I’m removing items – that’s how perpetual motion works see? Otherwise its just sitting there and that’s no life either. But back to the matter at hand. The addition.

I want to learn how to raft, or canoe, or just generally get around in some floating thing that doesn’t involve my legs dangling in the water. When you think about it that’s how the explorers did it all. Only dimwits like Lewis and Clarke went it on foot. Now talk to Sir Alexander Mackenzie if you want to learn a thing or two about exploring a continent. Or have a chit chat with R.M. Patterson who did some pretty amazing canoeing himself up the mighty Nahanni, but take his claims of being the first white man to see Victoria Falls with a grain of salt – I’ve read his diaries. But the fact remains that boats are the way to go for adventuring and exploring, not 4x4s or ultralights or whatever other gas guzzling mechanation you can imagine. So, in the spring I shall look it up, find it out and get my ass into a canoe, and probably fall out of it once or thrice.

Be that as it may Montreal is the home of the Voyageurs and so what more appropriate place to make a start? How fun it will be to travel from A to B, not by asphalt and petroleum, but over water, under sunlight and by the sweat of my brow. I can already think of a lovely river that runs a good chunk of the way between Alberta and Nevada for that annual pilgrimage of mine…

As much as I love the city and the multi-coloured swirl of sensation – people, lights, music, machinery – there’s also something sacred about being on the trail, in the cleft of a giant canyon or gorge and just floating along. No machinery, no traffic, no electric lights, just you and that impressive world.

Besides. River guides charge way too much for what they provide. A sanitized and standardized “adventure” for common yuppie consumption. A real adventurer has no clue what’s behind that bend in the river – and he probably packs a gun.

Well there we go. And to bring it back to the commercial, the market and monetization that makes everything and everyone real and worthwhile –

I can’t call myself a Hardcore Camera Commando if I don’t know how to float a damn boat.

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. 😉

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.