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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And so it is...

I didn't think I'd be writing another one of these so soon...

Months ago, I wrote about the tragedy of one of Whistler's most vivacious young people, and her decision to take her life. It pains me to say that, this Christmas season, we lost another one by their own hand. Once again, I didn't know him, but by all accounts, he was a great guy, funny, the person to turn to when you needed a hug, and a hell of a softball pitcher. Over the last couple of days I've spoken to many of his friends, and a gamut of emotion are running through the restaurants and (more regularly) bars: sadness, shock, anger, disgust, guilt. I'm not going to retread any ground here about the senselessness of his fatal actions, but I will say this.

Despite our fun-loving lifestyle, Whistler can be difficult. Some of us aren't sure when the next big payday is going to be, some of us can't stand to see our ex traipsing around town with their new flame, some of us just feel a little lonely, particularly around the holidays. I will never know what Brent was going through that felt he had to do what he did, but I can understand that the weight of the world was bearing down on him.

To my friends, I hope you feel that you can talk to someone, anyone, if things are looking bleak. You'd be surprised where the compassion comes from; real friends won't judge, and no one can help you when you're gone. We're all in this show together, and we need our Safety Nets to keep us out of the mud and elephant shit on the circus floor. With luck and awareness, I won't have to say goodbye to any of you after the fact, just as I know you won't have to say goodbye to me.

Keep shreddin'.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Do I drink when I write, or write when I drink? One suggests that I can't "express myself" in the real (read: sober) world. The other is merely a testament to the stereotype of writing. Hemingway would certainly give me a nod; the man has countless drinks named after him, and he shot himself when he stopped drinking.

Man, that guy could write. He's not for everyone, because his apparent distaste for full stops and his love of the word "and" makes it hard going to read, let alone study. But nevermind. It just feels like, when I'm really 'working', I should have some brown liquor in a glass in front of me, perhaps with some jazz or Sinatra playing.

Such is the life of the wordy. Musing becomes an everyday part of life. Merely considering the infinite "what if?"s can become a full time occupation.
What if I talk to this girl in the grocery store? Where would that conversation lead to?
What if I had sat on the chairlift with some strangers, instead of taking my own chair up? Who knows what would have come about?
What if I choose to stay late at work? What if the love of my life walks in? What if tonight, the night I stay in, turns out to be the best night I ever could have had? What if I bump into Josh Sherry, that guy from elementary school I haven't seen since 1997?

The possibilities are endless. The trick is to follow up on that imagination, and to monitor it. It's why I try not to say no to anything. Within reason; I'm not of the murdering state of mind.

Oh, and apparently it's Christmas soon. I'm going to front the charge for a Local's Christmas, JANUARY 25th. We all have some money, and everything is cheaper because it's post Christmas sales all up in the house, not to mention that Jan. 25th is a wednesday and probably gonna be quiet at your job so you should just drink cheap eggnog and enjoy the non-holiday warmth. Oh, and advent calendars are SUPER cheap.

But I can't do it alone. I need your help. Share the hell out of this post if you read it. Send it to 10 friends: 5 you see on a regular basis, and 5 randoms from your Facebook that you haven't talked to in a while. To the people reading this as a recommendation from a friend: please do the same. Brother needs recognition, and I think this is the way forward.

I'll leave you with this quote from Ernie: If the book is good, is about something that you know, and is truly written, and reading it over you see that this is so, you can let the boys yip and the noise will have that pleasant sound coyotes make on a very cold night when they are out in the snow and you are in your own cabin that you have built or paid for with your work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Balancing Act

Spoiler Alert: this could get whiny.

Someone asked me the other day if I believe in karma. Now I don't think I do, though I understand the premise. If you're nice to people, then nice things will happen for you. Much like a bank loan, when you give away positive... *sigh* energy... then it eventually returns with interest. This would be hunky dory except for the minor issue that there are some people that don't believe it. Not only that, they don't believe in it, AND they don't see anything wrong with being total dicks to everyone (something that separates me from them.) I'm a good guy because it's morally right, which could be argued is better than karmic belief because I'm not doing it in the hope that good things will happen to me, I just hope that whatever I can do will help someone else have a nicer day. Let's face it, it's always a good feeling when your wallet is returned, cash and cards intact, after you left it on the bus, or when, after a long day at work, someone offers you the comfy seat on the couch.

No, what I believe in is something a little different. And I don't know if it happens to other people, but let me run it past you. Consider a number of glasses, all empty, and one giant jug of water. The glasses represent different areas of your life (friends, work, money, romance, etc) and the water that is about to be poured into these hypothetical receptacles represents how much or how little each is going on in your life. For example, lately, my Money and Job glasses have been drying up, with the Girl glass near on full. The other day though, the Girl in question called it off, and just like magic, my hours (and eventually money) raised to the point of overflowing.
The trick is to find a happy medium between all glasses, to get the best possible combination so you can have a Happiness Drink for the rest of your life (or at least until another tap gets turned on, or the glasses get bigger... but I think my metaphor is starting to fall apart.)
My point being: I don't want to have it all, I just want enough of a little bit. This town is forever changing, and the only stability is the knowledge that nothing is permanent. The one thing that has kept me going during the latest financially meagre weeks is that it seems everyone's Dollar Glass is empty. Now, it seems everyone has won the lottery, and I'm the unlucky sonovabitch that didn't buy a ticket.

Ah well. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Voting of a different variety!

It's that time of year again. The Best of Whistler is now available online (I'd link to it but I've already completed my votes so it just shows a Thank You Message). And what a year to be reviewing; I had some serious problems choosing just one Party of the year, for example. Anyway, as I'm writing for Whistler is Awesome, and iPartyinWhistler, I'd love it if you consider either of those as Best Website. Oh, look at that, there's a "Best Writer" section just beneath... I'll hug you and give you Oreos!

In keeping with tradition, I woke early for the opening day of Blackcomb, and my favourite mountain did not disappoint. We've almost hit 3 metres cumulative already, and it isn't even December! Shaping up to be a great season.

Finally, tomorrow I can shave my face. I actually enjoy having a moustache, but I find that visitors don't take me seriously. So that's that. If you want to donate, go to http://mobro.co/aaronpeart/d and aforementioned hugs and Oreos will also pertain here.

That's it for now I think. Go Leafs; let's get Reimer back in and see if he's still as good as he was.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Open Letter to the Mayoral Candidates

Hi there,

After my 6 years of living here, I have begun to take an interest in how this town is being run. What decisions are being made, and why, are clearly going to have an impact on me in the future, and as such, I have been researching your individual platforms. I wouldn't say I am getting involved with politics, just getting involved with Whistler. You all love this place as much as, if not more than I do, but that was before, when naked skiing and hot dog parties were all the rage, and the province hadn't come down on us as a community for not acting like a grown up. But I love this place despite the rising costs of housing, and the unlikelihood of my ever owning a place of my own. A permanent state of ski-bummery may not be ideal in the rest of the world, but it suits me down to the ground.

As I mentioned above, I am not a politician. In fact, it isn't important what I do, or who I am. I'm nobody important.

But that's exactly the point. There are hundreds of nobodies in this beautiful community who keep this town running. The servers and bartenders, the cooks, the shop managers; will we be taken care of in the coming years?
I have made my decision on my vote, though I choose to exercise my right to hide it. To the one of you who has won my vote: please don't let me down.

It has been said before that Whistler is unique because we have all chosen to live here, in defiance of the hardships that we face. Please, on behalf of my demographic, don't pile more upon the Great Unwashed.

Friday, November 11, 2011



And so we begin again. The winter is at our doorstep, the mountains are prepping to host another stellar shred season. I'm growing a Moustache, (which rocks) and I'm raising money to do it (http://mobro.co/aaronpeart/d). Actually, between the club and the Movember campaign, I have approximately 8-10 commitments between now and Dec. 1st. The new kids are coming in strong, and they're the same as always - fresh-faced, cold, and partying. It's almost too easy to get them into Maxx Fish...
Besides all that, I'm writing something new that I'm really enjoying. It's hard to say where it's going to go, but the basic premise (as of now) is that I get drunk and sit in front of Word for Mac. Fun stuff. We'll see where that little path leads to...

But back to the meat and potatoes of life. Today is Remembrance day, and I stopped in at the service. Rain didn't stop play, and my standing in it for ten minutes was the least I could do for the people who fought (and are fighting) for my freedom. As they were laying the wreaths, a rainbow appeared. You all know I don't "do" religion, but it was a nice addition to the proceedings, as were the geese flying over during O Canada. I love when I look up and see the mountains, the snow, the forests. It's the finest parts of this country, all in my backyard, as the photo above shows.

In Other News, local songstress Ali Milner wowed her fans (or rather, the judges did) when she was shockingly voted off of Cover Me Canada, another of those Pop Idol spin offs. Anyone who has heard Milner sing, at the Jazz Festival this September or one of her usual gigs in town (Fairmont? Four Seasons? I cannot recall) knows that she is obviously talented. In fact, Ali and her band were the only team who got through to the final 3 without immunity - in other words, on sheer musical talent, and not by the people following her on Twitter. (Though, it should be said, I did vote!)
This is exactly why I don't watch these shows. Clearly, Ali has skill, but one off night negates her success in previous episodes. Whatever. Ali, if you happen to be reading, I think you're a winner. See you this winter sometime.

