Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Friend

My good friend John Breese wrote this and I would not be the person I am today without being exposed the tyrranical sarcastic tonugue lashings that only he can deliver.

"For any tourist who’s never been outside of suburban Ohio I can assure you that Quebec will certainly serve you up some mild culture shock. Of course this intro to Canada’s French speaking province isn’t looking to keep overweight-soccer moms who fantasize about appearing in Desperate Housewives informed. Nope. This introduction is for people who want to experience French fries lathered in gravy and curd cheese. This is introduction is for people who want to drink until six in the morning then cross the street and have their breakfast served to them by topless waitresses. This quick guide to finding fun in Montreal also serves as a means of staying sane. Everything good thing has a downside and we will elaborate on that a few words down. First of all we’ll start by stating that Quebec is the closest thing North America has to a European essence. Though the legal drinking age here is 18 (already three years better than anywhere in the U.S.) the defacto age is more or less 15. That’s right, unless you look extremely young, getting carded in this province is rare. This explains why when young Americans come to Montreal they can barely remember their experiences. This is the very basis of Quebec’s M.O.—live and be merry. I’m pretty surprised that Quebec license plates don’t read “We work to live, not live to work!” This pretty much summarises the poor quality of customer service you will experience when you get here. And here’s a kicker for you--no matter how bad the service gets, you are expected to leave a tip. Many waitresses will actually run up to you as you’re heading out the door and tell you in broken English: “You know, the price isn’t included in the tip.” If you choose to respond to this by telling her to fuck off, just be sure not to return as she will certainly spit in your drink on your next visit. The work ethic in Quebec is the cause of some pretty ass backwards views on quality. The unions here are so powerful that public workers can whine all they want that they don’t get paid enough for their work while continuing to get paid for not working. Right this minute city workers are staging yet another strike. Meanwhile, sidewalks are left un-cleared in the winter and any downed power lines stay down. On the public transit front, bus drivers will stop their ride mid-route to go to the store and get a bag of chips and lottery tickets. Of course to take them to task for this would be to impose ‘…a stressful work atmosphere…’ All this to say if you come to Quebec, pack yourself some extra time and patience. Chances are if you don’t live here certain little everyday bugs won’t get to you. But if you’re the type that gets agitated by retarded illogical behaviour here is a short list by which to gauge your threshold:
1. The Quebecois are the only people in Canada who have yet to learn the unspoken rule of standing to the right of an escalator when not walking up. Sometimes there’ll be only one person impeding your path and when you reach them they don’t get the hint to move. They just stand there doe-eyed, completely confused as to what to do next.
2. Montreal subway riders will rarely allow people out of a subway car before trying to charge in. Once those doors open, don’t be surprised to be met with a tidal wave of flesh.
3. Openly sneezing and coughing in public. The Quebecois certainly need to read more Stephen King novels. Only then will they see just how potentially harmful and just plain disgusting it is when they openly sneeze or cough in public. It is just that much worse when you’re packed in a subway car and someone lets out one of those sickly phlegmish coughs. When I was in Paris I noticed that it was just like that there too. So maybe it’s just me then and I’m the one who has to adapt to the French custom of spraying snot everywhere I fucking go.
4. No thank you. No where have I been where when you hold a door open for someone that they don’t thank you for it. Of course their lack of manners backfires when there are two doors to go through as there is always a second one to throw in their face if you’re not thanked for your courtesy.
5. Driving. North America has it’s redneck driver capital right here in Quebec. Cruising through the streets, completely oblivious to pedestrians is a disturbing norm here. You know those crosswalks with white lines painted on the pavement that drivers are supposed to stop for you at? Here in Quebec they actually speed up to see how fast they can get you to jump back for the curb. It’s gotten to the point where a special ‘traffic task force’ been implemented to tackle the province’s bad reputation. So there is your guide to basic points of social contention. Next time around will be a lot more fun, because we’ll be telling you all about the food, beer and sex that make La Belle Province what it is."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sebine enters our world

Baby Sebine Cecile was born July 24th and weighs 8 lbs. Claudette had to have cecerian sectionunfortunately, as the baby wasn't moving into position. Mom and daughter aredoing well. She's apparently quite beautiful, with black hair and a full mouth, and quite the screamer, I hear.

I can't wait to see her.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Things I've seen

Where I've been around, all the sights and sounds, darkness and light, tranquilty and fights make me who I be.
Experience sheds light on what I see.
Now this life knowledge can be passed down
cuz my daughter will never look at me
like I'm some sort of fuckin clown.
All the things I've seen are for you,
my daugter Sabine.