Leonard Cohen in Concert

When I started listening to Leonard Cohen, he had been living in a monastary for 5 years.  I pretty much assumed that, like most of the music I started to listen to when I started university, it was by someone I would never see live.

Which is fine by me, because I prefer the prefection of a studio recording.  I like it to be exactly how the artist wanted the music to sound, because they could retry if they didn’t like it.  So, I assummed from when I first began to worship the man as something like a god, except far more powerful and actually real, I would never be in his presence.

Because I decided that years ago, I didn’t realize, until I pulled up wikipedia to write this blog, that he toured in 2008 and 2010.   But shut-up.  You don’t know what your favourite band is doing right now, so back off.

When Old Ideas, his newest album came out in January, I fell completely in love with it.  It is amazing.  It’s a beautiful look at mortality and regret, and it’s uplifting and heartbreating.  It’s aboslutely amazing, and when I learned he was touring, I was like a hawk on the ticket release date.  I was going to get me those tickets.  I registered with something or other to prebuy, and got myself floor seats on the Saddledome.

I picked up two tickets because I assumed I would find some cute single girl to take with me, because I have a completely off idea of who Leonard Cohen fans are.  See, most of the times I talk about music, it’s because I’m trying to impress a girl with how good my taste in music is.  It’s usually some really cute crunchy granola girl who cares about the world and buys clothes at second hand stores, half for the irony, and half because they care more about art than money.

Basically, her.

So, I’m looking for these girls, and they’re not showing up.  Then I start looking for other people, who at least like Leonard Cohen.  Sure, they exist, but everyone I talked to either ended up busy on the night of the show, or they weren’t interested in several consecutive hours of his music.

So, like I always do in times of great crisis, I made Kodie my solution.  I forced him to come along, because somehow, after 20 years, I can still talk him into my plans.

When I got there, I found out that the average Leonard Cohen fan is a little more…

…this…

I mean, he was born in 1934, so I’m not quite sure why I didn’t think a 78 year old genius wouldn’t have gathered fans over the years, and lots of them had known about him since … before I was born.  I mean, there were some cute young girls there, but they were spaced out amongst a sea of silver.

So I got myself a Saddledome crack-beer, and we found our seats.  And then everything was amazing.  Leonard Cohen bounded onto the stage, so full of life and energy.  He loved the crowd, and we loved him back.  He was funny, and engaging, and his songs brought him to his knees with the remembered pain and the perfect catharisis.

Every musician on stage with him was extraordinary.  They could have filled theatres themselves.  They were there to play with him.  Each one was a master, and everything sounded so … perfect.

And I was worried that my expectations would be impossible to live up to.

He played for an hour and a half, and then announced he was taking a break.  Back in reality, Kodie was … suprised to learn that we were only a half hour in.  He … he wasn’t having the blast I was, because he likes music by people who aren’t part of our grand parents generation.  He’s a little less “Hallalujah” and a little more “Call Me, Maybe.”

So we had an intermission, and then another hour and a half of great music.  Then a three song encore.  And then another.  The third standing ovation brought him out again, and he sang again and Kodie gave me this “I’m going to kill someone” look.  I assumed it might be me.  So we started heading to the door.  Leonard told us it was alright during the first encore.  “If you have someone waiting,” he said “Go to them.  If you have time, friends, I’ll sing a few more songs.”

He’s the best.

But Kodie told me that I now owed him.  Kodie never says that.  He just puts up with my ridicilous bullshit.  So basically, if Cher does another fairwell tour (her third, I guess it would be), Kodie’s boyfriend is off the hook.

 

 

Worth it.

 

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Published in: on November 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Wackin’ Jim McCrackin’

What do you think you’re doing this Saturday?

Wrong.  You’re going to Happy Wackin’ Jim McCrackin

A sword and a briefcase? Now you know you're interested.

 It’s at the John Dutton Theatre in the Calgary Public Library, at 8 pm.  Tickets are $15, $10 for CPL members, and you can preorder at www.pumphousetheatre.ca.  So, why are you going?

