Monday, July 22, 2002

On Saturday two of my housemates, my girlfriend, and I went to watch the Just for Laughs show "Simpsons : In the Flesh" at the Place Des Arts theatre in Montreal! I have only been to Montr�al twice before this, and this is the second time I have been there in the summer (the last time I went was a few days before Christmas). Montr�al is always a fun city to visit - reminds me of being in Toronto, has the perks of HK (where 11pm is considered early), and it is definitely a 'beautiful' city. :) Every time I go back there, I always discover something a little bit different about the city. I suppose doing a work term in Montr�al wouldn't be such a bad idea afterall - I do want to travel and experience life from a different point of view.

We left Ottawa at around noon, and through the endless driving through the farms and forests, we arrived in Montr�al at 2pm. We had a bit of a detour due to the fact we did not have a map of Montr�al on hand, but we did eventually arrive at Place Des Arts about half an hour later. Since the show is at 4pm, we went to grab a bite to eat at the nearby mall. (Adrian, Tania, and Andrew would know exactly which mall I am talking about) Finally, more poutine for me! I have been dying for the authetic poutine and I couldn't believe how much better it tastes after anticipating it for so long! Mmm.. have to go back to Montr�al for more later this summer!

Now on with the show. The show is basically all the voice artists behind the Simpsons going on stage and reading through an entire script. Sounds boring? See the show before you judge it! If you know anything about the Simpsons, you should know that each voice artist does voices for multiple characters. Sometimes they even have arguments with 'themselves'! The show started with some of the funniest clips from the Simpsons past, including the one where Homer got high on drugs and he sees rainbows everywhere. After which all the voice artists started reading the script - and let me tell you, it's surreal to see the voices behind the characters. I don't think I can watch the Simpsons the same ever again! Everytime I watch the show, I'll see these people reading the scripts out loud. I don't know whether it ruins my experience of watching the show, or will it enhance it by gaining a deeper understanding of the show itself. It is not JUST a cartoon - it's thoughtful, witty, often addresses current issues in our society (and poke fun at it).

The best part of the entire show was at the end where audiences were given the chance to ask questions. People asked the artists to say certain lines in certain character's voice (the funniest one was when Homer said "Mmmmm.. Canadian beer.."). Other people asked questions such as why there is so much hatred towards monkeys and robots, when will the show end (which Matt Groening promptly answered "When people stop watching"), why they got rid of Maude, etc. The show lasted 1 hour 40 minutes or so.

After the show we walked around Montr�al a bit, had dinner, then went bar-hopping and clubbing. :) Hahaha.. we didn't get home until 3am!

Friday, July 19, 2002

So I wanted to talk about the Ottawa Fringe Festival that I attended couple of weeks ago. It is an urban theatre festival, featuring over 100 different theatre companies performing numerous shows over a week-long festival, it is truly a celebration of the arts. The shows are usually one act (about an hour long), and the topic is wildly varies. Ottawa is only one of the many fringe festivals around the country (and the world!). They have these festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, even as far as Hong Kong!

For those who don't know, I'm a really big theatre-person. Although sometimes I don't have enough time (and $$$) to see all the shows I want, I catch them whenever I could. I'm going to do a little review section here of all the plays I have seen. I am not a critic, nor am I going to pretend to be one. Just trying to give some personal opinions on some of the shows I have seen, so perhaps if you see them on the road, you can catch one of these shows also!

Adonis for Sale
This show is about three infertile couples trying to bid for sperm online. Yes the idea might sound a little alternative, but it is definitely a refreshing idea. The three couples, all have their own individual problems, but linked by the fact that they put their hopes in bidding on the sperm that will allow them to have children.

Breakdancing has been almost branded a male-dominant event. Not anymore. Not after watching a bunch of girls showing me how it's done properly. It was artistic.. and they definitely showed that girls can do pretty much anything if they want to!


The Love Talker

... and what she found there

JOB - the Hip Hop Musical

Canadian Toast

The Canada Show
I learned so much more about Canada that I didn't use to know before watching the show!

