Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Gunfight at the N-Word Hill

On a Friday in one of the later months of grade five, a classmate told several boys in the class about a battle. An epic toy gun battle that would take place after school. If you are a guy, you automatically know how cool this would have been in school. If you're a woman, you're probably cocking your head and wondering what the hell is wrong with boys.

The battle was going to be truly amazing. There were at least thirty confirmed guys that were going to be there, myself included. The battle was set to take place on a large man-made hill just outside of the school grounds (the hill was made from dirt removed from construction sites to make house foundations several years prior). It was, in hindsight, a very dangerous place. Some parts of the hill had pieces dug out of the sides, leaving huge vertical drops that you may not see coming. In another spot I remember finding what can only be described as a camp, with a small mattress, fire pit, and garbage all around. There were rebars jutting out of the ground here and there as well as a minefield of tripping gopher holes that were hidden by the long waving grass strands that covered the hill.

The hill was given a name by children, though rest assured that despite Airdrie's racist undertones, it was not an accepted name by adults. The hill was dimed "Nigger Hill." Yes, I called it that. And that is because I had no idea what "nigger" meant back then. I recall telling my dad that I was going over to "Nigger Hill" to play and he told me that was not a good name to use. But never explained why. Anyway, there was nothing about the hill that gave the name was just a name created by some kids trying to be funny. From this point forward, I will call it "N-Word Hill" because even when using "nigger" in this reference it still feels wrong.

I was really excited about the toy gun fight. No projectiles. Just a steady aim and the ability to make "pewpew" noises was all that was required. The last class of the day was tough to get through. I remember my leg was bouncing as I was so impatient for the school day to end and my weekend to begin. When the bell rang, I was a ghost! I ran home as fast as my legs would take me. Some kids were aware of the gunfight before that day and had brought their toy guns to school, so they were already beginning the game.

At home, I threw my backpack in my room and began tearing through my toys to try and find one of my guns. I destroyed my room looking. I destroyed the storage crawlspace looking for one. I destroyed my room a second time. But I couldn't find a single toy gun! It's not that I didn't have any. I had at least a couple. But WHERE WERE THEY? I must have wasted an hour looking but came up short. I didn't want to miss the game so I improvised...

I marched boldly toward N-Word Hill, ready to fight. Ready to win. As I got to the hill, I could see other kids racing over the top. I was on the steep side, so there were few people playing where I was. I saw in the corner of my eye someone coming around the hill on my side. I darted in behind a large rock and ducked...waiting. Did he see me? I doubt it...he was looking back at someone he was shooting. He ran past the rock and I jumped out!

I swiped him on the back with my plastic Halloween ninja sword. First blood!

The kid looked at me and said "are you retarded? Why did you bring a sword? We're using guns!" I explained that I couldn't find a gun so I decided to fight with a sword. He laughed at me but I'm sure inside he was embarrassed. In a game of imaginary projectiles that could be fired with perfect aim from any distance in which line-of-sight was not broken, he was defeated by a dork with a sword.

The problem with "playing guns" is that almost every kid, including me, would cheat. "NO! You didn't hit me! I hit YOU!" Arguments would ensue because no one wanted to lose. I took that to a new level that day because of my sword...close-range-only meant I was at a severe handicap. So other dudes would shoot at me and I would duck and scream they missed. They would then get close and CHOP! I win!

Everyone stopped after a short while and decided to make teams. After all, everyone was getting shot by everyone else and no one was having fun because they were all "dying" after two seconds of being "revived." Strangely enough, I wasn't picked last. I suppose me and my sword were an asset...or maybe my friends didn't want to pick an even bigger loser over me. I tell you this, dear a team player, I was amazing. My teammates would lure the enemy past me while I hid in an inlet on the side of the hill. Then once they passed me I would jump out and strike! I was amazing and a subject of ire for the enemy. It wasn't that big a hill but I managed to bushwack so many players...many of them multiple times!

