10 December 2006

Music machine

The company I work for arranged this big christmas party at the Cafe d'en Face in St Jerome yesterday. There was food and drink and music and good times were had by all. They also had a lottery and handed out prizes to a bunch of people. I won a basket of skin care products. Pretty nifty, there was body scrub and bath foam and body lotion and stuff. I generally don't use stuff like that at all, I put conditioner in my hair after washing it if I'm feeling luxurious, but maybe I should. Nikki tells me this goat milk stuff is really good for your skin, so I might give it a try. There was also a really cool sponge that I'm definitely going to use. It has handles on both ends and it stretches so you can scrub your own back. Good stuff, that.
After the party Nikki and I went to a pool hall in Laval and played a few games. The waitresses there were a bit distracting, all wearing ridiculously short black miniskirts and tight, black tops. Sort of skanky but revealing, and some of them were quite hot.
What? So I'm taken, not dead...

We went out for breakfast today at this place near Nikki's house. They had pretty good cappucino. I had crepes filled with banana, chocolate sauce and English cream, and with a slice of melon on the side. Pretty good, though very sweet. I don't quite get North American crepes, though. They don't taste like anything, just flour. I like crepes that taste a bit like eggs or butter, sugar or even salt, but all the pancakes and crepes I've had so far on this side of the atlantic all taste mostly like wheat flour. They seem to go for taste only in whatever is on them, not the crepes themselves. Weird. But hey, when in Rome...

I bought a portastudio on ebay a few days ago, it was a really good deal for the kind of machine I got. I can't wait to get it... Whee! I just need a good microphone and then I can start recording the songs I've written so far and make a cd. I recorded a bunch of stuff on my computer back home, but it just doesn't work on my laptop here. The sound quality really sucks for vocals. There's too much background noise on the line, like if the hum and noise from the harddrive and the fan was wired to the line in. I've never seen that in any other computer I've used for music, it's just bad.

I've also started working on an all new website for myself. I'm not so happy with my current one anymore, as it only presents what I do with classical music, which is probably the kind of music I do the least right now. But that project is not going to take off for real until I've gotten some recording done. But it'll be cool... :)

01 December 2006

Pool

I'm feeling (more or less) human again. The antibiotics worked and my throat is back to normal.
I went climbing a couple of times too already, which was lots of fun. The first time went really well, considering I hadn't gone for almost three weeks. Maybe I should stop more often? It went better than before I got sick... The second time went just as well. I did pretty good on two 5.9 trails, though I didn't quite get them in one try yet. Next time they shall tremble before my feet... Mwuahahahaa!

I went to play pool with Nikki at the La Cachet bar in Sainte-Adele the other day. It was nice, we were playing and having a good time, when this local dude, a guy of around 60 and quite obviously drunk off his ass, started talking to us. He had some interesting opinions about stuff... This was during our first game and Nikki was leading. He told me that Nikki seemed to be pretty good at pool. I agreed. Then he said:

"But you... You're really not very good at this, are you?"

After this he proceeded to tell me that it was a man's job to always win at pool against a woman, and that me losing against Nikki would be somehow embarrassing. He and his drunken buddy were also quite flabbergasted by the fact that I was originally from Sweden and spent quite a while questioning Nikki about it. "Where did you find that guy?", "What's with you being with a guy like that?" etc. So yeah... Apparently Swedish people who suck at pool are not so popular amongst the local drunkards of Sainte-Adele. But the rest of the evening turned out to be quite amusing in my opinion, because none of them said a single word after I won all four games we played. Hee hee... :)

It's raining ice here today. Quite interesting, it's not like snow or rain, but rather clear droplets of solid ice falling from the sky. I kinda wish I had had a hat with a large brim on the way home from work. I feel like somebody whipped me over the face with twigs. I was supposed to catch a ride with Antoine to Montreal tonight to see Nikki, but with the icy weather, we canceled the trip. Instead, Nikki is driving up here. She's got balls... It might take her a while to get here though, I very thoroughly told her multiple times to drive reeeaaaalllllyyyyyy slowly. I don't care if it takes her hours. I'd rather have her late and in one piece, than on time but scattered all over the side of the road.

There's a party in town tonight. One of the Italian testers is leaving and is having a goodbye party. I'm considering going. Hmm...

19 November 2006

Bitten

This has been a pretty fucked up week. I was sick all week, had a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, fever, muscles and joints aching... Sucks, right? Then I got bitten by a spider just in front of my ear. First there was a red, itchy bump. Then the bump got bigger and turned mustard yellow in the middle, then brown, then the middle fell off and now I have an itchy scab about the size of a penny. Pretty annoying... Anyway, the aching and pain in my throat wouldn't go away, so my friend Nikki took me to the Sainte-Adele clinic. When we got there, we found a note on the door saying that the clinic was closed today only. Sucks. So we were going to return the next day, but unfortunately Nikki's car got towed away during the night for being parked in a bad place. Before she got it back it was already past five and the clinic had closed again. So we decided to go to a clinic in Laval instead. We got there, only to find a similar note on the door, saying that the place was closed today only. So we went to a third clinic, but that one was full. We went to Nikki's place and went to sleep. The next day we went back to the clinic that had been full. According to the sign, we were well within opening hours, but the doors were locked. What the fuck, man? So we went back to the other clinic, but that one was closing in ten minutes. Starting to get seriously pissed, now. Five clinics and we hadn't gotten to see a doctor yet. Why would a clinic close at 2 pm in the afternoon? Are people only allowed to be sick during banking hours in Canada? So we went to a clinic we hadn't tried yet. Finally we got to get a number and start waiting to see a doctor. About three hours later I got to see this doctor. He walks in the room with a sour look on his face and goes "pourquoi?" I tell him I don't speak French very well. He tells me he doesn't speak English. Seriously, I can get the thing about why official documents and signs and all that have to be in French in Quebec and all that. The province wants to be francophone. Fine. No problem with that. But what the FUCK is up with doctors not even having the most basic skills in English? I am absolutely sure that I am not the only person in the province who doesn't speak French... This particular doctor was pretty rude, and didn't exactly give an impression of being very competent either. He stuck a thermometer in my mouth, squeezed my throat, and then decided it was tonsillitis and prescribed me antibiotics. Now, I know for a fact that there is a crapload of things that can cause tonsillitis, and only about 15-30 % of those things are bacteria that are treatable by antibiotics. So to just prescribe me antibiotics without taking a blood test or doing a bacterial culture swab to find out what the cause is seems pretty dumb to me. And that I had to go to a clinic six times before I got to see a doctor? Seriously... So far Quebec health care is really not very impressive.

15 November 2006

Sickness...

Yeah, so it would seem I am not going to be able to go to work for the rest of this week. My whatever-it-is disease has gotten a whole lot worse. I'm running a bit of a fever, my throat is killing me and every molecule of my body is aching. Kind of like having the flu but without the runny nose or the cough. Sucks monkeyballs. I'm all drugged up with pain killers and it still hurts. Bleh...

13 November 2006

Time out

I'm staying home from work today, my tonsils and neck are all swollen and it hurts when I swallow. Kinda sucks. So I'm calling in sick and staying in bed today. Now, the only question is what to do with this day... Watch movies maybe? Or maybe read a book? Or chat with some people? Ah, decisions, decisions...

I went to the Arcadia Festival yesterday with my housemates and some colleagues, but I must say that for that price the festival was a bit of a disappointment. And I didn't understand why the warderobe people insisted on charging you separately for your jacket and your bag, but then put them on the same hanger anyway. Total rip-off... There were some games that you could try out. I tried Gears of War a bit, it seems like an interesting game. I've heard that it's supposed to be really good, but I didn't really play it enough to get a good idea about it. I was also watching this other game, Lost Planet, that looks really cool. Both games are for the Xbox 360.
There were also some game competitions and random free stuff. They had a tournament on the game Table Tennis on a podium and threw out stickers, ping pong balls and t-shirts to gather a crowd around the players. People went completely nuts over these things, it was kind of insane. I saw five or six people play tug-o-war over a t-shirt. Seriously... Get a freakin' grip, people, it's just a t-shirt! And probably not even your size!
Overall, the festival really wasn't all that impressive. Some games to look at, but kinda boring.

