Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Possible Permanent Popcornization of the Pad

Movie night at Chez Rue Boucher. I had somehow grown weary of the Three-Channel TV©, and had ventured out to Le BlockBuster for a thin round, shiny disc that would display sound and images when inserted into the side slot of the same machine in which I create these entries for you, dear reader.

And since the dynamic of any character arc requires popcorn, I had also made provisions for that, too.

Here is the thing with popcorn: Some microwave ovens have a "popcorn" button. It regulates the time needed for perfect popcorn. At Chez Rue Boucher there is no such button.

Quick. Close your eyes and try to guess what happened. Visualize....visualize.......visualize...

Only seconds past Too Late, the virulent smell of burnt popcorn gack filled the kitchen like poison ink. Toxic, white-hot chemical butter burst out of the blackened paper bag and sprayed the interior of the microwave like a broken garden sprinkler.

The fumes quickly permeated the wood of the kitchen—the counters, the doors, the ceiling. The window glass smelled like popcorn. Everything was Redenbacher from sea to shining sea.

Less than a minute had passed since ignition, but it was already later than it had ever been. Birds flying overhead dropped like dumbbells out of the sky, stunned and never knowing what had hit them. Cargo ships passing on the St. Lawrence River miles to the southeast were already altering their courses.

Its been three days. Can you guess what the apartment smells like today? Visualize....visualize.......visualize...

Look, we know Saddam Hussein had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. But did anyone think to check his cupboards for microwave popcorn?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Le Abode Nouveau, Part Trois

I meant to write this last week...

I had been thinking that my days in Montreal would be spent in my wiggity, run-down place on Rue Boucher with the fabulous 2007 Three-Channel TV® and the exclusive No-Spatula kitchen©, featuring the Non-Drain Drain© (now, because of Dollar Parity, available in the US).

So I posted that ad on Craigslist, right? The one the landlady saw. and since then, I got a handful of offers. Some just as wack as this place, and some, well, not everyone reads so good, if you know what I mean. One offer was $1500. (Mon dieu!), and another was a houseboat. Do I look like a houseboat guy?

One pattern that emerged was that I would go looking at a place, and I would see an apartment, and think, well, this is not so bad, and realize it was the wrong number. I would find the proper number, and there would be some dismal office/crash pad being paraded as a "renovated loft"!

I was ready to take this place in Outremont ("ooh-trey-mont"), described as a "contemporary second-floor furnished one-bedroom condo." Im sure it was. I never went in. When I finally walked up on it, guess what was on the first floor? A check cashing store and a 99 cent store. SO not going to happen.

And then I found St. Louis Square. Just about a mile and a half towards Downtown (I'm barely learning directions, since the city is tilted, compass-wise.) Just two blocks in from St Denis and a world away from Rue Boucher, a row of 1870-era homes sit surrounding a park with a beautiful fountain.

And once again, I am at the wrong address. Im looking for ---A. I'm stopped in front of ---, and I'm thinking, Hey, this is nice. High ceilings, hardwood floors, tall windows. Realizing I am on the wrong side, I walk across the park to ---A. Louis, the property manager, is standing in the doorway, inviting me in.

OK, this is the place. A remodeled foyer opens in to a grand living room facing the park. There is also a large dining room table, that can double as a desk (a problem at Chez Boucher). Peter, the owner, is an architect, which explains the amount of remodeling and attention to detail.

Built, as I mentioned, around 1870, the building itself was originally a birthing hospital, before being divided into apartments. I would say something at this point about new lives beginning here and all that pure fresh hope for a unmarred future, but that would be kinda obvious. I mean, wouldn't it?

There is a full size murphy bed, two (!) bedrooms, a hallway, and remodeled bathroom. There is something called an open induction oven in the remodeled kitchen, TV, DVD player, full cable and Internet service. All of which leads to the obvious: How can I ever leave?

I'll think of something.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Et Ainsi il Va (And So it Goes)

This is how life should be, sort of:

At 8:26 p.m. on Saturday night, I was dawdling, tying my shoes, looking for my keys. By 8:31, I was ready to "lock up the house, turn out the lights, and step out into the night..." (Sorry, Bruce, it fit.). At 8:45, I was stepping down the stairs to the Cote de Ver train at the Mont Royal station. (No ticket booth at the Laurier station, and I didnt have a ticket,so...).

As I stepped up to the platform, the train arrived. Next stop--Berri-Uqam station, for a transfer to the Arnignon Green Line.

As I stepped up to the platform at Berri-Uquam, the train arrived.

As I emerged from the station and on to the street at St. Laurent, I looked to my left. There was the marquee for Club Soda.

No line outside. Everyone is in already. It's 9:02 p.m. I got a drink at the bar, and found a seat in the balcony stage left. I could literally see down the artists' nose. (How close was I? I took that picture up there from my seat.)

I reached for my notebook, and the lights dimmed. Opening act Teddy Thompson quietly walked on to the stage. A lanky, unassuming sort, he has a voice like Chris Isaak meets the Maverick's Raul Malo, a bit like strong coffee with just enough milk.

One guy, one guitar, a pocketful of modern cowboy country songs. A lot of them, too many of them, in fact, had that slow, loping, Bakersfield-type country shuffle, but Thompson, was assured and confident, and he delivered with style. He closed with George Jones' "She Thinks I Still Care," done sober, for perhaps one of the few times.

http://www.myspace.com/teddythompsonmusic. You decide.

Speaking of one guy, one guitar, and a pocketful of songs, the ever dapper and stylish Nick Lowe then also strolled out unassumedly, but with a roar from the loyal and endearing crowd, no members of which, and I mean, no members, were under 40. They were teens and slashed-shirt 20 year-olds then, when Nick and his early bands were filling pubs. Nick is 56 now, with a new child, and lots of grown-up albums.

After an awkward French salutation, Lowe simply settled into a comfortable row of songs, both from his new effort, "At My Age," and his vast catalogue. Nick's always been a quiet touchstone of mine over the years, and not just because we both have that same excellent hair thing going on. His cheeky 1978 elpee, "Pure Pop for Now People," was filled with wit and irony as well as great straight-on rock and roll. Years and years and years went on, and I kept waiting for him to write "And So it Goes" again. But there he was, writing these smooth Ray Charles with a Guitar Songs, and they kept gettting smoother as time went on.

OK, people get older and better at what they do. Im learning that.

He snuck "Cruel to be Kind" in there amidst the new stuff--no buildup, no icky "Thanks for making this my biggest hit ever" noise. Just kinda snuck it in as the applause was waning from his previous tune. He did the same with a slowed-down version of "Whats so Funny (About Peace, Love and Understanding)?" As cool as you wanna be, thankyouverymuch.

There were two encores, he didn't do "And So It Goes," and the Montmorency train arrived in just minutes.

Sometimes life is like that.