However, the game took a negative turn after a couple of hours of play. Some guys from a grade or two above us decided to crash the fun. Sure, I'm sure a few were there for sincere fun with toy guns but others were after a less wholesome type of fun. These older guys began to set trip wires and brought along big rocks to throw (though there were many rocks strewn about the hill so that didn't make much sense). I'm not sure what they were thinking...was it simply a bunch of people decided to cause mischief and were listening to a person's ideas when that person was dangerous and unstable? Probably, yes. At any rate, the game became much too real. We found out about the trip wires when a friend biffed over one and ended up with a bloody nose (which we later found out was broken). The rocks whizzing over our heads were enough to know that it was time to stop playing. And that decision was most wise.

You see, one of the older kids decided to up the stakes. He brought a real gun. It was a handgun...not very big...maybe a .22 caliber or something (I abhor guns so I wouldn't really know). He showed us the gun as several of us were leaving and showed us a clip as well. I'm unsure if he would have used it if the game continued or not. He did say that if we stayed he would shoot us. And I will admit that he was a very troubled kid...he pretty much displayed the typical conduct disorder symptoms. He was a bully, a thief, and a truant. And now he had a gun.

Almost all of the kids originally set to play left at that time and the older kids remained. I went home as I didn't really want to risk a bullet to the face even by watching from a distance. After that day, I never really played with guns again. There was something so unsettling about that situation that it completely tainted my enjoyment of pretending to shoot someone in the spine.

Am I afraid of guns? No, unless I'm looking down the barrel of one. But I do hate them. And I know for sure that my hatred began when Travis brought his gun to N-Word Hill.

It's all fun and games until someone ruins things by bringing a loaded pistol. Remember that next time you're at the DMV.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Why do I always choose to leave my laundry until the last moment? Is this just a "guy" thing or is it my own personal avoidance? I honestly wait until I'm on my last pairs of everything before I decide to wash everything...well last pairs of everything that matches, anyway. I wouldn't think walking around in plaid white and brown shorts and a maroon dress shirt would go over well at the office.

Sometimes I think that I am one step away from being the kind of person that just buys new clothes when it's time for a wash, just because laundry is so time consuming. Sure, you dump everything into a machine and leave it. But you can't really LEAVE. You have to stay in the building. And you have to check up on it from time to time so you don't leave dry clothes sitting in a haphazard wrinkled way.

I'm not sure if "karma" or *fill in the blank with whatever superstition you feel fit* is trying to teach me a lesson, but when the laundry day does eventually come, there always seems to be a problem.

The last time I had to do laundry, some biotch from the first floor was using all four machines. She must wait until the last moment too, though she often has grandchildren and family visiting so maybe she's washing for all those bastards. But either way I think it's extremely rude to use everything. Sure, it's a coin-op system, but there are still other people that need to use the machines. Why can't people have some respect and leave one set of washer/dryer free for someone else?
Answer? Because they hate doing laundry too and want to reduce the inconvenience as much as possible.

The time before, a dumb cow living above me decided to swoop in and take my clothes out of one of the dryers. I wasn't gone that long, but she dumped EVERYTHING on the top of the dryer. Didn't have the courtesy to fold anything or knock on my door and let me know my clothes were done (she knew they were my clothes since we passed each other to change loads beforehand. To add insult to injury, she had a free dryer available but like the other idiot previously mentioned, she was in a hurry and needed both dryers. UGH!

But this time was arguably the most fun. I decided to get up bright and early on my day off so that I could be done all these loads of laundry before noon. I packed up my detergent and all the clothes and headed down to the laundry room. I opened the door and whatever do I see? One washer running and spraying water against the wall it was backed up against, a second washer pulled away from the wall with an "out of order" sign on it, and a pool of water on the floor at least a half inch deep. I'm not sure what happened as both units were faulty. It could have been a ruptured hose, but since both machines seemed to have been broken, I'm willing to bet it was sabotage.

