Sunday, November 25, 2007

Everybody Has Aids

Well, since over the weekend two people mentioned to me that thay still read my blog it has inspired me to write a few (hopefully not too long) posts.

First I'd like to start with what I did LAST Saturday. My brother convinced me to go see this band called Me, Mom and Morgentaler. The story goes that in the late 80's at a Marianopolis College variety show, a bunch of people got together (about 10) and formed a band. The name Morgentaler is reference to Dr. Henry Morgentaler a controversial abortionist from the 1970's.

The band made one record - Shiva Space Machine. They put on many amazing shows (as quoted from my brother) but never made it big and eventually broke up in 1994. In 1999 they reunited for a show and that was the end of them.

Now, 20 years after the release of their only album, they decided to reunite for the last time and re-release their album. Originally, they had 2 show dates but it sold out so quickly they put on 2 more. I saw them on their third night.

I only had listened to a few songs earlier in the week and hardly had time to really get into them, but let me tell you, that concert ROCKED!! (unlike another concert I recently went to...)
These guys are all pushing 40 but had SO MUCH energy on stage. They all came out wearing white uniforms of all kinds (chef, tennis player, suits, etc.) and PIG MASKS. After the first song, the masks came off, but the expressions on their faces showed they were really having a good time.

Their music was very ska/punk-ish and a Mosh pit formed, which Lorne and I joined in by the end of the show. Lorne couldn't believe the number of young people who were there. He thought was pushing it, but there were 18 year olds floating about.

Halfway through one of their songs, the singer, Gus Van Go (who also manages The Stills) introduced the Funky Ass Soul Punches, which was when all the members played a note at the same time. Then they beat their record with 182 Funky Ass Soul Punches!

During the encore, Gus jumped into the crowd and walked to the center and told everyone to sit down and relax while he sprawled across the floor and started talking to us. I was amazed how everyone listened and were just chilling.

Finally, when the show ended, Gus told the audience he wanted to greet people at the front and BODY SURFED his was to the front of the venue.

Lorne and I left with bouncing energy and a copy of their CD which I enjoy quite a lot.

UPDATE: I just found a clip of the smae show I went to on youtube:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Budman Update

I lost track if anyone reads this blog. I guess I've also lost interest in writing on here. I'm usually writing about things I've been doing which aren't always that exciting. I"m not saying my life is boring, just that I've got into a routine:
I work Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 4:30.
I joined a floor hockey league and attend games every Wednesday. I'm doing pretty good actually and have scored at least one goal per game except one.
Weekends I pretty much spend with Aurit or my family.

This past week, although wasn't really too bad, just felt like ass. Bad, sweaty ass.

I'm been tired every day this week. I haven't sleep well for some reason. Some afternoons at work were brutal. I'd be at the computer and my eyes would feel so heavy. I had to work on something and new mistakes kept appearing. I finally finalized the thing but at the very last minute. At least I got it all out of the way to enjoy the weekend. Unfortunately, my boss told me of a little project he'd like me to tackle that is due Monday night or Tuesday morning. I can tell right now I won't be able to do it all in one day, so if I want to impress my coworkers I should move my ass and work a little this weekend. Oh how I was looking forward to relax...

Well at least tomorrow should be a nice relaxing day. I got McGill Improv workshop and at night I"m seeing this band Me, Mom and Morgentaler with my brother Lorne. I don't really know their music but they have been getting a lot of buzz for their reunion and re-release of their only album.

THis will make it my second concert of the week, the first one being BON JOVI.

I'm sorry, I will admit I like a few of his older songs and big hits, but i"m just not a huge Bon Jovi fan. For some reason some people just can't understand why. They put on a good show but I just wasn't loving it. On the other hand Aurit (and 10 billion other women) were just screaming their heads off. I've never seen such a reaction from a man in his 40's shaking his hips.

Ok I've had enough of the waking world for tonight. I must delve in to a deep sleep in my warm bed or it may happen here before this cold, cold computer.

Budman out.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Improv Summit Ottawa Edition

Last night marked the first edition of the Carlton Improv Association (CIA) Improv Summit in Ottawa.

Having participated in several summits hosted by McGill as well as one last year in Toronto, I was delighted to fight out that the McGill Improv team were interested in participating in Ottawa's competition.

This year has been a turning point for McGill Improv because of the great turnout of new members. over the past years, more and more members were leaving and not many new members were staying. At one point we had more alumni than actual students in the club. Last year, even though I had already graduated from McGill for 3 years, was still performing in the shows. However, this year a bunch of new people with some experience have joined our ranks and after only a few workshops and no real shows, decided to band together and tackle a summit! I was excited to, for the first time, watch as a bystander, the fury that McGill had to offer.