After the festival I went over to Archambault music store to buy a shoulder strap for my guitar, and then over to Nikki's place. She had invited me for dinner and cooked me some Quebecois food. Mashed potatoes, baked beans with maple syrup and tourtiere. Oh, man... That was so good. I can't even remember last time I was that stuffed after a meal... We also watched Rejected by Don Hertzfeldt. That's some seriously weird-ass stuff, but absolutely hilarious! Rejected was nominated for the 2001 academy award for best animated short film and received 27 different film awards from all over the world. If you get a chance to see this, please do. It's sooooo worth the 9 minutes out of your life! :)

12 November 2006

Devil, thy name is Cigarrette

I was talking to the girl I've been dating, Nikki Brown the poet, last night. She told me she had a hot friend who was single and that since my roommates are single too, maybe we could match them up and see what happens. So we did. She came over with her friend and a box of beer. We listened to music and talked a lot. Antoine tried to make a fire in the fireplace without much success, most of the smoke came inside and the fire wouldn't stay alive. I think a chimney sweep should probably take a look at it before we try again. But overall it was a pretty nice evening, I had a good time. Had a bunch of beer and, unfortunately, smoked a bit. I usually don't smoke, I just have a cigarrette every six months for the hell of it. I really shouldn't, it gives me a hangover like mad. Alcohol usually doesn't do anything to me, I just drink a bunch of water before going to bed and I'm fine the next morning. But smoking... Blah. I was barely alive this morning when I woke up. I slept for most of the afternoon. Then Antoine made a most excellent risotto and our colleague Sebastien came over for dinner. It was a nicely mellow saturday.

Tomorrow we're going to Montreal to check out the Arcadia Festival. It's the third day of this festival that is all about video games. I'm not really sure about what's happening there, but we'll go have a look and see what's going on. I'll also meet up with Nikki and maybe go have dinner or something afterwards. Should be a fun evening. :)

07 November 2006

Meetings

I had a date on friday with this nice girl who lives closer to Montreal. After quite a bit of searching for a parking space, we went to this cool italian restaurant called Edouardos on the plateau. It's a nice place with great food for really decent prices. It seems pretty popular too. We had to wait in line for a while before they had a table for us, the place was packed. After that we went to casa del popolo, a cafe/concert venue, where we saw tune-yards perform. Awesome stuff, it's this lady singing and playing the tenor ukulele. If you have a chance to go see her, please do.
After that we went back to her place with a bottle of wine. It was a really nice evening. I'm going to see her again sometime this weekend. Maybe even tomorrow night. :)

I had a sudden flash of inspiration last night and wrote down drafts for three songs. I have a couple of more ideas but I can't quite put them down on paper yet. They need to float around in the soup that is my brain for a little while longer. Then I'll add some salt and lemon, a dash of poetry, a pork chop, some onions, a spoonful of tragic humour, a couple of witty observations, a piece of garlic and a slap in the face, and ta-dah! The song is ready to be served. Or at least ready to be written down so I can sing it to someone so they can stare at me in disbelief and call me crazy. People sometimes do that. Maybe I should get a t-shirt with a warning label across the chest that says "Warning! Contents may not be suitable for normal or overly serious people."
I have actually freaked people out to the point where they got up and left just by sitting down and listening to them without saying anything back. Heh, kinda proud about that, actually... :) But yeah, some people apparently can't handle silence very well. Weird.

29 October 2006

Paint in my face

Today I went to Mirabel for some Paintball. Some 40 people from Enzyme and friends were there for a whole day of sharpshooting fun. Unfortunately, the weather decided to be entirely crappy on this particular day. I woke up at about quarter to eight, looked out the window and saw that it was snowing. I dressed up in four layers of clothing to stay warm, and off we went. In Mirabel it wasn't snowing, it was raining. And it kept raining for most of the day. The forest and the fields that the game was played in were not much better than mud pits and swamps. I was completely soaked by the time we were done. But it was fun anyway, we played a whole bunch of different scenarios, from hunt down Bin Laden and his terrorists to defend the castle and capture the flag.
The precision of the paintball guns sort of annoyed me, though. You could aim at someone standing 20 feet away and still miss by 6 feet or more because the bullet would spin off course, so being a decent shot didn't help you at all. The bullets were all over the place no matter how you aimed, so you just had to fire off a dozen shots or so and hope that at least one of them hit something. Getting shot didn't really hurt that much, since I was wearing a pretty decent amount of clothes to absorb the impact, but I managed to get shot in the face once. Someone must have managed to shoot me at the exact angle to get the bullet in under my mask from behind me. It stung like a sunovabitch and I had purple paint all over my face. That stuff tastes like shit. Seriously, it's disgusting...

The picture above shows Carlos and myself all dressed up and ready to go to war.

27 October 2006

Jello and a haircut

Today was a somewhat boring day at work. I was supposed to work on one project, got moved to a different project, and then moved to a third project and finally ended up having nothing at all to do on that project anyway, so I did absolutely nothing all day. A bit weird, but hey... It's their money... My PM let me leave earlier since I didn't have anything to do anyway, so I went and got a haircut at the Concept Coiffure next to the Metro grocery store. They washed my hair and gave me a short but very nice scalp massage before they started snipping away with scissors and trimmer. Very nice and relaxing indeed, all for the humble price of $18,75. Haircuts are a whole lot cheaper here than in Sweden. The same thing back home would have cost me at the very least $45. And now my hair is out of my eyes again. Woohoo!
They didn't have time right away when I got there, so I spent about 20 minutes just walking around at Metro. I bought a whole bunch of jello that I'm going to send to Liza. Jello is kind of hard to find back home, and like myself, she loves the stuff. Yum... Tasty and fun all at the same time! :)

We went climbing again yesterday. My arms were still really tired from the previous session two days earlier so I got really tired quick and had to rest quite a bit between ascents, but it went really well anyway. I bonked my knee on a grip at one point though, so I have a colorful bruise now. But other than that, it was fun! The time before, I tried a red 5.9 trail without much success. It's really tricky because you have to make sure to be very well balanced to be able to get up. I tried the start some 15 times without getting it. I've done quite a lot of climbing in my mind since then, thinking about the start and how to get it. Yesterday I tried it again, and nailed the start on the first attempt. That felt great! 5.9 is still a bit beyond my abilities so I didn't get the rest of it yet, only a few steps further than the start, but I'm sure I will get it eventually.

Things are either simple or impossible. Everything in between is just a matter of practise. :)

22 October 2006

Chilly day in Montreal

A while ago I met this girl on the internet. She asked me out for coffee, so yesterday I went to Montreal to meet her. I met with her at a place called Tutti Frutti, which is a really nice breakfast place on St Catherine, right next to Atwater. I had the biggest breakfast ever, with French toast, crépes, cappuccino and a big bowl of fresh fruits. The girl I was there to meet seemed like a really nice person, friendly and funny. We had a long conversation about all kinds of stuff. After that we went to this big movie theater close to the breakfast place. On the way in there, we met this elderly man who started talking to us about educating the hopeless drivers of Montreal. He seemed quite upset about their quality of driving. That was kind of weird. We walked on towards the ticket vendors, when the elderly man came back after us and started talking about this British movie, Keeping mum with Rowan Atkinson that was supposedly really good, and that we might want to check it out. Even weirder... Anyway, all the movies were starting a bit late, so I wouldn't have had time to see anything before I was supposed to meet up with Manu, who I rode into Montreal with, so we left again. After that we just walked around in town looking at stuff and talking. It was quite nice! It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining from a clear blue sky and it was pretty chilly outside. After that she had to go meet a friend of hers and I needed to get back to Chapters, where I was supposed to meet Manu, so we said goodbye. It was a nice day, I had fun. I'm definitely going to see her again.

I found a book at Chapters while waiting for Manu and the others to show up, the definitive edition of the Tao Te Ching. I read reviews about this book before and I've been wanting to buy it for some time. It contains both a literary translation and a verbatim translation of the text. Quite interesting! I already have two editions of the book, but it's fun to read new ones because the translations are quite different in both wording and inherent meaning. If you read a lot of different translations, maybe you'll get an idea of what is behind the words, what the author(s) actually meant.

