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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Year

Once again, Christmas has descended upon the Biggest Little Town in the North. And, now that it's come and gone, I'm prepared to get something off my chest.

I'm tired of Christmas.

Have you ever been at a party, and someone asks you to tell you a joke? You stammer, on the spot, until you finally muster up some pathetic laugh you heard when you were in grade school. That's the way I feel when I hear the following words:

What do you want for Christmas?

I am a simple person, whose needs don't stretch past money to pay the rent, plus a little more to party, and metres upon metres of snow. I never know what to get anyone myself, and when I'M the one asking I tend to get the "You'll think of something', or 'Whatever you get me will be fine', or something along the lines that equate to "If you don't KNOW what I want, then you're a bad friend". Consequently, I was the stereotype on Christmas Eve at 4pm doing 90% of my shopping.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love how the "holiday season" makes everyone that little bit nicer for 2 weeks out of the year (ok, maybe living in a place where the Christmas lights are up for months extends that period by about a month or so). And I totally understand the gift giving philosophy - reciprocity forges and maintains bonds of friendship. But I didn't exactly sign in for Christmas, it just engulfed me before I had developed self-awareness and my own identity. Now in December, I have happy memories of childhood Christmases and seek a desire to have the holiday I remember every year. These huge, opulent gifts we now give, especially to the kids, makes us lose sight of what this holiday is all about: to the believers, the celebration of the birth of the Saviour, to non-believers, a chance to reconnect with the people we care about. In my opinion, taking the time to sit down for a drink and a chat with someone you haven't done so in a while is just as valuable as an Xbox, or a new sweater. It shows you're thinking of them on a deeper level, and the conversation proves that you are just as interested in their life as you hope they are in yours. Kind of like Valentine's Day; why reserve one day out of the year to show your love to the one person that doesn't want to break you down, when you can do it every single day you're happy with him/her?

Maybe, if people took this approach more often, throughout the year, the world would be just that little bit less shitty.

Maybe I'm just rambling.

By The Way: I am obsessed with Boardwalk Empire, the new drama from HBO... Do whatever you can to watch it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coach the Leafs??? Are you High???

Behold, folks.

Proof that The Great White North is not as true, strong and free as it once was. Recently, the Canadian Senate has passed a law regarding marijuana; specifically, those surrounding growers. In BC, it was anything up to 200 plants would lead to a fine, and anything more could lead to jail time. Now, thanks to Stevie Hapless and his Conservatocracy, a mere 5 plants leads to a mandatory prison term. This is part of a larger Crime Bill, known as S-10 (check out the full story here.)

Now, I'm not a big smoker, and, objectively, I don't know enough about politics to really have my opinion gain any merit. What I do know, however, is the times when they are indeed a-changin'. Harper has had the War On Drugs torch handed to him via the Americans, and now that a softy Democrat is in power in the South (who has smoked pot! Shock! Horror!), he is the sole guardian of family values and the American Way. Were it not for a small geographical problem, he's probably Joe Republican's wet dream, right down to the dead eyes. These new laws are a perfect example of the Conservatives muscling in on something just because they can. And while I may not smoke, I know a fair few people that do (in Whistler! I know, right?).

Steve, if you're going to make this the new rule, at the very least have a provincial vote. A vote is kind of like a referendum, except you might not lose your job. Then, at least we have a say in your little toy chest. Look at it this way. You know who would vote for 200 plants over 5 plants? Stoners. That's who. The last thing they want to do is get up off the couch (Spongebob won't watch itself after all) and fill in a box. And for God's sake, don't dissolve Parliament again. It shows weakness.

In Other News, I have had possibly the best idea of the year. It was inspired by the lacklustre performance the Toronto Maple Leafs put in against the Ottawa Senators last week. Actually, in general recently now that I think of it. And by recently, I guess I mean the last 40 or so years. But, my idea.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that there are 5 million Leafs fans in Canada (35mil population divided by 6 Canadian teams, with the extra 5 million either American fans or not interested in hockey at all.) There are 82 games in the regular season. If we could get a contest going, where ANYONE with an idea on what the team is doing wrong could put their name in a hat (a very big hat) to earn a chance to coach a game. The whole thing. Obviously Ron Wilson would be there to organize line changes, be angry, etc., but in terms of tactics and general gameplay, one armchair critic right at Wilson's side every game. A quick calculation of the above hypothetical stats tells you that there are almost 61000 potential coaches per game. I'll say that again. PER GAME! And let's face it, it's not like we have a whole lot to lose!

Anyway, that's my new idea. Tell me what you think.

Oh yeah, and it's snowing like crazy up here.


By The Way: I am totally into B-movies right now. I already extolled the virtues of Machete a few posts back, but Werewolf in a Women's Prison and Ninja Cheerleaders are exactly as awful - and as awesome - as they sound.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tackling the Oasis

OK folks, here we go. It's been a long time coming but here is the unabridged account of my time in Las Vegas. Hope you like the read!

Caesar's at Dawn, Manowe'en Commences!

Well, the good news is I got through customs in Nevada. The best thing to do with customs officials, especially in the US, is to automatically give them the power and the respect they're looking for. Yes sir, no sir, I understand, thank you very much sir, I promise I'll get this organized for the next visit. And so forth. Flying in literally at sunset was a hell of an entrance for me. I recommend it if you can.
I had read that cabbies can sometimes take advantage of the new people in Vegas, particularly at the airport where they can detour to the "scenic" (read: longer) route, or blatantly hustle you. So when a suited gentleman asked me if I wanted a limousine ride, I figured, hell, I didn't bring this money to look at it! $75, and a sweet ride down the strip later, I arrive at the Riviera. Just a ways off the strip, it means a cheap place to keep my stuff while I'm out. Got a text from Seb as I landed telling me to meet him at the Wynn, about a half mile away, but after showering and changing it meant a cab over for an 8pm dinner at Switch, a great restaurant where the decor changes every 15 minutes or so. Met with Seb, and some friends of his from New York City; Lisa (the birthday girl), Sabrina (an LA actress), and their friends, Kyle and Adam, two brothers. I had some amazing ahi tuna au poivre and a Rioja, although for the price I'm not sure it equates.
After dinner, we played drinking games at the friends' hotel room at Caesar's palace. Adam ended up getting too drunk to leave the room, and his brother opted to stay behind and take care of him. Therefore, Seb and I, with the two girls, headed down to the casino to play roulette. I say "we" played: I may as well have set $40 on fire, Lisa was birthday drunk, and when I came back from the bathroom, her and Seb had disappeared back to the room. Sabrina and I spent the remainder of the night (4am by this point) jumping around watching her win money on the crazy wheel game. I crashed at their room because frankly, fuck my place when theirs was that close. One gay guy, a redhead, and me in a bed.
So ends my first night in Vegas.

Morning time, and the friends were allegedly heading back to San Diego to rent a yacht for the weekend (which, given that their driver was passed out at 10.30am, made it unlikely they made their cutoff time) and Seb and I rolled back to the Riv where we met up with his friends from Kentucky, Mike and Drew. They had had a big night as well, so it was decided that the pool was our next port of call. Great pool, sunny day, not too hot, water not too cold. Cleaned that hangover away quicksharp, and after a change, went to the in-house pub for some greasy-ass food and a beer or two. Then downtime. Goldeneye on the tv. Shit yeah.

So ends my first 24 hours in Vegas.

Both Kinds of Music/ Journey to the Old World

We hit the Strip once more, looking for fun. Starting at the Cabo Wabo Cantina for beer and nachos. At one point one of the servers told us to get inside because they were pouring shots into anyone's mouth that wanted it. Sure enough, the girls were standing on the bar. Feeling the juice, we wandered further along and found an outside bar. After a time, two girls sat down next to me and on behalf of the group I started talking to them. They were pretty fun, I ordered a round of Jack (hint: do not do this in Vega$$$) and soon enough they mentioned that they were going to the Haunted House at Madame Tussaud's at the Venetian. This is the kind of night we were looking for, so for $20 apiece the 6 of us gave it a try. It was pretty damn scary at points, I did scream, but not like a girl I assure you. Let's call it a man scream. This person went hissing past me, and I totally didn't see it in the darkness. That wasn't the most embarrassing thing any of us did though; one of the girls (Jamie?) was going around grabbing the crotches of the wax models, I guess to make herself feel comfortable knowing they weren't going to jump up behind her… guess what inevitably happened? It ended with a long hallway with strobe lights and a zombie wielding a machete. I stopped dead in my tracks; strobe lights disorient me, and it was a long hallway. Put my hand one someone's shoulder and just covered my eyes (it sounds pussy but I know me).

Mike had arranged to meet up at the Flamingo with his buddy Mark, a great guy he served with in Iraq. Mark lives in Vegas now and works security for one of the big casinos, I forget which one but it has a lot of lights… Anyway, feeling kind of over the Strip, they suggested a CW bar. Yes, country and western.
A little life tip for you: If you have no plans and someone suggests to hit either a house party, gay bar, or country bar, do yourself a favour and go. I have had so much fun at these locales, and this night was no exception. Mark drove us over, and the place was fairly empty but it was a huge room. Seb tried his hand at line dancing for the first time (he slayed it) and Drew, convinced he was getting some, left us to our devices. We ended up chatting to more girls near the dance floor, and closed the place down. Then we hit a bar with mini shuffleboard (this is now around 4am) and one of the girls drove us home.

