Wednesday, November 23, 2005

If only there was a word in Wookie for frustration

About the title, I do a wicked wookie impression. No one can withstand the power of the wookies. No one.

Anyways, as the sharper ones among you have cleverly deduced, I'm a bit stressed.

Well here's the deal. My improv troupe comes to a democratic decision to have our last show of the term on Dec. 9th, 2005. This is all fine and whatnot, but I am part of a running poetry series known as capital slam (which I shall soon be linking onto this blog for you amusement) and capital slam also happens to be on Dec. 9. Improv is a hobby. Poetry is my passion.

I'm weighing the relative merits of each case in my head.

1. Capital Slam can get along without me because there are a variety of artists who bring unique and different styles of performance to the mic. In addition to the 12 slam poets (You have to sign up for a slot, they never take more than 12) there are 3 open mic spots and there is always a featured performer who recites their own poetry for about an hour. So, I'm not necessarily an indispensable cog in the capital slam machine. Valuble, but not a requisite. However, my improv troupe has only 3 veteran members, Noel, Eric and myself and we have developed a very good improv bond. The new members of our team, who I am very proud of, are still just a wee bit awkward. Me being there could help smooth over little rough patchs as well bringing my own personal brand of humour to the performance might make the performance twice as good (please note, if our captain, Noel, or No. 2 man, Eric, were absent, the team would be in chaos. Those two are way more important than I in keeping the team focused and together). I feel more needed with my troupe than I do with my poets.

2. Capital Slam always fills the house. If I go there, I'm guaranteed to get a good audience. Improv's prominence on campus is... well, kinda low. We're good, VERY good, espicially our new people and last time we performed, we did so to a 40+ audience. But there's no guarantee that we'll get a 40+ audience this time.

3. Poetry is difficult to write. It's my passion, my love affair, my affirmation of life. But improv is so much easier, and it's also really really fun. Slam poetry is fun to, but I find my style of poetry is not as popular as say... DJ Morales, or John Akpata. If I go with my troupe, I'll probably have a better time and get appreciated more, but if I go to the slam, I'll be competing and building my street cred.

4. Capital slam isn't obligatory... the same poets don't all show up for every night. And improv is much less frequent and I made a commitment to it at the beginning of the year...


Needless to say, I decided to perform with the troupe and then see if I could catch the end of the slam after the show.

But other things are on my mind. On Monday I had a "mid-term". Mid-terms are supposed to be in the middle of the term. Not the 3rd week of november. I have no idea what my prof was trying to push on us after giving us two essays for the term as well as a group presentation and then having the gall to call what is essentially an exam this close to the end of term and the beginning of real exams, a mid-term.

I also didn't like the way the test was structured... but if I go off on that, we'll be here all day.

I also spent alot of the day finishing off my essay for the Social History of Alcohol class I am taking. Now, I like this course.... but I must say that this essay I am handing in is not my best work. I don't really forsee anything larger than a B. I tried, but by the time I was able to start looking for resources after finishing off other assignments, all the good sources were taken and I had to completely abandon my original idea and scrape up what was left. I wrote an essay on Alcohol as it relates to criminal activity in the late 20th century and the policies the Canadian government adopted towards it. Good topic, not enough time, an adequate essay.

Speaking of essays, I got one back today and I got a 79%, or a B+. I felt that this was a slap in the face. Had it merely said, B+, I would have accepted that. I would have assumed that it was a middling B+, not a high B+, and not tempt fate by heading in ask for a higher mark. But to hand me a 79, ONE POINT SHORT, of the A- this paper deserved... well, it just got my blood boiling. There were good comments on my essay, and I understand why it could not be an A essay, but dammit man! It deserves to be bumped up a point! It just seems exceedlingly petty to not give me an A-. So anyways, I'm preparing my case after the end of the mandatory 24 hour cooling off period my prof enforces.

Speaking of this essay... I was talking to a girl I was speaking to on the way out of class. She got an A-, but it was two days late so she ended up with a B+. She seemed smart, and she was obviously beautiful. She smoked, but I can live with that. Anyways, we're talking and I think she wouldn't mind seeing where the path could lead and I'm about to ask her out.... and I just get a panic attack.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't ask her out.

I've asked alot of girls out this term... I won't tell you how many because it's embarressing. Why embarressing? They all turned me down. Even excepting the few that already had boyfriends and the one that actually turned out to be gay, that is alot of declining.