After meeting up, we went to the botanical gardens. There was a crapload of cars there, I think there was a hockey match going on at the stadium. We wanted to see the Chinese lantern exhibition that was going on in the gardens. It was pretty nice, lamps made of wire frames clad with silk in all shapes and colors. There were bird lamps in the trees, and big boats with soldiers in them in the pond. It looked pretty cool. We also looked at the displays of traditional chinese instruments in the showrooms. There was also a small Halloween land display near the entrance, where they had a few pumpkins and ghosts and such, though it seemed more angled towards the younger crowd.

Did you know that "Goodbye" is originally a contraction of the expression "God be with you" ?

19 October 2006

I keep on falling...

I went climbing again today with Antoine. It was really not the best climb I've had. I felt pretty tired already when we got there, but I figured I would wake up a bit once I got started. And at first it went ok, but after I while I just felt really drained and started falling off the wall. It didn't really get any better for the rest of the evening, I climbed pretty badly. I tried a trail I haven't managed to do before, but after about ten unsuccessful attempts at getting the start right I gave up. All I accomplished was hurting my left arm. Bleh...

And this goddamn motherfuckin' internet connection can go shove itself up a rabid monkey-ass! It blanks out several times a day for a couple of minutes at the time, it has stopped working every single night around midnight for the past week. I hate this crap... Grrrr...

17 October 2006

Frozen grass

It was pretty cold this morning when I rode off to work. The thermometer showed 0 degrees and the lawn was all frosty. It was really sunny all day. I spent my lunchbreak outside, just basking in the sun and enjoying the fresh air. It was really a perfect weather! It reminded me of a nice autumn day in the mountains back home. Quite nice!

Me and Antoine went grocery shopping after we got home. Apart from the regular food stuff, we got a big pumpkin. Antoine is going to turn the contents of the pumpkin into soup, and I'm going to turn the "shell", or whatever you call it, into a jack-o-lantern. Halloween is creeping closer, and I'm in Canada. It would be a serious sin not to carve a pumpkin in these circumstances, don't you think? Halloween is sort of starting to catch on a little back home too, but it's nowhere near as big as in North America, and we don't do the whole pumpkin thing. So when in Canada, do as the Canadians, eh? :)

I wrote some more music today too. I have a few great ideas, but I can't really make them come true on my laptop. I would need to record some melodies, but the sound quality is really crappy if I record through a microphone on my laptop. Bleh... That particular tune will have to wait, I guess.

15 October 2006

Saturday, lazy saturday

The last few weeks have been pretty interesting. Last monday was Thanksgiving, so I had a long weekend. Really nice after all the overtime, I must say. I went to the Mont Tremblant park on thanksgiving with Mikkel, Stephan and Antoine. It's the second time I've been there, it's a really nice area. We were away all day, so we didn't really celebrate thanksgiving in any way. Not that I would know anything about celebrating thanksgiving anyway, considering it's a holiday that doesn't exist back home... But I felt a little bit festive when I was having a turkey sandwich by a nice river in the park. There were some really pretty trees in the park that hadn't dropped their colorful autumn leaves yet. The picture of the maple with red leaves on the left was taken by Stephan with his new camera.

I went climbing again this week too. Climbing has been pretty sporadic lately, as either Antoine or I have had to work late a lot, but we managed to get one night in. It went pretty well. I climbed mostly 5.08 tracks, they are starting to feel quite comfortable to climb, so I guess I must be making progress. Feels pretty good! :)

Yesterday there was an Oktoberfest at the Hotel des Monts, which is really close to our house. There was a bunch of people there from work, having beer and playing pool. The place itself is kind of scungy, but it was pretty fun. I absolutely suck at pool. I managed to win against Antoine once out of sheer luck, as he messed up and accidentally dropped the nine in a corner pocket.
After a short visit to the Spanish people and Mikkel's place, a bunch of jelly bears and some food, we drove off to a place called Bourbon Street. It's a pretty cool place with bars and a dance floor where you can shake loose all night. I had some drinks and danced a bunch, it was lots of fun! I can't even remember the last time I went dancing.
There was some weird show on stage in front of the dance floor. They conferencier only spoke French, so I have no idea what he was talking about, but it looked like some kind of contest between four guys who were supposed to out-hot the others by dancing all sexy-like with a girl. Then four girls did pretty much the same thing with the guy who won. It was an overall pretty boring show. The four guys didn't seem to have much imagination, they all just did the exact same thing, one after the other.
"Oh, look, he took his shirt off and is trying to look buff. Now he pulled his belt out. And hey, now he pulled his pants down. Wow."
And the girls did even less. They just danced around, mostly looking a bit embarrassed to be there. But overall it was a nice evening with good music. I met a couple of girls who I guess seemed to like my dancing. At least they danced with me for a while, trying to dance the same way I did. They didn't have much success in imitating me, though, which is not really a big surprise since half the time *I* didn't even have a clue what the hell I was doing. I'm no dancer, I just make it up as I go and move around in a rythmical fashion because it's fun and because I like the music. Probably looks like crap, but hey, I don't care. It's fun!

Today was a really lazy day. I chatted with a friend in Sweden, talked to my brother and my mom on skype and had a pizza because I didn't feel like cooking. My brother showed me some songs he wrote. They were pretty good! The music he writes is pretty different from the stuff I write. He does more acoustic singer/songwriter kind of things. Anyways, I also did some laundry and played some games on the computer. A pretty laid-back day, I'd say. Whoo-pee.

02 October 2006

Music by me

I finished another song today. I haven't found a good way to keep them online yet, but this should do for now. If you want to hear the songs, just download them from the links below. They will be available for download for seven days from the date of this blog entry.

You may download these files for free and share them with anyone you like, but the copyright will remain mine. Do not alter these songs or any portions of them, or try to take credit for composing them. You may also not alter the written information within these files. These songs may not be published, sold or otherwise reproduced for profit or other monetary compensation without express written permission from me.

Septimbre

Solitaire

End

Enjoy! :)

30 September 2006

Random ponderings

Uselessness sucks. Fortunately, not much in life is completely useless. People are never useless. Some small ornamental items might be useless, but oh so much fun anyway. Actually, the only really useless thing I can think of right now is infantry units in video games. Those are useless. It doesn't matter which game you're playing, infantry units always suck. They are the units you throw at your opponent out of sheer spite after he has killed off everything else you had. They are pretty much always about as effective as an ant spitting on a cow.

Fish are good. They're tasty, they're interesting and they can be used as weapons. If there was a nuclear holocaust, I believe that we could build up an entirely new civilization based on fish. Think about it. You can eat them. You can take their skin and make clothes, you can use their bones as needles, you can whap people over the head with them, and in a post-nuclear freezing cold climate, you can stack frozen fish and build fish igloos. Or even cabins! Just imagine living in your very own cod cabin! And if you like small and cosy abodes, why not find a large tuna fish and hollow it out? Perfect one room apartment!
I'm pretty sure you could kill someone with a frozen trout. Those fuckers are solid! You could use barracudas for spears, eels as swords, and if you need a dagger, just find a minnow and start stabbing people. If you need a table, just find yourself a decent sized manta and yoink it up on land until it freezes. Then use three salmons for table legs to put it on top of, et voila! A stylish manta table! You could probably make a fire with fish too. I'm sure you could start a fire by rubbing two fish together if you tried hard enough.
And then a couple of millennia later, historians would look upon their sophisticated fish-based civilization and reminisce about how it all started with a frozen fish.

26 September 2006

Tiredness again

Hello again, dear readers. I'm not updating this blog as often as I would like to, but I'm working 12-hour shifts right now, and something needs to be postponed for later. Right now I'm just making sure to take care of the more important stuff, like sleeping and eating.
I got a cold on top of it all. Everyone at work seems to have it right now, it sucks ass. It makes me feel even more tired than I otherwise would be... I'm in a pretty cranky mood right now. I wish my head would stop feeling like it's full of cotton, and that my sinuses would stop hurting. And I wish this week would pass quickly so that I can go back to somewhat more regular working hours. 12 hours a day gets me lots of money, but it's pretty tiring. I can't imagine how the people who work 15 hour days must feel. Or my brother, who is doing his PhD in technical physics. He works 16 hour days and will have no vacations whatsoever for the next three and a half years. Sucks to be him...