Well, it’s awesome.  If I can see through the vodka fueled haze, back to the halcyon days when the comedic playwright genius Amos Altman was reading me snippets of the play in the bohemian apartment we shared over a bakery in Nazi Occupied France, struggling to protect refugees as part of the resistance, well, it’s brilliant.  Is is possible I’m misremembering some of it, but I know the play is funny, even if Cliff insisted on removing all the best/gayest parts.

It’s a story of mistaken identity and a hitman, and Accidental Humour does amazing stuff where they use multi-media to enhance the show.  It’ll flip seamlessly between pre-recorded segments and live action, so it’s like a play and a movie.  It’s exciting, and intense, and hilarious, and other words that generate excitement and make you realize you really want to see this show.

If you think you can’t get there, shut up.  There’s busses.  All busses lead to the Calgary library.  And I’m not just talking about Calgarians.  You can take a bus from Edmonton or Lethbridge, or (shudder) even Red Deer, and then from the Grey Hound station it’s easy to get to the library.  Come on, no one’s getting a head chopped off over this.

And here’s why you should put in the effort.

I shouldn't have to put pictures like this on my computer.

Even if you’ve never watched Jersey Shore, you probably know who the Situation is.  If not … it’s that guy, obviously.  See, too much of our money is going to him.  Jersey Shore makes more than Greece each year.  As consumers, the people who make entertainment only listen to your money.  So you need to take your fifteen dollars, pull yourself away from the TV and come see this play.

Some of you are thinking, “What’s the harm?  It’s just one guy, and he has a sort of charm, like if you mixed John Travolta from Grease with Lenny from of Mice and Men.  It can be fun to watch Jersey Shore with ironic hipster detachment, and we can control it.  There’s only one.”

Well, friends, step into The Wayback Machine, to a year 2001, when a band showed up.  Sure, they were rather repetitive, and derivative, but they weren’t hurting anyone.  People liked their music, and they sold a gillion dollars in CDs. 

CDs are a prehistoric medium for storing music, before iPods.  You bought them with money, because pirating was hard back then.

We all thought “It’s just one band” and we were smart.  Too smart for our own good.  We had Napster, so we didn’t pay for our music.  So everyone thought that only this band was awesome, because they got all the money.  That band was…

...and they're calling from inside your house!

So basically, if you don’t go to this show, we’re going to end up with Theory of a Situation, Situationseeether, and a flood of Situation clones.  So stop it, before it’s too much, and go watch this instead.

Otherwise, it’ll be your fault.  We’ll be running around in a post-apocolyptic douchebag wasteland, fighting for gas, Mad Max style, because you were too lazy or cheap to go see a great play.

One Night in London

After landing in Heathrow Airport in London, I needed to find my way to King’s Cross Station to met Gilly.  I went looking for the tube station, and found out that LONDON IS IN THE FUTURE:

They have Jetson Sidewalks!

I took the moving side walk, and got an Oyster Card, which Gilly had recommended as the cheapest way to get around the city.  You buy them at a little kiosk by the entrance to the tubes, and swipe it against the turnstile.  It slowly drains the credit you put on it, charging you less for the subway and keeping you from using up your change.

The line to King’s Cross terminated at a place called Cockfosters.  I laughed like a ten year old everytime it came over the PA.  It made the people around me think I was crazy, so no one sat to close.  There’s a skill to riding transit, and I’ve mastered it internationally.

Gilly met me at King’s Cross, and we checked into the Clink 72 Hostel.  Seriously, this is a nice hostel.  It’s really cheap for London, but it’s clean, it’s easy to find.  We didn’t get a chance to check out the bar in the basement because we were too busy drinking other places, but when we went down for breakfast, I couldn’t help but notice the buffet of cute girls from around the world.  I’m not sure if it was just this hostel, and I’m thinking of finding the hostel’s in Calgary, seeing if they have bars, and hitting on girls who don’t speak enough English to get annoyed with my charm.  It could be, however, that more attractive people visit London than Calgary.

We dropped off our bags and went to met K1 who had managed to find a pub directly across the street.  We had a beer there while we caught up, and while I almost bought the blue bottle Smirnoff with the higher alcohol content, she almost brought me some as a gift.  Yep, we drink well together.