By whom, you ask? Well by my loud obnoxious neighbour. The one whose foot was backed over during a petty white trash domestic argument outside my balcony window. You see, he is divorced and living in a below-ground suite now. He has a raggedy, strung-out-looking blonde crackhead of a girlfriend who may or may not in reality be a man. Anyway, the woman's daughter was upset about something (who cares?) and stormed out of the building. The girl, maybe 15 or 16, got into her mother's Intrepid and fired it up. Well, mother and loud obnoxious neighbour came out screaming. You there's no one else around their proverbial single-wide trailer. Loud obnoxious neighbour stood behind the vehicle so the girl could not back out (a cement barrier prevented her from going forward) but the girl backed up anyway, successfully running over his foot. Cursing ensued and the mother screamed at the girl until the girl gave up and exited the vehicle. They all went back into the building to the apartment (this building is cement, so fortunately I didn't have to hear the remainder of the hillbilly convention below me).

Sorry...that's what you call a tangent. Anyway, the loud obnoxious neighbour was given eviction papers as he was not paying his rent. I heard him bitching about the land lady from his apartment window when I was exiting my car one evening. So he certainly would have motive and is certainly upset. And his awesome whiskey tango lifestyle means that stereotypically he is the kind that would sabotage a washing machine or two in retaliation.

But I digress. The damage was done. The great flood and two broken machines meant I wasn't going to wash my shit at a reasonable hour. So I wait. And wait. And wait. The plumber comes. And I wait. And wait. And wait. The plumber leaves and I decide to start my laundry. I go down there and...there are four people in there! I'm told that they all wanted to do laundry (on a Thursday morning?) too and were just going to put their baskets down in a silly line. I left.

Finally, at 3:00PM, I go down and there are available machines. I put in some detergent into one of the washing machines. Then I put change in to get the thing to run. took my money and didn't give me water! I tried the other machine but someone left their god damned clothes in there! I went to my land lady's apartment to try and get her to fix the other machine or give back my money but she wasn't home. So I went back to the laundry room, took out the person's clothes and put them in the broken washer. My clothes washed and are now in the one dryer that is free.

I know this is a somewhat boring story, but it certainly fits the criteria of stupid things that boys do and things that only happen to me.


By the way, FML stands for Fuck My Laundry.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Night at Wal-Mart

I went out this evening with Perry in order for him to scramble together a costume for the Fan Expo that he plans to attend in Toronto this weekend. He and his boyfriend are both planning to dress up and while Perry's costume was complete, he had to get one put together for his boyfriend. Perry decided to piece together a Riddler costume for his boyfriend and needed me to help with ideas.

Anyway, at about 11:00PM, we made the obligatory stop at Wal-Mart, since everything else was closed. While looking for some green tape, I came across a red pocketbook sitting on one of the shelves. Picking it up, I noticed that there were several $20 bills tucked within and perhaps more hidden below. Perry and I decided the best course of action was to turn the pocketbook in to customer service, though we did joke about how our purchases could all be paid for if we took a "reward" cut of the cash before turning it in. Rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, that we both have a conscience (not to mention that I always do the right thing to a fault).

We took the pocketbook to customer service and the CSM paged the woman. Perry and I decided not to wait at the counter, even though there was a strong likelihood that one of the employees could steal the cash.

As Perry and I were walking back to the section with window treatments (where Perry eventually bought a $50 curtain rod because the end was shaped like a question mark and thus could work as the Riddler's cane...yep, $50!) we saw this white-trash whiskey-tango couple storming down the main aisle. The couple were screaming at each other. The man, shaved bald, with tattoos, a wife beater, and jammer shorts yelled something nearly incoherent but clearly rude to the woman and then stormed off toward the back of the store. The woman, screaming equally incoherently, continued stomping to the front. She was yelling how they could not go until she found "it."

Perry ran over and asked her if she was Crystal (as we looked at the ID in the pocketbook). She said emphatically "YES" and Perry told her that we turned in her pocketbook. She ran over ecstatically and hugged Perry. She then ran off to customer service while yelling "thank god for honest people!"

Perry felt violated but happy that Crystal was relieved her money and identification were safe. But why did she feel a need to hug him? And what do you think he caught from the contact? I don't know, but I hope it was worth it.

And was the loss of her pocketbook really worth the scene they caused? Perry and I discussed the chance that Crystal will receive a beating at home later because she caused said scene...will he use his ring hand or a broom handle? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves!

Oh, and I saw an obese woman carrying around a human head. That was cool.

