Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Art Imitates Life

My dear Mum recently paid me a visit, and besides the usual Alberta tourist activities (visits to West Edmonton Mall, Wild West Shooting Gallery, World's Largest Cowboy Boot) we took in some culture. SNAP Gallery was throwing a fundraiser which Steam Whistle sponsored; a fundraiser which raised proceeds through a silent auction of custom printed tees and underpants, and, of course, the sale of beer. My poor Mum was nervous about attending a function at an art gallery.

Prior to her arrival, we had a sweet little exchange on the telephone:

M- "Well, B, I don't know. What should I wear to this art gallery thing? I have a new blouse and blazer that are nice."
B- "It's not that kind of art gallery. All you need is a tee shirt and jeans."
M- "I don't know. . ."
B- "Trust me, Mum; unless you have a blouse and blazer from the early 80's, just bring some jeans and we'll buy you a cool tee out here."
M- "Are you sure?"
B- "Positive."

Once M got to Calgary, we agreed that in order to really get into the spirit of the event, we would create our own tee shirts using the late 70's/early 80's as inspiration. The results speak for themselves:

What was meant to simply be a pair of humourous tee shirts ended up cutting a little close to the bone when I, in a blatant exhibition of stupidity, put the D in Pobody's on backwards.
My Mum was pleased, as she said it added a certain veracity to her tee shirt.
I had the perfect excuse: pobody's nerfect, Mum. Poooooo-body.

Long gone are the days of unconditional parental support; here are the times of cold, harsh realities.

In Case of Beermergency, Flag Me!

Rolling through a less-than-savoury part of town today, up near the Trans Canada Highway, I noticed two motorcycles pulled over on the side of the road. As I approached in Betty, my bright green Chevy, one of them began motioning for me to pull over. Ever the Good Beer Folk, I complied.

B- "You fellas having some trouble with your hogs?"
A- "No--we want beer."
B- blink. blink. "Pardon?"
A- "Beer. We want some of your beer."
B- "So you're not in trouble?"
A- "No. We want beer."
B- "I'm sorry, you've mistook me for someone else. I'm a SALESman; you're looking for a GIVEAWAYman. That guy gives the beer away--I sell it. Want to buy some?"
A- "We want you to give us some."
B- "Yeah, like I said--I'm in the business of selling beer, not giving it away. Oh, and thanks for flagging me over, too; I love it when people waste my time. Drives me wild with excitement."

Then the guy who hadn't been doing all the talking pipes up just as I'm pulling my foot in the door to close it.

C- "Hey! Fuck you! It's your fucking job!"

In a rare moment of clarity, and showing surprising restraint on my part, I closed the door. Then I counted to 5, turned the key, and for a brief moment flirted with the idea of stopping on R as I put Betty into gear. Showing even greater restraint, I continued to D and rolled on.

But I made a promise to myself that if I ever see those two yokels again, I'm going to give them the Christine treatment and run them down.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Have Truck, Will Travel.

It's quite a common affair for me to come across people who've seen my lovely green truck Betty bombing around town (folks never report seeing the driver--he's just ballast in a bowtie compared to the relative beauty of Betty).

Working Taste of Calgary this past weekend I got a lot of "You drive that green truck!? That truck is awesome!" and "Hey! You drive that green truck? You're my neighbour!" and "Hey, you drive that green truck? What year is that?"--most comments fall in to one of those three categories.
But, as with all things in life, there's a first time for everything.

Manning the booth, a guy walked directly up to me and said:
G- "You drive that green truck ,right?"
B- "You bet."
G- "I saw you do an awesome burn-out at the Southland Liquor Store!"
B- "Was Journey playing on the stereo?"
G- "I don't know. . ."
B- "Still sounds like me."
G- "It was pretty cool."
B- "I live to serve."

Please forward all resumes to replace me upon my death to Steam Whistle Brewing, The Roundhouse, Canada.
Must have relevant burn-out experience and radical music collection.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

.3 Karat Monkey

A while back a dear friend of mine, who will even remain initial-less, revealed a heart breaking story of lost love.
The fact that he lost his love to her own cousin--no. fucking shit.--adds an unsavory and wholly unbelievable element to this story.

Her own fucking cousin!

Here I thought that losing, say, one's wife to a lesbian would be damaging to the ego; losing out to someone's own cousin is pretty much the most outrageously shitty thing that could happen.

Believe it.