But now I must sleep. More work tomorrow.
Overandoutro. Moo.

20 September 2006

Long days

I'm working on a new project this week, and we're doing 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week. Not quite as bad as I thought it would be (yet, anyway), but still pretty exhausting. I get home, do something else for two hours, then go to bed. Then up again for more work. I feel like I'm doing nothing but sleep and work. I really hope that it won't be like this for more than this week and the next. If I have no free time for myself, I'm going to go nuts. Call me crazy, but these two hours after I get home are not enough.

It seems I should stop caring about people and trying to help them. All it seems to accomplish is to piss them off and alienate them. This is seriously bothering me. Fuck!!

18 September 2006

What to do...

You know the way you want to help a friend feel better if she calls you and is sad or upset? You listen, you talk to her, you care, you pay attention and do your best to cheer her up, right? So what do you do when two people do that at the exact same time? That happened to me today.
I was talking to Manda on skype, when Liza popped up on msn. Manda was all sad, so naturally I wanted to talk to her and help in any way I could. But Liza was also all sad, so of course I wanted to cheer her up too. But you don't want to give either one the impression that you're not paying attention to them, because that would be disrespectful and they might think that you don't care. And I really do care. But you also don't want to tell one of them that you can't talk to them right now since you're talking to someone else, because you like them both a lot, and they're sad and you don't want to just turn your back on either one of them, right? So what do you do?
I talked to both of them. Typing to one and speaking to one, and let me tell you, that was quite the exercise in concentration and focus. Holy crap... Two different people with completely different problems and both want to talk to you about them, and you have to keep your brain sharp as a razor to get everything they write and say, and to not answer the wrong thing to the wrong person, and... Fuck. This must be one of those situations that the universe puts you in just to fuck with you. What do you do in a situation like that?

I made a traditional norse meal called "kolbullar" for dinner today. The name translates into "coal cakes", more or less. It's a meal that was very common among lumberjacks, coal workers, railway workers and others that had to do strenuous manual labour away from home for several weeks at the time. The men usually had little or no knowledge about cooking, but they needed food that was very easy to make, and would make them full and give lots of energy. Coal cakes contain lots of fat and carbohydrates, so they brought sacks of flour and pork when they left for work. The kind I made today is a slightly fancier version with eggs in them, and with milk instead of water. Here's how to make the traditional kind:

1. Cut the pork into tiny pieces and fry them crispy in a frying pan over an open fire.
2. Mix water and flour and pour the mixture over the pork in the frying pan.
3. Fry the whole thing until it solidifies, then flip it over so that it gets cooked on both sides.
Serve and enjoy!

16 September 2006

Weekend at last!

It's friday! W00t!

Work was long and mostly boring. Thank god I'm done with that game. If I hadn't played it through a million times already, it would be a pretty entertaining game, but alas, I have. I'm soo sick of those stupid creatures... I mean, if I have to test it, I will of course test it even if I don't like it. That's what work is all about. But given the choice, I would rather never see that game again. After work I had a nice, long chat with my Swedish friend Liza on skype. She's one of those über-smart people who can do double full time studies and hold down a job at the same time. And she speaks russian, french and latin. Pretty cool.

I went to a party tonight at Eric and Virginia's place. Not bad, it was a fairly small party with people sitting around a fire having beer and throwing pretzels at eachother. Y' know, as one does in Canada... I did a small fire show to try out my new, short firesticks. They work pretty nicely to twirl around but they heat up quite a lot, so it's hard to use them for very long times at once.

After the party, I got back to my room and found a daddy longlegs spider, Pholcus phalangioides, crawling around in my room. I caught it in a small plastic container. These spiders are not venomous enough to harm a person at all, and they are actually not so effective against insects either. They have large nets that they bob around it, waiting for bugs to drop by. I managed to catch a fly in the same container, so I was hoping to get to see some spider vs. fly mortal combat here. But they don't really seem to care about eachother. They just ignore eachother and crawl around in the container. How disappointing.
Oh, now something is happening! The spider and the fly stumbled across eachother and it seems the spider somehow managed to bite the fly! The fly seems all woozy and is laying on it's back all dead-like now. Cool! Spider vs. Fly, 1 - 0. I'll go let them out outside soon.

14 September 2006

Midweek the gray

Today was cold, gray and rainy. I didn't sleep much last night, so I was dead tired all day too. I dragged myself to the office and went to work at the project I'm working on. At about 10.15 I looked at the clock and thought to myself: "Oh, for fuck's sake... Not even eleven yet?" Yeah. For some reason this seemed like the day that would never end. But it picked up a bit after I got home and talked to my Swedish friend on skype for a while. It's always as nice to see her online when I start the computer. Tomorrow is her birthday. I wish I could be there to congratulate her in person. Grrr... fuckin' Atlantic...

And now, just for fun, a poem I scribbled down yesterday. I originally wrote it in Swedish, so this is a translation of it.

Twilight falls over amber hills
and flaming forests go out
The earth releases the mists once more
to watch over grass and stones

Stars come alive on the heavenly sea
and the moon picks up it's journey
on the well-known path over humans' nest
that she wandered for countless nights

She looks down upon me, and eyes meet anew
as so many nights before
when I sat down to think, and envied her
that she nothing misses or needs

How majestic and fair, how unmoved she is,
in her dress of timeless silver
So unearthily beautiful, so wonderfully cool
this queen of heaven is

She touches my cheek with cold, warm hands
and bathes my body in her light,
until my breath is relaxed and I fall asleep,
to wake to another dawn

12 September 2006

Movies n stuff

I went to the movies with Stephan and Antoine today. They saw Little Miss Sunshine. Apparently a really good movie, but it didn't look all that interesting to me so I saw Hollywoodland instead. It's about this private investigator (Adrien Brody) who is trying to figure out how George Reeves, the actor who played Superman in the old TV-series (Ben Affleck) died. Did he kill himself? Was he murdered? Not a very fast-paced movie, more of a drama. But the tale is told in a very interesting way. The movie got off to a pretty slow start, but then it picked up and the ending was actually really good. And Ben Affleck actually did a really good job with this part. Adrien Brody is excellent as the PI, and both Bob Hoskins and Diane Lane are great! Hoskins does not play a very big role in this movie, but he has always been one of my favourite actors. He's usually pretty intense and very convincing in the parts he plays. Much like Armin Mueller-Stahl, who is almost scary in how genuinely he portrays the characters he plays, perhaps most notably in the movie Shine, where he portrays Peter Helfgott, the father of piano genius David Helfgott. The piano genius himself if played by an absolutely amazing Geoffrey Rush. In the scenes where Helfgott is playing the piano, it's actually Rush's own hands you see. Pretty cool...

Another very good movie on the theme of musicians, is Hilary and Jackie, a movie about the life of British classical cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, played by Emily Watson. The film is based on the book A genius in the family, written by Jacqueline's sister and brother-in-law. The movie adapts the hell out of the book, portraying Jacqueline as quite the nutcase and a not very likeable person. But putting realism and historical accuracy aside, it is an incredible movie, both tragic and gripping, about the cello prodigy's decline into a devastating and ultimately terminal disease. Bring tissues if you decide to see it, as chances are you'll be crying a lot.

There are a lot of good movies and loads of good actors. Jet Li is a good actor. Now, I realize that that sentence will quickly remove any credibility I might have as a film critic in the eyes of some people, but keep reading, and I will tell you what I mean.
Jet Li is not likely to win any oscars for best male actor anytime soon. He's no Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep. But look at what he does. So far he has mostly done martial arts movies, straightforward things with relatively simple plots where the main idea is to display breathtaking fight choreographies and stunning martial arts skills. And with that in mind, Jet Li is incredibly good and successful at what he does! Anybody who knows anything about martial arts knows who Jet Li is. So in his own way, Jet Li is a great actor! Much the same way Arnold Schwartzenegger is. Arnie might not be the most expressive and flexible actor on the screen, but as the stereotypical action hero, who blows things up and kills people while spouting more or less lame one-liners, he's about as good as they get. In fact, he's one of the most successful action heroes on screen ever. So yup, he's a great actor too. As long as you remember that a great actor is not necessarily the same thing as an actor who can play any part given to him or her perfectly, and move the audience to tears with incredible skill and sincerity.