By The Way: Please make sure you check out the latest episode of The Daily Show. In particular, the last segment, where Jon Stewart talks about Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. It's just good television, and it's something I think people need to be aware of. Like the hockey coach scandal of the early to mid 90's, it brings to light some horrible events, but at least they're now known.

Here's to the heroes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

7th winter - commence!

Well, here we are again.

October 20th, my so-called "Whistler Birthday". It's my 6th full year here. I always seem to look back on the years previous. What I've done, where I've been. The people I've met. Those who've left; those that have stayed. The girls - oh, the girls. The folks I've met from Vancouver, and beyond. The reasons I've stayed. The season. The days on the powder, the nights in the bar. The hard times (and there have been some), by me, and by my brothers.

Now the season is upon us. A mere 35 days until the mountain is scheduled to open, but let's be honest, it's gonna be earlier. WB has an untarnished record for the last few years (even though a couple of years ago it was only 24 hours early, but I'll allow it).

So to all of you, this post is a thank you. I've had some fantastic times, but I couldn't have done it without you. So thanks for being awesome.

By The Way: I'm still writing for WhistlerIsAwesome... you should check it out.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Working on Working Out - Week One

Well, it's been a week. Here's my progress, according to the important days. (Incidentally, Day 1 is the meat and potatoes and I'll be posting that on Whistlerisawesome.com.)

Day 2

Ow.

So much for no drinking. Weekends are the killer for that; there's always friends coming up and they want to party. Unfortunately for us hosts, every day is a friday sometimes… In any case, I awoke with a headache from whisky, and sore muscles from the first exercise my body has seen in months.

But you know what? I knew it wasn't going to be easy when I started, so I have to power through. Sweat out the pain. 50 sit-ups, 50 pushups.


Day 4

Not content with my quest of 100 pushups and 200 sit ups, I went to the village and bought a jump rope, and - what? Shut up; it's not gay. You know who jumps rope? Rocky Balboa. You know who else? Jesus. Probably. Anyway, $28 of my money gets me a weighted handled jump rope that actually looks kind of like an extension cord.

(Seriously guys, you should look at this jump rope. It could only be manlier if it was made of barbed wire with poison all over it. Or something.)


Day 7

I suspect I've hurt something.

My stomach hurts like I pulled an abdominal. (Is that what they're called?) It's not "hernia" pain, but it's certainly hampering my efforts.

I'm up to 81 sit-ups from the apps, 71 pushups, and I'm hitting the rope with 100 consecutive jumps. Due to my chronic "no-idea-what-I'm-doing" affliction, I'm going to take the techno advice and train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with cardio work on the "off" days.

And maybe the doctor.

And then work out a way to get fit without using whatever's hurt, I guess!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finally - Motivation AND a platform!

In my last post I wrote about the struggles of finding the energy required to get back to fighting form for the winter. Well, serendipitously, I happened to email the editor of Whistler Is Awesome and when she read that on my site, she suggested I run with it (no pun intended).

So I'm getting healthy. What I'm going to do is write something on here every week detailing my progress and how I'm dealing with not being a lazy sonofabitch, with a general weekly overview (the best parts) going to WIA.

So yay! Except god damn my abs hurt after only 2 days!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Working out isn't working out.

People, it's fair to say that I am lazy. However, the only person that gets to say that is me. I do not appreciate judgement. It's all well and good berating me for not having any drive to get healthier, but you have to understand: I wasn't an athletic kid, and I'm not an athletic man.  You can't paint stripes on a horse and call it a zebra.

So the reason for all this is that I want to get fit for this winter, but a guy who rarely visits the gym doesn't know where to start.

Firstly, there's the embarrassment factor. I'm not gonna sit next to a friend and pick up a fraction of the weight he is for too long. I have pride. Then there's the fact that I'm starting from essentially nothing, while all my friends (literally all of them) that are interested in exercise and health etc. are miles ahead of me on the curve. What you see as "only" doing so many reps so many times a day, I see as a mountain that, frankly, I can't be fucking bothered to even start climbing, let alone reach the lofty peaks alongside my brethren.

So ok, do it alone.

Because that's super fun. And I already detailed my motivation issues. And I'm not buying a bunch of weights that are just going to take up space in my already cluttered bedroom (probably next to my old snowboards and my broken Fender.)

Any thoughts?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One step closer to Magic...

This weekend has just seen the running of the Gran Fondo, something I cannot comprehend as an idea of "fun". Biking up the Sea to Sky (and I do mean "up") on a 30 degree C day sounds more like a punishment, and I think the only prize is "accolade". Forgive me for not rushing to get my camera, I mean Lance isn't entering is he? But whatever, different horses for different courses.

 But in a way I was looking forward to it, much in the same way I look forward to the Bike park closing (Oct. 10th) - we're inching ever closer to the winter season. And you know what that means.

 It's ski movie time.

 A couple have already premiered, but the one that everyone is frothing over tickets (sold out people, sorry) is Brain Farm's follow up to the 2008 hit That's It That's All, The Art of Flight. Premiering tomorrow night at the Telus Conference Centre, this promises those jaw-dropping scenes and breathtaking lines that we've come to expect from Travis Rice, Scotty Lago, and the rest.

 And I've seen it.

 It doesn't matter how this worked in my favour, but let's just say I have some good friends that had access to a prescreening.

 This movie is perfect. It makes you realise how amazing people can be in the air, how athletic they must be to be able to backflip into a tree bonk, just to get the perfect shot. It's a testament to what snowboarding should be for everyone - fun, exciting, a little scary (there's an epic set in Nelson that's just avalanche after avalanche) and refreshing. It reminds me how much fun it can be, and with the right soundtrack it's a session to remember (I reviewed The Naked and Famous' album a while back, and they scored not one but two tracks on TAOF).

 So yeah. Bring the snow. I'm already pumped.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Smile for the camera

Finally! Something to write about!

I've often written about the happiness of this town, and I think I found a worthwhile cause to tie to Whistler.

A girl in Australia (my friend's sister) has started a campaign called One Million Smiles. She suffers from Fibromyalgia, a condition (for those of you that don't know) involving "long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues." Not nice. Sometimes these symptoms result in twisting the body into different positions that look (and are) uncomfortable.

Claudia began counting smiles, and would then judge her day as a good day or a bad day based on the smiles she received - a high number meant good, low number meant bad. Thus the idea of One Million Smiles was born. It's a heartwarming goal, and it relies on people, on awareness. You print out the Smile logo from Facebook, and take a picture of yourself with them. In front of the webcam is fine, but I'm gonna go for some serious GNAR points and take one through the village, snowboarding, what have you. The gauntlet hath been cast, who will be the one to pick it up? Go to the Facebook link, click "Like", and you're good to go. I want to see some people I know in her Smile File.

I think that's it. Go forth and be happy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hello again!

Hey! Remember when I used to write stuff online, mostly for you, but partly for me? Good times...

So, I guess I should get you all up to date. I have gone from zero jobs to 2.5 (I'm helping out at Dusty's for the rest of the summer), and as such, summer just got hectic. I'm back working promotions for the club, which is as good as I remember, but it's become so much bigger than when I left it. And I'm getting regular hours at Flipside, which I mentioned a few months back, and it's fun as hell.

As for everything else, well, like I said, it's been a crazy summer so far. I caught up with a Hagersville alumni yesterday (Nate Buwalda), and to say we had a bizarre night would be an understatement. Now that summer is FINALLY here, it's good to get out in the sun. Oh, I might be in a calendar that raises money for spinal cord research... because apparently chicks dig skinny dudes in this town. And Brother Jules has finally bitten the bullet and will be returning to Whistler indefinitely October 5th.

I'll be honest, I don't really have a whole ton of things to really elaborate on (hockey is still a few weeks away) but I did feel compelled to write something based on the website I discovered recently.

It's no secret that I personally feel that the world is getting closer and closer to destruction of some type (part of the reason I live where I do), so it's refreshing to see when people are generally just being decent people. From the makers of FMyLife.com comes MakesMeThink.com, and it's exactly what you need to restore your faith in humanity. Whether it's through a child's innocence, a simple gesture that someone notices, or the story of a family who, after 4 months of their mother on life support, decided to switch off, only to discover her heart, lungs and nervous system functioning well, it gives you something to think about. Really, it's nothing more than happiness porn, but it's wonderful to see that someone or some group decided that there needed to be an outlet for those stories that even Hollywood couldn't come up with. I read the entries for an hour straight, and highly recommend it.

That's pretty much it for now.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cheers girl.

I want you to think about your oldest friend. The one you have known the longest and still keep in contact with, beyond the almost obligatory "HBD" wall post every year. I have one person in the world (apart from my parents) that I have known my entire life. Amanda Rae weatherston is just over a month younger than me. Do the math (if there is any), and that's 28 years I've known her. Without a doubt, my longest friend.

