Monday, October 25, 2010

The Escalator Is Not a Ride

Some people really piss me off. I'm the first to admit that my tolerance for stupidity is teetering near the "0" mark on the best of days, but there's still no denying that stupidity is a rampant problem in our society.

Earlier today I was at Market Mall to kill a few minutes before work (and to see if any of the stores had a pair of maroon size 13 sneakers...sadly no). I love Halloween and so I decided to stop by Zellers and look at the Halloween section in the store. On my way back down, there were a few people on the escalator ahead of me. First was a young punk who was standing on the left. About six or so steps down a man was standing on the right. In front of him was a woman about three steps down. I walked down the escalator steps on the right to avoid the punk, and then moved left to pass the other two. As I passed the man who was standing on the right, he said "excuse works."

He was, of course, sarcastically stating that the escalator was running and thus I did not need to walk down the stairs. I simply threw up a hand without turning back to him and I said "Thanks tips...but I work faster." Not the cleverest of retorts, but it served its purpose. In hindsight, I should have said something along the lines of "Your legs work too...looks like we both overlooked something obvious."

While it could be argued that it is rude to walk down the escalator and pass people who are standing on it, the argument would be pretty weak. They're stairs, for Jebus' sake! I believe it is much ruder to stand there like an asshole on the escalator when you are perfectly able to walk. It has always seemed to me that escalators were there for people who had trouble traversing stairs (either due to illness, physical ailment, or because they are holding a child or a large item or something). If one chooses to stand there and treat the escalator like it's an amusement park ride, then one should not become angry or upset at those who choose to walk up and down instead.

I'm not sure why there is no "escalator etiquette" here in Canada. During a visit to London, I was absolutely flabbergasted at how the people had escalator etiquette. It was brilliant! People who wanted to ride up or down the escalators would stay to the right and people who wanted to walk up or down would stay to the left. Here in Canada (or at least Alberta where I've bothered to pay attention), people plant themselves wherever the fuck they want and then stand there like invalids until reaching the top/bottom. The aforementioned young punk could have easily moved to the right when he got on the escalator today, but didn't. No sense of etiquette. Often couples or groups will stand side-by-side, thus blocking the entire stairwell while they engage in inane conversation, oblivious to the fact there are some people who have places to be. No sense of etiquette.

Well...just no sense.

Yeah, I'm very impatient, and that is why I'm frustrated about this issue. But being impatient isn't nearly as much a problem as being a stupid lazy douchebucket that can't be bothered to think about anyone else. If people proceed to loiter on the escalators, I am going to walk past them to get up or down (carefully, of course). Perhaps I should print out pamphlets explaining how to properly use an escalator (with a small section on how even small amounts of exercise can help combat obesity). It's just a shame exercise can't fight stupidity as well.

Sure, I could always just learn to be more tolerant of the parade of idiots shuffling around on this rock, but it would make for much less interesting blogging. Oh, and if you're reading this while standing on an escalator, please move to the right.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Con-Version 26

By the fans. For the fans.

Being a person with a great interest in science fiction, it should come as no surprise that I look forward all year to Calgary’s longest running science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention. Con-Version has been around for over a quarter of a century, and each year the convention has become bigger and better.

October 15 through 17, 2010, Con-Version 26 was held at the Quality Inn in northeast Calgary. The venue made for an interesting change of pace from what many come to expect at any convention. By holding the convention within the hotel, the ambience seemed significantly more comfortable and intimate than a convention center or arena. The layout of the convention was slightly confusing at first (different events were held in different rooms on different floors), but everything was easily accessed without any frustrating lineups or other delays.

What really made Con-Version 26 a success was the team of organizers who worked tirelessly throughout the year in planning and preparing for the show. Derek France, a head organizer of Con-Version 26, seemed as excited about the show as the fans that steadily flowed through the doors.

“We’re all volunteers,” Derek stated in reference to the team of organizers behind the show, “Con-Version is a convention put on by the fans for the fans.” Rose Tanchyk, also an organizer, proved she was a big fan of science fiction and fantasy by coming to the convention in costume. Rose was dressed as Xena: Warrior Princess and shared that she had several other costumes at home, such as a Klingon costume of which she was very proud. Once I had the opportunity to see pictures of Rose in the Klingon costume, I can say that she has every reason to be proud.

