Month: August 2003


Hey!! I don’t know what Angelfire’s up to, but I refuse to let them get me down! This is my second blog in almost as many days… Let’s hope this one lasts a little longer, hunh?

Here’s the backstory so far:

okay–it’s Thursday August 28th & I’m studying, but not very hard
Yes, I thought I might as well start a weblog. It seemed like it might be more fun than cramming for comprehensive exams–and my hunch has proven correct! So, who am I? What do i do? What’s my favourite colour. (Why are there extra “u”‘s in there? I’m Canadian…) Most importantly, it seems, what am i morbidly obsessed with, and what kind of personal problems do i have?

I am: David Fiore, 29–a short, amusing man in good shape with dark hair and green eyes. I live in Verdun (a working-class suburb of Montreal, Quebec) with my girlfriend, Christine (who is much more responsible than I am, and is sleeping beautifully as we speak)and our three cats (Dashiell, Simpson, and Husky. Simpson likes it when you say her name with a french accent, sort of like, Saimpson; Husky is colloquially known as The Husk. Dashiell is the Beige Wonder.) I work at a semi-independent bookstore downtown (as does Christine–she has her own office, I am quite happy to remain at the cash, working the evening shift). I’ve written one novel, entitled “Darkling I Listen”, which has sold about 150 copies (I’ll provide links as soon as I figure out how to do it), and am working on a second, which I expect to be much better (it’s called, tentatively, “Longing For Catastrophe”). That one’s gonna have to wait a little while though, because I’m finally finishing up my M.A. in English Lit and am moving forward this fall with proposals for a doctoral dissertation on “Marvel Comics and the Puritan Legacy” (school T.B.A.)

I’m not sure what my favourite colour is. Green? Probably.

My obsessions are legion!
1- Studio Age movies: especially Frank Capra (It’s A Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe, The Miracle Woman, The Bitter Tea of General Yen); William Dieterle (The Devil & Daniel Webster, Portrait of Jennie, Love Letters, Rope of Sand); George Stevens (not his late stuff, just the early things like the astonishing Alice Adams and art-deco Swing Time); Frank Borzage (Moonrise, History is Made at Night, Three Comrades);1930’s Warner Brothers movies (especially Cagney, Bogart, and Bette Davis vehicles + anything with Priscilla Lane); RKO noir (Murder My Sweet and Crossfire especially) and lots of others things. I own almost 900 movies and I’m always on the lookout for more!!
2- Literature, obviously. My undergraduate honours thesis was a piece on the American Transcendentalists. Emerson and Margaret Fuller are particularly dear to me. Hawthorne, I think, is a genius (The Blithedale Romance is my favourite novel). Melville, Dickens, Keats, Coleridge, Henry James, Emily (not Charlotte) Bronte, George Eliot, Stephen Vincent Benet, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Hemingway, Robert Benchley–all of these people are very important to me.
3- I love comics, especially Marvel, from Fantastic Four #1 to Mark Gruenwald’s run on Captain America; Cerebus the Aardvark, before Dave Sim became a raving gynophobe (maybe he always was, but it was not immediately apparent);I like DC too, especially The Flash, the old JLA, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and especially Roy Thomas’s Earth-II stuff—-and anyone who didn’t skip that list is encouraged to let me know how you feel about it!!!
4- Punk music is pretty much what I listen to (with occasional lapses into X-Mas music out-of-season, Jerome Kern compilations, and rock-rap like Public Enemy, New Kingdom, Beatie Boys, Cypress Hill, Rage Against the Machine–stuff that came out before foolishness like Linkin Park took over the airwaves.) I’m a big fan of Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, the Ramones, the Fastbacks, Nirvana, Everclear, Hole and am always looking for news about the late, great, Magnapop…
5- Animals are extremely important to me–and i am a vegetarian. I don’t have any problem with carnivores though, so let’s not fight about it… If you are a hunter, though–kindly leave the room…
6- I love board/card games–I play Stratego regularly and Bridge once a week + hearts on Yahoo (under the name goodkingwenceslaus).
7- My B.A. was in American History, which ties in to a lot of the other interests–my favourite all-time historians: Perry Miller, Richard Hofstadter, Sacvan Bercovitch, Elkins & McKittrick. I mainly wrote on the Puritans, the Federalist Party, the Civil War, and the aforementioned Transcendentalists–but I the Depression intersts me as well…
8- i’ve lately found myself wishing that Alf would come back on DVD, so I could put my craving to see it (and, quite possibly, be disappointed by it) to rest! And by the way, if you share this dream, let me know and I’ll e-mail you the Alf petition!
8- I’m less proud of this–but I must admit to a problem with baseball. It’s been worse lately, thanks to the Expos amazing run. In my youth (i.e. the eighties), I memorized some pretty huge chunks of baseball history, and it’s still in my head, taking up space) I waste a lot of time that I don’t have listening to the games on the Team 990 and thinking about the possibility of the ‘Spos making the playoffs.