Overall the night was a success and I had a lot of fun (as the rest of the audience did) but I felt some things could have been better.

*DISCLAIMER: I had a fun time at the summit but have some feelings on the way things were run. In the following paragraphs, what i write is by in no means supposed to offend anyone. In the end I hope that whoever reads this can benefit from it for future events. If any CIA members read this, I love you guys and know that I myself couldn't have done a better job so please don't take my rant too personally.*

We were 2 cars, 10 people - 7 performers and 3 supporters. 5 of us were supposed to stay overnight while the other car was to head home after the show/after party.
We left after lunch that followed our weekly Saturday workshop and arrived in Ottawa around 6:30pm. The show was to start at 7:30pm so we had plenty of time to settle in and for the performers to warm up for the show.

My buddy Owen, a former member of CIA had come to watch and it was really good to see him. I felt really bad when I had found out he had planned a whole night ahead for me to accompany him to a mutual friends birthday party but had to decline since i came into town with a bunch of friends and felt awkward ditching them. Owen, you're still welcomed to Montreal anytime!

It turned out one of the teams dropped out last minute so the competitors ended up just being McGill, Toronto and CIA.

The show was being held in a room in a residence building which brought a large size of an audience (~50) which was slightly full for the size of the room.

7:30pm came along, the room packed and one of CIA's members, came on as the host. The format of the night was for each team to perform a 30 minute set and at the end the audience voted, ranking the teams from 3 to 1 (1 being the best). The order of performance was McGill, Toronto and CIA.

I've been to more than one summit and other kind of organized events and know from watching that the job of a host is to warm up the audience and get them excited for what they are about to watch. I didn't feel that at all with our host. After a quick introduction, she introduced the first team. Everyone cheered!... and then waited. McGill was warming up and no one got them to tell them the show had started.

After a few minutes of silence, McGill Improv came on full of energy with large thanks to Jeremy. He then transferred his energy to the audience by doing typical warm up/introduction bits like "on the count of three yell out a biblical name!".

During the set (and all the other teams sets) there were lots of laughs. Because there were no mikes, the players had to pause between laughs or else no one could hear them. I am not sure if this is always the case or because the room was small and the crowd was big, that the players had to do this.

McGill did a bunch of interesting games and ended on freeze. Things were going really well during freeze until all of a sudden the host yelled freeze, totally confusing everyone, came on stage and said that their set was over... I felt that McGill should have a had a better time warning so they could concluded their set properly.

I felt McGill did a good set and got a lot of laughs but after speaking to a member of the team, she was a bit disappointed stating that the scenes weren't so developed and that a lot of the laughs were due to cheap gags. That may have been true but after watching the entire show, I can say that the crowd was one that really liked cheap gags and sexual humor. There were no real great scenes that really stood out from the rest. However, going back to McGill, for a team who performed a show for the first time with those members, I thought they did a pretty damn good job. I'm sure they will learn to grow better with every next show they do.

After a 5 minute break, it was Toronto's turn. Toronto only had TWO guys. They decided to do ONE single long scene for 30 minutes. Now don't get me wrong, I laughed a lot and thought it quite amusing but also felt it was totally unprofessional what they did. It was basically the two of them just fucking around on stage. It felt a lot like in movies when there is a scene between actors and the scene has no point to it except that it was fun for the actors (like in 40 Year Old Virgin when the 2 guys are doing the "You know how I know you're gay" bit).

The two guys came on and sort of explained what they were going to do and then just kind of joked with each other. One guy was drinking an Arizona Ice Tea caned drink throughout his entire scene and even the "all-star" scene that happened 30 minutes later. Throughout the whole show, CIA members were awarded audience members candy for suggestions. These guys came up and just started throwing candy everywhere like it was no body's business.

The scene they ended up doing was about a Canadian journalist who was doing a story on a Ukrainian boy at a summer camp. The whole scene had sexual innuendo, implying that the Canadian was a pedophile and that the Ukrainian boy, Uri, had no idea and loved the man. Uri wanted to go back to Canada with him but couldn't for the obvious reasons that pedophilia is illegal in Canada (and every else in the world). This basically went on for 20 minutes, until they started talking about a book the journalist could write about. While talking about this book, which was basically a recap of everything we had just seen, the actors were talking about how the book would end, implying how they themselves would end the scene. An actual quote was "Maybe we can do a flashback!", followed by a flash back scene. The ending was very clever but then CIA told them they still had TEN minutes left, so rather than ending there, the characters were back the "writing the book" scene and came up with a couple of other alternative endings. It was quite funny but I think I appreciated it more as a performer than other audience members would have and I doubt I could sit through that again.