The next morning was a slow one; being Saturday, it meant that the tourists were definitely humming around so rather than hang at the hotel we went straight into New York New York, where college football was on in the sports bar. I had literally one slider burger and about 4 potato chips - I couldn't force any food down my throat. This did give us an idea for tomorrow - find a sports bar and place some bets on the football. Mike wanted to check out a shop after lunch so we cabbed back to the Miracle Mile, a shopping complex I didn't dare go in to. Fancy places, and me with money in my pocket. Back to the Riviera for our now routine nap and shower, then after a couple beers in the room, we cabbed it out to Fremont Street, also known as Old Vegas. This was more what I had in mind when I arrived here, over the top light show, and it was all covered by this huge canopy with its own lights going on. Had some dinner, a great steak sandwich at Tonico's Kitchen and a round of appletinis, and we were fortunate enough to find a 5 dollar blackjack table with 4 seats. Everyone made some money apart from Drew, so we hit the strip joint across the street! Got myself a cigar, and started talking to this girl (not a stripper) who was in town for her cousin's 21st birthday. I thought I was in. She approached me, bought us a lapdance for crying out loud. Sure enough, she wants to take me to her room but her brother is sleeping in the same room. I offer for her to come back to mine, and she declined, so I jumped in a taxi and rolled home. Got a text from Drew saying she went back to gambling with them. Ah, holiday.

Football! Or Lack thereof!

Well. The plan was to wake up at 10am to place bets on most of the NFL games. When seb came in at, in his words, "dawn", I figured that time schedule was a longshot at best. At approximately 2pm he rose from his coma and we called the other boys to organize a plan. I had seen a billboard for a place called Blondies, voted the best sports bar in the country… How could we not investigate?! Buckets of Budweiser $20, and though we didn't take advantage, every single day from 3-6 is all you can drink, again for $20. We must have been there 4 hours, during which time we asserted that panda rape, while rare, is still a possible way to die, found a mortal enemy in a Detroit Lions fan (Winning sucks! Paying the bill sucks! Everything sucks! Except Detroit!) and got talking to a sweetheart chick from Oklahoma. She ended up coming back to the hotel with us while we changed and showered. Since we had such an awesome time in Old Vegas the day before we decided to head back there. I was looking forward to the costumes on parade and the world did not disappoint. After the quickest $50 I've ever played at blackjack (that table hated us, I don't think anyone walked away up) we hit the street to get our drink on. There were some serious daiquiris in the comically huge vessels, all of which had either Everclear or overproof rum. So that's what direction the night went. I think there was a dance off. I know all of us disgusted a forty year old woman by shoeing at the bar. At some point I realized I had to organize a place to stay for Monday night. Seb flies at 7:30am, the Kentucky guys at 11:30. Oh, and I believe Mike nailed the Oklahoma girl.

Last Man Standing

So Seb missed his flight. By a lot. I was awoken with an "Oh shit…" at 9:30. I don't know about him but I was sincerely still hammered; thank God he packed the night before. He was out the door by 10am, in the hopes that he could blag a free flight… Come to think of it… yeah, he was still drunk. I took this as my cue to get down to reception and book another night (checkout is 11am). Being Monday night, it was no problem, just $85 for the luxury of not dragging my shit out of the room and sleeping on the street. Bearing in mind this was a) the most drunk/hungover I've been since I arrived in Vegas, and b) the earliest I've been awake since I arrived in Vegas, I'm stunned I did it all without incident. As soon as I got the new keys, I went straight back upstairs and rolled back into bed. Didn't even take my clothes off.

So now it's me and myself, unsure where to start in this crazy town. I think Frank Sinatra is in order for inspiration.

Final Call

Well, I was left a few chips from Caesar's Palace, so I headed over there to spend them Turned $10 into $50 on two spins of the roulette wheel, which bought me lunch and a couple souvenirs. Wandered around, saw the Bellagio fountain, although I must say it was a totally different experience to see it at night; opera music accompanied the night show, and though I can't remember the music when I saw it I did hear the Pink Panther theme at one point during the afternoon. The night show was really moving; it was a big place for couples, and I can see why.

At this point I realized how tired I was; the four days previous had taken their toll, and checkout was tomorrow so I hailed a cab back to the hotel, bought a couple of beer and watched a movie on the computer. Yeah, that's right. I essentially spent my last night in Vegas watching TV, but you know what? I don't regret it. I had seen a lot of it, and if you aren't drinking at a bar, and you don't have tickets to a show, the strip can be pretty boring. To be honest, I needed it; I haven't slept like that in weeks.


Glorious and Free

I decided to spend my last day in Las Vegas playing video poker, and as Seb left me $15 in Excalibur vouchers, it made sense to catch a cab over there. I sat at the bar, and though I spent a fair amount of money, I got to talk to Emmanuel the bartender, who had tended that bar for 20 years. He said even on a quiet 8 hour shift he'll walk with $70. Busy time, you can make over $200. But - and here's the kicker - bartenders are unionized. He makes $17 per hour. Great storyteller, good to talk to, and he helped me out with the game too. Not that I won anything but I got drunk. One last game of roulette (the table was not good to me), and a beer at Dick's, the sole reason I will stay at Excalibur next time. Example of discourse:

New Customer: It's My Birthday!

Waiter (to other customers): Hey everybody! We got fresh meat, and it's this one's birthday! Do any of you guys give a f**k?

Crowd: No!

Other highlights include the bartender throwing a pile of napkins in the air when a customer asked for more napkins, and calling me out on my "Sorry, I only have a $100 bill". I could have sat all day and got drunk, but I had killed enough time, and it was time for me to head to the airport. I fully zonked out waiting for the plane, and it was all I could do to stay awake while we were flying. If I hadn't flown into vegas at sunset as well, I would have been pissed to miss that sight.

I will never travel on my English passport again. After trouble getting into the USA, I nearly didn't get home. The girl at border patrol must have got dumped today or something because she was being really awkward. To her credit, no I didn't have my birth certificate, but who carries that around? Plus there's the fact that I have no accent of the English variety. She was all "I don't know Hamilton, how do I know it's in Ontario and not England?" Basically, it wasn't what i had the energy for after a GOD DAMN WEEK IN VEGAS! I played the panicked "what-am-i-gonna-do-now" face that tends to work in official circumstances, and fortunately she gave me the Next Time speech. Although I didn't catch what I should do next time, I know what i will do. Travel Canadian. The world likes us.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tackling the Oasis - Airport Blues

Well, this is a treat.

After working non-stop for 2 weeks (seriously, my last day off was the 11th of October), I am finally headed out of Whistler for some downtime in Las Vegas, Nevada, a small town out of the way where I can really get some rest and take a big step back from the larger than life world I regularly live in…

Or…

I have more money in my pocket than I think I ever have at one time, and I don't have much intention of coming back with it. Unless I win big. Then I could die before even returning.

Of course, these plans, especially the ones I make, rarely go off without a hitch. Last time it was being stranded in Montreal Airport, unsure when Seb was arriving to pick me up. This time, I didn't realize my Canadian passport was expired until the other day, so I'm rolling on my EU papers. Given that I never do this (the world loves Canadians!) I totally forgot about the green card/visa waiver required to gain entry when not on the Canadian passport… Thankfully, the website where I am supposed to organize this has been having problems so I will have to fill out the card the old fashioned way.

Just another day in the life of the anti-hero.

By The Way: This was my world the other day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Work Hard, Play Hard

Sorry it's been a couple of weeks, devoted readers. It's for a good reason though; I'm working tons, which during shoulder season (in between the summer and winter, notoriously quiet in town) is a rarity. I'm helping out at another restaurant on my days off, because approximately half of their current staff have taken the opportunity to fly free to India, Ottawa, South America, and Australia, in the midst of all the "Not Making Money" time. As a result, I am working 8 shifts per week, and my last full 24 hours off was the 11th of October. My next day off will be this Thursday...

when I shall board a plane bound for Las Vegas, Nevada, for the first time in my life. Oh, and I'll be there for the Hallowe'en weekend.

Once again: Hallowe'en. In Vegas.

Here's the story: I got home from watching the Leafs lose to the New York Rangers on Wednesday 20th (my 5 year anniversary in Whistler incidentally), turned on Facebook, and got a message from Seb; who, you may recall, joined me in Montreal this summer.

What are you doing for Hallowe'en this year? Whatever it is, f**k it, let's go to vegas. Seriously, let's do this.

Not 48 hours later, I have the time booked off work, and my ass booked onto a Philippine Airlines non-stop flight to the desert. So guess what? I'm gonna try and write again! This time as often as this city of insanity will allow, though please don't be offended if little or nothing comes about; it just means I'm having a great time. Or I inadvertently got a job, and as such am unable to leave.

Let's have some fun.

By The Way: Google Hallowe'en in Vegas to understand why I may not survive this trip.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Watching Leafs Blow: Why I Love Toronto

So. Hockey. I would watch it over any sport. Hell, any other TV show really. I have lost women over this passion, and frankly I don't care. THe game is the game. And, like all other sports fans, I have a team. It happens to be the Toronto Maple Leafs, widely regarded as one of the most die hard fan bases in hockey; indeed, the Leafs Collective is up there amongst the most rabid groups in all professional sports.

Here's the thing though: The Leafs are terrible. They haven't won the whole pie (also known as The Stanley Cup) since the 1963-64 season. They used to be a force to be reckoned with, but have been known all over as the joke team. They also have huge opposition: if you don't like the leafs, you HATE the leafs. Toronto's sports teams are all owned by the Ontario Teacher's Union, so they don't care if they win or lose as long as the fans keep buying merchandise. So there's a multitude of obstructions as to why any sane human such as myself would ever root for an essentially lost cause, especially as I have been living out on the Wet Coast for 5 years, where Luongo and his men run wild.

