News for the OBSSEsed - continued
Issue No. 29, November 1999

by Brother Colin
with the required French/Canadian content
provided by Sister Gen (CRTC Reg. #5555)

[Blue text indicates French/Canadian content.] 

From October 8-11, sisters (and one brother) from all over North America
convened on the fair city of Montreal. [Ahem . Montréal.] Read on as we
describe our unforgettable inva- er, visit to the French metropolis of North

Friday, Oct. 8: Arrival
Most of the group arrived at various points on Friday.  All did not, however, go smoothly.  It took all of our collected Canadian money to bail Sisters
La..Dee..Da.. and Jean, Jean the Prance Machine out of jail.  Information is fuzzy, but reports indicate La.. insisted to the customs official that it was
her constitutional right to be frisked by a Mountie [Talk about an
international incident stemming from socio-political faux-pas: wrong province, dear.] Meanwhile, Jean (who has absolutely no future as an undercover cop or CIA agent) apparently broke under the customs official's relentless questioning ("Are you traveling together?" indeed - those monsters!) Anyhow, her total non-sequitur response ("We're on a train!") aroused further suspicions. [She claims she understood the officer's question as "Are you driving together" . I'd rather believe that our Prancer extraordinaire broke under the combined stress of knowing she was traveling with undeclared "Spooky Wiggler"* perv toys into Canada and knowing that Sister La.. was just dying to hear her actually say, "perv toy" out loud to a Canadian Customs official.]

*Note to perv toy aficionados: even just that they are your standard squishy perv toy, with little ghosts and goblins inside them, and that's exactly the trade name they were sold under in the Great State of New York. Trust us: You haven't lived until you've seen a roomful of OBSSE sibliren solemnly playing with their perv toys. Even better is the image of Colin unable to get a grip on his ....

Cathy, it must be said, did not do much better.  Granted, that Canuck in the customs booth was a tricky one. I would not have been quite certain how to respond to his questions either. That "where are you from?" was a particular doozy.  After only a few moments of delay, Cathy did remember "Boston."

Another noteworthy arrival was that of Tina and SoA who were driven into the city by the latter's mother with a car full of camping equipment. [Brave
woman,  SoA's mother, to let her only child join this slightly off-center group for the weekend; what was that look on her face when she met us?]The rest of the evening was spent in great comfort, inflating air mattresses, consuming beer, diet coke, chips and Hoo Boy!Homemade Salsa which cleared up many a blocked nasal passage, that's how hot it was. While La.. and Gen were at the airport to pick up Angie, the rest of the gang joined chat to give Jean her first taste of mIRC OBSSE style. [Are you sure she didn't just want to neener the crowd?] Suffice to say she now knows why no one posts on Saturdays; the folks are all still sleeping off Friday night's readings.

Saturday, October 9: Running Amok
On Saturday, we woke up bright and early (well, except for Yours Truly and La.., neither of whom are used to the barbaric custom of waking up before noon - but, when in Rome...) and, once we were all awake and alert, we went out to breakfast at Chez Cora.

A certain sick! sister of ours would have felt right at home at Chez Cora -
the sheer number of statues of chickens decorating the walls gave it a kitschy yet charming atmosphere. Decorations notwithstanding, the crèpes [with Real Maple Syrup for our Québécois or the Crème anglaise, a true hit with our American visitors] we had for breakfast were delightful. [It deserves mentioning that Chez Cora is also positively a lardalicious place, with its sides of Fèves au Lard (traditional Québec baked beans) or Oreilles de Christ (translated literally: Christ's Ears, but pork rinds for you Amurricans).] Added bonus Chez Cora: our waitress looked EXACTLY like a Star Trek Romulan. Just for NaK. <g>

We picked up Squat, an East Coast Virgin until she came to Montréal, at the airport (leading to one of Montréal!Fest's unofficial mottoes:  we came to Montréal, and all we got was Squat). [Passengers in Isabelle's car got her special NY cabbie impersonation, as she purposely got lost at every trip to ensure that her cohorts would see different aspects of the second largest French city in the world.]

In the afternoon, we ventured onto Montréal's mass transit system, taking a bus to Le Vieux Montréal (the Old City).  Gen  took us to see the
Basilique Notre-Dame (which was rather mind-blowingly opulent from the inside; negotiations to acquire the Basilica for use as an abbey will be forthcoming as soon as Autumn wires me the deposit), the three successive courthouses adjoining each other. [L'Ancien Palais de justice, the oldest one, now a municipal building; le Nouveau Palais de justice, built early this century now housing the Music Conservatory; and the current edifice, just plain le Palais de justice, otherwise known as The Ugliest Courthouse In the World. What!? I'm a lawyer dammit! And at least Colin was interested. I think.] It bears mentioning that almost every noteworthy building along the tour seems to be a miniature replica of real buildings in That Other Big Famous City In France. Like the Montréal City Hall [Hôtel de Ville], the balcony from which DeGaulle declared "Vive le Québec libre!" (all rumors concerning a brawl between Gen and Squat over this last place are completely unsubstantiated.)  We stopped and had drinks at a lovely open-air cafe (Les Jardins Nelson), and headed back
to Château Gélinas, walking through Chinatown in preparation for dinner.