The events at Con-Version 26 were many, and there truly was something for everyone. A costume contest held on Saturday afternoon brought several costumed guests on to the stage. Many of the costumes were nothing short of amazing, such as an Iron Man (mark 1) costume and Bob from the television series Reboot. Even a gentleman dressed as Futurama’s Zap Brannigan made a hilarious appearance on the stage. Kudos to all the competitors in the costume contest, as the time and attention they put into their costumes was well received and appreciated by me and the rest of the audience.

Several panel discussions occurred over the weekend which provided a variety of topics, such as the portrayal of women in Doctor Who and a panel about steampunk. Perhaps the most notable panel event in my experience at the show was one that taught and discussed how to survive in the event of a zombie outbreak. The instructors covered issues such as proper social behaviours in the event of zombie attack (i.e. whether to leave a person behind in order to ensure one’s own safety), which weapons are effective and which are too cumbersome (i.e. katana blades are actually a bad idea to keep handy while avoiding raiding zombies) and how to case a room or other area for possible escape routes (windows are our friends). The instructors maintained an air of seriousness to the point that I often wondered if they were serious about zombie survival or just playing the part for the sake of the audience.

In addition to the obligatory panels and costume contest, there was also a game room that was open and available to guests non-stop throughout the two and a half days that Con-Version 26 was operating. The game room had at least two occupied tables at any time that I stopped by. The guests played board games such as Dungeons and Dragons, of which I regretfully admit I have no experience or knowledge in. However, the players all seemed to be enjoying themselves and at some points drew in onlookers who stood behind the players to watch.

A movie room was available throughout the entire convention as well, and the projector was playing a different movie at every drop-in I made. There was always someone in the room to kick back and enjoy a show, and it was a great idea to include a room for guests to relax in the convention.

The biggest draw to the show was undoubtedly the celebrity guests. Con-Version 26 brought a stunning collection of stars from Star Trek, including John DeLancie, Robert Picardo, Chase Masterson, Ethan Phillips, and Marina Sirtis. The guests arrived late Friday evening and treated us to a brief but enjoyable Q&A. The following two days, all guests provided autographs and photo opportunities for fans (for a small fee). All the guests seemed very personable and kind and took the time to speak with the fans, which made the experience of Con-Version 26 all the more enjoyable. Other guests, such as The 404s, a terrific comedy troupe that has been a welcomed guest at The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo for several years, and the band Heroincredible, were on hand to provide entertainment.

If I were to pick my favourite event during Con-Version 26, it would be the slave auction. A clever way to earn money for charity, the slave auction was a simple and effective event. Volunteers agreed to donate an hour of their time as “slaves” to bidders (such as retrieving drinks, holding bags, amusing their high bidder with stories, etc). The auction was rather informal, with MC Mark (member of The 404s) acting as auctioneer. Bidders in the audience would simply shout out their bids until a high bidder was declared. Bids ranged from $20 to $200 and about $1250 was raised for charity during the auction. Celebrity guests Chase Masterson and John DeLancie also donated their time for the auction (though neither were present during the auction itself) and brought in $125 and $110 respectively. Oh, and good ol’ Zap Brannigan received a high bid of $30. All in all, the slave auction was a very enjoyable time for slaves and bidders alike, and a favourite of mine as I’m a sucker for a good cause.

The only downside to Con-Version 26 was the fact that it had to end. Conventions for such entertainment genres as science fiction, fantasy and horror (not to mention comic books, television, and movies) are far and few between in Calgary, and so having to say goodbye for a year can be difficult. However, all the fans that supported Con-Version 26 are undoubtedly impatiently waiting for Con-Version 27. Not many details have been released as of yet, but I can share that Virginia Hey (of Farscape fame) has already been secured as a guest for 2011 which is very exciting! If you are interested in attending Con-Version 27, tickets for the entire event are already available at a cost of $50 for the first two-hundred guests. After that point, three-day passes will cost $60. So be sure to get your passes soon! Visit for details about what happened during Con-Version 26 as well as details about upcoming Con-Version 27.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yellow Submarine

Some might say I have a big mouth. Some might say I say too much. Those some are correct. Don't get me wrong...I'll never change. But that doesn't mean it's not true. However, rarely does my mouth ever get me in trouble. Though rarely is not never.