Which doesn't even compare to the type of friendship my mom had with Libby. They met when they started secondary school (which in the UK is when you turn 13), went through nursing school together, and was easily my mom's closest friend. She doesn't make friends easily, so you know Lib was special. My mom is in her fifties (as much as she is loathe to admit) so when you work it out it's over 40 years of friendship.

Let me reiterate: I've known someone my entire life and Mom and Lib still have a teenagers worth of time between the two of them.

Growing up, Libby was like a second mother to me and my siblings. With three daughters of her own she knew how to get us to cut out whatever we were doing, or start doing something when we weren't. As I got older, and my smart mouth really blossomed into the virtuoso I possess today, she was one of the few people that could leave me speechless - and with nary a raised voice. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever saw her lose her temper. She was just that kind of person. Her and Ted (whom I talked about in a previous post as the smartest man I've ever met) were an amazing pair; visiting them was one of the highlights of our trips to England when I lived in Ontario. They lived near Hampton Court and Bushy Park, so we would walk over and feed the der in the grounds. One year there was an enormous storm, and all these trees - hundreds of years old - were uprooted, and the kids were playing in the craters left by the roots removed. Then there was that time they came over to see us in rural Ontario.. My parents were away in the morning (I can't remember why) and my brother, then 3, found himself the subject of an experiment, wearing the daughters clothes! That same trip, and the girls were running around Port Dover beach bare ass naked, with (I was told later in life) parents standing aghast that someone could let their kids do that. That was Lib though. Fuck em.

Sadly, however, Libby passed away this week following an aggressive round of cancers. What started off as breast cancer eventually moved into her lungs, and in a very short period of time it eventually got the best of her. This news is tough for me in many ways. For starters, obviously, a death in the family (for that's how she and her family are considered) is never easy, but living 7500 km (4600 miles) away makes it difficult in that I can't get back for anyone, least of all my own mother who I know is devastated.
As you may or may not know, in 2007 my sister was diagnosed with brain cancer. She's dealing with it best she can, but Libby was that rock, she helped my family out when it was threatening to come crashing down on everyone. I worry for my sister every day, and the knowledge that there are people like Lib in her life is a huge comfort when i live far away from people.

I have been accused of taking death too lightly, but the fact of the matter is that apart from my mom's mom, I have always been in the wrong place at the wrong time: Greece when my dad's dad died, and Whistler for the rest of the grandparents. I'd only see these people once a year, tops. But it's when I do go back that their absence is felt. I can remember all of my grandparents vividly because death has rarely touched my life in a first hand kind of way. The difference here though, is that when grandparents go, you're kind of expecting it. Libby went from bad to worse in a matter of months. In fact, the last time I saw her, I don't think she had been diagnosed at all. We went to London Zoo, when I went back in 2007 to surprise my sister. Which, honestly, is how I want to remember her, as a wisecracking aunt. I'm choked I didn't get to see her on the last trip, but I felt that way even without her passing; she really was an astounding character. She got to see her daughter Alice's marriage to a hell of a guy, Jack, who I know she loved. She doesn't hurt anymore, either. You guys know that I'm not much for the religion thing, but it'd be nice to think that she's better where she is.

Anyway, this one's a little heavy, and it may not have the best flow, but it kind of turned into a ramble. It's all I have to offer to my family in lieu of making an appearance. Love ya girl.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Too bad my cape is at the dry-cleaners...

OK, so I was walking to the bus stop after work the other night, and I see this group of people just kind of horse-assing around. I'm like whatever, it's midnight, it's to be expected. Then I see one of the girls is carrying a pack of toilet paper. So I figure, she probably got sucked into drinking after a trip to the grocery store.

I then hear this: "But, that's not yours, it's my friend's. Give it back!" I look and one of the girls is my friend Megan. The rest of the group are walking away, t.p. under the arm of now stranger girl. I ask Meg, do you know them? She says no.


What follows is the transcript of the conversation. I was one beer deep, so this is a fairly accurate depiction of what happened. There are about 12 people in the group but I only communicated with two of them, a guy and a girl. ***WARNING: Contains coarse language.


Me: Hey! Wanna stop a second?
(hero runs up to TPgirl)
What are you doing? Is that yours?
TPG: No.
Me: Well, listen, I don't know where you're from, and maybe you can't drink as much as the big dogs up here, but you can't just take shit from people. You're being a bitch, just gimme the bag.
TPG: We spent over $700 in the Dubh Linn (*note: irish bar)
Me: Whose fault is that?
(TPG smiles and tosses the bag to the hero, who thanks her)
Drunk Guy: Hey, did you call us a bunch of fucking bitches?
Me (as I walk away triumphant): No, I called you a bunch of fucking thieves. Have a great night.
DG: You're a fucking cunt, you know that?!
Me (walking away): Have a great night.

Like.
A.
Boss.


Arm around girl, high five her boyfriend when we get back to the bar, and hugs from the girl whose TP it actually was.

And this is my life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion! With pretty girls!

So the other day, I got it in my head that I haven't written in a while. Like with a pen and paper (that's what we did before the Internet, kids!) So I grabbed an as-yet unused notebook and started making a bit of a to-do list for Whistler. Ostensibly this was just to get back to the roots of my writing and to post whatever spilled out here.

BUT: it just kept coming. I'm now 10 chapters deep into the rabbit hole, and I can't see daylight in front of me. So let's make this a thing.

I'm writing a book.

It's scary. The prospect of failure always is. (Ha, I mis-spelled "failure" there and almost posted it. Irony.) But rest assured, this is something that could really take off. I've told a fair few people about it, and once it's done I'll be looking for a publisher. Luckily the artistic community in Whistler is both tight knit and supportive so we'll see how this plays out.

In Other News, you guys should totally check out my friend Nina's fashion blog. She's trying to get a sweet gig and all she needs is for you to "like" her page in this link. She's frightfully pretty, she's from the bustling mecca of Port Dover, Ontario, and rumour has it when she has alone time with her boyfriend, she calls out my name! (Her boyfriend may or may not be named Aaron as well... Of course he's an awesome guy!) Then, once you've all been wonderful people and helped her score this dream job, you can see what all the fuss is about here. Thanks folks.

By The Way: You seem like trendy people. Albums I'm feeling at the minute: Mingus Ah Um (Charles Mingus), Let Them Talk (Hugh Laurie), and Rise Ye Sunken Ships (We Are Augustines). The last one there was reviewed by a pretty talented guy here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer's here, Stanley isn't.

Well, kids, I don't know what to say.

The first period was electric; it looked lie we had the powerplay for 20 minutes, so intense was our pressure in their end. Then... I don't know why, but if you watch the third it's like a totally different team out there.

The only saving grace is that it was over far before the final seconds. If we had been tied up until the last minute or so, I think a lot of viewers would have suffered stress induced heart attacks. I used mine up during the Gold Medal game last year.

I also am left speechless at the appalling way a handful of gloryhunters decided to take the loss into their own hands and set cars on fire, prompting the police to fire tear gas, which in turn made the few rioters around get more incensed. The "us vs. them" was maybe not deliberate but was most certainly bulwarked by the Vancouver police, and by proxy the media. You'll notice that they showed the same few clips they had on a loop, long after the sun had gone down it was still broad daylight in Downtown Vancouver. What's more, every Canucks fan is being tarred with the same brush - "monkeys", "idiots", "savages", the top 3 hashtags on Twitter are all concerning Vancouver, and so forth.


I did find this though:


















This the "Wall of Love", outside The Bay on Georgia, and makes my heart swell... People this morning, real fans, took to the streets to clean up litter, scrub soot, and just generally apologise for the actions of a few people who just wanted to get on TV. I think it's great that Canadians are Canadian regardless of the situation. We have enough footage of some of them (the angry Greece football shirt, the man in green paint with the mohawk, the countless mid-20s guys that jumped on those two cop cars), surely they'll have lost their jobs and a fair amount of face by today.

Like I said the other day, I love this game. But in this world where people are rioting for things like human rights, politics, and wars, is a hockey game (albeit the most important one of the year) really worthy of civil unrest? Our prime minister is a monster; why aren't we in the streets protesting him? Egypt did it, after all.

Anyway, Go Leafs Go.

By The Way: Summer is officially here, now that game 7 is over. I watched the game in the sun on my boss' patio with the living room window open. Oh yeah! I have a new job. But I'll save that for later.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Women and Hockey

Ladies and gentlemen, it is no secret to you that I love women. Not sex, specifically, but women. They fascinate me. Much like the pyromaniac I am often so interested and consumed by my interest that often there are unintended consequences. Couple this with the unerrable truth of Whistler… Women don't always stay; the good ones are off saving the world before the snow melts.

To the casual observer, it would seem that this town is perfect for a single man in his mid-late 20s: a revolving door at the gates of town, a fresh batch of girls every time it starts to get colder. But for someone like myself (a guy with his heart on his sleeve, but looking for something serious) it's the same as every other city: the good ones are only visiting, the ones that stay aren't what I'm looking for. In other words, I can find a warm body for a night, maybe two, but I feel like I should stop being this kind of guy. This was all as a result of a profound revelation after yet another girl up from the city, who actually is pretty goddamned cool. (She may know who she is, if she reads this.) None of them are up for more than a weekend, and I can't justify leaving this town after putting in so much of myself to be in the position I am in. I have a great job, a beautiful (rental) house, and some of the closest friends a man could ask for. Would any man alive trade that for a stream of meaningless relationships that may not last more than 24 hours?