After another 5 minute break, it was CIA's turn to shine. They did a good set as well using a bunch of games they stole from McGill from the many times they've watched them perform (haha - it's an ongoing joke McGill and Carlton have, even though it's true).

After everyone performed, it was time to vote. During the counting of the votes, there was a short set with 2 members from each team doing a questions only game.

The moment of truth finally came when Carlton counted the voted themselves (which probably should have been done by an outside party):
McGill came in 3rd place, followed by CIA and the winners, Toronto.
I don't think anyone on McGill Improv really cared for coming in 3rd since they had fun and got a good reaction from the crowd, but I was surprised when I heard that Toronto beat Carlton. You'd think Carton people would support their own team (the whole crowd was just Carlton students) and Toronto's set wasn't that much funnier.

After the show we discovered there wasn't really much happening except the performers going for a beer at a local bar so we decided not to stay the night. We went to the Barley Mow, had a couple of beers, chatted with other players and even had a small run in with suicide. Suicide chicken wings that is. One member of CIA ordered them, ate 3 of them and then let others try them. I put one in my mouth and before even being able to swallow my bite, my mouth was totally on fire.

By midnight we were on the rad heading back to Montreal.

I think with a better turn out in number of teams and a bit better organization of the actual event, the CIA summit could continue to grow better and better in the upcoming years.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween 2007 - Making of the Beaker costume

Since 2000 I became obsessed with making crazy Halloween costumes.
Those being:
2002 - The Incredible Hulk
2003 - A ghostbuster
2004 - Optimus Prime
2005 - Doctor Octopus
2006 - Cobra Commander
Past pictures of the above can be found in these links:
link 1
link 2

This year I out-did myself and decided to dress up as Beaker from The Muppets. I give 100% credit to IAN BARRET for suggesting that character as my costume for this year.

After spending a couple of weeks getting all the materials and a good few nights putting it together, here is the result:

I was so focused on building the damn thing I never organized any plans for the night! I almost didnt' have a party to go to, but in the end went to two house parties.

Every year I put together a cool costume but I never got a response as this year. I got a bunch of comments including:

"You are the most amazing costume maker int he world" - Andrew Ladd
"You are the king of Halloween Costumes" - Guong Le
"I think you're too old to be dressing up" - Josh's Mom

A lot of people asked if I had bought my costume. The answer is no, i made it completely by myself (with a little help from my mom - she sewed the nose).

Like all my past costumes, I got a lot of help and inspiration by looking online to see what others had done. So, I decided to share with the internet how I made MY costume:

My costume is made mostly of foam, cardboard, fabric and tape:

I started with a big square of foam I bought from Fabricville (a sewing supply warehouse).

I apologize for the lack of photos but basically I took a baseball cap and cut the visor part off. This was the base for my head support. I then took a cardboard box and cut a large squarish piece which I then folded many times to make it bend and wrapped it's base around the hat. After tapping everything in place, it basically looked like a one of those straight chef hats. This piece was then covered with a larger piece of foam (so it started at the top of the cardboard but extended pass my forehead all the way to my shoulders. The foam was then wrapped in pink fabric that I bough tand secured temporarily.

From here on I had a hard time figuring things out because i wasn't sure where to place stuff along the base and could see anything while wearing it. Most of it was done by "guestimation".

I moved onto the eyes and nose.

The eyes were basically two plastic decoration balls I found (for what purpose they are for I'll never know). Unfortunately, I found the hard way that they were two small in proportions to the rest of the mask. To fix this problem I wrapped them in foam and tapped the ends shut:

For the nose I bought a piece of styrofoam:

and then wrapped that twice in foam to get the right size:

I was starting to get somewhere:

With help from my mom (last years Cobra commander costume needed a LOT of sewing which my mom did - this year I just need help with the nose) I got the nose covered with orange stretchy fabric.

I attached the eyes and nose to the mask by basically cutting holes in the fabric/foam/cardboard and farcing the ends of the
nose/eyes through the holes. To keep them from falling out, my mom sewed the nose onto the foam/fabric and on top of that I had attached string to the ends of each piece which I then ran across through the mask and tied to the other end of the cardboard, like so:

Since I pretty much had once shot with everything, I didn't want to cut the string and tie it off yet so I lef tit lose and throughout the rest of the building process, the left eye kept popping out...

SO i had the eyes and nose done but needed a mouth. I took more cardboard and taped it onto the hat going downwards, below my forehead (this time only folding it around the front half of the hat). Then I cuta frown though the fabric, foam and cardboard and made it so it folded outwards:

Now I had somewhere to see!