Picture it...1991. Maybe 1992. It's all the same, really. I was 13 or 14 years old and I lived in the neighbourhood of Thorburn in Airdrie. It was a nice neighbourhood and the house in which I lived was awesome. A four-storey split, it left me with a lot of memories. The house was situated on the north side of an alley way entry (the alley way went along the side of our home and then our garage was perpendicular to the house so cars could turn into it). The alley way curved around the house on the other side from us and wrapped down along to the east. Our home, and the alley, both faced a major road in Airdrie, and so there was an opening for pedestrians to enter the Thorburn neighbourhood from that major road. So the alley way ended up having a lot of foot-traffic.

Being an obnoxious teenager, I sometimes became bored and decided to bother people as they walked through the alley. From my balcony window, I would bellow at a passerby a nugget such as "Excuse me, do you have any soup in your hat" or "I just farted and it killed my the police!" Said passersby did not appreciate the annoyance but generally said and did nothing.

Along came Mark. This kid was around 16 at the time and he frequented that alley way as he lived in Thorburn (down the street from me). He was one ugly mother fucker with some anger issues (the latter I did not know at the time). He also rode a yellow bicycle. A bicycle that was size appropriate for a seven year old. That thing was tiny. It was a teeny tiny yellow BMX-type bicycle that was worse for wear and he looked like a total idiot riding it.

I had to say SOMETHING. I saw him ride by many-a-time but wasn't in the mood to scream out something that seemed hilarious to me at 13 or 14. But one day I was dying to bother people. And so when I saw him pull his pocket cycle into the alley, I whipped open the balcony door and yelled the rudest thing I've ever yelled EVER!:

"Yellow submarine!"

I received the dirtiest of glares as he rode by. I laughed. It was funny to me. I said my piece and it was now over...or so I thought.

Maybe a month later, our middle school took the grade eight students to the high school nearby as a sort of orientation for grade nine. I'm not sure what they were thinking. It was useless. They paraded us through the halls and into rooms. We had to stand in a line at the front of the classrooms and let the older students stare at us. Seriously WTF? It made no sense, but the school seemed to think differently. It was one such class that Mark was attending. Myself and my group of grade eight students walked into the front and stood...looking at all the intimidating older people. And I saw him there...gunnin' me down with his eyes. But that wasn't what scared me. What scared me is when, while still staring intensely at me, he made a throat-cutting motion with his hand. Sure, maybe he was kidding, but he looked dead serious. We left the school soon after and I forgot all about him...for a while.

In the summer after grade eight, about two months after my high school encounter with Mark J. Serialkiller, I was riding my bike (which was the right size for me, by the way) with Jeremy (see previous entry The Flood) along East Lake in Airdrie.

Sidebar: East Lake is a man-made lake that was a filthy swamp of water, but the surrounding park was kind of nice to hang out in.

While Jeremy and I were biking along on our way to the local comic book store, I saw Mark and his brother Mike (Mike was a year younger than I was) riding toward us...Mark on his yellow submarine and his smaller brother on a much larger bike. Go figure. When Mark was within a second's ride from me, he skidded his bike so that the rear wheel slid forward and his bike was sideways. He blocked the path so I would have to stop.

Fuck that.

I'm not proud of what I did. I dodged him and burned rubber down the pathway, leaving Jeremy behind. I figured that Jeremy would be fine because this Mark character had nothing against Jeremy, and I was correct. But it was still cowardly for me to leave a man behind. Lesson learned. Anyway, I reached the comic store in record time. My heart was racing. The thought of being beaten down by this Mark guy was terrifying because he was much bigger than me. I waited about two minutes and then Jeremy arrived. I apologized to Jeremy and explained why I had to leave and Jeremy said he understood. Jeremy told me that Mark said "I guess your friend isn't coming back," and then Mark and his brother left. I felt like shit but Jeremy understood and I avoided a bludgeoning so life wasn't so bad.