Once we settled up at that pub, we headed over to Inslington to find food.  We ended up in another pub, and they had roast boar on the menu.

I would eat that, as I assume it's bacony

But the bastards were out of it.  So I decided to have fish and chips.

I have been eating food called fish and chips all my life, and everyone has always lied to me.  No one has ever really given me fish and chips before.  I think I need to sue every restaurant in all of Canada.  It’s like calling noodles and cheese Kraft Dinner.  Maybe you have all the pieces, but that doesn’t make it the same. 

Mushy Peas are another story.  A horror story.

A really scary horror story.

I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it yet.  It’s just, it’s just too close.

K1, being the expert drinker she was, found us a party to join.  I’d like to tell you I got crazy wild drunk and had great adventures, but the flight left me with too little energy.  I just drank vodka cokes for the caffeine, and caught up with K1 and Gilly.  At about 11 or so, I just couldn’t stay up much more.  K1 had to take a train home because she’d come into London to hang out with us, and Gilly gave into peer pressure so we said goodbye and headed back to the hostel.

To make plans for the next day, in which I would tour London like the English literature geek I am.

Los Chilitos

I can never remember the name of Los Chilitos, which is on 17th Ave near 14th Street in SW Calgary, but I’ve been obsessed with it since the first day I saw it.  Tequila and Taco House?  That’s awesome!  I usually call it Tequila and Taco House, which is the most awesome name in all of nomenclature.  That’s just unbelievably cool.

Somewhere, Leonard’s metal chin is rusting with drool thinking of this place.  When I was in Japan with her, she needed to eat tacos at least every two days.  Do you know how hard it is to find tacos in Japan?  There’s no Tequila and Taco houses there!  A2 can empathize.  Aparently she did the same thing through all of Europe.  Well, guess what, Leonard?  There’s a Tequilla and Taco house near my house, and you can’t come because you ate too many tacos in Japan, and wouldn’t even try tako.

You may not be able to tell from that picture, but Los Chilitos looks like a house set way back on its lot, with an enormous two story patio.  There’s more space outside than inside.  It’s a really nice patio with a really nice view.  You know how some Mexican restaurants feel like they’re owned by a chain, and some feel like they’re owned by a family?  Los Chilitos just oozes authenticity. 

Tall and I went one sunny afternoon, because he loves to eat and he loves to help.  The drink menu impressed me, and I couldn’t resist the mohito.

I don't think it's a gay drink.

Do you see that?  Real mint leaves crushed in there.  It was frigid and delicous.  It is porbably the best mohito I’ve ever had, and I’ve had over three.

Tall loved that his Coke came in a glass bottle.  He usually hates Coke, being very devouted to Pepsi.  He tastes the difference easily, and for a Coke to do well by him is an amazing feet.  Perfect temperature, and perfect presentation.

Honestly, it didn’t seem like things could get better. 

Then our food came

Those tacos there, they were amazing.  And I got both the red salsa, and the green salsa.  Green salsa is the super spicy salsa.  I love the taste, but it’s too hot for me most of the time.  Having both let me use just a little bit as needed.  This is one of the best tacos I’ve ever had, and I’ve had over 300 tacos.  Most of those are since meeting Leonard.

Tall’s burito was just as good.  Tall couldn’t find anything to complain about with it.  Tall loves to complain about food.  He loves it as much as eating food and helping.  It’s his favourite thing in the world.  He could find no fault in this burito.  That means it was aboslutely perfect.  Nothing was wrong, or he would have brought it up. 

Then it started to rain a little bit.  Our waiter appeared, and told us he had prepared a table for us inside when he saw the clouds forming.  He didn’t want us to have soggy food, and as soon as the first drops hit, he was there to help us.

Waiters have a hard job.  They have to juggle all kinds of tables, and make sure food comes out, and everyone is happy.  There’s a certain amount of forethought the job requires, but usually you do the basics by route and save your energy to solve problems with angry customers.

But this guy, he solved problems before they happened.  He was ready to help us out as soon as he thought there could be a problem.  The rest of the servers were cute girls, with asses like onions; they brought a tear to your eye, and you were in no way sad.  This guy was so good, he was better than that. 

