Posted by Hal
1) I have a giant barbecue in my backyard. It’s like the Humvee of barbecues. I really like to barbecue.
2) Several times in my life I’ve considered giving up writing to pursue some kind of cooking career. This was long before hipsters started making their own ricotta.
3) I’ve never actually made a ‘zine. I feel weirdly guilty about that. I’ve had a lot of ideas for ‘zines. For instance, Mommy Trader, which would look exactly like Auto Trader only it would be based on the buying, selling and trading of Mommies.
4) Another idea I recently had - a series of videos called The Wonder Authors that would be a spoof of the kids show The Wonder Pets (in which 3 pre-school age pets rescue other animals, see http://www.nickjr.com/home/wond_about.jhtml). In my spoof, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and one other rotating cast member (Timothy Findley back from the dead, Barbara Gowdy, Michael Winter etc.) would rescue other Canadian Authors from jeopardy. Like the show, all the dialogue would be in song - Atwood: “A writer, a Canadian writer’s in trouble!” Ondaatje: “We have to help him!” Michael Winter: “How can we help him?” Atwood: “A letter, we’ll write a letter!” Ondaatje: “A strongly worded letter!” Winter: “To get him a grant!” Atwood: “But who can write it?” “Ondaatje: “I’m much too busy!” Winter: “And so am I!” If you’ve ever seen the Wonder Pets you will hopefully think this is funny. If you’ve never seen the Wonder Pets you will have no idea what I’m talking about. If you want to make this video with me, I’m ready and willing. My wife has already volunteered to make the author puppets.
5) I met my wife in my second year of university. Before getting married we broke up 4 or maybe 5 times over a period of six or seven years. She just couldn’t shake me.
6) I play hockey 2 or 3 times a week. On my hockey team I am known for my move ‘The Octopus’, a kind of catch and release manoeuvre in which I briefly impede an opposing player’s progress, then let him go before the referee notices and gives me a penalty.
7) Here are my current stats, lifetime, with my hockey team: GP: 536 G: 108 A: 211 Pts: 319 PIM: 282 GWG: 13 GTG 5 PPG 8 SHG: 2 Ejections: 2
8) In terms of sports, I also enjoy basketball, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, cross country skiing, ultimate Frisbee, Frisbee golf (if you can call that a sport) and ball hockey. I never jog, work out, swim laps, or do any solitary exercise that I can avoid. I like group sports, perhaps because I spend most of days alone. Some of the sports above I have done very few times, and a few of them I have only done drunk.
9) I sometimes think to myself: I should have more friends. Why don’t I have more friends? But I’m not entirely sure how many friends a person should have. For all I know I already have more friends than is normal and/or necessary.
10) When my wife gets home from work I sometimes recount the day’s events at my (home) office. This generally involves the exploits of me and several of my co-workers, make-believe animals who share my office: “Teddy Bear was reprimanded by Boss Pig today.” “Puppy Dog and me had lunch at the Indian buffet down the street. All you can eat. That dog can really eat.”
11) I’m actually pretty lazy. I’d be happy just writing for two hours everyday and spending the rest of the time puttering around in my garden.
12) Me and this guy I met at my kid’s daycare just went in together on a package of three kinds of mushroom cultures. We’re going to implant them in rotting tree trunks and leave them lying around our respective yards.
13) While the meat cooks on the barbecue I like to wander around my tiny backyard garden pulling weeds and securing errant cucumber vines to the chain link fence. Last summer, all my cucumber plants turned brown and died for no apparent reason. Also last summer, the hardy kiwi vine I planted about seven years ago first yielded fruit - grape sized kiwis with a smooth exterior.
14) My neighbour - the other neighbour, not the nice one - threatened to kill me some years back.
15) Currently, I get the feeling that my brother isn’t talking to me.
16) About the only thing I haven’t contemplated writing is a play. I do not want to ever write a play. Writing a play feels too much like writing about writing, which I also do not ever want to do.
17) I like and demand order and cleanliness but I am, myself, a bit of a slob. You can barely see the floor in my small office and everything is covered in a thin veil of dust.
18) There is very rarely a day when I do not contemplate my death. I imagine my funeral - what songs should be played, who might attend - and think that when my time comes it will be a relief for everyone, particularly me. I often tell my wife: “When I go I don’t want a funeral. Just bury me in the backyard next to the kiwi vine.” She just pats me on the back: “Okay big boy. Whatever you say.”
19) I usually tear up at weddings, funerals and even Bar Mitzvahs. It’s something about the ceremony, because right before and right after I’m back to thinking about what will hopefully turn out to be an open bar.
20) At my Bar Mitzvah I surreptitiously drank three glasses of white wine and was sent to the basement to sleep it off.
21) At my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah I drank so many gin and tonics that my mother stationed herself at the open bar to ward me off, like hanging a string of garlic bulbs over a doorway to forestall a vampire.
22) My only remaining grandparent is Zadie Abraham, who lives in a home in Montreal. He’s 97. We were never very close, but I still feel like I should call him. The truth is, I almost never call him.
23) I tend to think: I should do this. Then I think, why should I do this? I won’t do this unless I really want to do this. I won’t do this just because it is expected of me. In this way, I play out my daily battle with myself over such issues as social propriety, hypocrisy, morality, community, and “the public good” versus “individual interest”.
24) My favourite play to see performed is Waiting for Godot.
25) I have more back hair than most human males have on their chests. Sometimes, when I’m lying on the couch, my 3 year-old daughter will approach me, pull up my shirt and start to gently comb my back hair with the brush that came with one of her dolls. The feel of the plastic bristles on my back hair is weirdly soothing.
Hey, I’m Hal Niedzviecki. I’m a writer/thinker who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife and daughter. Up till now I’ve always considered myself a private person. But at the same time I’m fascinated by people who effortlessly open themselves up to the whole world. So I’ve… more...
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