So here he is, for TWO YEARS walking around with the rejected engagement ring in his backpack. Usually the monkey on your back is just a metaphorical monkey--not a bona fide burden!

Oh--and the cousin had triumphantly announced to his beloved that "It's perfectly legal for us--I checked."

Moving on. . . so I find out about this who crummy life event, and he produces this engagement ring from his everyday knapsack, and my first reaction was:

B- "Pawn that! Get that THING out of your knapsack and pawn it!"

He hummed and hawed.

I begged him to at least stop carrying the God damned thing around. He did so.

Three days later I return home, set my own knapsack (well, I think it was a man purse at the time, actually--it was Toronto, and I did live downtown) and turn to see, on the floor before our teevee, an xbox. Brand new.

And a note.

The note read something to the effect that:

"Hey Guys, I did what you said and pawned the ring and bought an xbox. Enjoy!"

Like a treasure map to recovery, xbox marks the spot.

For the first time, and maybe the last, I thought about what a full fucking dude he was, and smiled.

I also thought, There's no way that shitty ring raised enough scratch to buy an xbox!, but that's beside the point.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Devastation of Musculation

What, pray tell, is it to be devastated by musculation?

To answer that most unlikely of questions I went personally to have a Thor sighting at Broken City here in Calgary a month or so back.
I got in for free, and I don't think that I got my money's worth.

How Thor went from this:

To this:

. . . is between him and Ronald MacDonald--but the fact that Thor now tries to cover up his bowl full of jelly vis-a-vie a poorly-fitted latex breast plate (subtly accented with heroic chiseled abs)--speaks to the delusional mind now controlling our faded Glam Rock God who likely also still believes that he can sing.
Thor can barely draw enough breath to feed his brain, let alone carry a note.

But we all have fallen heros, and I wasn't above getting my photo taken with Thor. . .

He smelt not unlike boiled skunk assholes, and that un-Godly funk transferred to me after our man-hug was completed. I now smelt so bad that, rather than shower, I wanted to set myself on fire.

I bought a concert tee anyway. I wanted to have something from the concert tour Thor died on.

And NO FEATS OF STRENGTH! What the fuck!

I went to see him bend some steel! Blow up a hot water bottle! Tear a phone book in half--something! Anything!!
We mere mortals have come to expect these things from our Glam Rock God!
What we were treated to do was an endless parade of latex masks gleaned from some Dungeons & Dragons nerd's jerkoff sketchbook, and Aliens movies; and a never-ending barrage of references to his younger, studlier days spent boning chicks on the set of "Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare".

As I told my dear friend D: I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I cried.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

COPS: Live in Calgary!

The other night I lay me down to sleep in the twilight of an oppressive Calgary heat wave, unawares that the city had other plans for me. It was nearly 3am, and both body and mind had agreed that the time for bed was well past--I'm not saying that, though not yet at the age of 30, I'm too old to be partying late into the night--but I'm also not not saying that I can't party like I did when I was young.

Follow me?

Before I go on, those of you from Toronto should know that the Calgary constabulary have not one, but two, copper choppers;
Toronto, on the other had has not one, but none. I pity the fools who have to live in that place.

My eyelids were bobbing on their hinges, flirting with each other, when what sounded like an air invasion began right outside my window. The Copper Chopper was in MY hood. MINE! I immediately got nostalgic for Parkdale, and began fearing for my life.

Peering out the window--but staying low enough that any Jamaican drug lords wouldn't be able to get a clear shot--I saw Calgary's Finest Airborne circling low and tight over the block across the street. They were using the spotlight, and if you've never seen one of those puppies in action--well!--I could almost read a book, and it wasn't being aimed at me.

I thought, "Holy shit! There's some serious shit going down tonight!"

And then I thought, "I should get my housecoat on and check this shit out!"

And then I thought, "If it really is some serious shit, I don't want to get myself up shit creek without a paddle!"

So I decided to stay in and let my opportunity to be a hero come to me. But I promised myself that if I heard shots, or an officer call my GO! word ("Foxfire!"), that I would be on the scene like a sex machine--no questions asked.

After 15 minutes of the Huey roaring around in a circle, flooding my neighbourhood in artificial sun, it shot off into the night as quickly as it had arrived. But it left behind a pile of curiosity and sleeplessness.