Particularly enjoyable were the periodic lessons in French pronunciation.  If I do say so myself, we were getting quite good as the Fest wore on. [Sure.] The snickers of our hosts were much more subdued by the end of the weekend. [Some were better at it than others, Angie even being able to pin down the famous Montréal Flair. Much to her dismay, waitresses kept addressing Angie in French . Must have been the bérêt dear.]

Dinner was at Piazzetta, a quiet Italian restaurant near Gen's house. [We were the only patrons in the restaurant for the bulk of the evening. I think the OBSSE invasion scared off the local population. And here I thought I'd managed to maintain a low profile in the neighborhood. No more.] The waiters were outstanding, and were quite impressed with our French. [Fine.] I'm sure they thrust the English menus at us only out of concern for our comfort level [Whatever.]  In any event, the food was delicious, and by now we were feeling quite at home in Gen's fair city.  Besides, it was a lot of fun ordering Italian food in a French owned restaurant [Mais oui: two languages to butcher!]

Post-dinner at Chateau Gen was a blast - Meredith serenaded us, with Jean accompanying.  It was a highly moving performance - the roadkill medley was particularly touching.  We also got to play with Gen's sociable black cat, Fluffy.  Yeah, sure, Gen had some French name for him - Gauthier, or some such, [Gontran] but he definitely looked like a Fluffy.  I think he even liked his new name. [That would be because Gontran is the blonde of black cats .]

[The weekend's Anglo-Canadian content requirements were provided by Squat who brought us a tape of Da Vinci's Inquest, a Canadian television drama, set at the Vancouver Coroner's office. It also provided much XF content for the weekend as we counted the numerous actor retread alerts, locations, autopsies, yadda. Verdict: Da Vinci's over Harsh Realm anytime, folks. Other XF contents involved Memento Mori The Way God Intended, which became the source of some distress: Meredith just fell asleep during the viewing, a guitar pic stuck in the middle of her forehead. Sinful, simply sinful. Meredith wasn't the only one in trouble. Colin seemed particularly affected by the local beer and its higher alcohol level: he ditched us during Da Vinci's only to be found in the yard, running after Gontran in black silk boxers. On the other hand, the Montréal sisters were relieved to find that the crisp Montréal air and OBSSE group therapy had cleansed Cathy of her Fowleyish tendencies.]

Sunday, Oct. 10: Shop 'til You Drop 
For Sunday, we all slept in except for Jean, who went to the 9 am Mass at Saint-Viateur. Jean contends that she goes to Mass regularly at home, too. The rest of the group contends that Jean just got up so early to get the shower first. [I just hope that if she really did attend Mass, she prayed for our souls...] A small group went hunting for Scullyistic breakfast food : authentic wood oven baked bagels, with real cream cheese, which were eaten out on the terrace. The afternoon was spent shopping.  Foremost on our minds was taking advantage of the exchange rate - shopping with those Canadian "coupons" is not to be beat. 

Among the stores we pillaged were Excalibor (a medieval-themed boutique, at which La.. and Meredith completely lost control), and le Valet de Cours ("Jack of Hearts", a gaming store at which yours truly bought a lovely Tolkien-themed chess set). La.., Meredith and I (guided by Isabelle) spent a large chunk of the afternoon in the ongoing Quest for an ATM to access our American accounts.  Note to self: your account balance looks much nicer in Canadian dollars. [OK, that's it! IF WE HAVE TO HEAR YET ANOTHER STUPID JOKE ABOUT OUR CURRENCY.  Ahem . It's so nice to know that you guys are practically millionaires in our country. Really. We feel for you. It must be such a pain to see your bank account triple, to be able to purchase goods and only pay half the price. It's surely the closest thing to Man Pain you can get <mumble>.] We visited a Troll Store where we looked for an appropriate OBSSE Troll, but could find neither a Mailing List Troll, X-Files Troll, nor Broncos Troll, and so had to leave empty-handed.

We took a break at Les Deux Marie, a coffee shop where we splurged on café liégois (a cold coffee ice cream float with whipped cream), café au lait, tea, croissant au chocolat, biscotti, and other sugary confections. All rumors concerning the Prance Machine tying a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue at this location are entirely unconfirmed. [Oh Colin, that's because the American media couldn't be bothered to investigate, what with all this election silliness you have down there. If you'd only read La Presse, Le Devoir or Le Journal de Montréal: our Jean made front page news with her feat! Local reporters had been tracking us ever since Jean had promised she would showcase this unique ability of hers if the opportunity arose. Les Deux Marie proved to be the perfect setting, providing the essential material: a café liégois, topped with toasted almonds and a long stemmed cherry!]