The answer is simple; it's in my blood. I am a fan because of all the shitty seasons I have endured. Because whenever we win, I feel elated. I have accepted the fact that the Leafs are very unlikely to win the Cup in my lifetime, and so, when we win, it brings a moment of triumph into our lives. Out here in Whistler, and in fact anywhere in Canada, Leafs fans endure some serious abuse from other fans… As such, we form a bond, a giant unit that meet at Brandy's, or Tapley's, or anywhere showing the game. Through our quasi-masochism of religiously cheering for the underdog of underdogs, we all cry into our beers as a family, and celebrate (less often) as a drunken mob. We are everywhere, cooking your food, making your drinks, cleaning your house, and getting you on the hill. And we all know each other.

That, friends, is why I will bleed blue and white until my dying breath. When they finally attain the unattainable, I will be driving that wagon that all of the Senators, Habs, and Red Wings fans will be jumping on.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Beautiful Game, The Ugly World

Well folks, it's been a long summer, but through the excitement of the great season and job changes (for me) I, for one, have kept my eyes on the prize. That beautiful moment when hugging another grown man is practically expected, and, more importantly, baseball and football take a backseat for 8 months.

Hockey comes back today.

Lo
And
Behold!

Man, it's gonna be a good season. And it's going to help shoulder season go that little faster.

In Other News, Paris Hilton is a filthy whore. (But we all knew that.) Most recently, though, for her escapades with cocaine possession, and her relative lack of punishment. Community service is only a slap on the wrist anyway, but in the Hollywood Court of Justice, where it seems "custodial sentence' has never been uttered, a mere 200 hours for possession of a class A is laughable. The best thing they can describe her as is "party girl" or "socialite". When one is being social in LA, or partying, what's usually top of the grocery list? Exactly. The other white powder. When will they make an example of this waste of human existence? And that's all I'm writing about it.

Let's move on to radical fundamentalists. For the 3rd time in two weeks I have some religious fodder to consider. This time, it's the figurehead of the Christian faith causing ire, when last week, Pope Benedict XVI (or Joseph Alois Ratzinger under his real name) slammed atheists (such as myself), describing them (us?) as a "Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society", and urged followers in the UK to be vigilant against "aggressive forms of secularism".

Now listen. I have no intention of turning this into a pro-Atheist journal, but I merely work with the news that the world provides. I mean it when I say that I have no problem with anybody believing anything they damn well want, as long as it doesn't lead to them telling me why I'm wrong, or destined to burn in hell, or whatever. Likewise I respect their faith by not telling them why I don't do the whole religion thing. But a slam like this is just more witch-hunting from the Catholic Church while hundreds if not thousands of their shepherds abuse children entrusted to their care. Meanwhile, that same Pope Benny protects them by moving the offender to another parish. It sickens me to think that someone upholding monstrous behaviour has the nerve to judge and condemn someone because of their lack of beliefs. Again I ask: why does religion claim to be the way to go when it drives barriers and hate between us all?

Surf's up, Newfies!


By The Way: For those of you that don't know, my personal cure for a hangover is a banana, sliced up, and bacon, in a sandwich. Well someone has gone one better. Don't knock it till you've tried it! (Obviously not veggie friendly but I know they have their ways around that.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Heavy Issues, Hard times

So about 18 or so months ago, I (or the ex) bought a digital scale, ostensibly to weigh luggage for our trip to Cuba. When we moved to our new pad we found there was not enough space in our bathroom. Or anywhere in the apartment for that matter. Later, when she moved back to Australia, she had no use for a scale and so it became my scale. Now, in my NEW new place, there IS enough room in the bathroom, and so it sits with great pride within said bathroom.

Here's the thing though: I can't go in without weighing myself. It's made even more bizarre by the fact that, as long as I can remember, I've been 160 lbs, give or take 3 pounds. Seriously. I could live on nothing but celery, or nothing but doughnuts, and my weight would not fluctuate outside of 157-163 pounds. It's getting as bad as the OCD sufferers that have to lock and unlock the doors 17 times.

More importantly...

WHY DO I GIVE A SHIT?! Even if I didn't know the answer, I'm a guy for God's sake! I just don't understand myself.

In Other News, Shoulder Season is upon us, and all the webcam photos in the world of the snow falling on the peak doesn't stop the fact that it's still raining in the village. And so, I'm trying to write about Whistler when nothing is really happening. But, Maxx Fish is slaying, with Doctor P and Mat the Alien playing last night, Jelo bringing the noise every Thursday, and weekends being weekends. Which translates to lots of money, but at the cost of City people (or citiots) coming up and fighting. We had the mother of all fights on Saturday, there had to be 8 guys just going at it. I, along with everyone working had to get involved to stop them, but it was only temporary, as it continued long after we kicked them out. It's a miracle I didn't get hit, and these guys were sizably bigger than me so it definitely would have rang my bell. But, it's a one-off I hope never to experience again, at least not in that magnitude. (Incidentally, the guys that were hit, not the 'fighters', have been around this past week, and they're cool.)

By The Way: New scary movie alert! Case 39 tells of an allegedly cursed girl who brings bad luck (real bad luck) to people around her. I want to see it, despite the fact that Renee Zellweger is in it (one of the celebrities on my I'd Punch Them In The Face Given The Chance list) and, being the protagonist, probably won't die.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

All we need is love…

One of my habits in the morning is to check out the BBC website; it seems to be the most impartial of the big news names, (read: Rupert Murdoch doesn't own it) and it covers everything in the world so it's good to get an overview of the events. Today, Sept. 9th, 2010 - here are some of the headlines:

Obama Condemns Koran Burning Plan

Russian Suicide Bomber Kills 16

Suicide Raid Hits Somali Airport

Taliban Chief Says Victory Close

All of these stories can be found at bbc.co.uk/news, but here's a quick overview.

The Obama story refers to a small church in Gainesville, Florida, and pastor Terry Jones' plans to burn as many as 200 copies of the holy Muslim text. On September 11th. Many people are criticizing the "Stunt", saying it will trigger a wave of violence, not only in Afghanistan, but also in America and the UK.

Suicide bomber - pretty self explanatory, 100 injured as well in a market in Southern Russia.

Somali Airport - two car bombs, believed to be set off by al-Shabab, have gone off at strategic points in Mogadishu's airport. So far, the death toll has not been released.

Finally, Mullah Omar, widely regarded as the head of the Taliban movement, has called the NATO led insurgency into Afghanistan "nothing but a complete failure".

My point being, that there is a lot of anger and destruction in the world. But has it always been there? Are tensions rising in the so-called Holy wars, and as such are leading to more outlandish and extreme behaviour? Or is it because I am getting older, and much of the hatred in the world is screened from our youth as much as possible? So that now, when I should be getting married, buying a house, and climbing the career ladder, the pressures of international history would be weighing down on top of these social norms, and that's why most adults seem to be stressed out?

There is no world I want to live in where groups of people unconditionally hate other groups of people… And that's why I live in Neverland. None of us make it out of this world alive, I'd just prefer to make my run last as long as possible.

By The Way: Sorry this post was so depressing but I felt it had to be said. I was still wearing my sweatpants when I had this epiphany; it's not the kind of information one wants to read first thing in the morning. Here is a video with Boobies and Kittens.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Movie of the Summer

Welcome back to me! I mean, I have been exceptionally lax with writing lately, especially after the daily onslaught whilst on holiday, so I guess this may come as a shock/letdown. But I am going to talk about the latest film to rock my socks off, Machete.

About a month ago, I set up an event on Crackbook to see what I assumed to be the best movie of the summer, The Expendables, starring everyone you've ever seen in action movies. Seriously, if you've seen a movie with an explosion in it, the protagonist was in this film. So, understandably, a mass man date was in order. And don't get me wrong, it was great. The 3 minute scene with Bruce Willis, Arnie and Sylvester Stallone alone was worth the price of admission. I thought we had found the ideal summer movie.

How wrong I was.

Machete is so good, it isn't even fair. Steven Seagal is the bad guy, Danny Trejo stars as Machete, alongside Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert DeNiro, and Lindsay Lohan as (what else) a slut. A whole drug cartel story, framing an ex-federale thing going on. But my God, just brilliant. This may be filled with spoilers so just warning you now. I thought the best part was the abseil out the window with a man's intestines. Until I saw the weed whacker with knives attached to it. And even that was usurped by the two-handed machete that Trejo wields. And even THAT was bettered by the mini-gun attached to the handlebars of a motorcycle! Jessica Alba gets naked! There's other boobs not attached to Alba either! The soundtrack kicks ass, it's a band called Chingon (meaning "badass" in Spanish) that Robert Rodriguez started up, and at the end of it all, I wanted to get drunk and enjoy being a man.

New website I just discovered: Dearblankpleaseblank.com where you can read little notes to people from related people, for example "Dear America, Please explain to me how "Jersey Shore" is popular, yet "Arrested Development" was cancelled… Sincerely, Confused. Like textsfromlastnight, it's a good way to kill an hour.

Shoulder season is approaching, so hopefully more posts will transpire as a result.

By The Way: Chew Fu is playing at Maxx Fish tonight, he has a free download at chewfu.com and it's lotsa fun. Rihanna is 2 songs away from the Temptations. Check that mixtape out.

Friday, July 30, 2010

East Coast Earthquake - West Coast Special!