If I Didn't Hate Telemarketers Before... (Guest Blog Entry)

Here's an interesting post that my friend Lisa put up on Facebook back on the 13th of August. I thought it was pretty shocking so I thought I'd share with everyone. Don't come complaining if there's any spelling or grammar errors, you vultures. I didn't proofread her work. But she's not an idiot, so I'm sure it's fine! Take it away, Lisa!


Soooo.... As some of you probably gathered from recent Facebook status updates and comments, my dad recently passed away. Long story short, went for a nap, had a heart attack and died. Should have been painless and he probably didn't even notice, so that's comforting to me. Anyway, I'm sad and all that, but that is not the reason I decided to write this note. I don't usually "blog" about experiences, I just tell the story over and over to each friend that I think would find it amusing, but this is one I think everyone needs to hear. It will leave you thinking WTF? and also maybe make you laugh at the pure stupidity/inconsideration that some people have.

So obviously when someone dies, there has to be SOMEONE to clean out their apartment/house whatever and take care of all things like that. Thankfully, I have the greatest lobster ever (Sam) and he has been really helpful and I love him. Also, my sister and brother have been exceptionally willing to do things to help which is awesome too. I know if I wasn't the oldest, I'd just leave it up to them. Kidding, but anyway. So yea, we have been going back and forth between here and Red Deer (where he lived) to clean out his apartment. We left his phone hooked up for the time we were there so that we could call people and people could call us. No one has called for him that didn't know of his passing so that's good. That is until yesterday. Enter Telus.

So we are all going about cleaning, and sorting our sections of his place and the phone rings. My brother being the closest to the phone, answers. This is his side of the conversation:



"Uh, well, I think you would be looking for Blaine, but he's now deceased."


By this time, all of us have stopped what we are doing and are kinda watching and listening to try to figure out who is calling and stuff.

"Well, I guess you could talk to my sister, one sec."

*hands me the phone and tells me it's Telus on the phone*

So I should mention that when a parent dies, and you can't locate a will (we haven't as of yet), the oldest child is generally given the task of decision making. Yay for being the oldest! So, anytime someone doesn't know what to do about something, I get the job. I should mention by the way, that my dad was a Shaw phone customer, not Telus, but he was also thinking of moving so I thought maybe he was switching companies and this call maybe had something to do with that. Here is my conversation.

Me: "Hello?"

Stupid Telus: "Hi there, are you the owner of this line (403) XXX- XXXX?"

Me: "Uh, no, that would be my dad who my brother just told you has passed away."

Stupid Telus: "Are you an authorized decision maker on this line?"

Me: "Uhhh, sure? I guess it depends on for what?"

Stupid Telus: "Well, how are you doing today?"

Me: "Well, I'm here to clean out my dead dad's apartment, so I'd have to say not all that great." (getting annoyed now)

Stupid Telus: "Oh, well, that's alright." (What? That's alright? Did you hear what I just said?) "The reason for my call today is to let you know about a service bundle special we are offering to new clients who decide to switch to Telus and ----"

Me: "Are you stupid? My dad is dead, he has no need for a phone anymore and at the end of this week, this phone will be disconnected, so I'm not really interested in anything Telus has to offer. Gawd." Click.

Now, I'm usually a pushover with telemarketers. I let them say their shit and I know after two (or maybe three) times that you say no, they have to give up. So usually, I say my polite "no" enough times for them to thank me for my time and let me go. And usually, I even feel guilty then for saying no, even tho I have a good vaccuum and don't have any need to watch a 3 hour in home demo of some super vaccuum (or whatever it is they were trying to sell). But, this chick was stupid. Either that or telemarketers are so hell bent to sell something that they don't even listen to your reasons for not being interested. Clearly, she either didn't listen to what my brother or I said, or she didn't care. Either way, I'm kinda pissed. I don't want fake condolocences from people about my dad, but I do want people to listen and be sensitive to what I might be going thru. I've debated whether or not I should waste time sending an email to Telus on their Customer Service decency. It probably would be received and I will get some automated response and no one would ever actually read it and if they did, they would delete it without a second thought. But it might make me feel better to bitch them out and tell them that I, at least, would never use their service again, based on this incident alone. Truth be told, I am quite happy with Shaw and probably wouldn't use Telus anyway. But I want them to think that maybe if they didn't employ such stupid people maybe they would be able to get more customers. I know they don't care, but sometimes a good rant feels good.