The next encounter with Mark was not by me at all, but by my father. One October evening at around 11PM, Mark and a buddy of his were allegedly in the alley, on their way to the main road I mentioned earlier. Instead of walking the twenty paces to the opening in the fence in order to get to the path along the main road, Mark decided to kick down some pickets and make a new exit that was closer. Yeah. Complete asshole. Anyway, while he was kicking down the fence, my dad apparently stormed out in his slippers and chased Mark and Mark's buddy down the street. Cowardly asshole...but I suppose bullies like Mark can only stand up to people smaller than them. My dad hated all these lazy pricks that were busting public property to save ten seconds of walking time. In fact, it took longer for Mark and pal to knock down the fence than to walk around it.

I didn't see Mark for quite some time...over a year, in fact. I was walking home from school with Brad (think ugly short troll and you've got him figured out) and Dan (think Piggy from Lord of the Flies and you've got him figured out) and decided to hang out at Brad's house for a while to play Super Nintendo. We walked through a different back alley in Thorburn to get to Brad's house. While walking, I found a branch on the ground. Pretending I was going to whip Dan and Brad with the stick (boys will be boys), we all ended up running down the alley. Dan and Brad had a few houses head start on me, which soon turned out to be a problem.

As I was running past Mark's house, I heard a voice yell "Hey, come here!" The person was Scott. Scott was a "cool" dude. He was the same age as Mark (thus a few years older than me) though he was still in high school because he was stupid. Mark had dropped out earlier that school year, but that's neither here nor there. Scott was a bit taller than me and had long hair except on the sides and back of his head. The sides and back were shaved and then he had a long mane of hair that hung down the back of his head from the top. He looked like a total douche but that was "cool" then I guess. He exited Mark's backyard, and to my dismay he was not alone. Mark and Mike also emerged from the unkempt yard.

I should have run. Brad's house was four or five houses away. I could have made it with the head start. But I was tired of running from this fuck. I stood my ground. They swarmed around me like sharks. Mark barfed curse after curse at me, further solidifying his white trash status. He bitched about how he didn't appreciate being called "yellow submarine" two years before. He then complained about my dad chasing him for breaking the fence. Mark said that he was going to "punish" me for what I did and for what my dad did. Some lesson, hot shot.

I was basically held captive in that back alley for what seemed like forever. In reality it was about an hour. Mark spent a lot of time pacing around, suggesting different things he would do to me. He then cleverly thought of a solution. You see, I was still holding a stick. His idea was simple. He would let me hit him anywhere on his body with the stick. Then he would take the stick and do the same to me. The logic was that I threw the first punch and so anything he did was self defense.

First, that's not how it works. There's a law regarding what one may do in self-defense. Three people on one would not warrant a counter attack at all.
Second, if you're wondering why I did not use the stick and get the hell out of there, it's because I could only use it on one person before the other two would tackle me...not much point.

That was the plan. I strike him. He strikes me back...probably threefold. Mark seemed to want me to swing at him really badly. He was leaning in, tapping his cheek and telling me to smack him in the face with the branch. He was throwing out limbs and telling me to thwack them too. I wasn't stupid. I knew his game and wasn't having it. He began to yell and demand that I hit him with the stick. So I wound up, ready to swing. And I did.

I swung in an arc up over his head and let the stick go. It twirled through the air and landed in someone's backyard. Mark scowled and told me I shouldn't have done that. He rushed me and smoked me in the stomach with his fist. I won't didn't really hurt, but I carried on like I was winded. I hoped that if he thought he got me good, they'd fuck off and leave me be. No such luck. I sat down on a green transformer box, pretending to be trying to catch my break.

That's when Scott butted in. "Dude, do you smoke?" I said no, still playing charades. Mark then said that I was going to start right then and there. Scott took out a pack of cigarettes and held it out toward me with a butt poking out of the top.