The Condom, the Cucumber, and the Girl from Ipanema
By far the FUNNIEST show I have ever seen.

The Right Side of Left

Cobra : The Musical
Does anybody remember the Cobra? From G.I. Joe? Yeah, that annoying guy with the annoying voice is back. Terrible isn't it? They made a musical, and made fun of Hamlet, and all sorts of funny things happened. It's kinda hard to tell you what happened because quite frankly, I don't remember either. :)

News of the Day
Interesting thoughtful piece.

Note: I got too lazy to type them all up. If I ever get a chance to finish reviewing them, I'll tell you all. For now, well, at least you know which shows I saw. :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

For a friend.. hope you're feeling better. Wish I could be there for you right now..

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Friday, July 12, 2002

Just a quick happy birthday to Chris :)

Been busy with work. Gotta go. Maybe I'll write something later.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Take a look at this :

Until He Decides...

I don't think there is anything particularly WRONG with it. Sure, it is outside of everyday accpted behaviour in society, but that doesn't make it wrong.

In my opinion, I think that because she's a single mom, she needs to continue keeping the emotional bond with her son as part of her life. Even though she keeps insisting that her kid can wean himself according to his own schedule, I'm sure she puts pressure on her son to not stop because she wants to satisfy her needs. Not necessarily sexual needs (although I am doubtful of that, I will give her the benefit of the doubt), but the need for closeness and belongingness.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

This weekend kicked off the annual Bluesfest held right here in Ottawa. It is a weeklong festival that features live music on three different stages throughout the day. Some famous artists that are playing at the festival include The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Melissa Etheridge, Jann Arden, and Lauryn Hill! I have decided to volunteer for the event, because I really enjoy doing community work - not to mention I get to listen to them for free! (Plus there is that SLIGHT chance I get to meet the artists)

Yesterday was my first shift, and possibly my longest one. I took a double-shift from 3pm to 11pm, and let me tell you, it's not as easy as it seems. First of all, I was placed in Security, so I stood outside in the blazing sun for hours. There's no where for me to sit either. Anyhow, to make matters worse, I was placed ALONE at the concession vehicle entrance - meaning I had nobody else to talk to. Just great.

The festival is held in the middle of the city at Confederation Park. For some reason they also closed off the Laurier Bridge that crosses the Rideau Canal. The entrance I was manning was one of the entranceways to Laurier Bridge, which local residents have gotten used to travelling on. Well during the festival, the bridge is closed to the public. As you can imagine, that really frustrated a lot of people, especially the ones living around the neighbourhood. Not only do they HAVE to listen to the music (or noise, as somebody kindly pointed out to me yesterday), but also they are inconvenienced by the closure of the bridge.

Many people have expressed their 'anger' at me when I kindly inform them that the bridge is closed, and that they would have to walk TWO MINUTES to the next bridge and cross there. Now I totally understand the amount of patience one must have to be in the post of security. I was spitted on (well, they didn't hit me, but it was awfully close), cursed at, yelled at, you name it. Two guys walked past me yesterday, even after I told them that it is closed. They turned around, and said, "You can either watch me or call the cops." I didn't want to cause too much trouble, so I just let them through the bridge - while I called for backup. They were eventually stopped at the other end of the bridge and were sent back to my entrance.

One event really jumped out at me though, and I thought I'd share this with you. Now all of you should know that I'm a Canadian (and damn proud of that too), but I really have nothing against Americans. Sure sometimes I laugh at jokes at the expense of Americans, but that is about the same as Americans laughing at us for living in igloos all year, and have dogs pull our sled to work! Be assured that there were no hard feelings, and I do not generalize Americans to be all the same.

Anyway, this man was walking by the entrance. He seemed angry, and he was staring at me. Before I could ask him if he needed any help, he lashed out at me, screaming, "Canada's capital is closed! CLOSED DOWN!" I was stunned - alright, so the festival closed down a couple of streets, big deal. I could tell from his accent that he's definitely not from around here. After he said that, he gave me the finger. Now I was getting really angry, but since I was representing Bluesfest when I'm on duty, I refrained myself from saying anything. He kept walking, but still staring at me. He screamed again, "I'm from America! Fuck you Canada!! Canada can fucking kiss my fucking ass! You guys are all assholes! Here's something for you!" and he stuck up his middle finger at me again.