Makes you wonder.

In Other News, tonight could see history made as the Vancouver Canucks look to take Stan home. To those of you that don't understand why this is such a big deal… how are we even friends?

But seriously, I love the playoffs regardless of who's playing (the advantages of being a Leafs fan). The goals are so much more important - LaPierre's celebration Friday night exemplified that with his quick-step running skate to the boards after he scored the only goal of the game. Additionally, there's the little statistic that Canadians like to bandy around about the Canadian host city to the winter Olympics goes on to win the Stanley cup immediately after the Games. And in the Canucks 40 year history, no time would be better.

By the Way: A MAN IS GOING TO FIGHT A FUCKING LION. There's really nothing more I can say about that.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Movie night at the A5 Scribs!

Huh.

A cloudy day in Whistler means I started looking online for documentaries. I like movies, but I love documentaries. It's fascinating, because not only is a doc interesting, but it's true. Harrowing, beautiful, fascinating.

My point being: ever called somebody crazy? I don't think you know what that really means. I can summate and overtake any crazy behaviour any ex-girlfriend or parent has ever done, and I can do it in just three simple words.

Westboro. Baptist. Church.

Google it. I'll wait. Hell, you'll probably only get to "w-e-s-t-b" before it shows up as the top hit. (UPDATE: it does.)

There is a documentary by the always entertaining and brilliant Louis Theroux, entitled "The Most Hated Family in America". And it's tragic how some of these people think. Notably the sweetest girl in Kansas City (apart from the whole "God Hates Fags" thing), who doesn't live with the family, Gael.

And hey! I just found a follow-up doc! America's Most Hated Family In Crisis details how, 4 or 5 years later, many of the members have left the church. Gael is shaping up to take the place of Shirley Phelps-Roper, the driving force of the church. Younger members are the majority of the dissenters, and those still within (specifically the parents) don't speak to their own children. There's a particularly moving scene where he meets with Libby, and it's clear she misses her parents, though not their ideals. The feeling is mutual, although the parents are much more guarded, ,in their interview, as appears to be in keeping with the religion of denying one's human characteristics.

Anyway, these, and a ton of other docs are available online, free, no subscription at documentaryheaven.com. I'm not being paid by them, it's just a great site.

Hoo boy. It's gonna be awesome writing "Westboro Baptist Church" in the tags for this post.

Hockey news. Seriously, guys? You squandered those away games. You fucking had it. Did you see how good a mood Luongo was in when he lost his mask, joking with the refs? It's game 5 tonight. Let's make it happen.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Youngsters

Happy Memorial day to the American constituent in town, and belated Happy May 24 Weekend to the Canadians. This back to back busy times usually indicates the beginning of the end of shoulder season, and when the weather co-operates, the town is full of people. Not limited to these two weekends (as a matter of fact, every weekend over the summer) is the throngs of stag and hen parties that descend upon this apparently debauched town, replete with blow up sex dolls and penis straws. Seriously. Every single one of them has at least one of these.

Now, I am not one to criticise weddings, marriage, or least of all partying, and maybe it's my age. But this long weekend, on one day (Saturday) I saw no less than 3 groups of stagettes that had to have only been about 21. Max.
Here's my opinion. Being young is the perfect excuse to have fun, to get in trouble, and to make mistakes. The difference when you get married at that young of an age is that there are repercussions to your decisions, both good and bad. Not that there aren't repercussions prior to married life, but now there are other people that have to clean up your mess.

If you're happy, that's great. Just be aware that you could seriously fuck it up, be right back where you started, and possibly have missed out on your 20s entirely.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The final few days...

I just realised, 1 week later, that I haven't posted the final segment of the trip to England. Here you go kids.


Another quiet day of hanging at the house and relaxing. And by "quiet", I mean "manic". And by "hanging", I mean "helping". And by "relaxing", I mean "preparing everything we own for the big move in 2 days." So that happened. It's unbelievable how much stuff we had to pack up. It took all day, even with the help of Aunt Sue and Uncle Dave, and by the end of the day we STILL hadn't organised everything. I think we called it quits around 9pm, when we ordered fish and chips for dinner (thus keeping the kitchen clean). I couldn't keep my eyes open for much longer, so said goodnight and goodbye to my mom, as she had an early meeting up in Leeds so she had to get the train even earlier.
Wednesday was a quiet hangout day with Ali before I left that afternoon. It's always weird saying goodbye to her, not in a bad way but with the health problems she's had these last few years, you don't know how she'll be the next time you see her. I mean, philosophically, anyone could die before I see them again, but it's so much more obvious with her. It's not a nice feeling, but she's good with it.
Made my way with all of my luggage to London (incidentally, the handle on my luggage had broken), and managed to eventually negotiate the underground (said broken handle made it a challenge). There was a delay at one station so had to redirect all over the place, but finally made it to St. Pancras, where Jules met me. I dropped my stuff off and changed my now-sweaty shirt, and we headed out to Barrio Central, a Mexican themed bar/restaurant with some of the cheapest beer you're likely to find (albeit during happy hour). 2.50 bottles from 4 till 8 and a great menu. http://www.barriocentral.com/. The reason we ended up in a bar in Soho and not drinking in Jules' hotel is because we were meeting up with the other two Bolton kids (the first being Anna in Bristol). We haven't seen Guy and Hugo in years and it was great to see them again. It's funny how that can happen - after so long, you don't miss a beat. I informed them both of the impending plan for Anna's 30th birthday (Whistler) and they were pretty keen. Guy's girlfriend had spent some time out there when her brother did a season back in 2004-2005, so it seemed like a pretty solid plan of a plan.
Early morning the next day, so we headed back to the hotel and I triple checked everything so it wasn't left behind. (Like my birth certificate, for example.)

We now return to our regularly scheduled writing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

University Reminiscences

Considering we turned the tv off at almost 4am, it was an early morning for me. While I waited for Neil to wake up, I caught up on the writing. A breakfast diner round the corner was meant to be awesome, so when I had packed we headed over there.
And apparently they close on Mondays. Balls. Not to worry, the Waffle House proved to be just as good, in a different way. It was a good place, though I don't think I should have chosen the savoury option of sausage and mushrooms with a sweeter gravy. But: they weren't stingy with the tea; the pot was the size of a volleyball. Said goodbye (nay, "see you soon") to Neil, and got the train down to Liverpool Street Station, churned out another review, and next thing I know, I'm in the heart of London.

Martin met me at Liverpool St. and we went for a beer or two at the Water Poet. Jules had just started training in London for the week so he came to meet us; Martin's girlfriend Karen came for a couple as well. It was good to catch up, as it had been about 6 years since we had done so. Hopefully he'll be able to get out to BC sometime and get some skiing in. I had aimed to hang out in London until after the commuter's rush, so at 9:30pm I got the train home to Cosham.

The whole weekend caught up with me; I think I woke up only at Petersfield, the stop before mine. I felt like my eyelids were weighed down, and I almost considered staying on the train to keep napping and catch the return trip back. Then I remembered.

Taxi!

Home.

Bed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Norwich Day 2

Well, the good news is that I didn't win Drunkest Man in Norwich that night. That dubious honour goes to none other than our good friend Lawrence. A club (my first condition was: no clubs on this trip) by the name of Havana's was the last stop, and there were definitely shots (my second was no shots when the sun goes down). I have a photo of Mr. Smith dancing a la Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction's Jackrabbit Slim's. Funny? Hell yes. Sexy? Not even a little.
Regardless, he was feeling pretty bad the next morning - while I certainly felt like I had been out all night, there was no way I was able to complain, given that Lez had to drive home that afternoon.

We had a big exciting day planned, thanks to Neil. First; Trowse "Mountain" (quotes added by author), the hill that he had learned to snowboard on. Covered in Dendrex (like the world's biggest toothbrush), a decent gradient meant half a dozen or so turns before hitting up the button lift at the bottom. Talk about extreme. The picturesque town of Great Yarmouth was next in our sights, where Neil had spent many of his more hedonistic nights as a younger man. At only 20 miles or so down the road, it would have been a travesty not to check out this mecca of British holidaymakers up and down the country.