Yeah, this dude was better than cute girls.  He was amazing.  I think he might be the owner, and if he is, this place will do well.  They have a man who not only understands good customer service, but goes above and beyond to provide great customer service.

And inside is pretty cool too:

Smiley faces protect the identities of the innocent

When our bill came, it was really good.  We had eaten amazing meals in a great place, with excellent service.  The prices were what you’d pay in any causual dining restaurant, but this was one of the best meals out in my life. 

I love this place.  If you want to throw me a party, or thank me for something, or impress me, take me to Los Chilitos.  It’ll put me in a great mood, to be sure.

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

Rating: 5 Stars

Food Star: Excellent, a superb taco.

Drink Star: Fresh mint in the mohito!  YES!

Atmosphere Star: Spot on.

Staff Star: Greatest waiter ever.

Price Star: Worth so much more than we were charged for

Tall’s Rating: 5 Stars.  From Tall.  He found nothing to complain about.

This Late Late Breakfast Show

The Late Late Breakfast Show

I’ve mentioned the Late Late Breakfast Show before, in this blog.  There’s a show next week, and I really think you should all attend if you happen to be in Calgary.

I mostly think that because I have a couple of sketches in this one.  I’m not sure if I can tell you what they’re called, and I’m not going to damage my relationship with the show by giving away anything.

I mean, I assume you’re here because you like my writing.  Well, see how much better it is when actors read it.  You may not think that’s possible.  I understand how you’d get that impression, buy you, sir, are wrong.

Of course, maybe you’re just here to see me fail.  Well, fuck you.  If you don’t like my sketches, it’s because the actors ruined it.

Or you’re stupid, because the actors are cool and talented and know where I live.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Late Late Breakfast show is a sketch show that’s about an hour to an hour and a half long.  In their own words:

Laughter… The best medicine… You know, other than medicine…
The Late, Late Breakfast Show presents four evenings of sketch comedy filled with a pants-wetting array of sketches, songs, and dancing… Warning: The Late, Late Breakfast Show is not responsible for any injuries sustained during the show whilst chuckling, giggling, or heartily guffawing.
 
It goes up next week.  From Wednesday, August 18th, to Saturday, August 21st, there’s a show each night at 8pm.  Tickets are $14 each, and are sold at the door, cash only.  There’s an extra late show at 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, which is 2 for $15.
 
They’re playing at the Motel theatre in the Epcor Centre for the performing arts at 205 8th Street Southwest.

An Informative Guide on How to Climb the Corporate Ladder

Some might say its unethical to promote work done by your friends as an impartial view. I’m certain literary critics are friends with authors and that Ebert probably eats with Spielberg and Bruckheimer. So you can go talk to them about integrity. Besides, I’m being upfront about the fact that I’m friends with Gavin Williams.  

I'll steal his promotional images to promote his play

  

That doesn’t change the fact that his An Informative Guide on How to Climb the Corporate Ladder is a great play. In 2007 it won the Calgary Regional One Act Play Festival.  And the Alberta One Act Play Festival.  That means someone more impartial than me liked it best of all the other one acts. When I saw it at Loose Moose, there was a featurette attached called “The Receptionist” Lindsay Mullan performed physical comedy for about 10 minutes, alone on the stage with a single word of clearly audible dialogue. She was fascinating, bouncing around with unbounded energy, and every time I was certain there was nothing more that could be done with a strange and lonely receptionist, I was both wrong and entertained.Once Lindsay’s piece ended, the main play took to the stage. Gavin wrote, co-directed, and played to protagonist in “An Informative Guide on How to Climb the Corporate Ladder” so I feel very comfortable calling it his. It follows how one is hired, disillusioned, and stays with a terrible job in a huge company, tempered with Gavin’s caustic wit.

 The cast was perfect. All three members slipped in and out of the various roles assigned to them with ease. You never needed to guess who they were at any give point, as their demeanour and body language suited each role so completely.

The set was simple and functional, as this is very much a one act festival piece. Everything was basic and multifunctional, so it was easy to set up and strike the set.

