Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Slayage, Eh?

I just found out that Slayage 2012 – the biennial academic on the Whedonverses – is going to be held in Vancouver. For the first time, it’s coming to Canada!!! So, as one of the Canucks who has attended the conference in the past, I thought I’d pass on some Canadian wisdom to the many Slayage peeps who might not be aware of some of our traditions. (And I would have photoshopped a stake in that Canadian heart above if I actually knew how to photoshop...)

Slayage will be held in June. In Canada, there’s not a lot of snow left in June, but we do tend to have the flash blizzards at that time. Especially in British Columbia, where it snows year-round. So, be sure to pack very heavy clothing.

To get into the country, you need to answer a few trivia questions, which will be given to you in a small cabin on the border by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Here are some answers to the obvious ones:

Q: In what year did Canada become a country?
A: 1987.

Q: Who was the first Prime Minister of Canada? (And yes, we have prime ministers here... they’re like presidents only with more argyle sweaters.)
A: Bryan Adams.

Q: How did the first settlers come to Canada?
A: On the Titanic, with Celine Dion.

Q: Why is Canada's national symbol a beaver?
A: It was switched to a beaver from the previous animal, a black squirrel, after Naked Gun became a big hit (and we were very proud of our homegrown Leslie Nielsen)! By the time Parliament realized what he actually meant by "Nice beaver," it was too late... the rodent was already on our money.

Speaking of money, our paper money is very colourful, unlike the American greenbacks. This is because during the Vietnam War, in which we were a major participant, our economy slumped, and to keep it going, our government allowed people to use Monopoly money instead. Until then, our money was all brown.

The dollar coin is a piece of pure gold, and it’s called a loonie. We call it that because when we originally moved from paper money to coinage, they inserted lead into the money so it would literally burn holes in your pocket, and people began going mad. Our two-dollar coin has a piece of pure gold in the middle, with platinum around the edges. It’s called a two-nie. I have no idea why.

Also, you MUST speak French if you come here... everyone is completely bilingual, and while we speak English amongst ourselves inside our homes, in public you must speak French. So here are some key phrases you will need while you are here:

Je suis un salle de bain.
Translation: Where is the washroom?

Tu es un stylo.
Translation: May I borrow your pen?

Ou es le parking?
Where is the parking lot?
(Actually, this one is real... I like to think of Canadian French as Franglais. Don’t bring your fancy Parisien-learned French here and try to get by... you’ll be thrown out of a fa-nay-tra!)

Voulez-vous couchez avec moi?
Translation: Does anyone still listen to Christina Aguilera?

All men must wear their hair like Justin Bieber, and all the women... have to wear their hair like Justin Bieber, too.

And finally, we sing our national anthem all the time. It’s necessary in this country, because there is a very, very wealthy Canadian billionaire named George Stroumboulopoulos who donates money into our nation’s health care system every time we sing it. It’s why we have free health care! (The only catch is, when you go to the doctor’s office you have to spell his last name three times very quickly.) We sing the anthem when we wake up in the morning, before every meal, and every time we enter or exit a building. So, you’re going to have to learn it.

And hey, I’m here to help! So here are the words to our national anthem. Learn them before Slayage, because you’re going to need them!! And in the meantime, welcome to our country!

O Canada, our gnome and Métis land
True patriots bow at moon and sun’s command
With glowy hearts see E.T. rise
The true Norse strong and free
From car to slide
O Canada
We stand on guard for Lee!!!!

Got to keep our land
Glory house and flee
O Canada
We stand on guard for Lee....
O CAN-a-da
We stand on guard... for.... LEE!!!!

(I’m thinking it’s the General Lee we’re standing on guard for, but I don’t have confirmation of that.)

UPDATE: As many have pointed out to me, the Lee in our anthem stands for Geddy Lee, of course. Sheesh, you'd think that after working at the company who's been putting out Neil Peart's books for the last decade that I would have known that...


Anonymous said...

You have been hanging out with Rick Mercer far too much.

Anonymous said...