*end quote

Who is Trevor?

If you have been keeping up with my blog, a short while ago I posted an entry called Trevor and the Tripod. It was gross. It was funny. And you didn't really need to know who Trevor was. However, as my entries continue to trickle in, there will be further mention of Trevor. So why not post a bit of a biography about the man...the legend...the impossible Trevor.

My days at Meadowbrook Deliveries started when Shannon's brother (and at the time my Five Star Video co-worker) Darren met Trevor through reasons I do not recall and started working for the service. Darren told me all about how wonderful it was and how the pay was better, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try. That's how I met Trevor. One day, Mr. Trevor Wong came into the video store to rent a movie. Darren introduced me and Trevor and I got to talking about Meadowbrook Deliveries. By the end of the conversation, I was hired.

Trevor was a tall man. I would say 6'1" or 6'2". I was taller, but not by much...thus my guess. He had thick black hair that was always parted in the middle. It had a wave to it that curved down over his forehead on the left side. Trevor wore enormous aviator-style glasses that had that old school automatic tinting that never really worked properly. The glasses were propped upon a nose that was shaped a great deal like a penis. His eyes were always just two curved lines...partially because he was Asian but mostly because he was always grinning like a maniac.
It's true. Trevor's smile was like a Glasgow smile (i.e. Dark Knight Joker) without the scarring. It stretched far and wide. And he was always smiling.
Trevor always wore the same outfit, as I mentioned in the previous blog entry. It was always a light coloured t-shirt (usually white) under a grey vest. The vest was made of a wool-like material that tended to pill (get fuzzies on it) as a result (I'm sure you know what I mean). I know he wore tighty whiteys (as per a very unfortunate encounter at his home late one evening when I had to pay him his coordination fee). Over that he wore the same blue gym shorts. These shorts were made of a flimsy material and so they tended to flap and flail around in the wind. If a gust came through, the leg hole would rise and twist just enough to let his junk dangle out. Sometimes, his goods popped out to say hello without a breeze as well (see Trevor and the Tripod).
Trevor had massive calves. Like disproportionately large for the rest of his body. It was like he suffered a massive wasp attack in that area. And they were taut. You could see the muscle (while he was not muscular) even through his white sports socks that were always yanked up as far as they could go. His sister and niece had the same thing, so it was almost certainly a genetic issue). To top off the outfit, he wore a pair of old white running shoes.
In winter, he'd trade up the shorts for a pair of light khaki cargo pants and would wear a really puffy winter jacket of which we, his employees, made fun (Michelin Man jokes abound!). In the rainy season, he'd wear a yellow jacket that Bob affectionately named the "pee jacket."

To set the record straight, Trevor was a nice guy. He was friendly and was rarely antagonistic or in a bad mood. He was a fun boss. A likable boss. A caring boss. And admittedly a crazy-as-fuck boss.
Trevor had an odd voice. It was hard to explain but easy to mimic, and even to this day Bob and I will talk in the voice from time to time. It was so strange that I even went so far as to record Trevor talking in secret just so I could get some voice samples for prosperity. And yes, I still have them. Some aspects of his way of speaking were how he often extended words. Instead of saying something like "Oh, that sounds good," he would say "ohhhhhhhh, that sounds goooooood!" Also, Trevor had a penchant for the word "guy." He'd use it in place of our names frequently.