The eerie part of the play is how well it predicts life with a corporation. It touches on every annoying aspect of that world, every justification you make to stay, every frustration that makes it nearly intolerable, and every shred of futile hope which paralyzes you into inaction. Kodie ended up with the exact same terrible shame as I did for making every one of the mistakes hi lighted in the play. We were entertained the whole way through, and harrowed when we really thought about the content of the piece. Basically, if you watch this play, you will want to quit your job.

 Of course, afterwards, when I told Gavin that, he told me the real message was “Joey, kill yourself.” That explains why he looked directly at me several times throughout and whispered those words, but I guess I missed the real message.

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

If you missed the show here in Calgary, you’re not out of luck!  Gavin’s taking it to the Edmonton Fringe Festival.  It’s the coolest theatre event in Alberta.  For more shameless plugs/shows I would definately see, check out Happy Whackin’ Jim McCrackin. You’ll here more about this play from me next week.

Body Worlds

During Leonard’s Visit we decided to go to Body Worlds.  If you’re unfamiliar, let me explain a little more about this exhibit.

 

Dr. Gunther von Hagens invented the process of plastination in 1979.  Basically, it’s a way to preserve flesh by sealing it permanently in plastic.  It doesn’t rot or smell, it just lasts forever.  In 1995, an exhibit showcasing this technique, called Body Worlds, opened in Tokyo, and there are several travelling exhibits showcasing the technology and using it to teach anatomy.

In Calgary, it’s at the TELUS World of Science until September 6th.

Leonard, Tall and I went one Sunday afternoon.  Admission is a bit steep, at $30 per head, plus an additional $5 if you want to see the educational film and an extra charge if you want the headphone guide.  I didn’t get the headphones, and I’m pretty sure I’m not missing out there.  If it wasn’t for the relatively unique nature of the exhibit, I probably wouldn’t have paid that much.  There are very few similar shows, and I’ve got some concerns with those that I’ll get into in a moment.

Most of the displays show individual plasticinated organs or systems, such as lungs, hearts, or the nervous system.  There are also cross sections of people.  They tend to show healthy individuals, and contrast those to the effects of obesity or tumours.

Plastination leaves behind a hard replica, which is in all ways indistinguishable from a plastic model.  If you don’t remind yourself that these are the real deal, it starts to become boring.  You almost need to focus on the grotesque, or be really into science.

When I was a kid, I was really into dinosaurs.  Stettler isn’t far from Drumheller, which has the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Okay, I'm still into dinosaurs...

  By the time I was five, I understood the displays weren’t real dinosaur bones.  Those were too special to leave out.  The bones you walk by are plaster casts of the real things.  It never diminished my enjoyment, or learning, or wonderment of dinosaurs.

Body Worlds, for the most part, could have just been plastic models and it would have been the same for me.

What I really enjoyed was the full body plastinoids.

These were bodies which had their skin removed, and were then posed to show how muscles work together, or how organs interact.  They were unique, and fascinating, and the worth the price of admission.

The $5 film was not.  It was a C Grade documentary that had little education value if you were over ten years old, and even less to do with Body Worlds.  As in nothing to do with it.  It was just tacked on, and should be avoided.

The most interesting thing to me was the consent form.  The biggest controversy I have heard around the exhibit is about the consent of the subjects.  I know a similar show, Our Body, was shut down in France when the consent or source of the bodies could not be produced.  The bodies in this exhibit appear to have come from executed Chinese prisoners.  While Body Worlds has faced similar criticism, their website contains very specific information of both the accusations against them, and how they were erroneous and defended in court when necessary.

S2 saw a Body World Exhibit in New York, and was disturbed by the foetuses included.  When I reached this section of the exhibit, I read very carefully to determine the source of these specimens.  They were donations from older medical collections from universities and all predated the 1920s.  While this makes consent even more of a question, the age of the specimens makes it rather difficult to do anything about it.