10 September 2006

Work and toil

I worked a lot this week. Nothing excessive, but more than I usually do. The last three days have been pretty intense. I went to Montreal for some testing on thursday and didn't get home again until 01.20 am. Then to sleep, then up again for more work on friday. And today I went back to Montreal again for some more work. It was nice to work somewhere else for a change, the variation is always welcome. I must say that it was a bit tough to get up at 6.30 this morning... But I should get a relatively fat paycheck next week. One can always do with a wee bit more money, especially with the not-quite-opulent salary that I have. I've found that the money is enough to live a decent life, but it seems nearly impossible to save any money. I'm not even spending that much money. All I spend it on is food, rent and bills, but still I have no money left at the end of the month. Hmm...

I played some more flute today. I only played for about half an hour, which is far from enough if I want to regain the level I had four months ago, let alone improve, but it's a start. Before I graduated, I was practising for about three to four hours per day on average. If you're curious about what I sounded like four months ago, you can check out my website. There are a few sound clips from my graduation concert there.
But now I'm enjoying playing again. Now I can play stuff I like because I want to and because I like to play, not because I have to. Though it kind of pisses me off how much I've lost during these four months. I sound like shit and feel like a beginner. Oh, well...

I've also gotten started with writing music again. So far I've only written a couple of songs in Swedish, but I'm working on some more electronic instrumental stuff too. I'll try to figure out a way to put it up online after I finish something more.

07 September 2006

Music music music...

I played the flute today for the first time in quite a while. I played for maybe half an hour, so not so long, but still. It was pretty nice, I haven't felt like practising since before I graduated. And I didn't really practise today either, I mostly just played. But holy crap have I've gotten out of shape... You really lose it fast when you stop practising. I'd need to play for a couple of hours every day for at least a few weeks before I would be anywhere near where I was before I stopped playing. Anybody know a good pianist I could play with?

My Swedish friend sent me some Swedish candy, I got it in the mail yesterday. Whee! Plopp... So good... And she said she was going to take one of those stiff cardboard tubes that you send posters in, and jam it full of lingonberry jam and send it to me. I have no idea if she was being serious or if she was joking, I really couldn't tell. I guess I'll find out...

I'm going to work in Montréal tomorrow and on Saturday. We're going to work on a game consol that we don't have here at the office in Sainte-Adele, so we need to go to the game developers' office and test the game there. I hear it's a pretty big place with lots of people. Should be fun!

05 September 2006

Songs and stuff

I talked to my Swedish friend again today. I finished writing a song to her, so I sang it to her on skype. She was typing something, and I was just playing around with my guitar while talking to her, and then I started singing without telling her anything about the song. When she realized what I was singing, she abruptly stopped typing and went dead quiet. She was completely stunned and didn't know what to say for several minutes. It was hilarious! I haven't seen her speechless like that before. She liked the song though, so good deal. :)

I feel like I'm starting to want to play music more seriously again. I haven't really felt that since well before my graduation concert in May. It might be time to dig out the flute and the sheet music and start practising again soon. I'm also going to start practising and singing more seriously with the guitar. Sucks ass that my work permit only allows me to work at Enzyme while I'm here. Otherwise I might start looking for gigs to get some extra cash.

I don't get that whole work permit thing. I'm already here, I already have a job. Why would it be a problem if I was working with something else on the side?

Tomorrow we're going to Montreal to listen to a concert with Matt Ward. I haven't heard any of his music before, but Stephan tells me it's good stuff.

04 September 2006

Ow...

I fell while climbing a little more than a week ago now and hurt my leg and my shoulder, so I've been taking it pretty easy lately. It seems now that I might have hurt myself a bit more than I thought. A couple of days ago I noticed that the scratches on my leg were almost healed, but that I had a big bruise below the scratches that wasn't there the days after I fell. I seems to have showed up several days after the initial injury. And my ankle is kind of swollen. I put some ice on it, and holy fuck did that hurt... Is it supposed to start aching like hell when you put ice on it?
My shoulder is also in not so great shape, it seems I might have gotten some kind of inflammation in it. It has been aching since I went climbing on tuesday, thinking it was ok. Now it aches even when I'm not doing anything. Annoying... I'm going to take it as easy as I can for a week and take ibuprofen to relieve the inflammation and aching. If it hasn't gotten better within a week, I'll have to get a doctor take a look at it.

Today was a pretty lazy day. My housemates went to the Osheaga festival in Montreal, so I was home alone. I cleaned up my room, talked to some people on skype and tried to write some music. I got some ideas for songs that might turn out to be useable, but I didn't finish anything yet.
I bought a new pillow yesterday. It's so much better than the one I had! Now I can wake up without pain in my neck every morning.

01 September 2006

Poetry? What's that?

There are huge amounts of poets in the world. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain weird. Some write songs, some write rhyming poems, some write prose...
I like Tankas. A Tanka is a short, originally Japanese form of poetry. It has five lines, usually with the syllable division of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7. They are often very interesting to read because of their brevity. They can contain an entire world of ideas, condensed into 31 syllables. A mood, an idea, an atmosphere... Kind of like the essence of a novel in five short lines.

Above the ocean
a feeling of loneliness
carried by the wind
Lost by someone long ago
Does it feel unloved and sad?

The Tanka has been around for about 1300 years, and is considered the most important of Japanese poetry forms. Every man and woman of class was expected to know how to compose a good Tanka to conclude special occasions with. It wasn't actually called a Tanka until after the Meiji era, or 19th century, when it was given that name to distinguish it from Waka poetry.

Poetry is a peculiar thing. What is it? I dare you to give me a good answer to that. Why is poetry poetic? What is the purpose of poetry? What makes good poetry good?
I'm sure everybody has heard the famous 18th sonnet by Shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

This poem is written in the form of a sonnet. A rather complex form, not so easy to write. Is this a good poem? I'm pretty sure most people would agree that it is. But why? Because it's beautiful? Well written? Thought provoking? Because it rhymes? Because it has some kind of emotional impact on the reader?
How about this one:

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

This is an excerpt from Dylan Thomas's And death shall have no dominion, a classic in it's own right. Now compare these two with this one:

My love, do you recall the object which we saw,
That fair, sweet, summer morn!
At a turn in the path a foul carcass
On a gravel strewn bed,

Its legs raised in the air, like a lustful woman,
Burning and dripping with poisons,
Displayed in a shameless, nonchalant way
Its belly, swollen with gases.

The sun shone down upon that putrescence,
As if to roast it to a turn,
And to give back a hundredfold to great Nature
The elements she had combined;

And the sky was watching that superb cadaver
Blossom like a flower.
So frightful was the stench that you believed
You'd faint away upon the grass.


Life, love, sorrow, death... Universal themes of life, from quite different angles, don't you think? This last text is an excerpt from Charles Baudelaire's Une Charogne, A Carcass, translated to English by William Aggeler. So what do these three poems have in common? What makes them good? Are they any good, really? I say three, the first tanka doesn't count since it's written by me. I wouldn't presume to compare myself with Shakespeare, Dylan and Baudelaire. Ha! What a joke... Anyways, think about it. I'm not here to give you any answers, only to provoke thoughts in you. Figure it out for yourselves!

Only thinking what others tell you to think is just as bad as not thinking at all. So start thinking! Have fun! ;)

31 August 2006

Arachnid guest

Today I spent most of the evening writing emails and letters. I like writing. It gives you a chance to reflect on things, think things through properly and phrase things much better than in speech, giving a more meaningful exchange of ideas and thoughts. A lot of conversations today are all about being witty and giving rapid-fire responses, often resulting in comments that are not entirely well thought through.