I sewed some black fabric onto the eyes for pupils:

Now that I had an opening to see, I didn't want people to see my face, so I covered the hole with half black fabric and half mesh so I could still see:

As an added effect I took some fishing wire and attached it to the mouth so I was able to open it by just pulling on the wire:

The last thing needed was hair. I cut the cardboard on to and folded it and the foam down and added a few stiches to close down the top:

For hair, I bought two bright red boas for Halloween:

They were mostly feathers but I couldn't figure out any other alternatives to making the hair the size I needed. I took the boas, wrapped them around the top and stitched it all over to keep it secure.

The final result:

The rest of my costume was basically a REALLY big blue shirt. I knew i"d never find a shirt with a 25 in collar so I took the biggest I could find and made my own collar. I had a tie and I wore a lab coat.

Beaker was ready for damage!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Last week at work, an alarm went off. It was the first time I heard such an alarm. It was basically a loud ringing noise followed by a recording saying that an alarm was activated and the situation is being looked at and that we should wait for further instructions. Following that alarm, another message came on shortly telling us to evacuate the building.

In the end it was just a drill.

Today, the alarm went off again. This time it was for real.

I was in my office and thought I smelled smoke. My first thought was "Oh yeah, I borrowed the glue gun from work. I better take it out of my bag". Then the alarm went off and I realized that I REALLY had smelled smoke.

My office didn't even wait for the evacuation message, we left during the investigation message.

Soon after, the rest of the building followed.

Turns out a dumpster on the main floor int eh back garage caught on fire. I'm guessing from a cigarette and the smoke just traveled to through the vents.

We're all okay and a=now it's back to work.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pop Montreal

Right now, Montreal is being flooded with all kinds of concerts in part of an annual event called Pop Montreal. I think the bands are usually more independent, underground types (someone correct me if I'm wrong), but I know they get some big names too (this year Patti Smith is in town).

My friend Sean runs a music blog called Said The Gramophone and was presenting 3 shows this year. One of them I attended last night. There were three bands: Yeasayer, Plants And Animals, and Grizzly Bear (they played in that order). Plants And Animals are a Montreal band while the other two are from Brooklyn.

I'm not very good abut explaining music, but I thought the show was really something. Before Sean even mentioned the show to me, I had never heard of any of the bands. The quick knowledge I got of them was from this link.

The show was at the Ukrainian Embassy located near Hutchison and Laurier. The place was pretty small. The inside was like a cheesy auditorium. There was a second floor balcony.

Overall the three bands were really good. I felt that the first and last band were more similar to each other than the second band, but each were unique in their own way.

Grizzly bear were really dynamic and in turn I decided to support them and by their acclaimed album Yellow House. I'm listening to it now and it's GREAT rainy day music.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday = Family Day

For some reason today, on such a beautiful fall day, happened to be spent completely with family.

The day started with my pop and I going for breakfast at Chez Cora's. Afterwards, we both wanted to do something but didn't know what that was. That something ended up being shopping because that's what we did. I was interested in buying more mature looking sweaters for work since I own about 7 hoodies and I figure I should look nice at work every once in a while.

I had a chance to visit Old Navy and got to see my former manager Craig, who I hadn't seen since i quite back in May. It was good to see him again.

I ended up at Sears where my dad and I bought matching sweaters (yes we're weird like that, but to quote Will Smith from Men in Black - "I make this look good"). I also got my own sweater for 50%, so yay me.

We had a quick coffee break and ended up back home. I had wanted to watch a movie this afternoon since the weather looked shitty when I woke up but when I returned home it was so nice, I convinced my mom that we should go outside and do something. She suggested we go to Mont Royal and walk around. My dad was tired so he stayed behind.

The mountain was pretty busy but really nice to be at. We parked the car at Beaver Lake and walked around. We walked around the lake and saw all kinds of animals. My mom pointed out a squirrel that was right near us. As I pulled out my camera to snap a photo, my mom tried to move out of the way but the squirrel started to chase after her instead. Luckily for my mom, an infant saw the squirrel and chased after it, thus saving my mother's life. Thanks little dude!

I didn't realize how close the lake was to the summit of the mountain, so after a 120 minute walk we ended up at the lookout. What a view!

I was a little disappointed that the leaves hadn't changed colors yet. At least this means I have a reason to come back again sometime soon.

After dinner, I ended up hanging out with yet another family member, my brother Mark. We played this pop culture trivia card game he got for his birthday from my other brother Lorne. The point of the game is to get 20 points to win. You get 1 point for every right question. I was being clobbered by Mark but ended up winning 20 to 19.

All in all I think I spent ore time with family today than I have in a really long time.

For those who have Facebook, you can find pictures of Mont Tremblant and other things I forgot to upload of things I did over the summer. So add me as a friend if you havn't already or join Facebook if you aren't a member. Get with the times people!