Trevor owned and operated the delivery service. The overhead costs were relatively low for him. He owned two crappy cellular phones that were outdated by about five years when I knew him. One was a flip phone and the other your standard phone for the time. Both were on separate contracts and he would call forward one cell to the other so that all client calls came in to whatever phone he happened to be using. He had purchased a few no-name delivery warmer bags for the trunk in case a particular pizza store client was short on bags.
Lastly, Trevor purchased a crappy CB radio system. There were three or four units shared among the drivers and Trevor. Any other drivers would be given the secondary cell phone so Trevor could call orders into that driver, or the drivers would use their own phones. Trevor seemed to prefer "call signs" for the drivers using the radios for some reason. It was completely unnecessary. Driver names were Dave, Darren, and Ronnie (Veronika), so it's not like we'd mishear him. But he insisted. Trevor chose 99 as his call number, after Wayne Gretzky. I was 0. I didn't like the call system and all the good numbers (i.e. 69) were taken, so I cheated. I was HUGE into Smashing Pumpkins at the time and so I took the song title (and character name from that song) Zero and used that. But I digress.

When an order would come in, Trevor would alternate between drivers so that everyone got equal work. When it was my turn, I'd hear on the radio an iconic "Zeeeeeeeeeee-rooooooooooh." I knew it was my turn. Trevor was light on the details. He'd say where I had to go to pick up whatever I had to pick up, and then whether the order was going to the east or west side of the city. The rest was usually a fun mystery. But mystery made the job all the more fun. Stay glued to my blog for future delivery service stories!

Trevor was a bit of a short circuit. His brain was wacked, and it got worse and worse as I knew him. I'm pretty sure that is the result of the excessive aspartame consumption that Trevor had. He literally would go through one or two 2-litre bottles of Diet Coke in any given evening. I recall going into his "bedroom" (actually a section of his sister's unfinished basement that had wood planks against the frame rather than real walls) and seeing dozens of cans and bottles (empty of course) of Diet Coke strewn haphazardly around. You can read about the proven effects of aspartame on the brain on your own time. But most people know it frazzles the brain. And Trevor was a perfect case.

He wasn't rendered stupid by any means. But his judgment was off and his decision making was flawed at times. He would sometimes forget certain workers were working and not give them work. He would change his mind at the drop of a dime. He would often approach things in a less-than-logical manner.

But say what you will about him, he was a happy guy. And while you could ask for more from a boss (like consistency or guaranteed hours), you couldn't ask for a nicer or more understanding one.

So hats off to Trevor. The weirdest dude I've ever known. And let's use Trevor as a constant reminder of the effects of aspartame and probably lack of oxygen in the womb.

Now you know about Trevor. Now you know what to expect from him in my tales from the past. And in case you need more, now you can see a picture I drew up on the computer of what he looks like:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Being Driven Insane...Literally!

I'm extremely frustrated tonight. Today was a really bad day out on the roads. Construction was EVERYWHERE. That's only just barely an exaggeration. Everywhere I drove, there was some long delay because of illogical lane closures at the worst possible times.

I won't bother going into details as it would take too long. But I will say that the evening ended with arguably the worst delay I've experienced in a very long time: Deerfoot Trail (southbound at about Country Hills Blvd) was at a near-standstill because of paving work being done (paving between Beddington Blvd and 64th Avenue) at 7:00PM because they closed the center and right lanes, forcing everyone left. It took nearly an hour to drive about three kilometers. Something isn't right with this picture.

Is it just me, or is there something seriously wrong with this whole construction brewhaha? Calgary has been notorious for construction delays over the last several years, but why has this become accepted? I understand that work needs to be done...roads crack and traffic volume exceeds route limitations, which leads to a need for paving or expanding. However, why is it necessary to have countless construction zones active at the same time? Today alone, I had to squeak through THIRTEEN construction zones, and the route in question was not very long. Why can't resources be pooled to a few construction projects at a time? More manpower would mean quicker completion.

Does anyone else out there think that the government (municipal or provincial depending on what construction site is in question) should be held accountable for this bullshit? Is it unreasonable to expect that if the government cannot formulate a logical and realistic plan for revitalizing our streets, then the government should have an alternate plan for traffic flow? For example, there is a buttload of construction going on between Airdrie and Calgary, sometimes culminating in terribly long delays. But there's no other reasonable way for commuters to drive...the closest parallel is the old Center Street, but it's a few kilometers to the west of the highway. WHY didn't the provincial government remake the old service highway that ran right along the current #2 highway and THEN do highway construction? Give the people a second route to ease volume and make life a lot easier for everyone involved.