Huh... Cool! Just as I was typing this, a spider decided to drop by for a visit. It looks like a Yellow Sac Spider. The name is kind of weird, since yellow sac spiders are usually not yellow. It climbed down my wall from the open window, so I caught it in a plastic can to have a closer look. These guys can bite if cornered and are venomous, though not deadly. At most it hurts a lot and you get a swollen rash resembling a large pimple for up to eight weeks, which in some people with already existing medical conditions might cause tissue necrosis similar to that of the bite of a Brown Recluse spider, though there doesn't seem to be any documented cases of that in Canada. Yellow sac spiders are nocturnal hunters that crawl around looking for something to eat, and are often found indoors in homes. This particular guy only has seven legs. I don't think it particularly enjoys the plastic can full of salt and cashew nut crumbs, so I'm going to go let it out outside now.

There. Now my arachnid visitor is happily crawling around outside again. Thanks for stopping by! I completely lost track of what my original topic for this post was... Oh, whatever. I need to sleep now anyway.

30 August 2006

Stupid...

I went climbing again today, which was a rather stupid thing to do. I didn't give my shoulder enough time to heal, and after the first ascent it started hurting like hell again. I did learn a new technique though, so I couldn't keep from practising it a little bit anyway. If you have a good grip with your hands, you don't need anything to step on. You can climb up a flat wall with your feet for a little bit. It makes it easier to reach grips you would otherwise need to really stretch yourself or jump to reach.
Mwuahahahahaa... Progress is so much fun...

Not much else to write today. Same ol' stuff.

29 August 2006

Ponderings

So... I was thinking. Since heating stuff up to a certain temperature kills the bacteria in it, does that mean that you could eat rotting meat if you cooked it well enough?
Not that I would even if you could... This is just another example of the random kind of crap that pops up in my head. I have a strange brain indeed. I'm beginning to see why my friends so often ask me what planet I'm from... Yum... ellipsis points...

This day summarized: Woke up, talked to a not so cheerful swedish girl too long, got to work one minute late, tested an interesting game, came home, went shopping, bought ridiculous amounts of meat, cooked bizarre meal with Thai chili sauce, chicken, bananas and bacon in it, went to my boss' place and had a beer, came home, wrote stupid things in my blog and then went to sleep.

Note that the last part hasn't happened yet. But I wrote it anyway because I can see it coming. I can see the future. I'm psychic, you know. I dreamed of a candy bar once, and the next day I got punched in the face. See what I mean? Huh? huh? huh? Nah, didn't think so.

Yeah. I should finally get to sleep and dream in technicolor. Then think of all the insects that are sleeping, and wonder if the animals are dreaming.
Thanks, Brad. You rock, man. Keep on crashing.

28 August 2006

Talkathlon

Yesterday we went climbing again. Stephan came along this time to try it out and ended up doing pretty well at it. We dropped my brother's girlfriend off at the train station in Montreal, and then went to check out two comic book stores. I found two mangas that looked interesting, Death Trance and Jing: King of bandits. The first one also exists in the shape of a movie with the same title, which I saw last night. Horrible movie. The lead actor Tak Sakaguchi was pretty cool, his character 'Grave' had a funny but weird kind of humour integrated into the part. The action choreography was sorta almost decent in a few scenes, but a complete mess in most of them. Overall this must be one of the dumbest things I've seen so far. Swords with handles that look like big, throbbing dicks? What the hell is the point? No explanation whatsoever for that in the movie...
Anyway, climbing. We had a quick lunch in town before going over to Laval for climbing. It went well at first, but then I took a fall off the 5.8 trail and hit my leg against the edge of the side wall.
Nothing broken, I just scraped a bunch of skin off. I also pulled something in my shoulder in the fall. It hurt quite a bit, so I didn't do any more climbing after that. It's still sore, but should be fine with a couple of days of rest.

Today was a very lazy day. Got up at 11, went online and then spent the next eight and a half hours on skype, talking to the girl in Sweden. She finally got her webcam working. Last time I saw her was about two and a half months ago. It's funny how memories tend to get kind of subjective after a while. I remembered her being very pretty, but seeing her on the webcam again made me realize she's even more beautiful than I remembered. *sigh...* Grrr... fuckin' Atlantic ocean...

But yeah. Sitting in front of a computer screen like mine at a desk like mine, on a chair like mine... Just plain stupid. I had quite the headache afterwards. She's so worth it, though...

I finished putting wick on the second short firestick. Now I just need to wrap the handle and then I can start using them.

26 August 2006

Roswell

Actually not tired today, yaye. Slept well last night. Went to work and tested this flash game online. Not bad, a simple, yet fairly entertaining game. But buggy. Apparently I found so many bugs that the developers just went "Oh, fuck it... just tell the guy to stop testing, we're going to rewrite the whole thing..." I thought that was pretty funny when Alex the project manager told me. :)

Talked to my severely hot friend again. That's always fun, I like talking to her. Too bad she's in Sweden. Stupid Atlantic ocean... I did some juggling too. I'm getting better, my record stands at 46 catches right now. The starting and stopping are the critical moments. Once I get started I can keep it going pretty well. Still need lots more practise before it's solid, though.

I'm going climbing again tomorrow. I can't wait... I wanna try the red and white 5.8 again.

I bet you're thinking "What the hell has any of this got to do with Roswell?" Well, I'll tell you: Nothing at all, actually. I just wrote Roswell as the title because it sounded cool. It's my blog so I can do whatever I want with it. Take that...

25 August 2006

Fatigue...

Today was a long day. I couldn't sleep last night, I don't know why. Just couldn't seem to fall asleep. I got up at 7.30 and I really didn't feel like going to work, I just wanted to sleep more. Work was eventless, I worked on a game for about three hours, it had to be done by lunch. There wasn't really much to do on it, it was a simple game for kids. After that I didn't really have anything to do for the rest of the day. I sat outside, did some poi spinning, and just waited for five pm so I could go home. Tomorrow we're getting a new game to work with, I hope there's more to do on that one.

My brother's girlfriend and her sister are here visiting now. They're going on a 9-day cross-Quebec tour and are staying in Sainte-Adele for two days. We stopped at this restaurant in Blainville on the way back. I had lasagna. It didn't taste anything like any lasagna I've ever had in Europe. It was more like two layers of pasta with a slice of meatloaf in between. Very weird, but pretty good.

Sooo tired... must... sleep... now...

24 August 2006

Funnyness

A quote from a conversation:

-I wanna have a farm when I grow old, with horses and shit. Wanna move to Finland?
-Okay. Do grapes grow in Finland?
-No, it's too cold there. Why?
-I wanna grow my own grapes and make wine.
-Well, they have all kinds of berry wine in Finland. You could make berry wine?
-Okay. Does pot grow in Finland? It grows in Scotland and Canada...
-Pot grows in basements.

Yeah. I've been thinking about comedians. Comedy is tricky. You get up on a stage and talk about random stuff that people can relate to, but with a twist and in a really funny way. People can make anything funny if they just tell it the right way. I read this quote by the great comedian George Carlin:

New rule: just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. and it translates to "beef with broccoli." the last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to god you weren't pregnant. you're not spiritual. You're just high.

It just cracks me up... Being funny seems so easy. 1. Get up on stage 2. Say something funny 3. people laugh. But have you ever seriously tried to write ten minutes worth of funny things to say? Like a short stand-up routine? It's freakin' impossible. You walk around all day with your head boiling with ideas, you see all kinds of things you think would be hilarious if you just wrote it down, and you're absolutely convinced you're going to become the next Robin Williams. But the instant you get home and find a pen and paper to write stuff down, your mind goes completely empty and you feel like a tourist in the sahara desert with a map made of sand paper. No clue whatsoever. Why is it so hard to write stuff down? You can talk to people on the phone or over a meal for hours on end, and sometimes you even feel like you've reached a really clever conclusion about something (which you of course can't remember the following day), but just try sitting down and writing something really clever. You know, the kind of thing you can put up on your website so you can nudge people and proudly say "Hey, how's it going. Oh, by the way, I'm the guy who wrote that." You'll draw a complete blank. It's like Murphy's law. Things will always go to hell in exactly the way they can.

