It's OK, I'm a Chemist

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Some thoughts...

So I guess Rosa Parks, made famous by the Outkast song (and some act of civil disobedience) passed away today at the age of 92. To be completely honest, I've always held ambivalent feelings towards black history. It's not that I think that black people haven't contributed significantly to history but rather that the one month a year that we are taught black history is almost a cop-out. Why integrate black history in the regular curriculum when you can jam-pack it into four weeks. This does a disservice to the material because it creates the impression that it's not what was accomplished that is important but who accomplished it. Rosa Parks' story and all that she unintentionally stood for are important in and of themselves. Our Prime Minister Paul Martin hit it on the head when, discussing gay rights, he said that to deny human rights to one subsection of the population is to deny it to all.

On a different note, I've wondered lately what the consequences of the internet (specifically instant messaging) will have on the friendships of the generations who have grown up with it. You can't really lose touch with people anymore. Even from half a world away, they pop up in front of your face with a picture and a quirky little nickname: "Trixie - going fishing" or "Sebastien...when will it end???". You can catch little glimpses into the life of people with whom you've only ever shared email addresses. For better or for worse, it makes it more difficult to let people slide into the recesses of the mind. Old friends, co-workers, lovers, teammates and the memories these people evoke are constantly brought back to the forefront of our thoughts. Is this a good thing? Well I suppose it depends on the feelings that are associated with the friend but no longer can they be stored away in a shoebox to be opened on rainy Sunday afternoons only.

If anyone thinks the new rules established by the NHL are bad for the game is batshit insane. Being a native Montrealer, it is sacreligious for me to say this but I was never a huge hockey fan (in fact, I only ever really learned how to skate in CEGEP for a figure skating course - I also took a class in walking) but this year the games I have watched have made me a fan. It is a faster-paced game and no longer is a team holding a one-goal lead a lock for the win. If this is the new NHL, you can count me as a plus one in the fan department.

Like MastaCSG, I too will be having my 1000th visit to my blog since I've added the sitemeter. Unlike him though, I haven't had anyone referred to my site by googling how much their gun is worth. I do have a fan from the GTA who google searches "glen bremner" - it kind of creeps me out, to be honest. If I recognize the 1000th visitor, I'll make sure to send them a congratulatory email or something.

Wow, I feel like Rezaul.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sometime about a month ago I received an email from a friend, Raveen, informing everyone of an upcoming show by Jason Penalosa, a guy I went to Elementary and High School with. It was to be his first show as a solo performer and my friend was trying to get the venue jam-packed. Since I tend to be a reflective person (often to my detriment), this message got me thinking of days gone by.

Anyone who has been blessed to hear me croon (and of course make the ladies swoon) would no doubt suspect that I too used to have a burgeoning singing career. In fact, I had a solo performance during Good King Wenceslas for the Junior Choir Christmas Show at Jubilee Elementary. I tell you I was like Tom Jones up there with the ladies (or rather the 7 year old girls) tossing their undergarments, often soiled, in my direction. Now before the rush for autographs consumes the rest of my free time, you should be made aware that this show marked not only my debut but also a tearful farewell tour. And like Cher, it was a one-shot deal and I was never to be seen on the stage again.

Now what many do not know, and what is the essential story behind the story is that this shooting-star-like performance was the culmination of a dream hatched on the rough-and-ready playgrounds of Jubilee Elementary during Grade 2. Now to understand the story you need to understand the times. It was the late 1980s, the world around me was changing and I wasn't sure if I was ready for it. My peers were going from velcro shoes to laces, the multiplication table was becoming an ever-growing presence and my bountiful mop of hair was shaved down to a rugged buzz cut. In order to survive these winds of change, I forged a quick friendship with one Jason Penalosa. Together we would roam the playground, composing and singing songs and plotting our ascension to the top of the pop world as a duo. This in of itself would have revolutionized the pop world of the late 1980's dominated by the likes of New Kids on the Block and Boys II Men (groups which included more than two members). Side note: anyone know how many members of Boys II Men there were? Double points are awarded to anyone not named Chris Gregg who answers correctly. Our songs were epic, our dance moves crisp, our look daring. He was to be the playboy of the group and I would be the brooding passionate one. Alas, like too many of these stories end, our union was torn asunder by a woman. Nay, not a woman but a siren beckoning our friendship into the jagged rocks of pre-pubescent lust. That's right, I speak of Judy Brosseau. And like the roles we decided to play in our defunct pop group, Jason was indeed the playboy and I was left to brood and be passionate by my lonesome.

And so when I received that email from Raveen telling me of our mutual friend's upcoming show, I couldn't help but reflect upon those days and think how things might have been different. But you can't hold on to yesterday, and where I am right now is where I ought to be and where I want to be. So to you Jason Penalosa I say best of luck, congratulations on all your achievements, and when your throat feels a little parched or you're just not quite hitting the right notes, think of the playgrounds of Jubilee and sing one, damnit just one, note for the old days and for me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's rare for me to actually crave a beer but I was itching for one this past Friday. I decided then to take up an invitation to watch a friend's brother play bass in a band (Jolene and Sharlene Keets) at a bar called Stayner's Wharf. The crowd there skews a little older and I can't find my friends so I settle at the bar with a pint of Hoegaarden (probably the finest name of a beer this side of Sami Klause beer). A quarter of a pint later, my friend arrives with his girlfriend and her two other friends. As it turns out, all three girls are from the North Shore of Montreal. I must say, after spending half a year in Nova Scotia there is a lot to be said for the Quebecois accent, especially when you're drinking and understanding only half of what's being spoken to you.

A half-dozen pints and a concert after arriving, the four of us decide to take off to The Lower Deck. I'm normally not a fan of Lower Deck and its overpriced drinks but I felt like dancing and so did the girls so who was I to object? Five gin and tonics and 1573 dance steps later, it was time to go. I bid my companions farewell and godspeed upon their journey and I made my way back to the shire, or rather my bachelor apartment.

As I stumbled and bumbled my way down the block, I heard a voice in the distance: "Hey, why you walking so fast?". Indifferent to the person's call, I continued on my merry way. Again, the stranger called me: "Hey, why you walking so fast?". Using my drunken logic, it occured to me that this person must have some important information for me and surely wouldn't want to rob/rape/stab me, especially in a dark and deserted street like I found myself. As the female stranger approached me, it became clear that she had lived a full life(much in the same way as Keith Richards has).

"Got any money dear?"

"Oh I'm sorry ma'am, I spent it all at the bar."

"Why you walking so fast?"

"Well, I didn't think I was..."

"Listen you're cute so I'll cut you a deal. $20 and I'll..."

"Oh! No thank you."

"It's okay dahling, I've got condoms."

This continued for about two blocks as she tried to bargain with me into succumbing to her, umm, feminine wiles. She eventually left me - probably testing the saying that goes: "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it was yours all along". I guess it wasn't true love after all.