26 February 2006

Trip to Canada



It's been a long time coming: after spending 10 months deep in the bowels of Europe, tucked squarely in the beating heart of Catholicism right near the tomb of St. Peter (the Prince of the Apostles). Ryan Millar has been hiding out in Italy. In Rome in fact, the cradle of Western Civilization. The city in the mid-shin of the Italic boot peninsula, the once mighty city that all roads led to. The city Nero fiddled for. Ryan's time has been spent scavenging pizza and vino, dousing every edible morsel in olive oil and trying to live down the title of straniero. His unhealthy obsession with the AS Roma football squad and Rome's civic history has raised psychological concerns, as has his repeated exposure to the Sistine Chapel. There is often a tourettically blurting of random Italian phrases followed by a look of uncomfortable expectation.
It's a jungle out here, no question.

For this reson, this man is going back to the source. Back home to Vancouver Canada. Charge the batteries. See the people he once fought shoulder to shoulder with and hug them. Train. Grow bigger, faster and stronger, and then return to Europe to do serious damage, Canadian style. An important retreat to base camp, if only for a couple of weeks of regular egg and potato breakfasts, Canucks hockey, family, friends, beers, push ups, improv comedy, Commercial Drive, live rock n'roll, family poker nights, Stanley Park, Pacific Ocean, rain and trees, Vancouver(the city and the Island), films in English, potluck dinner parties, Vancouver Art Gallery, Bubble tea, impossible amounts of sushi and laughter.
This will be done. Soon.

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25 February 2006

Commenting

Geez. I finally figured out how to, or rather, stumbled across the command to open up blog comments to anyone, not just registered users. It only took 10 months, but hopefully this will open up a little bit of dialogue with blogreaders, of which I hope there are some.

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Shooting Jesus in the Face






Relax. The incendiary title of this post is really just a form of the popular post modern practice of mashing-up two media forms. Shooting Jesus in the Face is just me mashing up my two most recent most favorite political tidbits.
One tidbit, easily guessworthy, is the news that Vice President of The United States of America, also known as the Dark Lord, or "Secret Keeper" shot a 78 year old friend in the face. It's old news by now, but habituation to an idea doesn't make it any less remarkable. The whole handling of the affair reeks of embarassing cover up. If this were a comedy and this guy was say Ferris Bueller's principal, we'd be happy to see him so humiliated. And in fact we are. But Mr. Rooney was a character meant to be mocked, and constantly thwarted, Cheney is a man who is above all, very very scary.

Where does Jesus come in?


As quoted in February 27th TIME magazine. Silvio Berlusconi, another very scary politician, is quoted varbatim as saying "I am the Jesus Christ of Politics." In the sense, according to him, that he's a martyr to the nation. Jesus Christ is not something I would refer to Berlusconi as, but it is the first thing out of my mouth after reading another one of his inanities. However, I must confess, I'm actually more of a "motherfucker" utterer. At any rate, Berlusconi has also likened himself to Churchill and Napoleon as he heats up the election trail.
He also, in a bid to get airtime (which he can do at will anyway) he made a vow of celibacy until the election, like a Superbowl quarterback. 2 days later he retracted. Somebody shoot that guy in the face. Politically, I mean. Not personally. Actually it doesn't matter what I write now, Google China won't be clocking this anyway.

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24 February 2006

Canada Sucks at Hockey

I waited all days on pins and needles for the game against Russia. Nothing. No goals. Only a really really dumb penalty by Bertuzzi to lead to Ovechkins goal. Sure Brodeur stood on his head, but the tandem points of the sport are to A) prevent the opposition from scoring while B) scoring on the opposition. After being held scoreless for 8 of their last nine periods Canada went ahead and brought... nothing really. If only Brodeur had more of a slapshot we might still be in this thing. But one player out of 23 playing well does not a team make, nor does it a gold medal earn.

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20 February 2006

Worst Sports Day Ever!

OK so there's this hockey mad country called Canada.It's near America. They're really good at hockey. In fact their Olympic teams are the reigning Gold Medal Champions. And their mens team, oh the heavily favored mens team HAS NOT SCORED A GOAL IN OVER 2 HOURS OF HOCKEY! Against Switzerland. And then shut out again against Finland. Nothing against those countries, they're pretty good at hockey. But they're no Canada. And right now, for them, that's a good thing.

Yesterday evening I tuned into Olympic coverage of the Canadian Finland game. I'd been anticipating it all day. When SKY Sports tuned me in we were halfway through the third period and down 2 zip. That's how it finished. Yuck.



That's right Gretz, that's right.

In other crappy sports news my favorite football team AS Roma just lost their star player Francesco Totti FOR TWO TO THREE MONTHS! He was cheapshotted as he often is. I saw the replay alot. It's one of those sports injuries that can really induce a grimace when you see the unnatural bending of the body. In this case ankle.