"Take it," he said as he shuffled through his pockets for a lighter. I took the cigarette and proceeded to break it in half and chuck it across the alley. I didn't care. Let them beat me down. I wasn't going to smoke. Not for them. Not for anyone. I started to walk away and Mike came up to me. Mike punched me square in the gut as well, but his hit was even less painful than Mark's was. I wheezed and kept walking.

The three amigos didn't follow me. They instead turned around and walked back toward Mark's home. As they walked, Mark spun to me and yelled "Remember, you threw the first punch."

"We'll see," I yelled as I continued on my way.

I went into Brad's backyard and knocked on the door. The Little Troll That Could answered and my first question was bluntly "Why didn't you come help me?" Brad said he came out looking for me and saw me with some guys. Brad said he figured they were my friends and didn't bother to intervene. Brad seemed to forget that he knew that Mark wanted to kill me and Brad knew who Mark was. Dan had already gone home, but I'm sure Dan "figured" they were my friends too.

It was at that moment that neither Brad nor Dan was my friend anymore. I was surrounded by three dudes, two of which Brand and Dan KNEW hated me, and they didn't come to my aid. I respect that this was an interesting reflection of how I treated Jeremy a year before, but it was still a different beast. If Mark wanted to kick Jeremy's ass in that park, I would not have abandoned him. I left because I was afraid, yes. But I also left because I knew Jeremy was in no danger. In the case of Brad and Dan, they knew I was at some risk, but chose to let me hang.

So here's a big FUCK YOU to Mark, Mike, Scott, Brad, and Dan. They say the best revenge is living well...since the whole lot of them above were white trash jackholes, I think it's fair to say revenge has been accomplished. But if I see them jaywalking in the street, I still wouldn't swerve. Oops...I think I've said too and my big mouth.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Girl with the Growth Balloon

Being an incredibly attractive male has its disadvantages. People always stare at me and secretly hate me for being so really really ridiculously good looking. I make the average person feel inadequate in my presence and women are too intimidated to approach me. And...from time to time, the crazies come out to stalk.

I've had a few stalkers in my day that range from the tame to the insane. One day soon I will share with you the story of Lisa the stalker. She was messed up which should make for an enjoyable read (this Lisa is not the same Lisa from my previous entry "The Ginger Set-Up").

For tonight, I'll share another humourous yet discomforting tale. Girl meets boy. Boy rejects girl. Girl won't leave boy alone.

In the early 00s, I took a trip to North Hill Mall to try and find a gift for my mother for her birthday. The month was November but I don't recall the day (not that it is important). I shuffled through Sears trying to find something for the woman that only wants $5000 vacations but came up short, so I continued into the mall. North Hill Mall has since gone through some renovations. These days it actually looks quite presentable though admittedly the Sears part of the building shows its age strikingly. But back when this story took place, renovations had yet to begin. At the time North Hill Mall was something of a dive. It was dark, dingy, and only about half the rental units actually had stores within. However, I was unwilling to drive in the snow to another mall so I was determined to find something for my mum if I had to walk through hell to get it there.

As I walked through the mall, I suddenly heard a faint "hi" come from behind me. I turned and saw this woman...I'd say about my age at the time...walking behind me and to my right. She was, for lack of a better word, disgusting. Ratty brown hair and a huge white puffy winter jacket...and strange scars all over her cheeks and forehead. These were the kind of scars that were sunken she had been clawed in the face by something or someone and had flesh torn away. I've never seen anything like it...the closest thing was Jenna Elfman's character in an episode of My Name is Earl (though this girl in the mall was not nearly as severe and the scars were haphazardly strewn all over her face rather than a neat row of claw marks in the below picture of Mrs. Elfman):

I said "hi" back and continued to walk, figuring this was just a person being nice. But she pursued me and said "hi" again. I gave the obligatory polite response the first time and ignored her the second time. Sadly, that did not deter her from continuing to harass me. She began to ask me questions, such as "what are you shopping for" and "where do you live?" I maintained my silence, hoping that this creep would just go away. Perhaps I should have just humoured her instead...