Yesterday I happened upon a Po-Po and decided to pick his brain about what had gone down, and he was able to lift the worry and concern from my shoulders: they were busting a couple who were rip-roaring drunk, and had decided to go skinny dipping in the outdoor pool around the corner. For those that are curious, the female companion had a nice body--or should I say, allegedly had a nice body. The Huey was serving two purposes: extra light on the scene; and cheap thrills for the pilot and co-pilot.

I wish that I had someone to go allegedly trespassing (skinny dipping) with; I have a feeling that if I was caught buck wild in the pool by myself, trying to beat the heat, no helicopter would show up. Or if one did, they would likely throw me a towel and ask me to cover up.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wilder in the Streets

Today I enjoyed driving through my bee-u-tiful neighbourhood of Marda Loop even more than usual, because today, Bon Jovi provided the soundtrack to Saturday morning. And nothing I have found makes kids with Down Syndrome, plagued with the relative boredom of waiting for the bus, dance harder than Bon Jovi.

Waiting at a stop light, my beautiful truck Betty's windows down, and her stereo turned to 22, Dr. Jon Bon and company were talking about groovin' to the backbeat, making love in the back seat, and generally being Wild in the Streets--stuff that nearly everyone can relate to--and just as I was beginning to air drum on my steering wheel, I heard a shout out surely meant for me.

D- "Nice truck!"

I looked over to see the glowing benevolence of a twentysomthing fella with Downs who was giving me an enthusiastic thumbs up.

B- "Thank, buddy!"
D- "Nice music, too!!"
B- "You like rock n' roll?"

Like anyone ever needs to ask that question.

D- "You bet! I love to rock!!"

He was getting excited; so was I.

B- "Maybe I should turn it up? What do you think?"
B- (turns up Bon Jovi) "How's that? Louder?"

I didn't receive an answer--my new friend was dancing like it was his superpower.

There are only two appropriate reactions to this situation, and I did both.
1) Turn the Bon Jovi up to maxiumum;
2) Do a burnout.

How do I know that the other people waiting at the bus stop thought my friend and I were the two awesomest cats on the face of the planet?
When dealing with matters of rock, you just know.

And for many reasons, it doesn't matter what the fuck they thought.

I need to install a dance floor in the back of Betty for situations like that.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

100% Cotton Levees

Anyone familiar with the film "Crimson Tide" starring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington will be familiar with the scene in which, after a hull breech, Rick Schroder (who is really Ricky Schroder in a vain attempt to be taken seriously post Silver Spoons) must seal a hatch, thereby sealing the fate a his fellow seamen. It's pretty emotional.

I had a similar experience this evening after trying to flush some old homemade hamburgers down the toilet; the only upside was that I was now cast in the role previously realised by my childhood hero, Ricky Schroder.

Delicious as they were, one man can eat only so many hamburgers before their appeal begins to pall. My limit was 6 meals in a row. Wanting to honour them with the reverence they deserved (and not wanting my garbage to smell of mad cow and crawl with e.coli) I decided that the remaining 4 burger patties should be buried at sea.

Something in the pit of my stomach told me that I hadn't broke them up into small enough pieces before setting them adrift in the toilet--but having no frame of reference, I ignored the pit of my stomach. Neither one of us had ever broken hamburgers up and put them in the toilet before, so my stomach and I had to agree to disagree, and wait and see.

It wasn't long after the first large chuck of chuck disappeared into the throat of the toilet that the swirling stopped, and the water level began to rise unchecked. The beefy funeral pyres were beginning to look pretty menacing; I had flushers remorse almost immediately.

Without thinking, I grabbed my personal towel from the rack and began to fashion a levee around the lip of the toilet bowl. Unfortunately, a bath towel lacks even basic similarities with a levee, and as the water rose I knew exactly where my evening wasn't going: down the toilet. And for once, I wished it was.

Toilet water surging over the towel, the triumphant burgers flirting with the crest, I began to cry and holler just like Ricky in Crimson Tide. It wasn't as dramatic as it could have been; without Hans Zimmer's soundtrack adding the appropriate flavour of heroism, I had trouble envisioning my Victoria Cross ceremony.

Trying to get a plunger into a toilet already full to over-flowing is another challenge in and of itself. You have to choke down the natural instinct to avoid any more toilet water spillage, because when the toilet bowl's volume is so close to capacity, the addition of any mass is going to create more, not less, mess.

When all was said an done, and with the aid of a plunger, I urged the burgers to face their destiny. Sure, it wasn't pretty--but you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to some Whitesnake and try to turn this evening around.