And that was my Sunday.

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Grey Rocks Dreaming

I awoke into a hazy half dream yesterday. Sunday. I was back in Vancouver.On Grey Rocks Island late-night, with some thumping hiphop, steamy windows looking out onto the Burrard Inlet, plenty of beers and good friends. It was, as Cam described it, like a beer commercial. Not the summer barbeque one, but the winter apres-ski one. I liked it. It was a little awkward at first, because i'd been out of the social scene for awhile. But these people are good friends, and after a moment the conversation started to flow smoothly. And it wasn't a dream, it was just a long distance phone call. Iwasn't technically there, when i woke up I was laying on the floor of the living room here in Rome, thinking we should vacuum soon. Not your average beer commercial, but it did make me thirsty for some Vancouver time. In the background of this picture above, one can see the island in question. Now picture it darker. And wintrier. And inside this amazing house (not visible): amazing friends. Only actually on the phone in Italy, imagining you're inside the house on aforementioned island. Then you have a pretty good idea of my dream.

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12 February 2006

Axis Of Uncouth


I watched my first rugby match this afternoon, part of the 6 Nations Cup. People in the UK and Ireland love rugby. Particularly the ones who travelled to Rome to watch some of the games live. The rest of the time they were in Rome was spent getting really really drunk, really really early. This was accomplished by sucking down pint after pint in rapid succession. In limited circumstances this is a supportable endeavour, but I don't think this is limited circumstances. And when they get drunk, British soccer moms or not, they all sing loud boorish songs.
All of this is ok, in fact I could probably get into it, and know I have before, but having to share a pub with these louts on Sunday reminded me that i forgot to hate the loud, middle-aged British travellers. I've been so busy rolling my eyes at the young American college students, i've forgotten that their greatest allies have the closest behaviour patterns. It's just a little less horny and a little more sing-sweary.
At any rate the rugby was cool. I was cheering for Wales (being half Welsh), everyone else was cheering for Scotland and singing rude songs about the Welsh. This certainly influenced my above observations. But the rugby was violently delicious. It's like American football without all the boring waiting between plays or the sissy padding. And the Welsh beat those dirty Scots 28-14.

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11 February 2006

Olympic Dreams!

Olympic Dreams have come and gone. There is still the possibility that I can get north to Torino to drink deep of the worlds premier celebration of big business and amateur sport controversy, but the window has gotten so narrow that I may not be able to squeeze my sorry snowsuited ass through. A lack of tickets for premiere games (ie. ones that Canada will be playing in) is the problem. Oh sure, I can train 8 hours north to Turin, but then I can't really see the Olympics because they sold my tickets. It'll be all crammed into sports bars and elementary school gymnasiums eating 8 euro hamburgers, I can feel that icy breeze. The problem, if I can be so bold as to offer my insight, is that the Olympics is a fucking disorganized mess run by oily bastards. If Italy is so apathetic about the Olympics, why can't I get a fucking ticket? If I was online with a basket full of tickets to purchase for hockey and curling then you block sales for a couple weeks, then you go ahead and sell those tickets from out underneath me, aren't you just a fucking prick? Aren't you Olympic Organizer?

The only good news I know is that Canada is sure to sweep gold in the Ice Art Competition. check out paintingsbelowzero.com

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07 February 2006

TodayShow



I don't know who watches the Today Show. I don't. But they were in Rome so a small group of us went down to mug for the camera a little bit and perhaps steal a few Emmy moments from the short and perky Katie Couric. I made a sign that I think got some play. It read "Ciao Canada!" Buuuut inside it was another sign, twice as large that read "IMPEACH BUSH" I went down to Piazza Navona to mingle with the crowds of American college students and the feel-good programming they had going on. But I went down with
US Citizens(andothers)forpeace&justice
to enjoy the proceedings but also throw down a little political muckraking. And muckrake we did. During the segment where Katie Couric and her friend try some strange flavoured ice cream a chant comes up from a group of us in the crowd that suggests a good idea would be to "STOP STOP STOP THE WAR!" After a couple of rounds of unscheduled audio feed from Rome we were brusquely hustled away from the ice cream zone and tended to by a hysterical producer. She was blond, in her early thirties, and didn't, I think, devote much brain time to the justness or otherwise of American military involvement in Iraq.
Look how unhappy she is. She desperately wanted us to know that this isn't the time or place for a protest message. An Italian vendor in the piazza came over to chime in,in good but accented English, that it was.
At any rate some of our group was prepared to argue quite strenuously with her. I just tried to explain to her that it was a good segment that made good unexpected entertainment, her show wasn't ruined, and, above all, it's an important and timely message to get out, and that she'd been a good sport. We got our message on the air and Katie Couric was forced to comment that "free speech is alive and well here."

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