"FUCK YOU!!!!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. The mall wasn't busy per se, but there were still easy fifty people that heard it, seeing as I had reached the food court at the time she decided to scream profanities at me. I scanned around at the onlookers, and when our eyes met I feel my expression of disbelief married with my attempts to not burst out laughing was proof enough that I was not with this thing that was following me around. I'm sure the people realized that she was following me around because I was incredibly attractive to her.

I didn't bother with any retort. She was clearly not a stable person to be screaming at me like that over nothing. I continued to walk and a moment later she began to berate me with more stupid she didn't just flip out on me. After a few lame questions such as "what do you drive," she then dropped a bomb on me. "Would you want to go on a date with me?"

Now imagine seeing through my eyes, and I had a HUD with information appearing upon it (think Terminator). In great big red letters blinking wildly, you would have seen "EMERGENCY! RUN!" I didn't run though. I said no thank you and continued walking.

Why not?" she demanded. Not wanting another outburst, I said it was because I had a girlfriend (lie). Why it is that lie never works is beyond me. Are these crazy people just not willing to believe I might be taken, or do they just not care? Either way, she said something along the lines of "I'm much better than your girlfriend."

I looped around the food court and continued back the way I came, walking faster and faster in hope that she would stop following me around. Unfortunately she just kept up with my pace. All the while trying to convince me to go on a date with her. I looped again, walking to the food court (as I did NOT want to leave the public eye with a psycho tagging close behind). I stopped at San Francisco (the store) and pretended to look at clearance Halloween items. She started asking me if I liked Halloween, while she removed her huge coat.

Initiate Emergency Dave Protocol 90237: Barf In Mouth. Under the coat was nothing short of a horror story. She was a portly mental patient who did not seem to believe in wearing bras. Trust me when I say that if you are a woman on the fence about wearing a bra, she would have made a believer out of you. It was like two stretch-bags with a bowling ball in each. Less breasts and more pendulums. But no, dear reader, that was not nearly the worst thing about this girl.

You see, she also had some sort of...growth...below her stomach. She had black stretch pants on and had a gunt big enough to fit a two year old in. Perhaps there was an unborn child caught somewhere in the vagina but still growing as a result of the umbilical cord. To confirm, this was not her stomach. She had a fat stomach but it was a "typical" fat stomach. This was a huge a volleyball tucked in her pants. A misshapen volleyball anyway.


I walked fast fast fast to the food court, desperately thinking of an appropriate way to escape where she would not follow. She kept up, still asking me questions. But to be honest I was no longer hearing anything but "blah blah blah" as her conjoined twin in her drawers was making my skin crawl. But she wasn't giving up. WHY? But I came up with a plan. It was a long shot but it was my only chance to ditch her.

"You know, you're right. I should go on a date with you. How does right now sound?"

She seemed ecstatic. Maybe she was just overjoyed at the thought that she had a shot with me or maybe I'm the only poor sap that had ever said yes to her. Either way, she was one happy girl thing. I said to her that we could sit down and have a coffee if she would like, and she agreed that it was a great idea. I suggested to her that she go to the coffee shop in the food court and get herself a coffee while I quickly went to use the washroom.

Would it work? Would she go get coffee while I distanced myself? I had a strong advantage now. The washrooms were located en route to the nearest exit.

She smiled and said okay. It looked like she was falling for it! She walked over to the coffee shop and I walked toward the washrooms. I looked back every few steps to make sure she did not change her mind. She was always looking at me. Goosebumps everywhere. But so far, so good. I approached the washrooms and looked over my shoulder. She was being helped at the counter and NOT looking! It was my chance!

I RAN! I ran like I was fucking on fire or being chased by angry wolves. I ran like the Langoliers were nipping at my ankles. The point is I ran like hell.
There was a hallway leading to the doors that fortunately was not visible to her from her location. I broke line-of-sight. My god I ran. I burst through the doors and bolted through the parking lot. I wasn't anywhere near my car but I didn't care. Sweet freedom!

I imagine she got her coffee and sat down waiting for me to return. I suppose she also went into the men's washroom looking for me. Hopefully she didn't find another amazingly hot dude in there to follow around and nauseate, but let's face it...if she did glom onto another person, it was better him than me.

