So there we were at Not!Fest03. The few, the sloshed ... well, anyway. There we were when the idea suddenly came to me: why not make a little mini-Newsletter to commemorate this blessed event? After all, we all miss the newsletters -- it's been far too long -- and we had such a fun and funny group of Sibliren gathered around. Why not just have a few people throw together a few paragraphs, and post it on the Web. I mean, how hard could it be??
Four weeks and approximately a zillion emails later, my fingernails finally worn down to the length my piano teacher strived for all those years, I'm feeling a much more personal appreciation for Paula and her harp...er, insisting on deadlines.
But anyway, we have what I think has turned out to be a lovely little mini-letter. Our own Prancing Sister Jean brings us her thoughts on why Tina flew in from Fiji, while so many nearer Sibliren stayed at home. Our dearest Sister Hurricane (hi schnookums!) takes time away form her Britney Spears imitations to bring us a revolutionary idea about the Abbey as we move forward. The amazing Not!Hostess Gen brings us news of all the many sights that actually do exist in Montreal (not that any of the Not!Festers could tell you a thing about them).
For a special treat, furious
digging in Sister Lens of Science's unpublished archives has brought us
a gem of technical research. Sister Badger (aka Rosemary) recounts
for all one of the more enjoyable phone calls of Not!Fest03; yours truly
provides insights into the shocking discovery of the existence of other
internet cults; and our own Demure One brings back her long-lamented Ask
Sister Autumn column. We hope that everyone who couldn't be in Montreal
will at least enjoy this contribution of those who were!
E D I T O R S
S I G N & G R A P H I C S
N T R I B U T O R S t o No. 42
While that may sound like a rhetorical question, after extensive and exhaustive research (20 minutes on the Internet at my local library), I have come to a new appreciation of the difficulties involved in travel to and from Fiji and what poor Tina endured to be with us at Not!Fest Montreal. In short, her sacrifices are going to make the rest of you seem as if you not only don't like Autumn, Nanchita, Glasses, Lensie, Gen, Jessica, Sonya, Andrew, Hurricane, Twee, Megan, Lynn, Eve, Isabelle, Rosemary, Mayra and myself (inconceivable, I know), but that you are also the type of person who would scoff at the plight of sick babies and ponies everywhere.
Being a product of the United States educational system ("Geography? That's a subject? You're kidding, right?"), I first had to find Fiji because I had no freakin' clue where it was. Turns out it's somewhere south of us and west of everywhere, except possibly Australia. Skull was probably throwing kangaroos across the ocean at Tina while she toiled away building houses.
According to the official Fiji tourism website, www.bulafiji.com, the place is "the truly relaxing tropical getaway." I soon came to find out why the tourism board claims it's so damn relaxing. Once you're there, you can't leave. After several fruitless attempts to book flights from Fiji to Montreal via Expedia and Travelocity, I finally discovered that the islands are only served by Air Pacific Limited, "your island in the sky." Quite frankly, the idea of flying islands intrigues me, because if entire islands can fly, then why did Godzilla always have to swim home in all those movies? Why couldn't he just take his flying island to the next site of havoc and destruction?
But back to Fiji. The Air Pacific website gives you a multitude of choices about dates, times, and partner airlines to book your trip. What they DON'T tell you, and this is a factoid also conveniently missing from the bulafiji site, is that flights only leave Fiji on days that begin with "A" and months that end with "X." And then only during leap year. I tried seventeen ways to Sunday and finally ended up with flights to Vancouver, although the site claimed to service Canada as far east as Toronto. Perhaps those flights are only available when the moon is in the seventh house. (Go ahead and sing it. You know you want to.)
The next problem with Air Pacific bookings is that the arrival and departure times are listed in military time, which means I could be leaving Fiji at 3 a.m. and not realize it. The price for the trip was $2682.50 "Fiji dollars," which translates to $7,192.35 Canadian or $18.99 US.
Slightly more disturbing was Air Pacific's "on time" posting for each flight. Instead of a percentage, it just said "NA." Not Applicable? Not Always? No Air? Next August? Never Again? Neener, Autumn?
Finally, while the Fiji Islands are not very large in sheer acreage, they have a bazillion airports from which to choose your Not!flights. Specifying the city of Nadi didn't help me; it then wanted to know if I wanted Nadi International or the Royal Canadian Air Force Station. At that point, I was ready to borrow a horse from the Royal Canadian Air Force and swim it to Canada, except I was afraid I'd run into Godzilla somewhere between Honolulu and Los Angeles. I now strongly suspect the reason Godzilla DOES swim from place to place is that he's also tried to book a flight out of Fiji on Air Pacific.
So now you understand the logistical problems of leaving "the truly relaxing tropical getaway," especially when your ultimate destination is somewhere other than another part of the truly relaxing tropical getaway. And you can appreciate what SOME people will do to be with some OTHER people.
Which brings us back to the original question: Tina flew in from Fiji; where the hell were YOU?
It seems that Not!Fest is becoming as much of a tradition now as FEST was, and since I don't have to do any work and get to sit around laughing and drinking with my friends, I say keep 'em coming. This year Lensie got drunk enough to decide that we all should head to Tampa in the summer, because apparently it is not hot or humid at all. It's not like we go outside anyway. So next year we are off to sunny Florida, where the average age is 78 and the average temperature is 87, so we'll all feel young and hot.
And a special thanks to Jessica for putting this edition together and then helping create the AMAZING graphics like the one above. Are we GENIUSES at PhotoShop or what? (Autumn waits while La.. recovers from tearing her own eyes out).
if you'll excuse me now, I am off to do the chop-chop dance, all seven
What they didn't see in Montréal ...
by Sister Gen
Since Vegas, I've gotten used to explaining OBSSE to third parties as an "Internet Travel Club". But after this year, there's confirmation that the term doesn't properly describe the event, 'cause we didn't do that much site-seeing this June ... I shouldn't be surprised, I've as much Fest/Not!Fest experience as the next 4 'hos after all ...
Turns out, we hardly left the comforts of l'Appartement Hotel where we overtook the 9th floor as HQ for this event. Basically, we left the hotel to eat (or to purchase essential Fest supplies: beer, alcohol, munchies and baby formula). Mind you, the elevators wouldn't let us leave more than that. So here's a quick list of sites the group did not see this June:
Eateries left out: Wilensky's Light Lunch, Schwartz's Deli, The Montreal Pool Room, La Binerie Mont-Royal, Café Presto, le Bilboquet, Old Dublin Pub.
Events not attended: The International Fireworks Competition (either from the Jacques-Cartier Bridge or the Amusement Park); Mambo Italiano Premiere; Montreal Alouettes' Football Club preseason game at Molson Stadium; solstice sunrise; Dead Sea Scrolls on display at the Pointe-à-Callières Archeology Museum; Sale of first Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the 21st of June.
Am I bitter I didn't get to showcase my city properly? Not in the least. For once, the nuts rolled up to Canada :^)