I'm being facetious for comedic effect by the way. Yarmouth is a rundown sea side town, indistinguishable from many across the coastline, with the exception of Blackpool. These towns harken from a time before air travel was cheaper than the train (I could fly to Sweden twice for the price I paid for my train ticket up to Norwich), and the beaches surrounding England were better known for the donkey rides and piers than the used condoms and seawater that belongs high on the toxicity scale. Still, the benefit of the cookie cutter seaside promenades was that it reminded me of when we were kids and we would go to the Southsea seafront, complete with 2p pusher machines, ice cream vans, and fish and chips.
Fish and chips. God damn. There aren't many things I miss about England, but a good fish and chips is hard to find outside of the fair island. Other things include: London, Ribena, Jaffa Cakes, and pubs. Real pubs with dimpled gasses, the place still stinks of tobacco smoke and there's a 150 year old man who is there every single time you go in. (Ale and lock-ins, while we're on the subject too.)
I digress.
Found some fish and chips. Lez fashioned himself up some poutine (keepin it gangsta Mr. Smith) and we ate it on the walk looking out to the North Sea, as is tradition.
The weather was perfect - windy and threatening to rain, "perfect for Yarmouth" as Neil put it. Took some great photos while we were there, including the plywood cutouts of lifeguards and strongmen, and the Vegas themed strip (the Golden Nugget, Flamingo, Circus Circus and Caesar's palace were all represented). But the shining feature on the seafront has to have been the pirate themed miniature golf. It almost looked too good to be surrounded by "tat".
Yarmouth actually has a sad history: during the First and Second World Wars, it was right on the flight route from Germany to some of the major industrial cities in the Midlands like Sheffield, Birmingham and Coventry. On their way home, if the Luftwaffe had any spare bombs that for whatever reason didn't get dropped, they would just dump them on Yarmouth before limping back to the Fatherland. The entire beach was riddled with mines and dragons teeth in preparation for a sea invasion (Holland is a stone's throw across the water), and countless buildings would be there one day, gone the next. As a result, beautiful buildings such as the old theatre, the Empire, are surrounded by architectural abortions dreamed up in the 50s to accommodate the burgeoning tourists in post-war England. (Another interesting story: Neil's father remembers taking the train home from school that ran parallel to the beach, and they would throw bricks that they had collected out the window onto the shore, in hopes to hit the aforementioned mines.)
After our seaside experience, we drove through the town Neil was born in, and past his old BMX park that him and his friends used to frequent. Incidentally, this was a former Spitfire airfield so it was commonplace to find plane parts.

(Another awesome story: Neil's dad grew up with this airfield in his backyard. His father was in the British guard, and one night while on rounds, he saw two Spitfires chasing a Messerschmidt across the night sky. The German was discovered by Neil's grandfather, and marched to his house with a gun in his ribs. To sum up: Neil's father has childhood memories of a German pilot being held in his living room waiting for the military police to show up and take him to a prisoner of motherfucking war camp. I have this image of his mother offering him a cup of tea, and I hope that happened.)

Back to Neil's place, where a still worse for wear Lez had to about-face and drive the three hours back to his place. Neil and I, along with his housemate Kelvin and a girl named Amy (long story) headed out for a modern day hunting and gathering trip (gone to find dinner). We had our hearts set on a pub roast but it seems every bar in England stops serving food just before dinner time. We eventually found The School House (where none of our gang had been), and while their kitchen was (gasp) closed, they had no problem getting takeout delivered to the pub. Curry! We shot the breeze over dinner, and headed back home for a nap (or tactical bitch kip, as it shall now be known). You see, Game 1 of the Vancouver Canucks/San Jose Sharks started at 1am, and Neil had all the ingredients to watch it: a 50" television, ESPN America, and HD. Sure it's not Tapley's, but could we have reclined in our own sofas with snacks and the option to hit the bathroom whenever we felt the need? I think not. Hell of a game, made better by a late night beer or two. And we won.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Norwich for realsies!

The morning after, feeling surprisingly spry, Lez and I prepped ourselves up to get to Norwich. Tea and toast, and a chat to Lauren via Facebook chat (she was hanging), and Lez convinced his mother to lend him the Fiat Punto, thus saving us either the price of another train ticket or a car rental. Not a bad drive, just over 100 miles, and the sun was staying out. We made good time to Neil's place, dropped our stuff off and headed in to see the sights. Norwich is one of the oldest cities in England, and the old wall is still up. We stopped in at the Playhouse Bar because the rain threatened… and of course we did rounds. With 3 of us, that translates to 3 beers at our first bar. Following that, we headed to the oldest part of the city, Elm Hill, with buildings dating from the Tudor era, and on to the cathedral. There was a lot of activity going on within the walls of the cathedral; when we inquired, we discovered Ewan McGregor was filming a movie. So there was that.

We stopped in for a bathroom break at The Birdcage, ostensibly for one, but of course it turned into more than one. To the point where it was dark when we left. We ended up talking to these two student girls that ended up joining us for more than one more. Neil had left his phone back at the house, so before we did anything else he had to go get it. By this time it was - honestly - 10pm. Lez and I were left to our own devices to find dinner. Which, apparently, is impossible after 10pm on a Saturday night. We hit a couple of bars in the hunt for food, Neil eventually caught up with us, and we were forced to go to a kebab shop (with pizza; kebabs are the work of the devil), and next thing you know we're hitting the town. My first drunken haze evening of the trip was a full week in. I'm happy with that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Norwich?

I was arranging a catch up with a couple of friends in London before heading up to Norwich; Lauren and Lawrence (whom shall be called Lez to avoid confusion). I said goodbye to Ali and was on the train at 1:05pm; at 2;45 we pulled into Waterloo. See? That's better.

I always enjoy London, although it's been years since I actually spent any time there that wasn't catching another train or flight. I was meeting them at tottenham court road, and I wasn't sure exactly what was around or where to meet… Cafe Rouge. That looks decent enough. I texted both friends and got to work on another project I've been scheming over for a little while. Next thing I know, the waitress is giving me a note on the back of a receipt. t was from another girl in the cafe. I gotta say, it really makes you smile when you get hit on. It's rare that it happens outside of the club.

Before I had a chance to write anything back, she was gone and Lez arrived. He had a job interview in central London so to see a guy who I know as a snowboard bum in a suit and tie was a funny sight. As Lauren was tending to a friend in hospital (possible meningitis) we killed some time by having a beer and catching up (in the 2 weeks since we'd seen each other, apparently a lot had happened!) After the drinks we thought we could probably catch Lauren outside, given that she was due any minute, so Lez called her. Talk about timing - sure enough, she was 30 feet away! Then began the longest search for an O'Neill's anyone has probably ever had. With lauren in the lead (possibly our first mistake!) we walked down Piccadilly in completely the opposite way we should have. After about 500 metres (seriously) she says " I know it's between Piccadilly and Leicester Square". Now, I'll never claim to know London all that well, but I was fairly sure it wasn't that far between those two famous tourist spots. I don't remember who had the idea to turn our crew around but once we did and we got back to Piccadilly I saw exactly where we needed to go!
Once we'd settled on a table upstairs overlooking the entrance to Chinatown, we got the beer, and then again. I had decided that, as Neil would be picking me up from the station I didn't want to be too late. By and by, the two Ls were giving me more and more reasons to stay with one of them (Lauren lives in the West End, Lez up near Loughborough). Also, beer. They gave me more and more beer. After a while I thought, you know what? The hell with it. I'll stay with Lez. I was thinking back to the ill friend of Lauren's who was discharged that afternoon, and due to it being her boyfriend of sorts he was staying at her place. Regardless, Lez's place was the place to be. He would pay for my ticket up, and we would head to Norwich together in the morning.

Then shit, as they say, got real.

Next round was my round. Jagerbombs. Then Lauren got them, and then Lez got some more. I know where I stand with shots, and if it weren't for the red bull I wouldn't have done well. Lauren meanwhile, was already a bottle of wine in, and going strong! By the time we left it was gone 11, and the streets were full of drunken revellers. Highlights of the walk to the tube station included Lauren climbing some scaffolding, her walking out in front of london traffic, and her talking to all kinds of strangers in order to find out if we were going the right way. Come to think of it, it seemed more like babysitting, in retrospect. Sent Lauren off into the night and headed to St. Pancras to get the 12:15 north, the last train to Lez's station.

* * *

"Whoops."

Oh, don't say that, Lez.

He had forgotten that the so-called "last train" stopped at Leicester. Which, incidentally, is 2 stops before Loughborough. Or, to put it another way, a £50 cab ride. At 2:30 in the morning. But first we had to get there. We decided to keep it classy and grabbed a bottle of Shiraz from Marks and Spencer, and opened her up on the train. 2 hours later, we're talking to a Sikh cabbie that finally got our drunk asses home.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back to Portsmouth

Not much to say about today; left Bristol in the afternoon, although not until we had a nice scare of the train we needed flashing 'Cancelled' for about 10 minutes (there being only one an hour we wondered what the hell we were going to do). Eventually it was "uncancelled" and we headed to the platform, only to hear once we got there that it was delayed by 27 minutes. 20 minutes later, the platform changed from 11 to 13 so the entire mass of people upped sticks and moved to the new platform.

Oh England, this is why I could never live here again.

On the train, Ali slept where she could, while I busted out another review (seriously, I'm on my 4th in a week). Got home, sent the review, and kept it mellow. Norwich tomorrow.