So why is it so hard? Maybe I can't be hilariously funny because I don't really have that much to say? I don't really talk all that much, generally. Doesn't seem right, I think everyone has things to say. Some people go ahead and say it, while others don't. I don't know why the people who don't, don't. Maybe they think that what they have to say isn't interesting enough for someone to want to listen to. I dunno. Things don't have to be interesting to be funny, nor funny to be interesting. Sometimes things don't even need to be interesting to be worth reading or listening to. Someone might want to read it anyway. Take this blog entry, for example. I bet this probably isn't the funniest or most interesting thing you've ever read. But you still read this far, didn't you? So there.

Cats are often funny. And ducks. According to a survey, jokes are always funnier if they have ducks in them instead of other animals. Go figure...

23 August 2006

About Manda

So, some of the more avid readers out there (Ha!) might have noticed that a person named Manda sometimes posts really bitchy comments to my blog entries. I figured I might introduce her, as she is definitely a person worth introducing.

Manda lives in St Paul, MN, and is my best friend. I've known her for over eight years now, which is a lot longer than I've known any of the other people I call friends. She was also my girlfriend for about two years, but long distance relationships suck ass. We broke up on good terms, she has a new boyfriend now and we're still best friends.

Manda is crazy. Nuts, bonkers, insane, deranged, kooky and batty. And in a very interesting way, too. The first time I met her was at a music camp at the International Peace Gardens, on the border between North Dakota and Manitoba. I got to know her because she decided that since she hadn't gotten to know any of the foreign kids in the previous years she had attended that camp, she would by golly do so now. So one lunch break she confronted me, backed me into a corner by standing too close to me and staring at me, then started talking to me. I was completely freaked out by this loon at first, but then I noticed she was really cool and we became friends. I've talked to her on the phone quite a lot during the past eight years. In fact, I have probably spent ridiculous amounts of money on phonecards to talk to her. She is the reason I have a vaguely North Dakotan dialect when I speak English.

So if she posts mean or insulting comments to my posts, it's not because she's being a bitch. It's because she knows me really, really well, and well... is being a bitch to me, but in a friendly way.

In other news, I saw Bon cop, bad cop tonight. A lot better than I though it would be, though some of the dialog was kind of clichéed. But it was hilarious. I'll leave it at that. If you want a longer review of the movie, check out Matrixdancers blog. I'm going to bed now, I'm fuckin' tired...

22 August 2006

Escalade

I went climbing again today with Antoine, it was great fun. I almost made it up a 5.08. I had to stop and rest halfways and try a couple of times, but I got up. Next time I'm going to climb it without cheating, I hope. So much fun! Ha!

I finally have a bike. One of the German testers at work is going back to Germany on wednesday so he sold me his bike. Coolness. It's going to save me a lot of time. He also seems to have taken really good care of it and adjusted the brakes and gears. Judging by what little I've ridden it so far, it's in a whole lot better shape than the new bikes I've tried, even though they're the exact same kind of bike. Excellent deal. Thanks, Gabriel! And good luck in Germany!

My friend in Sweden sent me this link, check it out. It's about how to make a Kiwi dessert.
http://www.jhn.se/images/kiwi.jpg

21 August 2006

Rain rain rain

Today was a really nice and relaxed Sunday. It rained pretty much all day, I think it's the first time since I got here that that has happened. There was a thunderstorm at around one pm, but it didn't last very long.

I stayed home all day and spent about four hours on skype with my friend in Sweden. Oh, man... She's intelligent, funny, interesting, not to mention one of the most beautiful people I've met. And we have so much in common, I would think we were twins if I didn't know better...

Damn you, academy of music, damn you very much!

Ok, so that might need some clarification.

Before coming to Quebec, I applied for a teachers program at the Malmö academy of music. The program was set to start in January 2007, so I had to figure out something to do between graduating from the performance program in May and going back to school in January, assuming that I got in. So I looked around on the net, trying to find some kind of job. I found the ad from Enzyme testing labs. They were looking for linguistic testers with skills in scandinavian languages. I applied and got the job. This was at the end of May and the job would require me to start working on June 15th. Not knowing if I had gotten in at the teachers program, and even if I did, it still being 8 months away, I took the job and moved to Sainte-Adele, thinking I could always apply for the teachers program again after I get back to Sweden. If I go back to Sweden. All good and dandy. But about a month after coming here, I receive a letter from the academy in Malmö, saying that I was accepted to the program, and that they had moved the program to start ahead of time in August this year instead of six months later in January.

Words can not explain the explosion of rage that went through my mind that particular moment.

If the people at the academy had just let me know six weeks earlier that I got in and that the program was starting in August instead, I would not have come to Quebec. I would have stayed in Sweden and gone back to school instead. I could have stayed home, living in my own apartment, having a nice and relaxed summer vacation until school started. I could have gone to the Urkult festival with friends, and to the Medieval week festival on Gotland. And I could have spent the entire summer hanging out with this wonderful girl! Oh, cruel fate, pray tell: why dost thou torment me so? Oh, woe is me!

"Now wae to thee, thou cruel lord,
A bluidy man I throw thou be;
For mony a heart thou has made sair
That ne'er did wrang to thine or thee!"

Robert Burns, from Lament for Culloden

20 August 2006

Storm damage in Sweden

A friend sent this link to me. Check it out!

http://www.sterilecreed.com/weather/

Real live wire

I electrocuted myself today. There was a thunderstorm outside, so I turned off my computer and went to unplug it from the wall. I grabbed the plug and pulled at it, somehow getting my fingers in between the plug and the wall far enough to touch the metal connectors. BZZZZT! 110 volts up my arm. That did not feel entirely good... My arm hurt a bit and was all weird and tingly for hours afterwards.

I went to Saint-Jerome to listen to a Tribute to Coldplay-consert. This Quebecois coverband played Coldplay songs. Not bad, though the singer seemed a tad bit pretentious on stage and didn't sing in tune all the time. His guitar was also pretty badly out of tune, at least at the beginning of the concert. Bluargh... Untuned instruments make my brain itch... But overall the band was pretty good, they seemed proficient enough with their instruments and the level of synchronicity between them was high. They sounded like a band that has been playing together for a while. It was pretty funny to hear them sing Coldplay with a quebecois accent, though... :)

19 August 2006

IQ test hoax?

A couple of days ago I found a website for an organization called International High IQ Society. They have two different kinds of IQ tests available, and by scoring higher than 124 in either of them you get invited to join the society of people with an intelligence quotient within the top 5th percentile of the population. I scored 129 on this test. The test if pretty fun to take, a not very long quiz thing. So I gave the web link to Stephan and Antoine too. Stephan took the test too, also scoring 129. We figured it was kinda odd that we both scored the same just like that, so we took the test a few more times. First seriously, scoring 128, then just by randomly clicking on answers without caring about the answers, scoring 95 (the supposed average of the population being between 85 and 100), and one more time deliberately getting all the answers wrong, scoring 76.
This seems very strange. I wrote them an email asking about the matter:

Hello!

I took your iq test online and I was a bit curious about a few things. The result I got was 129, and I was given the option to join the club. However, my computer glitched and turned itself off just after I had finished the test. So I took it again. Since you have a large pool of questions, enabling 2.4 billion unique tests, it shouldn't matter how many times I do the test, right? Oddly enough, I got some of the same questions as the first time. Quite the coincidence, I think. If one of the questions reappears, then sure, but three? The probability for that must be pretty low. So after completing the test and scoring 128 this time, I took the test a third time, this time just picking the answers randomly without trying to get them right. The result was 95. Seems somehow odd to me that one can just click randomly, and still end up in the average range, doesn't it? As an experiment, I took the test a fourth time, this time making sure to pick the wrong answer for each question. The result: 76. Worse, indeed. But it strikes me as very odd that even with no way of doing worse in the test, the score is still rated as only one category below the average range. And yes, the same questions appeared several times over these four tests. It would seem to me that this whole society a scam. A hoax, designed to give everyone who takes the test high scores so that they will be fooled into buying a membership. Is this kind of activity legal? If this is not a scam, and is indeed a test as legal as you claim, I would be very interested in a comment on the matter, or an explanation for these abnormalities in the scores.

