On Sunday afternoon, I loaded fresh batteries into my camera and headed down to the South End to take part in a rite that is a familiar one to many Haligonians: surveying the devastation caused by Hurricane Juan.
This is Carmen.
Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t love you; I love my car.
A couple Sundays ago I put a few bags of laundry in the car and got ready to drive to the laundromat. Instead I drove to my parents’ house in Saint John, NB. “Hi mom! Hi, dad!”
I hung out and did laundry all evening. I got up the next day and drove back. It was a 1000km laundry round-trip and Carmen purred the whole way.
The other day my baby was in the garage getting a flat repaired. I’d taken her to Scotia Tire at the corner of Almon and Robie.
When I went to pick her up, the guy at the counter looked around for the keys and couldn’t find them. He said, “She must still be in the garage.”
He went inside the garage to have a look, and came out and said, “He’s bringing her out now for you.” So I stepped outside to the parking lot and leaned against a big pile of brand-new tires.
Through the big plexiglass windows on the service bay doors I could see Carmen. I could also see the mechanic’s back and part of his arm as he stood beside the garage door.
I wondered in passing if the garage-door-opening mechanism were all automatic and electronic, or if it were some kind of old-fashioned chain-pulling deal.
The mechanic seemed to be having a little trouble getting the door to open. A second mechanic came over and stood and watched him for a while. The second mechanic said something to the first mechanic. Finally the first mechanic stepped aside to let the second mechanic have a try.
The second mechanic didn’t seem to have much luck either.
Through the plexiglass windows of the garage door, I watched as a third mechanic came over join the other two. He coughed and said something and wiggled his finger. All three men looked upwards at the same time.
The second mechanic stepped out of sight and reappeared a moment later dragging something. Whatever it was, he climbed up onto it and continued to mess around with the garage door mechanism.
The third mechanic stood behind him and spoke with his right arm up in the air. He didn’t seem to be physically helping. He just stood behind the other mechanic with his arm raised.
There was a lurch. The garage door lifted two centimetres off the ground, then stopped.
The third mechanic lowered his arm. This time all three men looked down.
I saw the first mechanic reach down and fiddle with something. He was rewarded with the sound of a chain running free. The garage door opened about halfway before stopping again.
The first mechanic looked back at my car, then looked at the second mechanic. They shrugged. The garage door was open higher than the height of my car. The mechanics dispersed.
The first mechanic got into the car and started it up. He eased out into the parking lot and pulled Carmen up in front of me.
Rolled down the window. “Is this your car?” he said “We cleaned her up and put a new valve stem onto her.”
The mechanic got out of the car and I got in and that was that.
My baby’s road-ready. I’m all about the roadtrips these days. I’m planning a little trip to Bedford on Wednesday to check out Select Sounds and The Chickenburger.
Select Sounds has a great selection indeed but the last time I was there the proprietor was playing Beatles out-takes and it nearly drove me nuts. I am not a Beatles fan. In any case I don’t know why anyone would want to hear seven consecutive versions of “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
I noticed one thing that John Lennon did consistently on every performance. He would always give a little lift to the last line of that dreary song: “Strawberry fee-eelds for-ev-er.” With each take I found myself anticipating this line with a mixture of dread and relief.
The Chickenburger: believe the hype.
I’ll tell you what I’m looking for right now. I’m currently classed as a Newly Licensed Driver so according to some obtuse Nova Scotia law I am forbidden from driving alone between the hours of midnight and 5AM.
This law bugs me. You’d think I be less likely to cause any trouble in the middle of the night when there’s no traffic around. I’m way less comfortable driving around Halifax at say, 5 in the afternoon on a given weekday.
When I get off work at 2 or 3 in the morning–that’s exactly when I get the urge to go for a nice drive to listen to my tape deck and unwind. Instead I have to be content to buzz around the streets on my bicycle. Alas, my bicycle does not have a tape deck.
So: what I’m looking for is a late-night driving buddy. Someone I can meet up with at 3AM and take on a little trip to Peggy’s Cove or wherever. You don’t have to do much. You don’t even have to be awake. You just have to sit in the front seat and be an Experienced Driver in the eyes of the provincial Law.
If you’re a night owl who’d like to get out of the house, look me up and we’ll cruise around listening to The Clash and The Dead Kennedys and a bunch of fifteen-year-old mix tapes I found in my parents’ basement.
I spent nine hours on the set today working on the ColourTV video.
Being an actor is strange. I was involved in drama all through high school, but as soon as I started playing in bands I realized, “Hey, I can be up here on stage and I don’t have to pretend to be someone else.”
Writing is similar in a way: I have the skills to write fiction but I don’t find it as satisfying. Why should I go through all the tedious trouble of making shit up? What’s in it for me.
There’s definitely a certain ego element I have to get over in order to be able to play a role. For the first shot of the day the director said, “You’re supposed to be all nervous and frantic.”
I said, “Nervous. How am I supposed to do that. I’m never nervous or frantic.” The first few takes were pretty stiff.
Then it occurred to me, if I supposedly don’t get nervous, then it doesn’t make sense to be nervous about acting nervous. Once I loosened up a little bit I was able to relax and start to enjoy the role.
I pretended I was Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, totally cheesy acting. “Oh my god. What is happening to me. I’m going to die. Whoa! I know Kung Fu!”
Then the director of photography said “show me” and we rolled it.
[I just forgot the webcam was on and stuck my hand down my pants to scratch my nuts. I just totally forgot the webcam was on and spent an hour reading MetaFilter.]
UPDATE: OK, that was a thrilling two hours of rock’n’roll and greasy Mexican food.
I imported all the tracks into iTunes, and now I’m gonna hit “Shuffle” and burn the CD with all the tracks in random order. It’s more fun that way.
Next time on Swordfight TV: kitchen hijinks with Chef Scoopy.
Hi, here I am chilling on my bed and working on a mix CD. Click to watch the action…
Let’s do this thing where we pretend that everything is normal.