Other controversies surround whether or not the exhibit is morally decent or in good taste, usually from religious figures or politicians.  I really don’t believe that this is a question, considering the consent form.  It is really in-depth.  Those wishing to donate need to be 18.  They need to indicate they understood some considered this more of an artistic exhibit than a scientific one.  Donors had the option to be seen only by medical and biology students at accredited institutions, or to be seen by the general public.  They chose whether or not exhibit visitors had permission to touch their remains.  They chose if they wanted to be full body plastinoids, or displayed in pieces.  Finally, the form stated the family could override your choice to donate and to ensure they were aware of your terminal wishes.

Based on this form, the individuals and families were fully aware of what happens when you donate to Dr. von Hagens.  If a church or a politician doesn’t agree, they don’t have to see the show, but they shouldn’t be shutting it down based on the fact that they wouldn’t donate.

I hesitate to recommend the show.  If you’re interested in the science or art of it, because it’s both, then you really should see it.  However, if you think you’ll be offended, you probably will, and you’re better saving your thirty dollars.  It’s not a life changing experience, just an interesting way to spend an afternoon.

Leonard’s Visit

 

Leonard was coming back to Calgary from Art School for a week, which meant I was going to be at either the Ship and Anchor or the Distillery.  The Distillery has changed a lot lately, and in some ways, no matter how many new things she tries, Leonard is still a robot of habit in the deepest steel chambers of her mechanical heart.  She can’t handle seeing how some things have changed, and she wanted the familiar, so we were at the Ship.

We went on Friday.  If you don’t know, the Ship and Anchor is a bit of a punk pub, at least originally, but it’s slowly showing a hipster influence.  There’s a row of fake books on a shelf near the ceiling.  Antique-looking paintings and artefacts adorn the walls, interspersed with FIFA soccer pennants.  Each table had its own crowd, with no coherent group dominating the bar.  A couple of old guys spoke emphatically near a group of bookish girls too afraid to yell to be heard over the bar noise.  A pair of overly attractive people tried to decide if they wanted to make out at 8 pm in a pub, mostly through trail and error.

I got there to find Kodie, Leonard, B1 and A2.  I hadn’t eaten, so I ordered food.  For the rest of the night, one person at our table was always eating.  Either someone new would show up and order food, or someone who had been there for a while needed an appy.

I was sitting by A2.  He was ordering a different beer with each round and showing off his iPhone.

Tall showed up a bit later, followed by R1 and A3, friends of Leonard.  It freaks her out to see people she knows from different places together, especially if they get along.  She especially hates it if they start doing things without her.  She calls it “hanging out behind her back.”  I believe it’s because robots are always plotting against humans, so she assumes it goes the other way.  She knows it’s crazy, and she’s mostly gotten over it, but at times it bugs her.

So I probably shouldn’t have been hitting on A3.  Since the last time I’d seen her, she’d gotten a rather significant haircut, and was adorable with her short hair.  I was trying to be subtle, so as not to upset Leonard until there was reason for her to be truly angry at me.  On top of that, it was a loud bar, and everyone kept switching places around the table, so A3 and I didn’t get much of a chance to talk.  I doubt she noticed.  She also didn’t get my full attention, and I wasn’t willing to push to hard, so she was able to escape my considerable charm.

This time…

When Shawn showed up, our waitress changed.  The new girl was gorgeous, and completely inattentive.  You had to yell at her to stop her to order a drink.  We soon decided it was time to move the party, and Kodie and Shawn suggested the Elbow River Casino.  Tall, A3, B1 and R2 were out, but the rest of us decided to go. 

I’ve only ever been to the casino in Lethbridge.  It’s a newish building on the highway out of town.  I used to go with Txt Girl and her friends, because she loved to gamble.  I’d spend $20 on ten games of blackjack, then just hang out, because I value my money.  The Lethbridge Casino was fun every time.

Elbow River Casino was different.  It was smaller, darker, and mostly row upon row of heartless slot machines. 

Pictured: Uncivilized Gambling

 I don’t like playing the slots because they’re too much like video games.  The bright lights and sounds confuse me into thinking I’m having more fun than I am, and I forget every button I press costs me money.  I feel like my Nintendo cheated me as a child, so I know those machines that are literally after my money will for sure.  I just don’t like the disconnect I get from something too much like my Xbox 360.