Waking at 5am really goes against my natural instinct, or so I would assume. When my alarm is set for that time, my body decides that's far too late and as such I tend to wake around 4am and toss and turn for an hour. This is one of those mornings. By the time I had packed, said goodbye and thank you to an almost unconscious Sabrina, and got to the bus depot, I actually was able to get the 5:40 shuttle to the airport instead of my planned 6.10. Flight was uneventful (I did spill some coffee on someone but it wasn't hot so I only feel like PART of a jackass), and when I landed, checked my emails to see if Eva, a friend of mine from 2007-2008 season had got in contact with me. She had, and would meet me at 11 in front of London Drugs.

The time was 10:50 and I was still at the airport.

Used the number she gave me to text her I was on my way, then hauled ass downtown, care of the $9 Skytrain. It's only $2.50 to get to the airport and $8.75 to leave. That just isn't right. London Drugs is right by the Downtown station so I got there around 11:30. Waited for an hour, texted Eva again, and also got on her Facebook (it had occurred to me that her German number might not work). I decided to grab the 1pm Greyhound home.

Or so I thought.

At 1:10 pm I get a call from a strange number, and sure enough, Eva had borrowed a random person's phone to call me with the number I gave her in the email. I left the bus stop and headed over to Denman and Davie, where I found her! We sat on the beach and caught up, I still in my jeans (black) on a sunny day (25C). Sweat. Eva was in town until Saturday, then she was headed to Montreal(!) to study for 6 months. The girl she was staying with, Tanya, was working at the Fish House in Stanley Park. Only a 5 minute walk from where we were, we headed over and sat on the patio. Met Tanya and some of her workmates, 2 of whom had a) just finished their last shift, and b) were two beautiful 19 year old girls from Quebec City. Once Tanya had finished, and seeing as she had the next day off (this girl works 7 days per week, so when she parties she wants to party) she was going to sit on the beach at English Bay, have a couple cans of beer, and find a good spot for the fireworks.

The Vancouver Celebration of Light is an annual contest in which 4 countries compete for the best fireworks display. It's a huge deal - Global TV and HSBC are among the sponsors. Tonight was Mexico, and rumour had it they had the legal limit of explosives for the size of the barge from which they are detonated. I had pushed my schedule back to get the 7pm Greyhound, so after a nice chillout on the beach I said goodbye to some amazing people and headed back downtown.

At 8:15pm I began asking around my friends that live in Vancouver asking if they could put me up for the night. The 7:00 never showed, which meant that I and another guy from Whistler had to seek out accommodation. He was set - working at Chateau Fairmont in Whistler, he went across the street and booked himself a staff rate room at Hotel Vancouver. I, on the other hand had no luck with my usual suspects so was determined to follow the enormous crowd back to the beach where Eva and company were anticipating the oncoming darkness. Luckily Tanya had offered me a place to crash tonight anyway, all I had to do was find them again. You know how easily an overnight bag rolls in the sand? Especially when it has 2 weeks of clothing in it? Not well, I can tell you. Not well at all. But I found them, and the group had grown from 6 (including myself) when I left, to eventually 14 by the time everyone got there, replete with bags, bikes, towels and booze. I was so happy to be back in the company of such good people, on the beach, watching the sun set, that I had my first drink in over 2 days. I didn't care that the Pilsner was warm and sandy, it was free. I felt as though I was in a beer commercial, and it was the best damn beer I had the whole trip.

The fireworks display contestants tonight were Mexico, and you know Mexico knows how to celebrate. It was all set to music and with the buzz I had going on along with everyone else's sentiments of surprise and awe, it was phenomenal. Don't pass up this opportunity if you're in Vancouver in the summer.

Tanya had to go to a leaving party around the corner, and Eva and I had our laptops with us so we headed back to the crash pad. It was a mission; the streets were packed with drunken revellers (and one car in particular: I don't know who you were Mr. Dances to Vengaboys, but you were doing an amazing job of embarrassing your girlfriend. We on the bus salute you!), and it took us almost 2 hours to negotiate public transport and hit the hay.

I am so glad to have caught up with Eva, she's an amazing girl and a total sweetheart. She mentioned Central America in January, so maybe if the season is good to me and I stay on the wagon we'll meet up again.

And that's that, kids. I'm actually at the Greyhound station right now, watching She's Out Of My League, because frankly it's a good story and it gives me some of that schmaltzy Hollywood bullshit that I love so much. I hope you enjoyed reading this account of my party holiday as much as I enjoyed living it. (And writing it obviously. It's all about you guys.)

Next time you see me, if I'm drinking cranberry juice and downing milk thistle tablets like they're gonna rot, it's just my way of apologizing to my kidneys and liver respectively.

Quote Of The Day: I bet this is the best bus you ever missed!

East Coast Earthquake - …And Then There Were Two

We walked seb down to the bus station (probably a good thing seeing as it was where I was getting the shuttle the following day) and Sabrina and I were back in bed around 11. (Not like that.) Naps rock, so just to catch up on the amount of partying and walking we were doing on an almost daily basis we crashed for a couple of hours. By 3 it was around 30C out so we walked along the waterfront to catch some breeze. I was just thinking about how mellow everyone seemed to be in Montreal. Then, shit went down. I don't know exactly what happened, but this guy was dragging a bike, then took a bike lock and… "brandished" it would be the better word. He was behind us, and there were 3 guys who I guess took offence to whatever had happened with the bike. Then, rocks. Both parties picked up decorative rocks from the street. Then sab and I got the fuck outta Dodge. When we got round a corner we heard cheering so I guess the matter was resolved.

Past the incident, we wandered around the park and saw some of the historical sections along the front. It occurred to me that Montreal, for all of its cosmopolitan atmosphere and lifestyle, they still retain a lot of the old world and stories. I mentioned that to sab, and she explained that it's important to the city and its citizens to remember the past; a lot of people died for the identity of the Quebecois. In a world where English is one of the dominant languages, in a country where English threatens to push French out of the rest of it, Quebec maintains and actually defends its heritage.

We walked through the financial district, a fair walk from the house. It was almost too hot to do anything, so Sab suggested… TOY STORY 3D! Fuckin A! There's a couple of cinemas in the downtown area, 2 on Rue Ste Catherine. The one near Carlos and Pepe's was frigging slammed. For some reason, being entertained in a dark comfortable, air-conditioned room seemed enjoyable to other people as well… We headed down the street. A loooonng way down. But it was totally worth it, because the Forum 22 was an experience. A huge place right downtown, it houses 22 God damn theatres, an arcade, a restaurant, and a wall of fame. Wall of fame you ask? Oh, that's because it's the former site of history. The Forum is better known as the holy ground where the Montreal Canadiens won every single one of their Stanley Cups. Maurice Richard played on, oh, maybe 300 of the teams because he's fucking amazing. They still have the centre ice circle on the floor, original seating has become benches, and it's this huge central arena with the screens situated around.

Toy story was great. I can't believe how good animated films have become, both visually and with storyline. Who would have thought I would care so much about some plastic (fictional!) toys and their stories.

A quiet one seeing as my bus leaves in the morning at early o'clock. Which means i have to get up at 5am. Which means as much sleep as I can muster.

Quote of the Day: I have that picture on my speed that i sell!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

East Coast Earthquake - La Grande Finale

East Coast Earthquake - La Grande Finale

Remember a couple of days ago when I mentioned I was hungover?

That was nothing. Nothing, my friends. I'm fairly sure we all woke up still drunk, and with this in mind we figured what better way to cure the INEVITABLE hangover than L'Avenue? Guillaume told us he was working the day prior, so why not?

The subway should have been our first clue.

Montreal, for all it's positive points, does have a downside in its metro; specifically the ventilation system within the actual carriages. The phrase "hot as balls" would be apt, and I thank whichever deity responsible for subways that it was only 3 or 4 stops. Being that hot is unpleasant with too many toxins in the system.

Totally different story at breakfast: no line-up (I love Mondays), and when we ordered the same thing, it was all I could do to finish even half of it. Guillaume was in fact working, and gave us (surprise) shots. These were firecrackers - imagine a Jagerbomb with rum and amaretto dropped into pineapple juice.

Oh, but reverse the order, so drop an ounce of juice into 3oz liquor.

Yeah.

Seb nearly puked. It was gnarly.

We had to do something. Paid the bill, walked down St Denis, and found a sweet brasserie, with some fantastic decor and a wide open front window for people watching. Guillaume the server finished at 4 so he met us for a beer alongside his girlfriend and his buddy. They invited us to a barbecue, which we gladly accepted, at one of their apartments. Home first though, to change, nap, clean up, etc.

Well we napped, but by the time we worked ourselves out the plans had changed and instead we ended up at Carlos & Pepe's, a mexican restaurant Sab was sure we would like. Over on Peel, it is more central to Montreal (and therefore further from where we had usually been exploring.) 28oz margarita anyone?

SO FULL! I only ate half of my meal, but Seb managed to destroy his burrito taco combo. We headed over to the tourist section, Rue Crescent. It was fairly busy even for mid week, and was definitely aiming for our wallets. One drink was $7.50… we headed home soon after, where we had vodka from our earlier barbecue plans. Seb took his pants off. Last night and whatnot. He had an early bus to catch - though my 8am flight beats even his 9:30 bus to Kingston.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

East Coast Earthquake - What Just Happened?!

Breakfast.

Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast.

Seb had heard of a breakfast place in Montreal that we had to check out. We looked it up, and this is what we read:

L'Avenue has the best breakfast I have eaten in North America.

