Friday, September 09, 2005

State visit

Going out to lunch today was quite difficult, what with all the secret service, the hordes of policeman, the protesters blocking the way to my usual Timothy's.

You see I work in a major museum in Ottawa. It is common to have heads of state dropping in for a State Dinner, hosted by our prime minister
. Last October the museum had Dubya over for dinner. Today we have Hu Jianto, the president of China. He’ll be in the next room in a few hours. Of course, I won't get to meet him. Cops and bodyguards will make sure that doesn't happen.

At the moment, a lunch–event is being held in the next room with officials and students.

Apparently the Chinese Embassy is making sure that the president is well greeted in Ottawa by offering free lunches, souvenirs and even money to expatriate chinese students who in turn will make the prez feel welcome and generate an overall feeling of sympathy towards Hu. Any student willing to participate in these "greeting activities" is asked to sing a contract that read:

The [association’s name] has invited [the participant’s name] to be a member of the welcome group. As a member of this group, I agree to obey all the rules of the group. I also agree that if I make any trouble (e.g., protest against the American government and/or the Chinese president), I will pay a minimum $5,000 as compensation for the reputation loss brought to the group by the trouble I made. In addition, under the circumstances in which Falun Gong practitioners contact us or we know that other organizations will make trouble, we I agree that we report this to the welcome group and relative official bureaus immediately. We understand that we have the right to express our opinions through protest with any organization. However, as a member of this group, we are willing to give the right up.”
Now, I’m not exactly well informed in all things Chinese, but nothing seems to be going right for China. The Chinese Communist Party is on the verge of collapse. And when you have to pay expatriates of your own nation to make you feel welcome in a foreign country and generate positive feelings, you must be quite desperate. Falun Gong practitioners are now protesting outside the museum and scattered around the city. They are in higher number than payed greeters, so the embassy must be quite anxious...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

100 facts about Plain Old Me.

In case you were wondering:

1. I grew up in St-André d’Argenteuil, and expect one day to return to a small town.
2. I am a librarian.
3. I don’t have a driver’s license.
4. Maine is my favourite US state.
5. I am a question asker. This is often mistakenly interpreted as criticism.
6. I lived in Quebec City for three years.
7. I once fainted while serving mass, in the middle of a prayer, in front of my entire school.
8. I have a Masters in library and information science from Université de Montréal.
9. I don’t worry about wrinkles or grey hair.
10. I have a hard time getting to sleep.
11. I often wander in my own imaginary worlds (this is why I enjoy Calvin & Hobbes).
12. I have a bad left knee.
13. I am the youngest of 4 girls.
14. Certain movies can bring me to tears.
15. I avoid yelling and angry people.
16. I’ve had more or less the same haircut all my life.
17. A single song has the power to change my mood and outlook.
18. My fingers are so flexible, it’s almost disgusting.
19. I am introverted. People, it’s not a social disease.
20. I dropped out of college at 17, a week into my first semester.
21. I can roll my tongue better than anyone.
22. I am arty in a non-committed way.
23. I lived and worked in Mauritius for a short while.
24. I am a good gardener but houseplants commit suicide when under my “care”.
25. I love solitude, but too much of it will drive me insane.
26. I live with a 65-year-old widow in a beautiful little white house.
27. I call myself a feminist. Don’t ask why: it’s self explanatory (just look at the world).
28. I hate cold toast. When the toaster pops out a hot toast, it is a race to spread butter and swallow it. I rarely make it on time.
29. I do not tolerate messy kitchens.
30. I once worked at a Dunkin Donut.
31. I worked at UNESCO for 2 years.
32. I enjoy smoking a cigarette with my best friend from time to time but I hate second-hand smoke.
33. I used make a killer Bavarian cheese-apple torte until I lost the recipe.
34. The excuse "I don’t/didn’t have time" will not convince or impress me.
35. I never enjoyed the club scene. I prefer pubs and homes for parties.
36. I am left handed.
37. I like to draw.
38. I am not motivated by money: I have an intuitive sense of the amount of money I basically need and once that need is fulfilled then money stops driving me.
39. I fear driving a car more than the apocalypse.
40. I cycle a lot when my knee is okay with that.
41. I wish more people that I knew had pages like these.
42. What I wish for in a home: comfort, serenity, order, laughter.
43. What I do not wish for in a home: Zen design, cheap furniture, the color beige and futons.
44. I have declared 2005 the year of Let it be.
45. I feel sad when I do not have a trip planned for the near-future.
46. I love to read.
47. I am an everyday coffee drinker.
48. I am 29.
49. My first real job was at a daycare. I was 15.
50. I am very sensitive to noise – I carry earplugs with me everywhere.
51. I worry about my friends and I do not call them often enough.
52. My boyfriend makes me pee in my pants when doing his Burrito the Mexican Kangaroo impression.
53. I have low tolerance for what I like to refer to as les petites madames: chatty, gossipy, squeaky voiced, middle-age suburban ladies with highlights.
54. My feet are enormous.
55. The train is my favorite mode of transportation.
56. I am afraid of endings and have a hard time finishing projects (such as this list).
57. I work at a museum and do research on First Nations of British Columbia and Oklahoma. Basically what I do is document their culture and put it online.
58. I am lazy and like to lie around a lot, but generally feel best when in motion.
59. I collect moose mugs.

60. I have a thing for salt and vinegar chips dipped in sour cream.
61. I am not an avid recycler.
62. I'm still undecided about what I want to be when I grow up.
63. I pull out all of the solicitous and subscription inserts from my magazines before I read them.
64. I'm a sucker for John Cusack, Mark Ruffalo, Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard, Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, Laura Linney, Ralph Fiennes.
65. I didn't go to my senior prom.
66. I tend to procrastinate.
67. I was born on August 17 at 10:55pm.
68. That makes me a Leo sun, Taurus rising, Taurus moon.
69. And a dragon.
70. I majored in ethnology at Laval University.
71. I constantly dream of having a cottage (hence the moose-mug collection).
72. Dancing makes me happy.
73. The Gap owns me.
74. My dream car is an old blue-grey Saab 900 with a ski rack on top.
75. I make randomn weird noises in my sleep. Sometimes I even talk or scream.
76. My favorite place in the world is Rodrigues Island. [other link]
77. Old Orchard Beach is another.
78. I like these bite-size brownies they sell at the supermarket.
79. I met my boyfriend while he was interviewing me for a job.
80. I am not a member of an organized religion.
81. My favorite authors are: Dorothy Parker, Jacques Poulin, John Irving.
82. Carbs keep me alive.
83. Once a year I treat myself to some Kentucky Fried Chicken.
84. I would never miss Oscar Night for anything.
85. I love the smell of fresh cut lumber, lily of the valley, the adirondack forest, freshly bought clothes.
86. Chapters is a very dangerous place for me.
87. I prefer to be cold than hot.
88. I usually walk fast, and have unknowingly left people behind until they pointed it out to me.
89. I'd like to go fishing someday as long as I don't catch anything.
90. The first movie I ever saw at a movie theatre was Beverly Hills Cop.
91. Excessive use of exclamation marks bugs me.
92. As a little girl I wanted to be a painter, or a lego sculpter artist.
93. My blood type is O positive.
94. The music video "Thriller" scared me as a kid.
95. I have 6 wisdom teeth. People usually have 4 or less.
96. I am of irish and belgium descent.
97. My best friend is the coolest person alive.
98. I own a Devinci Destination 2004.
99. I like hanging out with my family.
100. I didn't think I could ever finish this list.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

That sums it up really well.

Read today's Onion.