I guess some might say I overreacted. I guess some might say I was too superficial. But she was very unnerving. I certainly didn't want to test the patience of someone who would scream "FUCK YOU" when a stranger doesn't respond to her. And I certainly didn't want to become the next meal for her mutant offspring trapped in her vajayjay.

It was actually a few YEARS (and many renovations) until I returned to that mall. Somewhere deep inside I think I was concerned that she was still there...waiting. Perhaps she does come back there every once in a while to sit down in hope that I will return. Or perhaps she is dead. Either way, I just hope that midget stuffed in her underwear never managed to escape.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Ginger Set-Up

On the rare occasion that a friend offers to set me up with someone, I strongly object to said offer. I wholeheartedly admit that it is tough for me to meet people in my line of's all kids and some of the worst adults in the world. Therefore, I don't blame a friend when such an offer is put on the table, but I will still always say no. It's not just about pride. It's also about experience. There was one time that I was set up by a time only.

When I was 19 or 20, I got a call from a friend. Her name was Veronica (not to be confused with Trevor's niece Veronika who will pop up in future stories). She said that she was talking with her friend Lisa the previous evening and realised that this "Lisa" and I would possibly make for a great couple.

Veronica described Lisa to me and she sounded pretty perfect. In short, Lisa was revealed through Veronica's words to be a very attractive redhead who was smart, funny, and had a bit of a geeky side. Veronica and I were fairly good friends, so I figured Veronica would know what I like and have good judgment. I trusted a friend and agreed to the blind date.

I was living in Airdrie at the time and Lisa in the deep south of Calgary, so we agreed to meet at Sunridge Mall. Seemed a good a place as any for a day meeting. I was not approaching this meeting as a true date...just a get-together to see if a date further on was plausible. We agreed to meet in the food court and then see where the day took us.

I arrived at the mall about ten minutes early and went straight for the food court. When I got to the food court, I scanned the area looking for her. I was told "tall, long red hair, green eyes, white button-up shirt," so it wouldn't be all that hard to pick her out of a small crowd. And there she was...sitting at a table near the front of the court. The first thing I thought when I saw her was "run." A proverbial switch flipped in my mind and I suddenly hated Veronica. Was this a joke? Did I hurt Veronica in some way and this was payback? No! I didn't do anything wrong to Veronica. Ergo, she legitimately thought Lisa would be a good match for me...though perhaps Veronica was only thinking that I would make a good match for Lisa.

Lisa was a redhead, yes. But her hair was unkempt and ratty, like a curly wig that was rolled into a ball and stored for a decade. It also had a bit of sheen to it, but not like conditioner unwashed grease sheen. She wasn't thin either. She was emaciated. Her eyes were green but they were small and beady, and her face looked like a freckle breeding colony (I love freckles usually but this was more freckle than face). Needless to say, I was not physically attracted to this woman at all. I should have left now and apologized later, but I was just too nice and polite for that. So I walked up, shook her bony witch-like hand, and sat down.

I hate to sound shallow, but I just couldn't get past her hair as I approached and sat down. However, once she started to talk, her hair became much less of a worry. She had teeth that would shame the British. She was the truest description of a "snaggletooth" that I've ever seen. Each of her teeth seemed to be going in its own direction. And they were all of a very noticeable yellow tinge. One of her front teeth was probably dead and therefore a dark brown colour. It was like staring at a train wreck, only at least with a train wreck I could throw up and no one would stare.

At least the black coffee she was drinking might have helped whiten her disgusting arrangement of teeth.

Even if she was not physically equivalent to something you'd see in a George A. Romero film, she was also as dumb as a dead ox in heat. All she talked about what her job. She worked in retail in some clothing store, and after a dozen tales of customers who pissed her off, I wanted to strangle myself with my own shoelaces. While she was talking, she unbuttoned several buttons on her shirt. Underneath she was wearing a tight black tank top, and under that was apparently some sort of push-up bra. For all the horrible things I've said about her, I admit that I still looked. Boobs are boobs. What?