If helping ease traffic woes is not possible, then how about compensation? The city could compensate its people for their wasted fuel while idling, their wasted time, and perhaps even mental issues from all the frustrations that result. It would be taxpayer money anyway, so only fair we should get it back.

Also, should the government not be responsible for the chaos that these construction projects cause when interfering with rush hour traffic? I would even settle for those who make these decisions to stand before the people and DEFEND the plans they make, because most of the time these projects seem to have no intelligent basis. It seems like a dozen monkeys get into a room and throw construction proposals into a hat, and pick what gets done at random.

I often joke that the onslaught of construction delays in the city is actually a carefully created experiment to test the limits of Calgarians (and those in the surrounding areas). An experiment to see just how far the people as a whole will be pushed before outrage and retaliation ensues. Yes, this is not actually what is going on, but when you think logically, it is a much better explanation than anything the city planners would ever provide.

Maybe I'm out of line here. I'm writing through my frustration. But I haven't enjoyed a construction-free drive in over five years and I'm just so sick of it. Calgarians need to stand up for this nonsense. But no one will. Apathy breeds apathy. And I haven't the patience to start a one-man war on the group-think construction atrocities around town.

Ugh, and you people wonder why I don't like to drive. Now someone pick me up and take me for a milkshake. Though guess what...there's construction on the way.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Road Warrior

I'm actually surprised that I've had an updated-daily blog for about two weeks and I have not written any rants about driving. Seriously shocked, in fact. While I can appreciate that 95% of the drivers out there are good at driving, that other 5% makes my life behind the wheel a frustrating schnut-busting crapfest.

That being said, you probably are assuming that I'm going to bitch about other drivers in today's entry. You may assume that I'll talk about the moron who cut me off while having a clearly visible for sale sign in his rear window (he was such a pushover when I called to tell him off, by the way). Or maybe you assume I'll talk about the lady who thought it was all right to STRADDLE the segmented lines (thus using two of the three lanes) while driving 65km/h on Deerfoot Trail (that one was reported to 911 by yours truly). Maybe you assume I'll talk about some general WTFisms I see on the road on a daily basis.

But nope, that's not what this blog is about. I want to tell tales of humour, intrigue, or ones that just make you go "huh?" That's why instead I want to share the story of the worst day of driving I have ever had.

I was still fairly novice as a driver at the time (this was late summer or early fall 1999). I had a blue 1982 Mercury Zephyr that usually worked. It wasn't the sweetest ride you've ever seen but it didn't clunk when it drove and it almost always got me from point A to point B (more than I can say for my second car). Most of the things that happened to me that day were the result of poor judgment due to my lack of experience.

At around noon on a weekday, I left my home and hopped into the Zeph. I had school later in the afternoon but wanted to run by A&B Sound and HMV in Sunridge Mall to find some Smashing Pumpkins singles (I was really into the Pumpkins back then). There was little time to waste, so instead of pulling away from the curb and driving to an intersection to perform a legal u-turn, I decided just to do a 180 degree turn from where I was parked. The Zeph was good at a few things, but tight turning radius was not one of them. I began to turn when there were no cars coming from either direction. My car swooped away from the curb and arced its way around. However, I was clearly able to see that I was not going to complete the turn without going on to the curb. I went to hit my break but WHOOPS! I hit the gas instead. My car and I flopped on to the curb and zipped up on the neighbour's grass, knocking over three garden gnomes and countless plants in the flower bed that traced along the walkway to the front door.
"FUCK!" I yelled as I threw the vehicle into reverse. I pulled back out on to the road, greeted by the sound of a horn from the car that I didn't bother to look for before I darted back into the road. I pulled forward and parked along the curb and the driver sped past me, giving a dirty look and a "thumbs up." I looked over at the damage on the lawn. I didn't think the gnomes were broken, and the plants were going to die soon anyway. I looked carefully around. I didn't see anyone ogling me from their windows so I assumed no one saw me. If the dude in the car saw what I did, he didn't care enough to stop and let someone know. I pulled away from the curb safely and went on my way.