How could we not go? When we got there, there was a line-up outside with about 15-20 people. The place was banging! As rightly it should be for a Sunday afternoon. At first, when we were waiting, we couldn't help but notice that the 4top at the window had all but finished, and the father was reading the newspaper. We started asking ourselves how someone could do that in an obviously busy restaurant.

Guess which table we ended up getting?

Me being "shy", it was tough watching the line go past with women all in it. Our server, Guillaume, explained that our pitcher of mojitos was on the way, there was a bit of a jam at the bar. Sab explained we had nowhere to go, so don't worry about the wait, we were having fun. Then he got us a round of shots for being cool. Seriously. The food was excellent and enormous helpings, the atmosphere superb, and the staff were cool as hell, despite a VERY irate table of 8 waiting at the door.
Here's a tip to those who have never worked in a restaurant: When you walk into a popular joint with seven of your friends, at 2 in the afternoon, don't threaten to "snap the waiter's neck" because you were waiting 5 minutes while they ready your tables together. Bonus tip: if you then loudly announce that you "have to drive back to New York", and a table nearby laughs and starts talking about how much fun they're having, yes, those two events are related. Fuck that walking stereotype. I felt bad for his wife, she was obviously embarrassed. Guillaume was a legend, bringing us more shots (people having fun in the windows makes the place look fun. We BECAME the atmosphere!) L'Avenue is definitely a must-do for Montreal.

Over breakfast, and our second pitcher of mojito, we talked to JP from our first dinner out and he was going to drive us to Piknic Electronik, an outdoor party with djs and drinks. The event takes place every Sunday during the summer, and is situated on L'ile Saint Helene. You may recognize this name from its most internationally famous event of the year, the Formula 1 Gilles Villeneuve race track. Even better, because there was a heavy metal festival occurring where the usual site for Piknic was, we got to drive on the track! We spent a good long while there, and the party ended around ten pm. We were certainly not ending! JP drove us back to the main city by way of a re-enactment of the course, and while it emerged the following day that all of us wanted to retire to the apartment for a couple of hours, we ended up going to a club far too early. A classic case of too many chiefs and not enough indians; we ended up walking down a Rue Mont Royal trying to decide where to go. It was a truly bizarre evening; Boptes was our first bar (more cheap Jack), and after a couple there, we headed over to a great bar, La Disterie where they make monstrous cocktails in monstrous jam jars. I saw Andrea, the best bartender of my trip; she honestly must have been working on 6 to 8 orders at once, all different.
I think we caught a cab… JP may have driven… If he did, we all survived.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

East Coast Earthquake - Road Trip!

East Coast Earthquake - The Road Trip

Wow, did I sleep well. Vince's bed has a memory foam mattress - the wine glass one from the ads. I don't think I moved last night! Sabrina got in contact with her friends and we arranged to meet in Laval before heading up towards Quebec City. Seb thought Montreal was really European; his head might explode when we get to Old Quebec!

QC is a 3 hour drive more or less, and with nothing to do, Seb and I fell asleep in the backseat while Sabrina talked to Jean (a really nice guy, but he was not confident with his English). They had all met working for the City of Laval when they were younger, first doing summer day camps, then in places like the arena. The job is excellent for teenagers: full benefits, great wage, no problem getting time off, and, apparently, meeting some great people you will be friends with for years afterward!

Remember how I said the other day that montreal is full of beautiful girls? Let's put this in perspective.

Montreal. Ain't. Got. SHIT. On. Quebec.

We were in the city maybe, MAYBE ten minutes, and seb and I saw some perfect creatures while we were waiting for the others to use the bathroom in Mcdonalds. If nothing else has convinced you prior to this re: visiting the French part of my fine country, please let this be the section that does.
When we had all regrouped, we headed out to see what Quebec had for us. I was getting deja vu all over the place (I had been here twice before, once with school in '95 or so and again with Jules and dad in '97). There was that art in the street that dad bought, there we sat and ate lunch, I even saw the street where we stayed with school in this rundown little hotel. LIkewise later when I saw various sections of the historical section, eg., the Plains of Abraham, it all came flooding back to me and I was able to recant the stories to Seb.
By the way, in the 5 or 6 days i've been here, my French has come flying back to me with a vengeance! I learned French at school for 10 or 11 years, but once I went to university I stopped using it. I was 19 when I stopped studying, and I'm 27 now. That's 8 years of cobwebs being dusted off, and I still can't believe how confident I've become. The general rule is, he further away from Ottawa one gets, the more likely it is that the people will use french as their first language, and therefore less likely to speak to you in English. I was a little apprehensive because when forced to speak my 2nd language, i get stressed, but when speaking naturally (for example, when explaining something to Jean) it sits much easier. When we took the tour of Parliament, it was the last of the day and it turned out to be French (no bilingual tourism here). Sab offered to translate in between the speaking and moving around. Thanks to my knowledge, and the tour guide's "proper" french (no regional accent) I was able to follow along well enough.
After the tour, people were hungry so we took a trip down Grande Allee Est, where most of the trendy places could be found in QC. That is, not quite catering to the tourist with meat pie and period costume, rather, fairly high prices and a cut throat competition with so many restaurants in the same region. Restaurant Aux Vieux Canons had yard glasses so that pretty much sold it for me. (Plus the hostess was gorgeous, so there's that too.) While the food was excellent (I highly recommend the duck pate), it wasn't what I had expected: Seb and I were gonna split a couple of apps, and one said parmesan fondue… What does that suggest to you, a selection of breads and a pot of bubbling cheese mixed with a white wine? How about two squares of breaded and fried Parmesan with some green salad on the side? We got the latte. The server had a point when she said the former would be more expensive, but hey, I'm on holiday, and thus do not look at the price. Whatever. She was a bitch about it, matter of fact during the whole dinner I watched her, and she was lucky to get the %10 we gave her.

We walked along the street to the lower section of the town, the older part, and it was here that really looked old world. Sab had found out about a few things to do, and we had to choose.

The only thing I have to say about Quebec, as a city and as a whole for I include Montreal in this, is that unless you are staying for two full weeks, you will not see it all. Summers in Quebec are limited to about 3 months, so they cram as many events and festivals in as they literally have the space to do so. (Just in the time I was in Montreal, there were 6 going on.) We had a choice of 4 things to do, and they all conflicted with each other in their timing: it was the last night of Cirque du Soleil, which was $55. There was also a free Cirque show happening (I'm not kidding) under the god damn highway, which, being free, wouldn't have been as good, but still, it's Cirque. A free international fireworks competition, and finally LA MOULIN D'IMAGES. This last one was the most intriguing: Quebec has a line of silos that used to be used for cattle meal. They were shut down some years ago, and instead of knocking them down, a company called Ex Machina designed a montage of images to be projected onto the surfaces of the silos. With the one "office building" acting as the main screen and the silos as background… You know what? It's hard to explain. Let's say it was a story of Quebec with no language barrier. That's the easiest.
We ended up going to the free show under the highway (which was still phenomenal; it's been a long time since I found something so harrowing that I literally stopped breathing) then we wandered over to the fields for a great view of the 2nd half of the Moulin. It covers everything - wartime, the Nordiques, the queen's visit, even the 400th birthday of the city in 2008. I would say that it's definitely a must see (happening Friday and Saturday nights all through summer).

We honestly must have walked 10 - 15 km today, (and Jean had already done a 15km run that morning before he met us) and we still had a three hour drive ahead of us. The other car with Marieve (very cute) Pedro (whose english was better than his French) and Jean (a photographer who I will refer to as "John", and supplied us with our QOTD below) had gone on ahead and we arranged to meet them at a Tim Horton's outside of town.
They weren't there when we got there, so Jean called them. John had been driving, and for whatever reason they had gotten lost (there is some controversy over the official story, but I don't know them, I won't take either side). They got there in the end, and Mari took over the driver's seat once we had said goodbye.
One hour later, and we're pulling over again, this time to let Sab drive for Jean felt himself falling asleep at the wheel. For a guy who doesn't wear his seatbelt while driving I applaud his responsibility. We had no problems with getting out at Laval, and subwaying back to Montreal centre, but he offered to drive us all the way home. He had to work at 8:30 the following morning, the poor sonofabitch. Great person, that Jean: though his English was by far the worst of the new friends, he was the only one that really talked to Seb and I.

(Although Marieve did tell me that my French was very good. Bam!)

Sweet, sweet memory foam…

Quote Of the Day: White people always smile in photos (…) Mystery is beautiful.

(I mean really.)

East Coast Earthquake - The Morning After

Friday was Vince's last day before he and Karine flew to Florida for 2 weeks (hence our using his apartment as a touchstone). Lazy morning punctuated by beer and Amarula coffee. We also finally got around to calling a barber for the straight razor shave. Booked for 1.30, Vince was picking up Karine for the airport straight from her work so he offered to drive us to the appointment.

I'm buying a straight razor.

I enjoy the ritual of shaving anyway; to turn it into an experience that can last 20 minutes, half hour, 45 minutes if you buy all the lotions and whatnot is something I want to investigate further. I haven't had skin that smooth since before I started shaving way back whenever. Next big paycheque is gonna be spent on a badger hair brush and some shave soap.