Man, Nikki, I'm almost afraid to come to Slayage after that! Also, I'm laughing so hard I'm about to fall out of my chair. My brother & his family live in Manitoba & my family also has connections in Ontario, so I actually know your national anthem. And some French. You are evil. [still laughing]

Dale Guffey said...

This is your way of getting even for all those past Slayages (what's the plural for "Slayage," anyway?) in the Gentle Southland, isn't it?

So are incoming tourists issued their own national animal at Customs, or must we bring our own? And why does even asking that question seem naughty?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

You forgot the mandatory oath of allegiance to William Shatner.

Nikki Stafford said...

Mockingbird: We actually have a very strict "BYOB (Bring Your Own Beaver)" policy here.

Colleen: I was actually leaving that one so they'd discover it for themselves. :)

Nikki Stafford said...

elrambo: Wait... those aren't the real lyrics? That's what I've been singing for years!

Ian said...

I'm so looking forward to it! Vancouver is an incredible city and UBC has an awesome campus. They also have a nude beach-Wreck Beach-which may fall into your definition of awesome. Or not.

Unknown said...

It's very important to not confuse "poutine" with "putain." VERY important.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to Winnipeg this winter in December, and this will be my first trip to Canada ever. I laughed so hard at all of this. I'll be sure to memorise that anthem, as it seems to be the custom to sing it at least three times over as soon as you touch Canadian soil!

Cedar said...

Thank you, Nikki. You've given me much needed laughter on a day of marking essays!

Anonymous said...

@Mockingbird In Canada, the plural of Slayage is Slayages, but pronounced "Slay-AHzhe". Or maybe it's Slayageois.

Bridget said...

Nikki: Could the "Lee" be Geddy Lee?

Inara said...

Oh, Nikki, you are so bad! I was laughing so hard...well, it wasn't pretty. Thanks.

humanebean said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

Well, THAT 'splains why I kept getting those odd looks on my trip to Vancouver! I walked around singing a COMPLETELY different set of lyrics. (I can't repeat them here, they were comprised of choice lines of dialogue from Deadwood)

Now I have to BACK!

JS said...


Per my husband the not-very-evil canuk

"it's all true. and of course Lee is Geddy Lee, duh."

Does that mean anything to you?

Austin Gorton said...

Homer: So, how was everybody's day at school?
Marge: Exhausting. It took the children forty minutes to locate Canada on the map.
Homer: Marge, anyone can miss Canada, all tucked away down there.

Blam said...

Ha! You really oat-did yourself this time, lady.

JJ said...

Nikki, you didn't tell them about Sasquatch!

Sasquatch is a large furry beast who is way, way cooler than Bigfoot and eats anyone who thinks otherwise. He can be kept at bay by a loon's quacking, so be sure to carry one with you at all times.

Joan Crawford said...

I thought I'd just fill in a bit more info on the twonie for everyone. It isn't actually used as currency but as a "brideprice". Commonly, hale and hardy Canadian men will prove what able providers they are by "popping out" the centre (yes, that's 're' not 'er') of the coin. This is then presented to the woman who is obligated to wear it for one year as a test of endurance (life is hard here; you don't want a sissy-wife. If she can't endure a little gangrene, she's essentially dead-weight). And so you'll often hear "Has Hubert gone and popped off yet?" and it sounds mildly dirty but it is actually quite wholesome.

Joan Crawford said...

HA! That actually isn't a typo - I did indeed mean to say "hale and hardy". Another thing you might not know about Canadian culture is how ingrained the Hardy Boys are into the collective consciousness. As I just proved.

VW: No, you sit down now.

Nikki Stafford said...

Just to add to Joan's comment, the #1 most popular name among males in Canada is, indeed, Hubert.

Dusk said...

Nikki you forgot as we get off the plane we have to sing the 2nd verse of the big bang theme song in French! Otherwise you get sent right back!

Erin {pughs' news} said...

Oh, Canada! So hilarious.

I think I might need to catch the ferry over to Vancouver while you're there, Nikki! Maybe we could finally have a LOST meet-up on the west coast?

Erin {pughs' news} said...

Okay, just read all the comments now. Laughing even harder!