Bristol Day 3

Well, Leena woke up with a hangover (rolling with the big dogs will have that effect after all). The sun was out, so after a breakfast that Jules cooked and most of us ate (guess who didn't have an appetite) we headed into town, Jules having the day off, and hit a bunch of bars, starting with the chain of Lloyds/Wetherspoons, a bar known for its obscenely cheap drinks. We met up with Ben, one of Jules' friends from university and headed to the Waterfront for a liquid lunch. Ben was on his break, however due to a recent liquid lunch that turned into a bit of a heavier outing he had set a limit on the amount he was drinking during his breaks now (specifically, nothing) so he had a soft drink. Not to be distracted from the goal of trying new brands of beer Jules and I gladly indulged. Ben had to get back to work so the four of us headed over to the Grain Barge for lunch, a boat restaurant across the river from Isambard Kingdom Brunel's S.S. Great Britain. Just in time for last call from the kitchen (they stop serving food at 3pm) and I was pleasantly surprised with my open-faced salmon and asparagus sandwich.

By this time we had walked a fair way already, and Ali hadn't seen the Clifton suspension bridge before so we grabbed a taxi up to the Avon Gorge Hotel, where the girls needed the bathroom. Thought it would be rude to stop in and not have a drink so sat in the sun on the infamous White Lion patio overlooking the bridge. It really is a marvel of engineering - so simple, and yet so sturdy. As it turned out, Ali didn't have any desire to actually go on the bridge so we got a taxi back to the Marriott hotel in the centre of town, grabbed our jackets that we had left at the Arnolfini and headed home for a rest.

While Jules threw together a pasta and meat sauce dinner, I slept restlessly on the living room armchair. I briefly recall talking to dad on Skype, (although it was just a Happy Birthday from my nap) and next thing I know, it's 7.30pm, we're throwing food down our throats and prepping to get back to the Old Duke where we were meeting more people for the fabled "Big Night Out."

Our team: Ali, Jules Leena, and myself, with additions of Dave & Kirsty (a couple from Jules' uni days), Ollie (a friend of Ali's) and Anna (from Monday night). Our plan was to go and listen to some live music, and the Duke is never a bad choice for that. Blues shit all over the walls (the name refers to Mr. Ellington, rather than any arstocrati connotations). An old guy with a slide guitar - that's my kind of night! Unfortunately, one of the girls figured we'd be sitting down, and thus didn't wear shoes that one could deem as "comfortable". Inexplicably. Why have shoes if they aren't comfortable? Anyway. www.theoldduke.co.uk/

From there, we headed over to the Big Chill, a funky lounge style bar with half price cocktails and a sweet vinyl DJ on the decks. There for a couple, (2 for 1 cocktails… be careful, they'll jump out at you) and we realized they were getting ready to close down at around midnight. The two "locals" Jules and Leena, were brainstorming as to where we would go next; the night was but young. I suggested they ask the bartender where he would suggest. Jules went to talk to him.

At this point, I must confess that I am torn as a writer on what to do with this story. We went to the sweetest place but I refuse to ruin it by telling everyone where it is. In the spirit of this, it shall be known as the Secret Bar.

Jules came back from the bar, looked at me, and said "We're going to the Secret Bar." You have no idea how excited I was . He had mentioned this place the first night we were in town; he knew of it, but didn't know exactly how to get there. Until now. We walked toward it, wondering what our backup would be ("if its busy, they'll be open, if not, they'll be shut already"… on a Wednesday night, we were covering our bases). To think one of them, in retrospect, was a Wetherspoons! By the time we got to the general area, I was ten steps ahead of them, now obsessed with finding this place.

We got there; an unmarked door with a peephole, and a doorbell. We rang, and waited. A woman answered, looked us over, and invited us in.

Fuck yeah.

It was wall to wall with 1920s memorabilia, right down to the chaise longue on which we sat, and the clothing worn by the bartender. A sizeable cocktail list (of real cocktails) was handed to us along with a decanter of water. The waitress didn't even flinch when I ordered an old-fashioned (not on the menu) and went straight into the varieties of bourbon they stocked. Drink in hand later (with a single ice cube the size of a small apple), and the blues music playing, I did a quick seat count and it was definitely less than 40. I can honestly say that it was the best bar I have been to in a long time, and when I come back to visit, the Secret bar will be high on my priority list. My only regret is that we found it on our last night, rather than our first - it would be an amazing place to become a regular.

How can you top that? Paid the bill with a heavy tip and thanked the two staff members, then got in a cab to go home. Honestly, it couldn't have been a better night.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ok. Seriously. Woke up at 5am today. I'm putting it down to the lack of proper curtains or blinds in every bedroom in the country. It's like nobody works past midnight in this place! Anyway. Jules had to work so Ali and I spent the morning chilling, waiting for her friend Leena to arrive. Leena and Ali met a couple of years ago through Clic Sargent, a cancer research company that focuses on children and young adults. And she's a riot. We went for some fine Italian dining (read: Pizza Hut) and after went on the search for one Sar Franke, a very good friend of mine from Whistler a couple of seasons ago. She works in a fancy soap retail branch of Molton Brown, in a pretty nice section of the shopping district of Bristol so after we arranged to meet up that evening (she only lives around the corner from Jules' place) we had a quick look around the stores. I knew I had to get new boardshorts anyway and i neglected to pack shorts of any kind, so picked up some of the new 4 way stretch shorts from Oakley. It's seriously like you aren't wearing anything. I love em.
Next stop: the Apple, one of the barge bars on the river, where Leena had told us there was a lemon cider that we had to try. It was dangerously good, and even though it was only 4% it certainly got you loosened up. Brother's Cider: http://www.brotherscider.co.uk/
While we could have easily had another one there, it was decided that we should get home and prep for the Pub Quiz that was going on around the corner. Before that, though, we stopped off at Jules' restaurant/cafe/bar thingy he works at, Arnolfini's. I do miss the subculture of beer that is prevalent in the UK, particularly in the ales/bitter categories. It just doesn't quite cut it in Whistler, where the only real microbrew is Whistler Brewing company. Sunrise Bristol Ale is cloudy orange, and a good hoppy taste, much heavier than it appears on sight.
I HAD to nap. This 'getting up early' thing is really fucking with my schedule of 'being awesome', so after a quick power nap I manned up and we went to The Lounge, where the quiz was being held.

Or so we thought. It's on Monday nights. It being Tuesday, we figured we may as well settle here for the night anyway. Ketel One was obscenely cheap, so that's where my money went (after a supporting Red Bull to keep me going). Frankie showed up, and we talked about everything that's been happening in our lives in the past 2 years (2 years! WTF!),and had us a grand ole time - at one point we put on Ali's wig: photos tbd. Leena has been on a bit of a bender recently, as it was this week where she was 5 years since the "all clear", a milestone my family is looking forward to. Given that she's the smallest in our group, and we were drinking equal amounts, it was only a matter of time before things turned hilarious. An avid photographer, we were subjected to some serious flashbulbery. I can't wait to see the photos that make the cut. www.leenatakooree.com, I am confident that at least one of the photos from the night will make it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bristol, Day 1

I don't know what is wrong with my body, but it appears I have reverse jet lag. My phone is still on Vancouver time so 11pm is equivalent to 7am. Which is when I woke up this morning. Whatever.

I packed up for Bristol, wrote out my latest review (Little & Ashley's Thousand Falling Stars EP) and hung around the house in various forms of disarray - to the point where I napped for 20 minutes just before Ali and I left for the train. West. The sun helps on an overland trip; it puts everyone in a better mood. Slept - again - on the train both of us. I've never had a problem sleeping on public transport and I always seem to wake up at the right time. Jules met us at Bristol Temple Meads, Grabbed a cab home to his place (a former church hall, now chopped up into 4 separate apartments), and headed back out to meet with Anna, a family friend whom I later worked out I haven't seen in 7 years. Dinner at a noodle bar chain restaurant and then to the Bristol Ram for the first official pint of the trip… and the second. Anna drove us to Jules' place where Emma, his housemate, was indulging in her latest pleasure now that her exams were done - 24, first season. Ali went to bed, and we stayed up and reminisced on the series over beer. Bed by midnight. Wed is promised to be a heavy one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Portsmouth, Episode One

Here's something I like to do when I'm waiting to board the plane. I usually sit as close to the front as possible, so I'm one of the last people to get on the plane. During this time, I "check out" the girls boarding in front of me. No word of a lie, if it was a bar I would talk to no less than 15 of the women that were on the flight. And which one sits next to me?

None of them. None at all. I think next time I'm going to ask the ticket person to seat me next to the prettiest girl in the plane. Single is a bonus. Instead, I get the most arrogant, self-entitled oxygen thief I've ever experienced first hand. Before we had even started taxiing, he had turned around and told the nice lady behind him (a perfect stranger, mind you) to "knock it off!" because his seat was moving. It emerged that the woman to my right (yes, I, a 6ft. tall man, was given the middle seat) was settling, as she had just sat down and the movement had travelled along the structure. He then spilled half a can of Pepsi onto the leather seat, which immediately transferred to my ass, and he didn't apologise nor offer me one of the towels he eventually procured from the flight attendant, whom he treated like a head injury patient.
I truly wish I had caught his name so I could call him out online forever. Anyway, 9hrs later and I'm finally through customs. My brother and mom met me and got in her new Mercedes.