I feel like I've lost my confidance. My mojo, if you will. Ancilliary feelings include loneliness and slight depression. Nevertheless, I try my best to maintain a positive attitude... sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. As my friends constantly advise me, cheer up. So I shall do my best in that regard.

Ugh. I wanted to go see Buck 65 tomorrow night at Avant Garde. I really... really... REALLY want to go see him. I was even gonna skip class to go. But I borrowed someone's notes from last week that I still need to copy out tomorrow morning. To ask them to take notes for me again after just returning the ones I had already borrowed... that might be pushing it.

So I might skip I might not. Probably not because I also have a presentation the day after that and I haven't written it yet. Tomorrow is going to be a busy, crazy day. At least all my analytical essays are done. Now all I have left is to write an english essay about this book I read called Fruits of the Earth.

I'd reckon it. A good example of a satisfying read and classic Canadiana. If you believe Canadian culture exists. Most Americans, Europeans and even some Canadians maintain that it does not.

My brother Andrew is going to spend christmas in the UK with our family there before he ships out to Kandahar, so I won't be seeing him this december. But Kalu Kalay, happy day, my brother Adrian is bringing Sara, his rather serious girlfriend, to Ottawa this christmas. This will undoubtably draw attention away from me, for which I am eternally grateful. Mom will probably do the whole smotherfest and pressure them to get married, seeing as how they're living together. Ahh... nothing like living with a Christian Zealot who drinks and smokes like you wouldn't believe.

Dad remains his usual self. Which is to say, his usual weird self. Dad is a weird fella alright, one moment he's cracking bad dad jokes, talking to himself and singing those ridiculous godawful songs that he invented when me and my brothers were children and the next moment he's Mr. No Nonsense Military Man. I guess being in 4 wars and having spent your whole life in the Navy since you were 16 kinda has that strange effect on you.

Mom and Dad plan to take Sara and Ade to L'Ferme Rouge. It's this wicked badass cabaret across the river over in Gatineau. They have the best floor show I've ever seen and some fucking amazing cuisine. I love it there. I of course, have been told that if there's anyone I want to ask to come along, that would be ok, and Dad will naturally pick up the tab.

Now... most times, that would be a cause for joy. But since Sara will be along and of course, my seldom seen bro from the East Coast, I will naturally be a secondary concern on the trip. I like this, but now I have to make a tough choice. Should I try and find a date, or just bring a close friend to talk with while Sara and Ade no doubt suffer the Dual Parent Attack.

It would probably be a shitty first date to bring someone on, and since I've struck out several times this year... publicly, I think the thing to do would be to ask a close friend to attend. But not a dude, that would make people think I was into guys. So right now, I'm thinking of asking my friend Erin, who I used to work with at Subway, or Rebecca, a college buddy, if she hasn't left for Van-City by that time already. The numbers favour Erin though. Besides... I took Rebecca last time we went there.

Tina and Tasj of course, have been suggested. But while they are old high school friends (hell, they're my only high school friends), I don't think Tina's gentleman friend would appreciate it and Tasj just got out of a long term relationship, so I wouldn't want to send a wrong signal on that front.

So Erin is the most likely choice.

My headache is coming back, must be the radiation from the screen (even though it gives off low radiation, apparently) so I had better post this and get to bed. Argh, so much work to do.

And remember, Chewbacca says,


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Jazz of Death, It Be-Bops for thee

Well, I might have been killed tonight, all thanks to Jazz.

After my social history of alcohol class, I decide to go to Mike's place for a half pint. It's only fitting right? I mean, I had to listen for 2 and 1/2 hours about delicious, delicious alcohol, I may as well indulge eh?

But their our two new bartenders, Krista and Stephen. Nice enough people, they were real busy that night, but they were very friendly and talkative when they were free. I decide to forgo my usual half-pint and upgrade to the full pint. I don't know why. I fully intended to quaff the drink and return home post haste... but then I noticed something interesting.

A jazz band was setting up. They called themselves Mo' Jazz. I decided to stay and listen, and even get a second pint, breaking my own personal rule of never having more than one drink. Still, it was delicious Steamwhistler Pilsner and I soon forgave myself as I usually don't stay out late at all and it was nice to just sit and listen to Jazz, an artform that I admittedly know very little about.