The good news: I’m ridiculously happy and really don’t have any personal problems to speak of, other than the fact that I have no money (which has never really been much of a big deal) and my mom just had a by-pass (but it looks like she’ll be okay!!)

I guess that’s enough for now. Please: discuss amongst yourselves…


Posted by blog/phyllisstein at 1:52 AM EDT | 2 comments | link to this post
Updated: Friday, 29 August 2003 3:31 AM EDT


Today’s Soundtrack: Fastbacks– “The Day That Did Not Exist”; play ’em if you got ’em
Well, my title to the contrary, this day did exist, and here’s the proof:

got up at eleven o’clock, ate what I ate every day (barring breakfast dates at the local greasy spoon): 2 weetabix (weetabi?), 1 chopped banana, a handful of dates, a handful of raisins (sultana!), some pumpkin & sunflower seeds, a few almonds, a layer of All-Bran, three spoonfuls of Wheat Germ and a lot of skim milk in one hell of a bowl. Also refilled the cat bowls…

Did my morning stretches whilst listening to Sports Talk radio, checking e-mail during breathers.

Made espresso (stovetop Bialettis are marvelous!) and some inter-library loan requests, including one for a very interesting (interesting-looking anyway, i haven’t read it yet!) book on the Puritans called “Paradox Lost”…

Read a bit of “Great Expectations”, which i’ve read (and loved!) before–but now I’m reading to prepare for my comprehensive exams–the first of which takes place on Sept 9th.

Took a shower and got dressed, dashed off to work and got very wet(it was rainy and unpleasantly sultry here today–i thought that was over man! The weather people have assured me that it will be nice and autumnal tomorrow, but we’ll see…)

Arrived at work right on time–3:15 pm e.s.t. My boss, Peter, tried to talk me into changing into another shirt, because mine was very wet and the air-conditioning at our store is really on some kind of power trip. He explained that i should do it because, “you cannot be sick next week!!”. He’s right–next week is back to school, and we stock a lot of coursebooks for McGill university, and we need every employee we can get to deal with the rush.

today wasn’t that busy though. i crept up to Christine’s office, where she holds forth in her quest to satisfy every whim of virtually every librarian in the province, and gave her a kiss (I had been completely oblivious when she left the homestead at 8:30 am). Then I crept back down and started unloading a huge shipment of dull $108.95 accounting textbooks and their lame solution-manual sidekicks.

At five, Christine and I prepared to leave together (she for the day, and i for my break). My ex-girlfriend (and now just plain friend) Taimi showed up and asked me to go for coffee with her, which I gladly agreed to.

Christine walked with us for a while, and then went off in search of some new jeans. Taimi and i retired to the nearest Cafe that allowed her to smoke and got some food + caffeination (I had a pasta salad and some chick peas, she had some kind of seafood sandwhich). Taimi’s had a lot of problems with clinical depression/borderline schizophrenia, and she actually had to check herself into the hospital a little while ago, so it was very good to see her. She seemed resonably happy, and we always laugh quite a bit, often at her own horrific luck (Taimi once showed me a list of anti-psychotics she had tried, each with a comment on the drug’s effectiveness. Next to one memorable product, she had scrawled: “Don’t take this again–makes me want to kill my mother”) That’s just the kind of gal she is–I love her!

When I got back to work at six, I went back to the unloading/shelving of books, but that was done by about eight, and our night crew–Liz (a good friend whom I often play Risk with)and Maya (a newcomer at the store who seems nice enough)basically took it easy from there. There was some chatting, some clean-up, and a bit of customer service mixed in there.