After feeling like a man, and saying goodbye to our host Vince, we wandered around Montreal looking for a place to eat and people watch. We ended up walking right down Rue Ste. Catherine, which is all pedestrianized. It's also the main centre for the gay district - we ate at a restaurant with some amazing focaccia pizza but whose name escapes me, and the restaurant was right next to a male strip club and a transvestite cabaret club. An unusual place, we saw all kinds of people walking past, including a man with no shirt walking his snake. No that is isn't a euphemism; the guy had a yellow boa about 8 ft long in his hands and just walked down the street as if carrying a fucking snake was no big deal. Montreal - We're comfortable in our skin!

The weather began to turn so instead of battling the winds we headed back to the apartment and lazed - although we did see the Hamilton Bulldogs tour bus! BULLLLLLLDOGS! Watched a couple of movies, and by 10:30 we decided we should get out and see what the city on a friday night had to offer. We weren't disappointed (I mean we didn't end up partying with strippers or anything, but we weren't in a big night mood anyway) and after fighting the crowds we went back to Saint Sulpice, and once again it impressed me with the size. 5 floors of party, I couldn't even guess at the capacity. Sabrina, who evidently does not eat, was dead set on poutine (of course), so we went across the street and her and Seb destroyed a bowl in under 5 minutes.

Home for 1am, Quebec city in the morning.

Quote Of The Day: (REDACTED FOR CENSORSHIP)

Email me if you wanna know what the quote is. It's a great one, but it has naughty words.

East Coast Earthquake - The Main Event

My God.

I am hungover like a motherfucker. Please excuse me if this post isn't as poetic as usual.

Birthdays are fun, especially when you only know your friends in town. For starters, we drove back out to Sabrina's place to pick up Seb's stuff for the week, and I realized how far out she lives - it's easily a 30 minute drive. We did the tourist thing and went to the Olympic Park. The whole deal - guided tour, up the tower, great fun for 20 bucks. After, we picked up barbecue equipment for the evening, and after turning on the TV, we all fell asleep.

As if that's how the day ended.

What actually happened: I called my sister and mama, and when I got off the phone, everyone ELSE had fallen asleep. So they prompted a nap. When I awoke, Vince was preparing for dinner, and I offered to help. Vince's girlfriend Carine came home and we were almost ready to go. By the time it was finished, it was the classiest barbecue I had ever been to: homemade guacamole, brie, wine, lounge music, dimmed lights and candles! Not to mention the company! Vince then busted out the bourbon and cigars… This guy's hospitality knows no bounds. A humidor full of some fine tobacco, and good conversation was inevitable.

After the man time, we hit the town to check out this place the kids were raving about, Passeport. Drum and bass night, with cheap pitchers (how's $10 sound?). We also asked a group of girls to take a photo; turned out they were on holiday as well, and one was from Vancouver of all places! They didn't know what they were doing for the night, so I invited them to my party! A round of Jack (8 shots) cost $24. (This town could kill me if they give away 3 dollar liquor). A hell of a time, Carine got hammered and wanted to hit the strippers but we were feeling the club. I couldn't tell you when we left, but hijinx ensued - construction signs were knocked over, tires were rolled IN THE STREET, and shit, some cops even stopped by to make sure we were having fun! At least I think that's what they were saying…

BIRTHDAY POWER!!!

Quote Of The Day: 2 plus 7 is 9! Do the math!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

East Coast Earthquake - Montreal Day 2

The couch was warm that morning, my friends. I awoke early, and after lolling for a while, roused seb at around 10. Sabrina had to go to work at early o'clock so we were left to our own devices. Knowing montreal more than we know Laval, where Sab lives, we grabbed the bus to the subway to take us to the city.

While it was cheap, it was long - 45 minutes on the bus, and another 20 on the metro to get to the meat an potatoes of Rue St Catherines. Liquid Nutrition, a smoothie bar for "breakfast" (by this time it was gone noon) which not only served healthy alternatives for people on the go, but also an entire shelf of protein powders, health supplements, power bars, and the like.

Seb had seen a barber's the day before, offering the classic straight razor shave, so we set out to look for it. He knew it was on St Denis, so after trawling the street, we took a break at TAMALES, a mexican restaurant (surprisingly). Margaritas beckoned. We answered. Vince met us, and we took a walk up Rue St. Denis.

When the rain came, we stopped in to a restaurant…. Bieres Et Compagnie has at least a dozen pages on their beer menu, from all over the world. They also have all you can eat mussels…. of all things. Not usually for me, but if they're done right I can definitely eat some. Were it an intended stop, we could definitely have spent the remainder of the afternoon tasting different beers. As it were, Seb and I took advantage of the shitty weather and geeked out at the IMAX 3d. (It was still about surfing and Kelly Slater, so not totally nerdy. Still, it was the first 3d film I've seen with that technology so I could appreciate it.)

Sab finished work, and managed to score a car for the evening so she brought our gear in from Laval. Much appreciated, we met her at Les Deux Pierrots, actually across the street from Les 3 brasseurs from yesterday. We walked back to the car and changed in the street (vince and his girl were having some time together so we didn't want to disturb them) then back to an italian restaurant Galiano for pizza and a phenomenal pinot noir. Vince's friends Fred and Martine met us there, and we headed to La Terrasse, a nightclub on the harbour away from everything else (link to follow). Talked my friend Jack (Daniels, don't know if you've met him) at midnight, and had a raucous start to the day. Met a few people who enjoy skiing so gave out my number, we'll see.

Drinking is awesome.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: She could be going to a puppy kicking convention and I'd still follow her.

East Coast Earthquake/Seisme du Est - Montreal Day 1

East Coast Earthquake/ Seisme du Est

A new airport - Pierre Elliott Trudeau, outside of Montreal. Turns out this "bare bones plan" plan I had going has one small flaw… Here it is almost an hour after I landed, and no sign of my boy Seb and his friend Sabrina. I'm hoping they thought it was a 1.15 landing, cuz I don't know where I'm meant to be staying, and I can't find out because a) there's no free internet at YUL (that I can find anyway), and i don't have any contact details (read: phone numbers) of either Seb or Sab…

Everything turned out ok, they came to the airport around 2 pm. Turns out there was a huge night of drinking the night before, they didn't head home until 6:30am or so. San missed a day of work, and they were both feeling pretty rough.

We went straight to the apartment we'll be living in, where Vince met us. He goes on holiday for 2 weeks as of tomorrow so the plan is to stay at Sabrina's apartment tonight.

Vince lives close to the city centre - 5 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, depending on your view of "downtown". Rue St. Denis, one of the better nightlife scenes, is maybe 10 minutes. I'll put some pictures up once we're moved in. Suffice to say, this is going to be a hell of a week. Walked to Old Montreal for a late lunch, at Les 3 Brasseurs, where they make their own beer on site. A pitcher of Russian (blonde beer, vodka, and lemon syrup) and we headed off after meeting JP, one of Vince's friends.

At this point, I think it's important to address a popular perception of Quebec. And yes. It's true. Montreal girls are fantastic to look at. Seriously, they care. I don't really know how to take this newfound information; the numbers game doesn't seem fair when they're ALL breathtaking. We'll see how that turns out.

Hey, guess what? The Just For Laughs festival is happening! Yay funny! All the shows are fairly expensive, but there's some decent buskers/street performers to keep the entertainment going. Vince got involved in a magic show (standard split the lady in half/walk through the solid rope etc.) but when you can buy beer in the street in plastic cups, anything is fun.

Montreal is very conscious of its foot traffic, and it's surprisingly easy to maintain one's bearings. Unlike other big cities like Vancouver or Toronto, the skyscrapers are pretty much limited to the business district - unless you want to go shopping at NIke or Lacoste, there isn't much reason to head that way. The CBC Radio building is a good landmark, it's tall and brown, as is the Governor's Hotel, or as Vince calls it, "the penis", due to its logo, and the coincidence that it signifies the beginning of the Gay district. So, with the lack of tall buildings, you can easily find where you are, and where you need to be.

Dinner that evening was at Les Deux Gamins, where the patio was flush with the street, not even a rope to signify where one ended and the other began. For 3 course, plus Seb and I sharing a bottle of red ended up at around $40 each, with tip. These courses included foie gras, escargot, steak and salmon, so that gives you an idea of the cost of living here. People watching was a high priority, so after we paid, we followed where most of them were going. Again, women everywhere!

We ended up back on St Denis at one of the bigger bars in town, Saint Sulpice. 3 levels, plus a backyard terrace bigger than most bars in Whistler, including Longhorns. That's all of longhorns incidentally, not just the patio. Hundreds of people, mostly young, all looking for a good time. We were all tired though, so the revelry was put aside for another night.

Sabrina lives a fair ways out, and at gone 1am after waking at 6 that morning, I wish I could say I stayed awake on the drive home. Alas, backseats on warm nights are my kryptonite - I was out. I do recall following signs for Laval - I'll find out more info in the morning.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Sure, I speak French… "Mcdonalds".

Monday, July 19, 2010

East Coast Earthquake: Company Picnic

Oh, the stories I could tell...


If I weren't contractually obliged not to tell them, that is. The truth is that I didn't win anyone over with my stories of poverty and happiness (although, they all being doctors and what not, they have the money to visit so I'll have to show them, rather than tell). The ratio was, at an estimate, 4:1 female to male... way too awesome! The fact is, I participated in a sack race (3rd), a 2 legged race (2nd, with the before/after model) a scavenger hunt (team 1st) and a ton of other games, May or may not have toasted my dad in the dunk tank. I had a ton of fun, and who knows who I'll see again. Maybe I'll come back next year!

Interesting...