Armed with our purchases, we went back to Gen's and ooh'd and ahh'd at Meredith's new dress [enough to make SWILM, really] and my chess set.  Then, we had a Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Meal - chili. [Thank Scully, Janelle has truly done a good job of raising Meredith within the confines of Amy Vanderbilt's Southern Etiquette; this authentic Texan didn't even blink -well, not for long anyways-  at the cajun-spiced-meat- and-beans concoction I call chili.]

After dinner, we went to the Mont-Royal (after which the city was named - Lens wasn't there, so everyone "made the connection.") It had started to rain, so we felt like we were right at home in Vancouver. On top of the mountain, we were met by odd moving lights in the sky which surely were UFOs just waiting to abduct us. [Is it me or is it always the guy who jumps to conclusions, takes his wishes for reality and tries to impose his dogmatic views on all who were there? Colin: there is no evidence those lights even came from aircraft! In fact, from the angle and point of origin of the beams, the most rational explanation is the lightshow offered as part of the Black and Blue Fest also held in Montréal that weekend.]

St. Joseph's Oratory was our next and most important stop.  This massive church (note to Elders:  if Basilique Notre Dame falls through, I have another idea) had a special stairway which penitents climb on their knees, saying a prayer at each step.

And so, as the saying goes, we did it on our knees.  Some did a step or two, thought better of it, and backed down.  The particularly hardy among us, however, did the whole thing.  Angie and Squat each pleaded for assorted blessings, including "sex for Scully," "continuity," "more sex for Scully," "Fight-the-Future!Mulder," "even more sex for Scully," and so forth.  I opted to focus my prayers on one target in particular.  Put it this way - if we get continuity this season, you owe me big time.

Monday, Oct. 11: Au Revoir
Parting was such sweet sorrow, as anyone who has been to a Fest can tell you.  So reluctant was the departure that Jean and La.. very nearly missed their train, in fact.  They did, however, make it back home, much to the relief of Canada.  [I'm told that while Jean didn't crack under U.S. customs pressure, the train itself did. Our New Yawkers were stranded outside of Saratoga for quite some time while the crew sorted out a problem with the brakes. Note to all: X-Files lore is correct. Bad things DO happen around trains.]

Cathy demonstrated a remarkable concern for her car's appearance, scrubbing at a spot of mud with a leaf, claiming, "I can't drive under these conditions."  Departure, however, was not long delayed, and we (Meredith, Cathy and myself) made it back to the States.  We had Cathy well-trained by this point, and upon being asked where we lived, "Boston" flowed off her lips smoothly.  Then the dastardly fiends asked if there was anything in the car that didn't go with us into Canada.  Happily, before she made her confessed first response ("But the car did go with us into Canada") her passengers helpfully volunteered the couple of souvenirs (minus perv toys, naturally), and we were sped on our way.

All in all, a wonderful time was had by all.  Gen was a wonderful hostess, and the entire Montréal OBSSE community (Gen, Isabelle, Twee, Tina, and Eve) were hysterical - and remarkably tolerant of our American invasion of Montréal.  Indeed, the city itself was fabulous, and Gen makes an excellent tour guide.  And so, as an attendee of the first ever Official International Mini-Fest, I thank everyone involved in making this happen.

[Dear me. And we haven't even gotten around to the best parts! You see, we didn't want the folks to OD on too much cultural diversity at once. Although we did walk the same aisles she did in the Basilique Notre-Dame where she was married, we skipped Céline's home town of Charlemagne, Céline's restaurant (Nickels), Céline's golf club (le Mirage), Céline's favourite food (poutine; and here you thought you had nothing in common with the diva but the main ingredient of poutine is CHEESE!) and so much more.

Seriously, there are lessons to be learned form this weekend. Life is better when you own a perv toy. Ongoing, small group, perv lessons with the Master do indeed improve performance. One bathroom for 10 OBSSEers is quite the limit without feeling you're in the Third World. 

We had a lots and lots of fun, please come back. Really, we love it when you make fun of our money. In the immortal words of Jacques Brel, "Ne me quitte pas!"]

This article has been brought to you by Colin, Gen, Isabelle, Jean and the whole gang who made it to this totally enjoyable little weekend: Twee-SoA, Tina, Squat, Eve, CathyB, Meredith, La.. and Angie.

Isabelle, Tina, Angie, CathyB, Twee
Montréal MiniFest `99 :
Ten people. One bathroom. Trouble.

Montréal MiniFest `99 :
All Crepes! All the Time!

Basilique Notre-Dame...

Wouldn't this make a lovely OBSSE Abbey North?


Angie & troll

St. Joseph's Oratory

Montréal MiniFest `99 :
We Did It On Our Knees.

Colin, La.., Squat, Twee, Gen, Meredith
frontrow: Isabelle, CathyB, Jean, Angie

Montréal MiniFest `99 :
Cerulean Bleu. It's like a tasty fromage.