Monday, June 30


You think I've been slack blogging? I just worked out I hadn't uploaded the pics from my real camera (not the phone) for a month! Pretty much since I got my new phone, actually. Hmm. I wonder if they are connected...
Anyway, I'm working on it now. Bit by bit. Yesterday I uploaded some lovely pics of Montreal from the top of the Olympic Tower, and then I'm just uploading all the pics of the Roller Derby now. Still to come: my going away party (including some pretty mean air-melodica playing) and then Transfabulous in London.
Pics of hitching through Wales, then Paris and Berlin will have to wait until I am reunited with my own computer and can get them off my camera! Which will be soon, thankfully, as I'm fast running out of free memory space on it!

Friday, June 27

Tonight's dinner- roasted summer vegetables with garlic and balsamic vinegar and italian salad, served on a rooftop terrasse at nathaniel's place. Mmm.

Thursday, June 26

i'm a bad budget traveller

I'm a bad budget traveller. After only 3 hours at frankfurt train station, discovering the one daily bus takes 8 hours, and ringing every number on the rideshare list (and germany basically invented rideshare, so there were a few) i gave in and decided to throw money at the problem. I get on a train in 10mins, and will be in berlin in 4hrs. I know i should hitch or something, but it's only money, and i do like deutsche bahn. I'm just glad i have the resources to splurge like this on occasion, even if it does feel like i'm throwing my principles away for the sake of convenience!

leaving paris

So after my wonderfully relaxing week in paris, i manage to leave in typical disorganised style. Having exhausted rideshare opportunities and decided i wasn't happy doing what would probably end up being 2 days of hitching on my own, i succumbed and decided to take the bus. I carefully checked the website, and turned up at the bus station nice and early to buy a ticket. And found i had misread the time by two hours. That was 19.30, not 9.30. Brilliant. But, as luck would have it there was a bus to frankfurt leaving in less than two minutes, and, once the ticket guy had asked them to wait for me, i was able to buy a ticket and jump on a bus. Which is where i now am. I think that when i arrive at frankfurt, at 6am or so, i will either find another bus, or some internet to arrange an instant rideshare, or a highway to stand on. After all, i'll be practically in berlin, right? and should have no problem getting a ride...?

Wednesday, June 25

a week in paris

I've had such a relaxing week in paris. I've hung out with Nathaniel and Sean, avoided doing almost anything touristy, and spent some quality time alone with a net connection, which allowed me to catch up on email and organising for the summer school i have to run from next week...
I feel a lot better than i did before. I think i've been really tense for weeks now. I still have no idea what i'm doing with my life after summer, but at least i seem to have regained some sort of equilibrium, and am more willing to accept whatever happens. And, of course, much as i love my Montreal friends, hanging out with two people who have known me forever (give or take a bit) is a fantastic salve for a stressed-out soul. Of course it would be even better if they didn't burst into peals of laughter everytime i uttered a sentence in french. It does seem that, as i feared, my french accen t has developed a few quebecois features. It's precisely what i expected, of course. But it makes conversation difficult.
On to berlin next, which will be odd, as the last time i was there was when i was living there in 2005, but i'm definitely looking forward to it!

A vision from 1934

Sunday, June 22

collect the set

i'm currently in the pompidou centre in Paris, which, i've just worked out, continues my collection of the world's greatest modern art galleries this year. In the last year i've been to the tate in london, the moma in new york and san fran, and the Guggenheim in new york.
Pics already on flickr! Now i have to see the rest of the centre...

Tuesday, June 17

travel blog

so while i'm limited to net access on my phone, clois will be short and sweet. I am, however, uploading pics whenever i can on flickr, so keep an eye on the feed to the left here!
I'm currently sitting in intermittent sun in betws y coed, having had 2 long sides from brecon, just finished lunch and ice cream and are about to hike along a trail in snowdonia national park to find the highway again.
Caernarfon tonight!

Monday, June 16

In Wales

So you'll just have to wait for all the promised catch up later. Too busy travelling now. And not getting enough net access.

I successfully left Montreal, though my memories of doing so are all a bit hazy...

Landed in London, seriously short of sleep, and got thoroughly pissed off my the transport system within the first half hour (as per usual). Stayed with the wonderful Carollyn and Baska, who were fantastic as usual, and the 4 of us (Telyn, Carollyn, Baska and I) spent the weekend mostly at the wonderful Transfabulous festival, the highlight of which (for me at least) was the borderfuckers cabaret by the people from Belgrade pride. Maybe I'll actually manage to go there this year.

Left london this morning, literally at a run (I really, *really* hate london transport, and the tube). Miraculously managed to catch our bus, though we got thoroughly yelled at by the bus conductor for being two minutes late.

Got off in cardiff, had lunch under the castle walls, and then managed to hitch as far as brecon, via castle coch.

Tomorrow, we might make it to snowdonia!

Monday, June 9

Anyone want to buy a guitar?

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
Half size 'toy', going cheap... Only missing one string...

I took this photo for the ad on craigslist, but I think it turned out rather scenic, so I thought I'd post it here, too.

Saturday, June 7

Catch-up Marathon Part II

More from the last week...
Last Wednesday I climbed the Olympic tower with Emma. Well, hardly climbed. Went up in the wonderfully 70s futuristic elevator (you don't have a choice). It was nice to see Montreal from a different angle. And I could see several of my houses from there - or at least the streets they were on! Afterwards Em and I dropped in to say hi at the Rhizome, which is nearby, but decided to not stay long, and came home and cooked dinner and had a night in instead.