I complimented the two beautiful vocalists for that evening, Emily and Xana (short for Alexandria) and even had Xana strike up a pleasant conversation with me, she got me to promise to come back to their Dec. 7 show at Mike's Place @ Carleton university. I duly promised to do so, so long as she came to one of my poetry shows. She said, yeah sure, but when I was giving her my info, her eyes held no spark of interest whatsoever. Which was disappointing, but hey, she's the one that started talking to me, not the other way around, so she had no one to blame but herself for my being boring. Perhaps when I see them on Dec. 7, I can convince them to come to my Dec. 10 improv performance at Res Commons.


So I go outside and wait for the 4 hurdman so I can go to hurdman, connect on the 95 Orleans. I wait a short bit, get on and we are two stops away from hurdman when a surprise happens.

Now, someone had been hitting the stop button every stop. It was weird. Sometimes the driver wouldn't stop at the stop and I'd look behind me to see if anyone complained. No. No one did. Odd. Very odd.

Had we stopped at one of those stops, the dreadful accident might have been avoided. But no. We did not stop.

The 4 hurdman was hit by the 85. Now, I was sitting on a parallel sit that lets you look out straight from the window opposite you, I see the 85 turning into us. I knew we had no time to get away. I yell, "Get away from the Gla-" But it was too late. The 85 hit us. It struck us just before the bendy part of the bus.

Buses in Ottawa are doubles, meaning they have an extra carriage tacked on to the back and are twice as long. They are able to make turns because at the place where they join there is a flexy, bendy part of the bus that is kind of like a pendulum that stops immediately once it comes back to the centre.

Had the 85 hit the bendy mid section, at the speed it was going (and it wasn't even going that fast, maybe.... 15, 20 klicks, tops) I reckon it would have tore through the mid section and killed the 3 people sitting in those shitty chairs they put there.

Not a good way to good. Thankfully, they hit the point just before the bendy part. The whole part of the 4 that was hit was torn up pretty bad. The top of the window at the point of impact was knocked down and hit the poor fella who was sitting there in the head. He is SO lucky the glass didn't shatter.

When the bus came to a complete stop, I got up and said, "hold still, let me see the back of your head." He let me see. He says "Is it bleeding?"

Thankfully, it isn't. I search for sweeling, bruising or anything else. I find only a small bump.

I ask him "Do you feel dizzy, or sleepy? If you do, you might have a concussion."

He says no, he says he's just surprised. The driver asks if he is alright. I tell the driver he's fine.

I step off the bus. Rightly sensing that the driver had already radioed for help, I leave the scene and walk to hurdman. The surprised gentleman I was worried about joins me there about 3 or 4 minutes after I arrive. He tells me that he was asked to sign a release form after refusing to go to the hospital. I again ask him if he is ok. He continues to maintain that he is alright.

I feel that it is no longer my responsibility, I tell him to take it easy, and I hope that we never are put into that situation again.

He concurs.

I pass the rest of my bus journey in ease as I step on the 95 Orleans.

I arrive home about 20 minutes later to cold fish, MMMMMM, a taste of Nova Scotia, my home province.

I heat it up. No man should have to eat cold fish, no matter what the Samurai and their Emperor think. Fish is no good cold! Or raw for that matter. Silly Samurai.

And all of this could have been avoided if I hadn't been so interested in hearing some Jazz, making friends with my new bartenders and talking to hot hot Xana, who will probably forget about me even though I could have been killed because of her smooth, sexy, jazzy voice.

Oh well. That's life.

Oh, by the way, since OC Transpo (The bus company in Ottawa) has most of its drivers talking about strike (And thus robbing me of my only way to school) and have consistently driven past me, screaming and waving, as I wait at a seldom used bus stop and are usually late to ALL of their stops anyways, I hope that the guy driving the 85 gets so fired and can never find bus driving work again. The bus drivers of Ottawa really infuriate me sometimes, espicially since I make such a concerted effort to smile at them and say good morning and good night everytime I get on or off the front door.

So that was my night. Booze, Jazz and danger. What an adventure.

Monday, November 14, 2005

This is the inaugural post of Caer Naradhaigh.

Don't you feel dumb for reading it?

You don't?

Oh, well it appears that I shall have to undertake a concerted effort to destroy your self confidance.

Or not, it depends on whether or not there is something good on TV.