So I walked by and got a drink.  Then I checked out the Blackjack.

There were no $2 tables.

The lowest on the floor were $5 minimum bet.

When the fuck did that happen?  I want 10 games for my $20.  Now, the most I’m guaranteed is 4 games.  4 fucking games.  Less than half.  I sighed, and sat down by A2.  I managed to last for 8 games without going over my $20 limit.  I was frustrated when the last of my money left so I went to find Kodie.

He was at a slot machine, and I was not sober enough to make good decisions.  In 3 minutes, the evil little robot ate $20 more.  I asked Kodie how he managed to keep the machine going.  He shrugged a timid shrug that suggested he’d spent more than he should have.

Shawn and I found the cheapest slots in the place, and I lost another $10 before I gave up.  It was home time, and I was down $50.

Do all Casino’s suck this much?  Am I remembering things wrong?

Or is the Elbow River Casino where hope goes to die?

Miniblog: Japanese Tourists

I have this dream for Stampede.  I keep hoping I’ll run into some cute lost Japanese girl. 

Someone along these lines

 

She’ll be all confused by the city, maybe talking to her equally cute friend, who will probably be wearing a cowboy hat, trying to figure out how to get somewhere, like the grounds, or how to do something relatively simple, like pay for parking.  Of course, they’ll be afraid to use their English, because these two girls are Japanese University students, who fear mispronouncing a word more than death. 

Fortunately, I’ll be there to save them with my ability to understand the idiocy of Calgary parking, and my scant Japanese which I speak with more confidence than it deserves.  Of course, they’ll want me to hang out with them all day, and then eventually, I’ll accept their displays of gratitude, whatever they might be. 

Probably blow jobs, but I won’t be too picky. 

Anyways, if that’s going to happen, I better get out there to Stampede.  What if someone else with rudimentary Japanese gets to them first?  Those are my bjs!

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 8:47 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Stampede

The Calgary Stampede can be a difficult thing to enjoy.  The city is absolutely overrun.  There’s no parking, there’s too many people on transit, there’s even more bad drivers, and there’s crowds everywhere you go.  You can’t get into a restaurant or pub.

Then again, cute girls in cowboy hats and short shorts are crowding the streets.  It’s never too early to be drunk.  There’s games and festival food.  With a plan, it’s a beautiful thing.

So I went this weekend and did it right.  David had a bunch of friends down from Edmonton, so we drank a bunch of beers at my house.  When you head out to Stampede, it helps to be less than sober.  Most of the people you meet will be drunk, and possibly assholes, but they’re easier to cope with when you’re full of beer.  

The day was a bit rainy, which actually cut down on the crowds.  There are people sober enough to go inside when the weather is terrible.  Not my kind of people, but they exist.  So we walked to the gates and paid $14 to get inside.  It pisses me off a little that there’s nothing included for that $14.  You pay that to have access to all the rest of Stampede.  Shouldn’t the people setting up booths and rides and exhibitions pay rent so that we’ll see their stuff, and we can give them even more money?  I mean, Disney Land is expensive, but you get access to all the rides with admission.  You don’t pay to get into West Edmonton Mall, you just pay for what you use.  Stampede, you pay entrance, for food, for entertainment, for souvenirs, for everything.

I need 5 beers first to justify it.

But the small crowd inside was awesome.  We walked through the midway, stopping every once in a while to gamble or throw a baseball at some beer bottles.  We checked out the rides, but since we’re planning to come back on a weekday, when you can get a wristband to ride all day, we decided not to buy any tickets.  We went to the beer gardens, had a round and got shot glasses on Mardi-Gras beads, and then the rain picked up enough that even we noticed.  So we headed over to the Big Four and hide in the casino, playing slot machines until the rain settled down.

We headed out to my favourite part of Stampede: food.  I had Taco in a Bag, Elephant Ears, the giant lemonade, and cheesecake dipped in chocolate.  I am a bottomless pit of Stampede food.

If you’re a Stampede goer, and you want to know how it stacked up, it was average.  It’s a run of the mill Stampede.  You need to go to at least one, but they probably won’t ever blow your mind.