At your service.

Yes, yes, I still exist.

I have been back from Toronto for 5 days...and I'm surprisingly happy about it. This idea to move there...well...I am going to put it in my pondering cap and weigh some things out. Anyway, I have to hunker down here for the winter and write the damn show. Have had lots of offers of dramaturgy from good and talented people, so I better have something for them to dramaturg.

Was very tired when I got back, and kind of mistook it for malaise, but, in fact, am feeling quite pleased. Have sucked it up and am working in retail for the holidays. Back to the depths of hell I go, but, oh, so cheerfully. (La, la, la, can't wait to hear the same xmas music every day, all day, and be part of the chain of rampant consumerism. Hooray!) But a girl's gotta make her way.

Had lots of things in Toronto, comedy, family, art, music. Walked everywhere, my thighs are like steel pillars right now. Very satisfying.

Saw my bio dad for the first time in three and a half years. It was totally wonderful. For a while when we first saw each other I just sat next to him on the couch, his arm around me, having a little snuggle. I can't tell you how nice that was. How much I've been wishing for some real fatherly affection. It has gone a long way towards soothing me. Anyway, it can't be so long between visits again, it's too fraught with blame and misinformation. I don't think he even knew I was funny, even though I always have been. I guess me being funny hasn't really been part of our relationship, which is weird. I don't think I have ever been totally myself with either of my fathers. Gak. No energy for the hiding anymore.

Have received some nice accolades for my work since I got back to Vancouver, having developed a new character in Toronto who is very inspiring to me right now. Feeling a bit up in the air about where to focus myself. Do I quit improv and other things to focus solely on standup? I don't know. It would probably serve my standup, but I'm not sure I could do without the balance that theatre provides. Standup is such a hard edged community, and the theatre has lots of loveyness, which reminds me of the relaxed nature of my friends, and keeps me from turning into a complete asshole, which standup can encourage me to do.

Oof. I am nappy. I'm going to nap. I'll keep with the updates. Don't get all despondant and start phoning me with whiny requests to update my blog. Nonsense! Sometimes a girl just doesn't have anything to say. (Actually, in my case that's rarely true, but sometimes I don't want to write it as much as I want to shout it.)



I'll have that hero without cheese.

Mm, mm, mm. Just had a great set at the Fox and Fiddle here in Toronto. Very good, indeed. Last week I had a fucking terrible set at the Living Well, oh, so bad. But it was nice to talk to some other comics tonight who had also done sets there and have them say what a terrible room it was, so that was heartening.

Anyway, tonight I tried a bunch of new stuff and it totally worked, which made me giddy, because it's stuff I've been kind of afraid to try in Vancouver, and now I feel like I can go back there having moved forward some. The new stuff is just much more me, which, as you know if you read my blog with any sort of regularity, is what I have been aiming for. There is a comic here in Toronto, his name is Aaron Berg, and I have found him to be very inspiring. He's just truthful and raunchy and himself, and represents to me so much of where I'm trying to go. I'm grateful just for his existence, frankly, and now feel this trip has been totally worth it, even if it goes down hill over the next week. Which I do not actually expect to happen.

Lots of family time coming up in the next couple of days. My bio dad, Ralph, has come to town for a couple of days from Montreal, which is great, because I wanted to be able to make it out there, but there's just not going to be any time. His girlfriend's daughter lives here, too, so they get a double daughter whammy. I haven't seen him in 3 and a half years, so that's sort of weird. Separate ends of the country, both of us poor, etc. He and my mom and a bunch of other family were planning to come see my show tonight, but they were all kind enough to bow out when I asked them to. It was causing me no end of anxiety. I think on the heels of last week's show I was all bent out of shape and I really needed to have a decent set before my parents started showing up. I don't know, people I know are way more pressure than strangers. I don't give a shit what strangers think of me, but what if people I know hate my work? That's just awkward for everyone. I'm sure they would be gracious and everything, but tonight I just couldn't take it. Anyway, they'll come to my Yuk Yuk's show on Tuesday and it will all be fine.

Still seriously convinced I want to move here. It's midnight on a Sunday night and restaurants are still open, people are out on the street, it still feels like a city. Vancouver is so quiet at night, I like the hustle here. Since I'm a night person, it feels like it's catering to me more. I get all antsy and restless in Van. Yes, yes, I will work this into my plan, I think. We'll see how things go when I get home and start doing more shows there. Maybe that will root me for a little while longer. Certainly going to write my solo show before I pick up and go. God, I'm so excited to finally do that. I have developed a lovely French Girl character while I've been here and I can't wait to try some stuff out with her. She's the perfect alter ego for me. (Makes me wonder about Altar Egos...priests with God complexes?)