My friend posted this on FB, and it's definitely worth the read. It appears to be a message from space. It's been circulated many times, and while it may seem like a hoax, the introduction explains that it is different than the usual "messages". I'd really like to believe it's true; with all the death, destruction, chaos, and corruption in the this world, we as a race are pretty much doomed, and if this is a true way out of our terrible situation, I'm all for it.


Anyway, have a read.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

East Coast Earthquake - Dundas Edition

Back to Dundas, where my dad actually lives with his partner Margaret, and her son Jason lives there full time. He's now with a girl I know from my first season in Whistler. Small world eh? After dinner we all had a drink or two (except Margaret, she doesn't drink at all), and it was decided that Jason, Tracy and I would hit up a bar in downtown Dundas. The Collins on King West is a sweet bar with a good amount of beer on tap, and some awesome looking servers! 4 pitchers of Steam Whistle and a variation on the Crown of Thorns led us out the door… almost. Jason's friend Jordan called the shots (literally) and we had 5 rounds in 5 minutes. I don't remember them all, but definitely one Furious George (equal parts Mandarin Vodka and Creme de Banane with a dash of Tobasco, shaken - my own creation!) and a Crispy Crunch. I do recall giving out personality cards and wicked lines, and they offered me a job. Clearly I had to refuse. The blurry walk home was punctuated by a stop to the Mecca of drunk food, Tim Horton's! What I had, sadly, I cannot tell you.

The following morning, or should I say afternoon, we prepped for my barbecue party - mostly family, plus my buddy Justin and his family. Justin is one of my oldest friends, and we don't really need a plan to party. A nice quiet affair, burgers and strawberry pie, plus a couple of cards. Nothing fancy. Then, after I had a nap (yes, a nap. Screw off. I'm getting old) Justin and I watched Beer Wars, a documentary on the Big 3 breweries in America: Miller, Coors, and Anheuser-Busch, and the struggle of the independent breweries, followed by The Slammin' Salmon, a Broken Lizard production (they did Super Troopers), about a fine dining restaurant run by a retired heavyweight champion. Farve is the headwaiter… Highly recommended! We had a great system going on, namely that we could reach the cooler without getting up… someone had to drink it!

Finally we dropped Justin off back at Port Dover, where we hung out. That's pretty much the summing up of the afternoon. Hung out. I did get yelled at by a 4 year old for wrecking his sand castle (I don't buy it, I was really careful, but hey, this kid was pissed). He followed us half the distance we walked just to roar at me. It's cool though, I apologized and promised never to do it again. Then we high fived. And some girls laughed with us.

Back to the work house (not like I live in the dark ages and eat gruel, but the sweet pad where my dad lives on weekdays.) Tomorrow is the staff party - I could literally get in too much trouble. The boss is a skier, so I think I can wow him. Watch this space, I think tomorrow will be some awesome stories.

East Coast Earthquake: Day 1



Day 1

My dad has a new job since I was last in Ontario. As such, he also has a new place to live. Behold the bachelor pad...

Alright, it's not actually a bachelor pad, he's been with the same woman for a while.

And ok, it's not technically his, either, it's his boss's. He stays there during his work week.

But hey, a rose by any other name. I'm staying here for a little bit. Besides, this is the view out the window in the first shot.

It's also his 'office.'

Did I not mention Bossman's financial situation? That's kind of important. It's in the realms of "no apparent end to his wealth", apparently.

Example: The guy offered to personally finance to have the 3km of PUBLIC road he lives on paved over (it's now gravel). Why, you ask? Oh you know, he collects cars. Actual ones. Classics (an original Shelby Cobra worth a reported 7 figures), supercars (what's half a dozen freakin' ferraris here and there") - he basically gives Leno a run for his money when it comes to hobbies. So he wanted the road paved to protect the cars he drives - for fun - on the weekends. I admire his passion for machines almost as much as his disregard for price tags. (Incidentally it didn't go through, so he bought a trailer to cart them over the gravel to the main road. F**k those guys, that's why!)

Like I said, I'm staying here. And you're not. Call the house what you will, it's pretty fantastic.

By The Way: 'Bossman' is a great name. Was it a Megaman bad guy? Sounds like a cross between a hip hop artist and an actual pimp.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

East Coast Earthquake: The Beginning

Well Folks, here we go.

A couple of months ago I decided that for my 27th birthday I would venture east to the party capital of Canada.

No, not Halifax.

Not Toronto either.

Alright, Canada kicks some serious ass when it comes to having fun. Montreal, in my mind, more than most. The allure may have been brought on by the fact that I haven't been before, and possibly also brought on by my multiple friends I have met in my 5 years in Whistler who I haven't seen; I feel like I should at least try and see a couple of them!

So. The itinerary is thus. I'm actually on the plane right this very instant with Old School playing in a smaller window. I am about 90 minutes out of Toronto, where I will be until the 20th when I fly on to Montreal. I will be spending a week there before heading back home. Hopefully, I will be documenting most (not all, I try to keep this page relatively PG) of my stories as often as possible. I'm fairly sure it's going to be as fun as hell, partly because I am working on a very bare bones plan. Toronto is a catch up with friends and family as much as possible, because how many people can you possibly see in 4 days?

Also, I will attempt to document the many bars and parties, at least the ones I remember! Hess Village in Hamilton will be good times all round, and hopefully I'll get a night in Toronto town… but like I say, bare bones plan. Let's see what happens.

By The Way: Ever noticed how similar Fight Club and Old School are? Todd Philips wrote it with that intention. Seriously. Google that shit. He's amped when people notice.

UPDATE: the German guy sitting next to me is TOTALLY WATCHING FIGHT CLUB AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Insanity And Happiness (extended version)

I once had a girlfriend who told me, to my surprise, that I am a pessimist. As a happy guy it got me thinking. Why do I strike some people (if it is the case) as a negative person? Why do I have a cynical attitude toward the world? Then I look around, and I see what I have to work with. Then I act accordingly. The world is a terrible place.

That's not strictly accurate. The world is a truly beautiful place. From sunsets to altruism, there are some things in life that can literally render me speechless. The people (most of them) and the deeds they do are ugly, and this ugliness is what we, or rather I, focus on.

But for all the sh*t piling up over the last few years, I think it makes love, and sex by proxy, that much more important. If you have a relationship, a significant other, go that extra mile for them. Tell her you love her, let him know how much he means to you. Hell, even if you can't stand them because all the annoying habits they have are piling up, or you had an argument, just be the bigger person, or apologise. The world is full of divorce and break ups, it's become too easy to just walk away. The world wants you dead, or miserable at the very least; don't burn your bridges with the person who doesn't.

That's not to say being single sucks - being single rocks. Try acting even half as debaucherous in a relationship as when you're single and let me know how that goes. You can go out all night - literally! - and sleep in as long as you want. You can drink until you puke, pass out, or puke and pass out. You don't have to eat bread made out of birdseed if you don't want to, because now you're buying the bread. Stop me when you've heard enough, couples. The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, but it's just a trick of the light. Trust me. Appreciate what you have.

By The Way: Fans of Into the Wild should check out One Week, an indie film about travelling across Canada. Joshua Jackson (that guy from Dawson's Creek that slept with the teacher) plays an english teacher diagnosed with an agressive cancer, and has his apparent mid life crisis early, while finding out about himself. There's a certain hockey related scene that made me realise how much I love this fine country. Check it out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Open Letter to Mother Nature

Dear Miss,

Let me first apologise for the appalling way in which my people have treated you. What humanity as a whole has done (rape you) will likely never be erased, removed, or otherwise negated. (That oil leak alone is worth a few years in the shit for somebody.) If you ask me, if I were in your position, I'd be taking it out on the worst offenders (which is pretty much everyone save a few pockets of eco-aware civilisation.) So again, sorry. I got your back, babe.

I'll admit it took me until fairly late in my "childhood" to fall in love with you. I mean, sure, I always appreciated you and your greenness and fresh air. But not until I uprooted back to the motherland (albeit on the other side) did I fully come to realise your power and seduction. Hurtling down a hill on something slippery in the cold will remain one of my favourite things to do for the rest of my days, or at least the rest of my body's days. I love and respect you, so please take the following with that in mind.

Cut the crap.

Seriously, over 3 weeks of rain, with one or two sunny days to keep us mildly amused while we drink in the sun, is no way to keep me happy. I get it; you're in charge. I never disputed that. I don't even piss outside; it's slovenly and disrespectful. But come on. It's friggin' June.
Now I know that technically you still have about 2 weeks before summer officially begins, but let's be honest here. It's Canada; we're gonna be getting EXACTLY the same weather in October, and that rain does me no good if it's too warm to be snowing at the top. Save some for the fall.

Thank you for your time,

Aaron (and the rest of Whistler).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Websites of Interest

I'm currently mid-move folks, and while being fair and judicious in my accumulations (throwing a bunch of crap out) planning where to keep my socks have taken up most of my attention, so I thought I would share some of the stuff out there that caught my eye.

Those of you as old as I am will know Bobby Mcferrin as the multitalented a cappella musician responsible for Don't Worry Be Happy. In this video, he demonstrates that music, specifically the pentatonic scale, is known throughout, regardless of musical knowledge. You really need to see it.

In a similar vein, an Australian band called the Axis of Awesome demonstrate just how easy it is to write a hit song... by using just four chords. Not only that, but the same four chords in the same order. 38 songs are used (yes I counted) and there's some impressive connections. Who would have thought that Journey's Don't Stop Believing, MGMT's Kids and Waltzing Matilda have the same building blocks?