At this point, I was about the jump the fence and beat the guy senseless. I am no activist of the Canadian-pride movement, but I do not like my country being trashed as such. However, this is also the time for me to exercise constraint on my temper. "Let it go," I told myself. So he just stormed past the entrance and I just stood there watching him. After he left, I was proud of myself for not being short-tempered at a situation like this. At the same time, hurt and anger overfilled my emotions. I thought to myself, "How ignorant.. " Later on I found out that he also harassed many other volunteers. He certainly left a negative impression of our neighbouring country at the festival.

I still have a couple more shifts to go this week; hopefully they will go without a hitch or dramatic incidents like this one!

Monday, July 08, 2002

Alright, so now I finally have some time to post everything that I wanted to post. Here it is, the complete account of the Canada Day weekend! :)

June 27
Picked up my girlfriend at the bus station after work. Got home and realized that my house was flooded, and the basement had about 3-4 inches of water due to the backflow of the sewage. Sorta disgusting if you ask me. Anyway, the guy who lives in the basement had to move up and live in the living room for now (and he's still there while the basement is being repaired). Since my girlfriend had work to do, I went out with another housemate to watch a play at the Fringe festival (more on that later), but got stuck in traffic and missed the show. We went drinking instead. It was all good. :)

June 28
Ugh, one more day of work until the long weekend. As soon as work was over, Evelyn and I went to see several shows at the Fringe Festival. That pretty much ended the night since the last show ended around 12:30am..

June 29 & June 30
The whole weekend was filled with Fringe shows, shopping at the Rideau Centre, walking around the Byward Market, and more shopping. Some Fringe shows were interesting, others were.. uhh.. a bit too alternative for me. Anyway, it was a good run for the week. I ended seeing about 11 or 12 shows throughout the week. More reviews will follow later.

July 1
FINALLY! The day I have been waiting for - Canada Day. Normally it would be a regular day off, where I go out and maybe chill with my friends. This year is different. I'm at the capital city of Canada, and I have heard that Ottawa has the wildest parties for Canada Day. They are right. A whole bunch of us went down to the Parliament Hill at around 11am, and it was already packed with thousands of people on the streets and on the hill. They blocked off all the streets near the downtown area, and it was still tightly packed. We watched as the Governor General and the Prime Minister walked down the Confederation Parkway, and listened to several artists from different decades performing (of course they are all Canadian). It got too hot (remember the heat wave?), so we decided to cool off a bit at a friend's place.

After mingling and chatting for the afternoon, we headed out to the park for the fireworks. Originally we were going to watch the fireworks on the bridge, but they closed it off for security reasons (also I don't think the bridge can support everybody that is to be packed on it). It was amazing - I have never seen fireworks so close before. Especially the finale when they had fireworks blasting from all different angles. The feeling was particularly strong - almost as if I felt a bit of patriotism in me.

As we were walking through the Byward Market to head home, I saw this truck pull up to a side street and had a full-fledge sound system in the back. They turned on the music, and had an outdoor dance floor. Too bad I was simply exhausted, not to mention that I have work the next day, otherwise I would join in and dance through the night.

The entire day was filled with people with really high spirits - something I haven't seen in a while. Several times I have heard people start singing the national anthem, and the crowd joins in afterwards. Now I realize that Canadians have pride too - pride in our own country, pride in the cultural diversity that we embed ourselves in. Many people, different races, join in celebrating the 135th birthday of Canada, in harmony. Something that cannot be said about a lot of countries in the world.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

First of all, happy birthday Adrian! I have been away from the computer for a couple of days, but I haven't forgotten yet buddy! Hahaha.. figured that you must be having too much fun during the weekend, that you don't pick up my calls when I call you. :P

Anyway, more on the weekend later. Plus some updates, reviews, yadda yadda yadda.. :)