To be fair, my glance was quick. It was simply a case of cleavage being available and so I peeked. I was not attracted to this woman one iota. Unfortunately, she "caught" me looking and she said "Ah, caught you peeking. Like what you see?"

What does one say to this? Sure, it was nice cleavage, but I still wanted to throw this girl out the window of a 20 storey building. I just produced a faint mercy laugh and changed the subject. She did not button her shirt back up, but I also never looked for the rest of the time I reluctantly spent with her.

When she finished her coffee, we got up and walked around. I embraced this as it meant I could look forward and not at her. I distinctly remember that almost everyone we passed in the mall stared at her. She was a circus freak, so can you blame them? Worse yet, they also looked at me with judging eyes. After all, what the hell was a human being doing in her company? Ugh! I should have bailed! But I was just way too nice and did not want to hurt her feelings. A lesson learned.

After plodding around the mall for a while, Lisa began to ask what I would like to do and Lisa began offering suggestions. She suggested such terrifying prospects as dinner at a restaurant and going to laser tag. These were evening activities and I was NOT about to still be around her when the evening came. I suggested going to a matinee movie. That way, it was dark and I was facing forward. Wouldn't have to see her. Wouldn't have to talk to her. It was a great plan! What could possibly go wrong?

We went to the old Cineplex Odeon theatre that faced 32nd Avenue (long since demolished now) and decided to see There's Something About Mary. The theatre had several people in who all turned to stare when we walked in. I could see their eyes burning at the sight of Lisa...That's why I tried so very hard not to look at her. We sat down and she continued to talk about work. Seriously WTF? I nodded and smiled at the parts that she thought were funny and prayed a bomb would land on the theatre and kill us all.

When the movie started, things were starting to look up. She was quiet, looking at the screen, and not touching me in any way, shape, or form. I began to lull into a false sense of security, which was shockingly ripped from me about twenty minutes into the film. You see, at this time, Lisa decided it would be appropriate to put her head on my shoulder!!!

Ewwwwwwwwwwwww! I never felt so dirty in my life. That slimy rat's nest of hair was now in contact with my shirt. I remember thinking the first thing I would do when I got home was throw that shirt out (in the end I decided a wash was sufficient as I really liked that shirt). The words "what do I do" rattled around in my brain while her noggin weighed down my shoulder. I chose to do nothing. I remained very still. I made no return gesture, nor did I yank my shoulder away in fear (though the latter was my first and major instinct).

Despite liking the movie, I must admit that it was the longest two hours of my life. I could not WAIT to get away from this thing woman. When the movie ended, I drove us back to the mall. When we arrived, she said "you know, you can drive me home if you'd like." She got a ride to the mall as she did not drive. Another win for her...*cough cough*.

I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get away. So I employed one of my favourite get-out-of-a-date-free tactics for the first time in my life...the fake phone call emergency.

Jeff "called" and I "answered." O noes! It WAS an emergency! His car broke down on the highway and knew I was in Calgary...hoping I could stop by and pick him up to take him back to Airdrie. Being such a good friend, I had no choice but to help Jeff. I "hung up" once the "call" was finished and I explained the story to Lisa. I'm sure she didn't believe me. I didn't care. I walked her to the mall doors so she could use a pay phone to call for her ride. Once she called and had her ride confirmed, she gave me a hug. I was positioned exactly as you body arched away from hers as far as I could go without being exaggerated. One the hug was complete, I said bye and got the fuck out of there! I sped the entire way home...not sure why. Maybe deep down I was concerned that she was following me.

The next day Veronica asked how the "date" went. I was calm and polite when I asked her what the hell she was thinking. Veronica seemed legitimately surprised that I did not like Lisa. I did not go into detail as to why I didn't want to ever see Lisa again, as Lisa was a friend of Veronica's. I instead just said that she wasn't my type. Veronica and I dropped the conversation, never to brooch it again.

Ever since that blind date, I've had a real fear of blindness...both literally and figuratively. So if ever you think it's a good idea to set me up with someone, please keep it to yourself.

Unless she's REALLY hot.