At ten to eleven, I delivered my standard soft-spoken ultimatum to the customers who remained int he store, and everyone complied except for a spaced out chick who had been propped up against the health books reading since about seven + a regular who never buys anything and always looks cranky–tonight, he looked really cranky, and sick to boot–he almost coughed up a lung in the magazine section, prompting me to look up whooping cough in one of our many “diagnose it yourself manuals”–I think he’s got it! Anyway, cougho finally left and then I had to get as tough as I am capable of, whispering harshly at the sprawled out chick, “Uh, we’re closing. We have to close miss…” She finally looked up and said, “oh, but I want to buy this book”. I asked her to hurry then, because the cash was closing. While we were dealing with the transaction, she smiled dopily and asked: “So it’s, like almost nine o’clock?” I said: “No. No, it’s eleven-oh-one!”. She just bonked her head like they used to do in those v-8 commercials and said: “Whoa, you mean i’ve been siting back there for four hours! That’s crazy!” I told her I agreed. Liz ushered the woman out of the store and we closed up and got the hell out of there!!
When I got home, I leapt onto the couch, where Christine was sprawled out, watching Letterman. We talked over the day, while i made my dinner (Oatmeal with molasses, four walnuts, sultana raisins and wheat germ) and then watched Conan (which was good, but a re-run). We snuggled in bed for a while and eventually she dropped off to sleep, which, as I believe i mentioned before, is something beautiful to behold (you can’t teach sleeping beautifully, you either can do it or you can’t!) Then I got on the net, checked out the day’s baseball scores (Expos lose! in the ninth! very sad!) did some studying, and contributed a comment to Trinity’s blog (about my joyous struggle versus the vast army of collection agents out there–perhaps I’ll get to that in this column one of these days), and landed up here.

That’s my day–tomorrow, Christine & Dave go to Mount Royal, it had better be nice!!!

Good night friends…


Posted by blog/phyllisstein at 5:16 AM EDT | 3 comments | link to this post


Sountrack tonight–Weezer (blue)
Well, it turns out those meteorologists do know some things–it was one hell of a day! Nice strong breeze, comfortable temps and a big sun up there, for those who enjoy that kind of thing (I’m more into overcast myself, but I won’t complain). We never actually got started on our trip to the park (mount royal). Christine suggested just strolling around amongst the populace, on Ste-Catherine street (the commercial hub of our fair city) and really, it was probably less crowded than the wooded bump that gave the town its name…
We rented “Crumb”, which I had seen parts of before, but never really given a chance. The movie was on Christine’s mind because we saw American Splendor last week. Now, i’ve never been what you’d call a “mainstream” kind of guy, but i must say, when it comes to comics, I do tend that way. I don’t mind artists with weird sex hangups, but I prefer it when they sublimate them a bit, and the “underground” comics scene does not seem to encourage any sort of restraint. Don’t get me wrong, i am in no way criticizing people’s fantasies and/or acts (as long as they don’t drag unwilling participants into it with them, as Crumb’s younger brother seems to have been wont to do!), but when you toss them directly onto the page (or screen), you lose just about everyone that can’t wank to it–it’s just too damned specific!!!
{{{the Sweater Song just began, i love it!!!}}
Anyway, I did enjoy Crumb, the movie, even though I’ve never liked the stuff he’s produced. Zweigoff keeps things rolling for two whole hours, and does a good job of situating Robert so that he looks almost normal (his brothers and mother are really over-the-top–makes you wonder about the sisters, who refused to appear…) The artist comes off in this movie as some kind of flesh and blood Bugs Bunny, and I’ve always enjoyed Bugs Bunny… Christine really liked it, which just reinforces something we already knew–she loves geeks!
Next we put in “Dance, Girl, Dance”, a 1940 cult classic directed by Dorothy Arzner, but we started it too late and Christine asked if I’d mind stopping it after about 30 minutes. I was getting really into it, and i HATE watching movies in segments, but love trumps these little idiosyncracies–we’ll finish it tomorrow.
{{{{“Say it Ain’t So” is now playing–it’s my favourite Weezer song, one of my favourite songs period. And yes, drinking problems abound in my family…)))
just made some green tea–it’s called “Special Gunpowder” and it’s great. Certainly, it is always ON special. You can get a box of it that makes about 50 strong cups for $1.15 at the “Olive Branch”, which is the neighborhood discount dried goods store. The people that make it call themselves “Royal King”, which seems like a tautology to me. Puts me in mind of my favourite rice noodles, made by some company called “Kim”– haven’t seen them lately, but the package used to say “Rice stick is great for dinner, or as a gift.” I used to buy instant ginger tea that proclaimed “if you often drink the tea, it will make you strong and healthy” (in addition to all this strength and health, the tea was said to be particularly effective in “easing vomit”. Is that a good thing?)

Ah well, back to my studies… Good night friends!


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okay, we’ll take from here tomorrow! Bye!