Thursday morning, after a pleasant brunch (I love doing brunch!) I waved Emma off, as she was heading to Mont Tremblant for a few days, then in the evening I went to see a klezmer band that consists of 3 people, two of whom I know, though I didn't realise *they* knew each other (Montreal is so like that) and the third reminded me so much of Kate (but I don't mean the psycho bits). It was a bit weird. Turns out cultural heritage really means something. Oi.

Vivent les VĂ©lorutionnaires
Friday I worked *alll* day (it's hard when you're used to part time!) and then joined other cyclists for Critical Mass, the monthly reclaim-the-streets-for-cyclists ride around the city. I didn't have a bike until this month (thanks Emily!), so this is the first one I've managed to go to in Montreal (though I also got to do one in Vancouver last September). There are photos and little videos to give you the feel of it here, along with a few from Vancouver, just for good measure. The Vancouver one in September was considerably bigger, but it was later in the season, and the one immediately after bike month, which is always the biggest of the year, I think. Here in Montreal, this is only the second month I've heard people getting excited about it. I'm told Critical Mass happens all through winter here, but it's a much smaller, more dedicated group of cyclists willing to do the dark, snowy winter rides! Still, plenty of people at this one, though - certainly more than enough to stop traffic!

Talent Share
After Critical Mass, (and a brief stop at at a pub for a beer with some choir people I knew would be there, and then home for a shower and food) I headed to my friend Aaron's for Le Salon, a bring-your-own-talent night. It was a great idea, and one I think I will have to emulate sometime int he future, although I'm not sure how well it would work in any other city. This city is just so full of talented people!
We heard lots of music, of course, including the "Farewell to Nova Scotia" I had in my head all last week, and which started a whole string of folk songs from around the world. And three of the "Men of Maha" and Julie our lovely guitarist did I'm Your Man again, of course. And a lovely couple whose names I completely missed did a few beatbox & vocals duets of children's songs one of them had written, which was sweet. There was also some poetry - Poe's El Dorado, and then I recited Hilaire Belloc's Tarantella, which I hadn't done in years, and which has such a great beat to it that we decided to try it again with the beatboxing, which actually sort of worked!
And then, one of the most-appreciated talents: Aaron made the most amazing *vegan* chocolate cheese cake. That is a talent I intend to acquire!

More to come soon, including: The Roller Derby, Fringe For All, more marching band stuff...

For some reason this pleases me

Even though it only got me a measly 13 points, putting down the word "bassoon" was somehow satisfying. And I'm winning anyway, so I don't need the points...

Thursday, June 5


I read Engrish every day, and don't usually feel the need to blog about it. But today's is just brilliant.
Glad we got that all cleared up then.

Wednesday, June 4

Catch-up Marathon Part I

There are two reasons for lack of activity on my blog - either excess of activity in my life, or lack of activity in my brain.
The last few weeks have mostly been the former, although the few times that I probably would have had time to blog, I think I was suffering the latter.
Here's a quick run down of a couple of things I did last week. Not everything, but hopefully this post will have a part II to get through the rest of the week.

1. Work (the boring one first) - it's been crazy, but the office is now moved, we've escaped from the Greek Mafia and have possibly probably found a replacement for me (just as well as I leave here next Wednesday, and have no intention of working after Friday!)

2. Meow Mix. I know I blogged about this already, but I've put up a heap more little videos of the other acts from the night on flickr. Click on the photo here to see the names of the acts we were on with. It was a most entertaining set of acts! My videos are not the full acts, just little snippets of them, flickr style. Including my favourite from Big Moves, which I like so much I think I will post part of it here.

I'm always impressed when people actually sing. And I can't believe that I leave here the day before their show in the Montreal Fringe Festival opens - it's called "Lard" because it's like grease, but thicker...

3. On Monday Emma showed up all of a sudden, so I got to play tourist for a few days! It was good - I managed to see the Basilica and climb the Olympic tower and go up the mountain again, so I sort of feel I have done the vital tourist things in Montreal.

4. Last Tuesday the wonderful Elvi (Hi Elvi!) threw me and Aideen (who is also leaving) a Choeur Maha going away party. We made use of the huge pile of sweaters she provided and braved the freezing weather (it got to 4 degrees that night - ridiculous! This is supposed to be *summer*!) to sit in her beautiful backyard, over in NDG, a part of town I hadn't been to before (another thing ticked of the 'must do before I leave' list!). To get there Emma and I caught a metro across town and then a bus even further west. On the bus I had this weird experience where I looked around and no one I could see looked french. And I couldn't hear any french being spoken. And all the books I could see were in English. It was like being in another city or country or something. But then I looked out the window and was reassured by all the french signage. Thank goodness for Quebec language laws!

Anyway, the party was great, the food was good, it was nice to see all the Maha people again. And I got to play Guitar Hero, which very kindly informed me at the end of my song "You Rock!". I was most chuffed. I also got wonderful presents! A luggage tag! A real one, made of plastic, and not the cardboard freebies I have to replace all the time! And it has the Quebec flag on it! And I got pencils patterned with the fleur de lis (they only write in french...) and the most wonderful maple butter, and some tissues with the Canadiens logo (it's a hockey thing). AND, Elvi (having obviously had far too much free time in the last few months) had read enough of my blog to notice my Engrish fetish, and, remembering this photo, presented me with two cans of coffee:
The only thing we failed to do was sing! A whole bunch of women from choir, and we failed to sing. Well, except for Auld Lang Syne, which shouldn't count.

And just because it's been stuck in my head all week (thanks to Rosemary and Mel), here's a version of "Farewell to Nova Scotia" I rather like. Very Living End, really. And more interesting than the traditional version.