Sincerely,
Sami Ylinen

I really hope they write me back, it would be really interesting to see what their answer is. The url of the website is http://www.highiqsociety.org. If you feel like it, take the test and write your result as a comment to this post. I would be most interested in hearing how you score on the tests so we can compare results.

18 August 2006

Not so sober

Today was nice. I finished the stuff I had to do at work, but they didn't have anything else for me to do after that. So I sat down and wrote a long letter to a friend in Sweden. We got a new version of the Playstation 2 game though, so tomorrow I will have stuff to do. Yaye!

I went to a small party at our neighbor's place this evening. One of the project managers at work moved into the house next to ours. Sweet deal! She's a cool person. Anyway, me and Stephan went over to her place and had some beer and various other alcoholic beverages, and watched an exTREMEly crappy movie called Exit to Eden. Wow. That movie sucked...

I'm not entirely sober, and I need to be at work in about six and half hours, so I'll make this post end right here.

17 August 2006

The good pain

My body hurts all over today, probably because I didn't stretch well enough after climbing yesterday. One one hand, pain sucks. On the other hand, this is a good kind of pain since I know it comes from doing something that is good for me, something that will eventually make me stronger and more fit. Ah, yes... There is indeed a certain amount of pride attached to this pain.
It still hurts though, and I can only blame my own stupid self for not stretching better.

In other news, I actually did something at work today. They sent a build of the game I was supposed to test on Xbox 360, and I spent most of the day working on it. Feels kinda nice to actually be busy at work for once. Partly because the days get really long and boring if I have nothing to do, but mostly because I feel like I should work when I'm at work. I don't want to get paid for doing nothing, it makes me feel like a lazy slacker. I don't like that. When I'm at work, I want to keep myself busy and do a good job so I can go home and feel that I'm happy with what I did. It's probably the performer perfectionist bitch in me speaking, but I hate doing a job half-assedly. I want to be good at the stuff I do and do it well.

I finally figured out how to put a background image into this thing. I rock.

16 August 2006

Spider girls

I went climbing today at Action Directe in Laval. Cool place with lots of walls, although the walls could have been a little higher. But I feel like I'm making progress. Feels great! The trails that I started out with a few weeks ago now seem easy to climb. 5.7 still holds a few challenges for me, but they're getting easier too. Mwuahahaha... Maybe it's time to attempt the shimmering and no longer as unattainable craggy peaks of 5.8 next time? By my blade, I shall make the effort!

Yeah. Right now it feels like the biggest thing missing in my climbing is sheer strength in my fingers. I'm simply not strong enough yet to be able to hold on to the smaller grips. But I'm not worried about it, I trust that problem will solve itself in time if I just keep at it.

Girls who climb are hot. Seriously. Apparently climbing gives you the Divine Body. Wow.

A random thought occurred to me in the car on the way home. This "true love" thing... People who believe in the concept of mr Right, "the one" or the perfect match, whatever you want to call it. If there is one, just one person that is perfect for me, how big is the chance that that person will happen to live in my area? Or even my country? It's ridiculously small!
What if the perfect girl for me lives in Sudan? Or on Iceland or in China? Wouldn't that suck quite a lot? I can't afford to fly over there and look. The population of the world is now roughly 6.6 billion people, about half of them women. That's 3.3 billion women! For the sake of argument, let's assume that the average age of the earth woman is 65 years. Let's also for the sake of argument assume that I was only interested in dating girls who are exactly 24 years old. 3.3 billion divided by 65 is almost 51 million people. Of course, out of these a bunch is going to be either fugly, gay, taken, dying, not interested or otherwise not available, but it still leaves freakin' millions of young women! Just getting to know all of them well enough to get the slightest clue about whether this might be the "real thing" would be completely implausable.
Miss perfect for me? Pretty busted theory, if you ask me. Just find a girl you really like who likes you back and work out the rest. No pain, no gain, as they say...

15 August 2006

I need a haircut

Ah, Monday. The bitch queen of the week, always there to greet you with a big grin full of sharpened teeth, week after week. Seriously, there should be a law against Mondays. I should be able to go from a nicely relaxed Sunday straight to Tuesday and skip the whole "Oh, crap... I need to get up and go to work again..." part. No matter how much I like my job, the getting up early in the morning thing always has and always will suck ass...

Work was incredibly low-key today. I did absolutely squat all day. Apparently the company that makes the game we're testing now hasn't quite figured out how the whole thing works, so they keep messing it up. Sending us versions that don't work, fixing bugs and causing others, sending us the wrong version, etc. So I didn't actually get to do anything at all today. I just waited for a version that never came. Oh, the joy... I tell you, though, these kind of days are absolutely great for my all-round education. I spend hours and hours looking random stuff up on wikipedia just because I have nothing better to do. If this keeps up, I'm going to be super-knowledgeable a year from now. I could go on Jeopardy and become a millionaire!

I put a grip on my new fire staff today. Now, if only I could find a drill to make holes in it with...

14 August 2006

Lazy sunday

I woke up this morning with a massive headache. Unable to fall asleep again, I got up and dug through every corner of my room trying to find some ibuprofen. I found one. Thank god. Only one left. Must buy more... I don't have headaches very often, but when I do, it sucks ass to be out of pills.

I checked my email and noticed that our internet connection was behaving strangely. Then it stopped working altogether. Crap. One of the guys I share this house with called Bell and found out that internet was down in all of Quebec and Ontario. Fuckin' Bell... I was hoping to see a friend online and talk to her today. She lives in Sweden, and with the time difference she usually goes to bed when I get home from work, so we don't get to talk that often. But no net - no dice.
So with no internet to entertain us, we all went to Montréal instead.
I found a nice anime poster for my room in Chinatown. I saw it there last time I was in town but I didn't have money to buy it then. A quick lunch at McDonalds showed me that their stuff sucks even more here than in Sweden. Bluargh... We're loving it! My ass...
After walking around some more I went to this really nice Tibetan restaurant for dinner later in the evening with my housemates. Never had Tibetan food before. Tasty!
We drove to the top of Mont Royal before going home. It's a beautiful view over Montréal from there. I bet it's a really popular make-out spot... I know if I had a girlfriend I'd take her there.

13 August 2006

Wtf...

I was on my way to work the other day when I started thinking... Where am I? What am I doing? What the hell am I doing here?

I spent 16 years playing the flute, only to have the joy of playing sucked out of me by the rigidity and stiffness of the people teaching me. I love music, and I love playing, but I just couldn't stand the tiny little in-bred world that my playing was boxing me into. Bach must be played like this, Mozart must be played like that... No, you can't do that because nobody else does that... Where is the creativity? Where is the joy? Bach wrote insanely good music! He wrote pieces that makes you want to dance around when you listen to them! But over and over again people seem to find some kind of self-sustaining purpose in framing themselves with unwritten rules and laws about how you MUST play the music, resulting only in the stagnation of the expression. We remember the great composers because they dared do something different, something that nobody could teach them, something that they were the first ones to do. But when playing their music? We are taught to be copies of the people before us, always playing it the same way... I was thoroughly sick of music after I graduated. I did not want to get a job in an orchestra and spend the rest of my life playing the music the way someone else told me to. Besides, with jobs as a musician being as scarce as they are, I probably wouldn't have gotten a job even had I tried.

I applied to a teaching program, thinking I could get a job teaching kids music. While waiting to hear from the college, I surfed around online, looking for a job. Any job I could find. I found an ad from a game testing company in Canada, looking for people with skills in Scandinavian languages. I speak finnish and swedish, so I figured I'd give it a shot. What did I have to lose? Less than four weeks later I was in Quebec, starting my first day at work.

It all happened so fast, I didn't really have any time to stop and think about it. It only hit me when I was sitting in a car on my way from the airport.

I'm in Canada. I left everything behind and moved to freakin' Canada. What the fuck am I doing here?

And the very same thought occurred to me on my way to work the other day. And my conclusion? I like my life right now. I'm in Canada. Things are weird and unfamiliar, I have barely touched my flute since I came here two months ago, and I go to work each day to proofread video games. But I like it. I don't know if this is the kind of work I want to be doing for the rest of my life, or even for more than a year or two, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now, this is a pretty nice spot to be in. Life is good.