Saw the most amazing art show yesterday. Was on my way home, just walking and walking, I do so much walking here, and came across this huge show. It's called Toronto Alternative Art Festival, TAAF, and it's in two old hotels here. The Drake and The Gladstone. They are beautiful spaces. Each hotel has turned the second floor rooms into either installations or little gallery spaces. If you've ever been to Artropolis in Vancouver it's like that, but good. I got a bit weepy, in fact, just that it existed. I spent a long time making sure I saw everything. I was so happy that when I left and found it had started to pour with rain I didn't care. I practically skipped home. I was drenched when I got home, and chilly, especially around the boobs. My boobs always get the most soaked and cold if I get caught in the rain, because they stick out so much. Cold boobies, me no likey. But I got in my jammies and had a hot bath, not in that order, and everything was much better. Then I stayed home and watched tv and had a nice, quiet evening. Lovely after all the shenanigans this week. And oh, have I been shenaniganizing. It's hard not to, with so many opportunities for fun and bad behaviour just staring me in the face at every turn. God, this place suits me.

Ok, sleep now, since I have to actually get out of bed tomorrow at a reasonable hour. You know, before noon.

Good night, wind. (It's shaking the house, it's so windy). Good night, streetcars. Good night, subway, (my hero). Huh, that was funny because a subway is an underground railroad, but Subway is a sandwich shop, (which I believe has been discussed here in the recent past), but to follow it up accidentally by saying my hero...that's funny. Because a hero is a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life, but a hero is also a kind of sandwich. See, I'm makin' jokes even when I don't know I'm makin' jokes.



Not afraid of streetcars anymore.

It was like summer here today. I swear, I have packed entirely poorly for this trip. Here I thought I'd be in the deep throes of autumn, nearing winter, that the wind would be bitter and set my teeth on edge. Instead it has been balmy and sweet, as though beckoning me. Well, sweet except for the wafting smell of sewage. Occasionally have had a wee gag at that.

My thighs are becoming rock hard from all the walking here. I want to pack the subway and streetcars in my suitcase and bring them all back to transit challenged Vancouver.

I hardly seem to need sleep, everything here is moving moving moving. I want to submerge myself in the urban hum, let the rhythm of city in motion carry me with it. Now, in that two year plan of mine, is there room for a move to Toronto? I am considering it. As is my brother. As, it seems, are so many people I know. Unless they are already here and considering a move to Vancouver. You know, for the weather. And "it's so pretty there". Ich. I'm tired of pretty. Everything in Toronto feels solid. Rooted. Built to last. The brick houses give an air of elegance, or age, or both. I have not spent this kind of time here before. I have always stayed with my grandparents, both of whom are now dead, so staying with them would require some existential trickery of the highest order. So this trip has a new quality for me, about discovering the Toronto I can make my own. Keeping my own hours and travelling in my own circles.

Today is the anniversary of our dad dying. It has passed easily, more easily than expected. Perhaps easily is not the right word. Softly. Yes, that's it. It has been a soft day. I am surprised as I expected something more dramatic. I don't know what, exactly, but perhaps because I was so worried about this particular milestone for so long, I waded through the angst of it pre-happening. Anyway, things here are so great, it's hard to want to wade into despair. I am surprised at my own lack of anxiety in any capacity. Although, having said that, I think my entire family, (what's left of it), is coming to my show on Sunday. Yikesies. Oh, well, I hope they can handle it. I'm not exactly a family show. I suppose they know me well enough, though. They're going to have to get used to my raunch at some point. Actually, I think I am much raunchier and edgier in person than I am on stage, which, of course, is where I think my comedy is falling down. Bridge that gap, girl.

I have met a comic who inspires me to do just that. I watch him and think if I was a man, that's what I would be doing. Then I think, what the fuck, why don't I do it anyway? He literally told at least three jokes I have written but not tried on stage out of some kind of worry. And they were funny. So I have to start trusting my instincts more, if I think it's funny, it's probably going to make somebody laugh.

Oof, just got sleepy. Have sweet dreams, ya'll. I will dream of eastern air coursing through my lungs in a more permanent way.


I hate animals, I love fur.

Riel, Toronto
Toronto, Riel.

"Oh, hello, good to meet you", says Riel, "thanks for having me."
"Welcome," says Toronto, looking Riel right in the eye, "welcome. Please, feel free to look around, stay as long as you like, make yourself at home."
"Oh, thank you," whispers Riel, "thank you."
"It is my pleasure", says Toronto with a sly grin.
Toronto sure is a flirt, thinks Riel, and she likes it. She is happy.
"One more thing", says Toronto.
"Yes?" Riel listens attentively.
Toronto raises a cautionary eyebrow and leans in, "Use your time here wisely."
"Oh," Riel breathes in hard. "Oh, yes." Determination settles on her face. "Yes, I will."

I am booking tons of shows, I made Preston Manning laugh, I have seen bluegrass and latin music, I have stood up and made jokes in front of no audience, I have worn a pink fur coat, (real fur), and nothing else for hours on end, I have taken the town by the tail and swung it around. I love Toronto, I know you might think it's too soon, but you know that's how I operate.