As with all transcontinental flights, the first day is always a write off. I floated through the day as much as possible, napped the afternoon away, and when I was awoken caught up with the family. Opened the bottle I bought in Duty Free (Jack Daniels Single Barrel) and got into it with dinner. Visited my Aunt and Uncle down the street, and by the time we got home we realised that we only had to wait an hour and a half for the hockey to start! Jules was most impressed, and we kept drinking whiskey. Next thing you know it's 2-1 at the end of the first and I am aware of my jet lag.

Day 2 saw a huge task ahead of us. My mother recently bought a new house, and so is getting set to move from the house we have called home since we moved to England in 1998. Of course, the downside of this is that we have an attic with 12 years worth of crap in it. Remember, I just moved my own crap last week; I became over it" pretty damn quickly, but it needed doing. Plus, it was cool to find the stuff I hadn't seen in years (school pictures anyone? Leafs jersey? Kurt Cobain's journals?) Once it was done (around 6pm), we ordered pizza, Jules went back to Bristol, and the other three of us hung around for the rest of the night.

I'll admit, this last couple of days are probably boring to an outsider, but I've enjoyed it. Trust me, the rest of the trip is going to be far more interesting. Bristol beckons, and the sun will shine.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Home?

And so it begins.

Day 1 of travelling is always an ordeal. First there's the sliding scale of what to do the night before vs. what to do the morning of, all of which is presided over by "How much sleep do I want?" (Answer: as much as possible.) Obviously, apart from those die hard vacationers, the case is packed, the passport is already in the pocket of the jeans you have laid out to wear. Then your alarm goes off and you turn it off immediately because you've been awake for an hour and a half ahead of it, on the misguided instinct that you a)forgot to set it and remembered mid-awesome dream, b) you set it but slept through it, or c) the most terrifying of all, you set it, turned it off at the appointed time, and fell back asleep, thus ruining the hopes and dreams you and anyone you are travelling with or to. Of course, you're already awake now.

An uncomfortable commute to the airport in a seat with legroom just too small to fall asleep in, but just that little bit too big to wedge your knees onto the seat in front, and then you're there. Already feeling like you should have showered (back to that "more sleep'" thing above) you then see something you haven't seen in a very long time - a lineup of people, waiting to check in. Wasn't the internet supposed to get rid of lines, or did they scrap that in favour of more pornography? It wouldn't surprise me, to be honest. You hear the woman next to you checking in her luggage complain - "My bag is 5 kilos by itself!" means you only pack 15kg of stuff, you dumb old bat. Don't take it out on the check in lady, she's probably just as pissed as you because you can't follow simple directions.

Then - joy of joys! Like a beacon of light in a tunnel, a port in a storm, an oasis in a parched desert you see it. That wondrous spot that can be found easily by two signature characteristics: the long line of people waiting for their drug of choice, and the bright red letters that read like the Gospel: Tim. Hortons.

Oh sweet Timothy, it's been too long, I'm so sorry. Will you forgive me and hook me up with a double double and 40 Timbits please? (I am aware that the previous sentence may confuse some readers. I don't give a shit. You aren't in the know.)

Caffeine imbibed, you bask in the warm glow emanating from your gut. You're home.

Wait, that's not right at all. You're at the airport. Why are you at the airport? Focus: you must be going somewhere… what did you pack?

Then it hits me: I'm going to England to see my family.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Prepping for the Trip

Well hot damn, how time flies. Already a month since I last posted - who would have thought? In that time I've moved house, started (and ended) a relationship, and the Telus Festival has come and gone. As a matter of fact, if you include moving day, this is the first day off I've had in almost 3 weeks... and I have no intention of going out and getting hammered, so enamoured am I with my new house. I'm gonna stay in, have a beer or two, and listen to some music for work (did I not mention that? I'm writing for MVRemix.com now as well, reviewing albums.) To be honest, I hit the hot tub this afternoon (I have a hot tub now) and that pretty much wiped my schedule for the rest of the day!

So that time has come around once again. It's the end of the season, and it's time for me to travel. Back to the UK this time, to see some people I haven't seen in a while. It promises to be busy, but I'm looking forward to the journey. As always I shall document everything I can on the trip (without unintentionally incriminating myself). Every day might be a bit crazy but I'll do what I can.

My rough schedule is as follows: fly in Saturday morning, stay in Portsmouth for the weekend, then Ali (sister) and I are going to Bristol to party like students with Jules (brother) for a couple of days. Then back to Portsmouth to help my mom move (UPDATE: this is probably not going to happen before I fly back home), and up to Norwich from around the 14th to the 17th to meet up with my bros from Whis, Neil and Les, as well as one Australian girl named Lauren if I can convince her that it will be nothing but awesome. Finally back to Portsmouth and the night before I fly, a quiet night in London before my early flight home on the 19th.

This is the plan anyway.

I also worked out that money... should not be a problem for me. Which is a nice feeling to have before traveling.

Watch this space kids.

By The Way: Check these things out because they are fantastic: Fuckin' Tea, Dads: The Original Hipsters, and Talking Funny.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Price We Pay; The Friends We Have

Living where I live, doing what I do, it's easy to forget that snowboarding is classified as an "extreme", and therefore dangerous sport. Thankfully, I have never had one of my close friends succumb to the power of Mother Nature at the price of their life. Many of my friends, however, have. Erin Solowey-Wanamaker passed on the hill last year, and such an outpouring of compassion I have never seen from those that are not blood related. A popular and well liked guy at 31, it was a shock when I found out; though I never met him, it seemed everyone I knew had, and were affected by him. But as tough as it is, it's almost to be expected in a town where the unofficial motto, in every aspect, is 'go big or go home.'
A year and a day after Solowey's death, another local, friend to many, lost her life. Sadly, she did not hit a line too intense, nor did she turn too late to avoid a tree; it was by her own hand. Suicide is always devastating to a community, but especially so here, where it seems the pursuit of happiness is the one true goal. Once again, I never met her but many of my friends within the hospitality industry knew and loved her. My friend Jana sums it up on the Whistler Blackcomb blogsite:
(our group of friends is) "one of the reasons it feels easier to be so far away from the home you grew up in and known so well. It’s amazing having a deep trust with people that understand your lifestyle and your passion for this place and share the same feelings with you. It is knowing that if you are having a bad day you can always let it off your chest with friends that you feel as deeply connected to as family. On the other side: having them to celebrate accomplishments and holidays with so you never feel alone here. Its having people to share this amazing life we have out here that truly makes this place special."

It is especially sad that it wasn't through skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, or anything similar, but by her feelings that we may never know.
There was a party that night in town that she and I both attended, and I certainly saw her (though never introduced myself). Nothing about her demeanour suggested anything was wrong. I wish someone could have noticed. I wished someone had asked if she was ok. To her (and I guess my) family, I can only hope that the pain and shock does not last forever.
Keep dreaming guys. Don't be afraid to tell the world about your fears.

RIP KS.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Found! (Number 1)

So I was rummaging through my notebooks looking for a story I had written at some point and found some essays I had written. I'm busy working on a project right now (secretsssss!) but I wanted to put these online because it raises good points that I don't believe will change as I grow older.

Here's the first one.

***********************************

I've been told that I'm a negative person. The first time it happened was my ex girlfriend, and I was stunned. I like to think I'm a pretty happy guy, so if someone picked this up I needed to work out where it was coming from. I guess the reason I have such a cynical outlook is because I work with what I have. I look around, see what's happening and act accordingly The big one now is cancer. Cigarettes cause cancer. Alcohol leads to cancer. UV rays - the fucking sun, giver of life and sustenance and warmth and energy - now wants us dead. Not only sunshine, but now they're doing studies into the effects of sunblock on the body. Apparently, sunscreen above like SPF 15 may have a negative effect. Seriously. That's how I think humanity will be extinguished. Cancer. That's nothing said of the climate - political, environmental, financial, pick any one - and frankly it's God damn depressing.

But for all the shit piling up in the world, I think it makes love, and by proxy, sex, that much more important. If you're in a relationship, and not a pissy one where you bitch at each other, please go the distance. Tell her you love her, and mean it. Do things for him in bed. Hell, do things for each other in all departments, not because you want something in return, just because it'll make them happy. And if you are in a pissy relationship like the one described above, be the bigger person and fucking apologise. You probably didn't mean to, and you probably don't think you should, but chances are you should probably say "I'm sorry" for something anyway. This world is full of divorce and break ups. It's too easy to call it a day. Work through your problems. I've already shown you that the world wants you dead. Don't piss off the one person in the world that doesn't share the sentiment.


That's not to say being single sucks. Take it from me, being single fucking ROCKS. Try acting even half as debaucherous as you do when you're single, and let me know how that goes. I have a couch you can crash on. You can go out all night, get up whenever you want, talk to whoever you want anytime of the day. You can drink till you pass out without fear of reproach, you don't have to eat bread made out of birdseed. Stop me when you've had enough, couples.

Some say the grass is always greener on the other side. I say, appreciate what you've got. The world is a beautiful place, but the people and the deeds they do are ugly and it's the ugliness we always focus on.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Madness

And just like that, it's already 6 weeks until the official end of ski season.

What the hell!