For anyone who has worked in the service or hospitality industry, this is for you. I can't express how good this is. Let's just say that at some point or another, we've all needed a Denny.

Had enough of friends talking about Farmville, Mafia Wars or WoW (World of Warcraft)? Read this and show it to them. With summer coming up, it could be a good way to get them outside. Scary how simple we are, like rats pushing a lever.

On an uplifting note, seems that whole "deadly plastic bags" thing has been solved. Not by a group of scientists, mind. By a freakin' kid. Seriously, he won his High school, and subsequently the Canada wide science fair with it. Essentially, he discovered and isolated the plastic eating bacteria, then put them to work on some plastic powder. Within 6 weeks at optimal breeding conditions, the bacteria consumed 43% of the powder.

Why didn't I open with the plastic problem you ask? Well, it's bound to stay on your mind now isn't it?

By The Way: Redhead alert! Who is this beautiful thing?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Justin Bieber is a twat.

You and I both know that needed to be said.

Moving on.

After another big night (Telus fest is taking its toll) I went with my buddy Marissa for breakfast. We decided to hit up Elements Urban Tapas, one of the sweetest places in town for hangover food, and pretty cheap for the quality. I went for the classic 2 eggs, bacon (actually duck sausage, I recommend!) etc. I got to thinking, as is often the case when my stomach is preparing to destroy me. Because distraction is the key!

What do you do with breakfast? Personally I enjoy the bacon sandwich while the toast is hot. But what about the egg yolks? You can't just leave them on the plate, thats some damn good nutrients. More toast? More cost. Apparently breakfast is all about committing to a cause (bacon sandwich vs. toast fingers) and frankly for a morning meal it's far too much effort to think about. I think pancakes will work better.

In Other news, the aforementioned Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival reached its peak this weekend with "The End", a massive dance party taking place at the Telus Conference centre, as well as the Chairlift Revue, a series of short skits submitted by the local crowd and put to life by a group of actors. I was foolish enough in that I didn't get any tickets or have any time off (missed Arrested development as well) but next year. Next year. Now is the time for deals! $5 breakfast anyone? How about set menu 3 or 4 course meals for as little as $25? Spring riding pass? There are so many ways to spend money you don't necessarily have!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Skiing, snowboarding, and paying the rent

Imagine, for the sake of argument, you play the drums. You love playing the drums, it's one of the few things that make you happy. Not that there's anything wrong with playing, say, the piano or trumpet, but for you it's drums all the way. Now say you live in, I don't know, a really musical town, Seattle in the 90s for instance. You're hanging with your other musician buddies at a coffee shop (because why the hell not? You're in Seattle after all). One of your drumming friends brings along a guitar enthusiast, and when it transpires her musical preference, another guitar player in your group gives her props for "playing a real instrument", or something along those lines.

Absurd, right?

You'd think so. Apparently, here in Whistler a certain holier-than-thou attitude exists within the community, with respects to skiers vs. snowboarders.

Now, don't get me wrong, of course not ALL skiers hate ALL boarders, and the opposite is also true. And of course, what with the way snowboarding entered the culture through its "movement" - that is, punk music, baggy pants, partying etc. - a certain number of elder people are biased (intimidated?) by this relatively new sport. Before that, skiing was (and still is) a rich person's game: the majority of people, myself included, cannot afford to buy a condo in Aspen, so the hills were saved for the elite. "Those snowboarders" became as commonplace as "those damn kids".
The problem I have is with those people who have picked up or embraced skiing in its renaissance - with fat skis for powder, twin tips for switch, and huge contests with mad rails and novelty cheques - and still hold onto the notion that they are playing the respectable game.
This perspective, much like racism or sexism, is self-perpetuating. It will only go away when the barriers have been broken. We are all here for the same reason - the snow, or maybe more specifically the mountains. Can't forget about the bikers! That's why I love Whistler so much: it attracts those of a similar mindset, which adds to the amazing community feeling here. Stop putting up walls, and the doors will open!

Speaking of real estate, here it is Mid April, months after the Olympics, and most landlords have recognised that the show is over. Rent is finally starting to come down, as many predicted and I hoped it would.

You may have noticed I said 'most landlords...'

Who are these jack offs still asking $900, $1000, $1200 per month for a room? I have seen more than one offer for a room (unshared) for literally half that amount. It seems to be getting better, but there are still those slum suckers frantically casting their reels in the hope to rake that final cash grab before people wake up to the fact that, hey, you're paying way too much to live!

Also, the playoffs are on. Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal all made it in (no Leafs, I hear you ask. Ha fuckin ha.) Let's have a Canadian team bring the Cup home, just to cement our status as the best.

See that? Breaking down walls.

By The Way DOUBLE STUFFED: Books books books! I praised Dan Levitin's This Is Your Brain On Music way back when, and I have just finished another of his. The World In Six Songs shows how base categories of music can convey emotion, as well as have shaped humanity as we know it. Highly recommended.

This one is probably a little late, having been on all kinds of bestseller lists, but Max Brooks' World War Z is a fictionalised account of the Zombie apocalypse. The author is said to have been collecting data for an empirical study for historical archives, and has taken survivor's stories and collected them into a surprisingly interesting read. I'm not one for memes (fuck vampires) but it feels so real reading the tales and failed attempts at containment.

Sanyika Shakur, born Kody Scott, alias Monster, the last handle being the title of his autobiography. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, he got his name from his penchant for grisly acts of murder and brutality. This guy was brought into the Crips at the tender age of 11 - the book opens with his initiation, cutting down a group of Bloods (Brims) with a pump action 12 gauge shotgun. This is heavy shit, he isn't afraid to talk about his friends dying, and discovers the New Afrikan Independence movement while in on one of his prison sentences, becoming a warrior of the people and not the streets. MONSTER: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member is literally one of those books you won't put down until you realise you're late for work.


Friday, April 16, 2010

New fest; naked fun

And we're back! Just in time to get the Olym- wait, what?

They're finished? The paralympics as well?

How did we do?

...We kicked ass? That's alright then I guess.

That's right, I may be a little late for the show, but I documented a lot. Plus, the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival starts today - no doubt I can get involved in that a little more fully. Arrested Development are going to be one of the highlights for me (full concert details can be found at wssf.com/event/outdoor-concert-series), and if I can score a ticket to the Photographer's Showdown, as well as scoring some much needed money in the bank, I'll consider the next 10 days a resounding success.

Let's muse, shall we?

I heard a phrase I haven't heard in a little while the other day: "That girl's a total slut."

Maybe it's a skewed little bubble I live in, but that word doesn't really get bandied about much. At the most, "whore" is used, and by me anyway, often in jest. I just don't see the foundation for it anymore. Is the girl in question of legal age? Is she in an otherwise monogamous relationship? Is she free of diseases? Perhaps the accuser was somewhat jealous of the perceived loose morals of the accused. What do I know though right?

Till next time, (and I promise to do this more often!)

By The Way: I haven't had a chance to see what's happening outside of the Sea to Sky recently, but there's an election in the UK, a volcano in Iceland, and the US giants are in some legal difficulty (Goldman Sachs and Blackwater specifically). Gimme a week, I'll double the BTW next time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BC's Blue Coats and Bus Calamity

All right folks, it appears I will be going live for the duration of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Toytown - sorry, Whistler, by proxy. Just bought me a brand spanking new battery for the light up typewriter what uses no paper.

As the month opens, we see a phenomenal amount of Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) uniforms. They are a particularly vibrant shade of blue (this picture doesn't do it justice) and as such it's easy to spot the clueless folk who don't know where Dual Mountain is. However, there are a couple of them who have a sense of entitlement about them. Carrying a Vanoc security card does not automatically bequeath you the perks and bonuses associated with the long term residents of Whistler (I loathe to use the term 'local'). Just last night, a girl gave my doorman friend flak because he asked for her ID. I don't like to get emotional about that, but fuck that girl. Its a bar. I still carry my ID and I know enough people not to. The reason they insist is because of the police; if you cannot produce government ID and you are in a bar, the establishment can and will be punished by means of a fine and/or a mandatory temporary closure. Whatever.

On to our shining example of transportation on our one highway to the big city (which, incidentally, is an amazing security/deadline pitfall). Imagine it's your first day driving a bus in a city you don't know. You would expect to be provided with detailed maps, timetables, and locations of bus stops at least 6 weeks ahead of time. Here's where we run into a problem. Companies working on a month to month basis will send their drivers up at the beginning of the month (yesterday) so accounting can transfer their pay details etc to the appropriate department. Three examples of the ensuing results of this:

Case 1: the breakfast chef in my restaurant had to take a cab to work yesterday morning because the bus didn't show up. For an hour, when the "every 7 minutes" rule was in effect. Apparently they just plumb forgot about Tapley's Farm residents.

Case 2: A friend ended up in Creekside because the driver turned the wrong way coming back on to the highway (AFTER he had previously made a U-turn on said highway).

Case 3: My personal favourite. Another friend had to direct the driver on his route into town, not only where to go, but where the stops were. He nearly drove right by a stop with 15 people waiting at it.

Now, I have to stress, I DO NOT BLAME THE DRIVERS! A transfer to a new area is always nerve-wracking, and throw 30 hecklers behind you into the mix and theres bound to be some hiccups. And don't get me wrong, I love the Olympics, and the excitement here is off the chart. I just worry that the head honchos at VANOC, in spite of making Whistler and Vancouver look good, they're losing sight of how these two fine cities will appear.

Actually, that last photo isn't quite an accurate representation...


There's no snow in Vancouver.

See you soon kids!