I'll admit I haven't been the most active of powderhounds this winter, but I feel like I'm just getting into the groove again. It's tough due to the "perfect storm" of situations - a late night gig means I have no inclination to get out of bed, a laptop that I can reach from said bed compounds that problem. Then there's the location. Not that I'm far out of town (or the lifts) at all; some people would kill to live a mere 15 minute walk. But apart from one summer (2006) I have spent most of my time in or around the village, first as a house advisor, then as a regular ol' tenant that the landlord may or may not have known about. (Really bud, $2500 for 3 people in this town is laughable; you're lucky we didn't set fire to it on the way out.) My point being, a 15 minute walk - in sometimes fairly deep snow - is not something anyone looks forward to, and I didn't even have to shovel the driveway!
So yes, I have been exceptionally spoiled.
Had I either lived where I lived OR had the luxury job that I have, I think I would have been fine to get up on 3 hours sleep, throw all my cold weather gear on and eat pow sandwiches 100+ days this winter.
When this lease runs out shortly, I will be looking to move back towards the village provided I can find something for a "reasonable" amount (reasonable being around $1000 per month) and hopefully I won't have to move AGAIN!

Also: fun stuff in the making for you as readers, and me as a writer. By way of inheritance, I will have acquired a decent sum of money by the end of summer (not millions, trust me). SO: my grandmother loved to travel, even after her sight went, and what better way to spend the money she left me than to see a little bit of the world.

Australia beckons. Yes, THE Australia.

October will be my projected travel time, but I must first organise my passport (specifically get it renewed). Rest assured, as I always do, the stories will be coming thick and fast. I have literally just this second texted the notorious and ever present travelling companion Mr. Sebastian Derham to accompany me, and fingers crossed he shall respond.

By The Way: I wrote in my last entry extolling the virtues of Alta Bistro, and now through a fortuitous turn of events (me having the stones to ask), I write for altabistro.com, and intend to do so regularly. More traffic to their site hopefully will mean more traffic to this site, so it's pretty exciting. So check out the site, and the restaurant next time you're in town.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Music and beer

And we're back. Sorry for the delay, the snow has been good - great lately, and I've been reconnecting with old friends and colleagues (read: drinking) as well as getting back in touch with Mother Nature (read: slaying pow). But since a few new restaurants have opened up in town, I thought I'd give them a quick review.

First up: Alta Bistro is just 2 months old and has already cemented itself as one of my favourite places in town. A small (40 seats) venue with local menu items makes this one of the tastiest dinners you're likely too find for the price you pay. The menu is unique to say the least; last time I was there I tried a bison carpaccio ($22) to accompany one of the best Old-Fashioneds I've ever had. The real kicker, though, is the bar: if it has a flavour induced, it's been done in-house. From vodkas (burnt cinnamon anyone?) to bitters, and even a homemade Clamato for Caesars, everything is made on-site, and the result is definitely noticeable. It pains me to tell you that it's located in the Pinnacle hotel, opposite Hy's Steakhouse.

Another venue in its infancy is the Harajuku Izakaya, next to Whistler's best sushi 2010 Fuji Market. Both reside in the RBC building behind the grocery store. Now, a story. This Friday just past (important detail), me and a few buddies had the night off, so we decided sushi and sake would do us well for starters. Sushi Village has long been a mainstay in Whistler's Best ofs, and with good reason, so when we arrived there we were told it was a 90 minute wait (Sushi Village doesn't take reservations on any parties fewer than 6). As a late thought we decided on the Harajuku, and when we sat down at the bar there were maybe 3 other tables in the place. On a Friday night. Pieter, the manager, directed us on the fledgling tapas menu (the Agadashi Tofu is the best I've had, though could have been spicier) and kept the sake glasses full (which called an early night for me eventually!) It's got a great vibe and in the summer there is a balcony off the backside of the restaurant; it has a lot of potential. And: Sapporo on tap. You can seldom find Sapporo period in this town, let alone draught. This place is so new, they don't even have a site, so check them out of your own accord (though I wouldn't leave it too long; quiet Friday nights don't last forever!)

While I haven't been in a while, Flipside has just reopened its doors in Whistler after a long hiatus and a change of location. Now in Deer Lodge (the site of the former Mountain Club), they offer reasonably priced pasta, and salad and bread thrown into the mix. I always sit in the lounge section because the girl bartender is Swedish. And we know what that means... She makes one hell of a cocktail! No, really, stop in and say hi to Molly. Tell her I sent you. She makes the other Best Old Fashioned! Not to mention one hell of a Manhattan. Oh, to be in Mad Men... Anyway.Here's the link, though it tells you where they are, and their phone number, not a whole lot else. Hopefully they'll rectify their online presence soon!


In Other News, the Leafs are 4 points shy of a playoff spot. That's all I need to say about that. Go Leafs Go.

By The Way: It's ALL about the musc today: I can't remember if I've talked about 8tracks.com, but if I haven't here goes... 8 tracks is for those of us that mourn the loss of the mixtape, that long for a way to express ourselves to others via the use of a playlist. Minimum 8 tracks, no more than 2 songs by the same artist, and they can't be on the same album. Then tag the genres (there's even "study"!) and post it, and start listening to other people's mixes. Like most social networking sites, you can "like" mixes, and "follow" other users. It's a great way to get pumped for going out, or to relax, or to get down and dirty with the one (or more) you love. Trust me on this.

Similarly 22tracks.com gives you all new music submitted by the artist. Then you simply choose your genre (I recommend "Beats", it's funky and chill) and it will generate a list of 22 tracks (Ah, I see what they did there) that will play through while you type your blog... or you know, whatever you're doing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Powder Powder Powder!!!




And just like that, folks, we've got ourselves a season.

In 7 days, the heavens opened with that fluffy white stuff and didn't stop until we were swimming in 211cm of it.

To put that in perspective, that is more vertical snow than some resorts get all season. It is taller than anyone you have likely ever met. In one week.

I ache in such a brilliant way. That self accomplished feeling in your gut (well, more specifically, in my abs) reminds you that this is where we live, and most people strive to just VISIT this town. That's why, on this President's Day Weekend, keep that smile on, but keep it on for the right reasons. Not because you have to to keep your wallet full, but because you are intrinsically better than these vacationers. You have seen the light, and it's an avalanche beacon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why I Hate Growing Up: Volume One

Friends, there is something I need to say. You may know already, but you may not. Despite everything awesome about me, I have a cross to bear.

You know that game when you have to meet a bunch of people so you ask them a load of questions to try and gain insight to their personality? Things like "If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?" or "What's the first thing you would do if you were invisible?" (An otter, and trip my enemies in the street so they would get embarrassed, incidentally.) Well, another of these questions is "What physical trait would you change if you could?", and 1000 times out of 1000 I would say my teeth.

"But Aaron!" I hear you cry. "Your teeth are wonderful! You have a winning smile! Colgate Approved!"

To the casual observer, I would have to agree with you, yet only through your ignorance on the hell-mouth I possess.

For starters, they're straight because I had braces early on in life. I have no trouble admitting that my teeth ahave had a supporting cast, and my orthodontist Dr. Huffman did a hell of a job. Off in under two years, and he fixed a mean overbite.

Secondly, I inherited "porous teeth", which apparently means that if I eat anything other than distilled water I'll get a cavity. Thanks anonymous parent.

Thirdly, and most important to this little entry, is that I hate the dentist. Whether it was through constant trips of agonising pain, or the necessity of constant trips of agonising pain, I now despise them. Not fear them; this is important. I don't much like making a haircut appointment because I have no idea what will happen between now and then. But if someone gave me a room full of anonymous dentists - hell, if someone gave me a room of ANYONE and merely told me they were dentists - I'd be hard pressed not to brick up the door and have them fight it out for the last breath of air. Then I'd shoot the survivor. I don't care how nice you are, you are psychologically chained to my mind as the harbinger of Novocaine. I even know a dentist, but I know him as Ted, the supergenius husband of my mom's wild friend from high school, not Ted "DRILL YOUR FACE" Dentistman.

Putting this to one side for a moment, I'd like you to imagine the following scenario: Every 6 months, a man will come to your door and punch you in the stomach, from the age of 4 until you die. (This man is a bigger bastard than a dentist if he hits a kid in the gut, but I digress.) Then, one magical day, around your 18th birthday, someone says to you "Listen, if you want these stomach punches to continue, then you'll have to pay for them from now on." If you agree to it, then I don't know how you got out of your padded cell, but well done.

This is how I view my whole "fix my teeth" thing.

But, despite brushing my teeth twice a day for the last 12 years, my cursed maw is rebelling, and has sent me this: (WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART)



So, you win this round. After many years of procrastinating (possibly 10, I lost count), I have had to book an appointment for this Thursday at 2:20pm, then a guaranteed follow-up and fix-up after that (because even an idiot could tell you what a rotting tooth looks like.) But that's what kills me - no matter how hard I try to prevent it, my teeth are terrible.

And that's why I hate growing up.

By The Way: If you are seeking the next generation in music listening, I highly recommend Shuffler.fm for its ability to pick out music blogs according to genre. It's being called the Future of Radio.