This next part no one ever believes. And I don't blame them. It does sound made up. But I swear to you that it is true. I was driving along Yankee Valley Road (to those not in the know of Airdrie's roads, this was once a single lane each way thoroughfare from one side of Airdrie to the other (it has since been expanded to three lanes each way). Minding my business, I'm following the rules of the signs that I pass, when a large red pickup truck comes barreling along the road in the opposite direction. A couple of cool kids were driving so this was no shock. In the bed of the truck, there were several girls sitting. Suddenly, one of the girls turns to the side and looks at me. Maybe she liked me or maybe she wanted attention, but this girl lifted her shirt and flashed me! She was wearing a bra but she was hot so I HAD to look. Perhaps a little too long I looked, as I felt my vehicle begin to vibrate and tip. When I replaced my gaze to the road, I discovered that I had let my car start to drive into the ditch! I was completely off the road. Half my car was on the shoulder and the other half on the grass getting ready to head down where I wouldn't be able to get it back out. I quickly yanked the wheel the other way and reclaimed the safety of the road. At least this time I didn't cut someone off terribly, but it was still quite embarrassing. After two incredibly bad things happened in a span of under five minutes, I should have turned around and went home for the day. But I was either too brave or too stupid. I continued.

The drive on the highway was serene and uneventful. In fact, I successfully managed to get *almost* to Sunridge Mall before something else bad happened. I had to make a left turn from Barlow Trail onto Sunridge Blvd. I hated this turn because it was before a turning signal was installed at the lights, so you had to take a chance whenever you turned. When it was my turn to go, I crept into the intersection and waited for an opening. Waited, waited, and waited. But there were too many cars pouring north. When the light went yellow, I waited for oncoming traffic to stop and then I hit the gas to clear the intersection. Fail. My car decided it was a perfect time to stall out on me. I don't know HOW I managed it, but my Zephyr ended up blocking half of the left lane for westbound travelers, the entire left lane for eastbound travelers, and a chunk of the right lane for eastbound cars. Not to mention blocking one and a half lanes of the northbound lanes (though they had a red light at the time).
There were SO MANY horns being sounded. I cranked the ignition over and over, nearly in tears. I begged my car to start again. No exaggeration...I BEGGED IT! I turned it over, and over, and over. People were screaming for me to move my quote "fucking piece of shit," yet no one got out and offered me a push so I could let people through. People threw up hands with various fingers lifted as they squeezed by. The light for east/west traffic turned yellow as I still desperately struggled with the ignition. Then...oh yes, then! FINALLY! My car roared to life. Cars began to move into the intersection to head north but I didn't care. I floored the fucking thing and blew through the intersection. More honking. I didn't care. I was free. I was on my way to the mall!

Bad luck comes in threes. I remember telling myself that as I approached the mall. What the hell did I know?

I drove into the parking lot and decided I'd try and find a place on the lower level near the Zellers (west) doors. The parking lot was PACKED because a large section of the lot was undergoing repairs and was blocked off, so everyone had to make do with what was left. Sure, I could have probably gone around to the east side to park, but I was already in the west side and I was sticking with it. I wheeled up and down the aisles, looking for a spot. Up one, down another. Nothing. I tried stalking a couple as they walked away from Zellers with bags in tow. However, they dumped the bags and went back in. Who the hell does that?
Anyway, as I paced the aisles, I FINALLY saw it. The spot. A shiny, happy, gleaming spot about three quarters the way down the aisle! I pushed on the gas to get there as fast as I could. NO ONE would trump me! The spot was mine! I got closer and closer...but wait! A car pulled into the aisle from the opposite side! No way was I letting him have the spot. I flicked on my turn signal (the universal sign for "piss off...that's MY spot") and I accelerated. Fortunately, he didn't seem to be challenging me. He drove past the spot. Yes! It was mine. As I got close enough, I turned the wheel to coast triumphantly into the spot. As it turned out, I almost coasted triumphantly into the damn motorcycle that was parked in that spot. ARGH! Even to this day I can't stand when you see a spot that appears empty and it turns out to have a compact car or bike in it!

Defeated, I backed up. I heard a SMACK come from behind my car. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw a Chinese couple. The man had his shoulders raised and hands up in a "what the hell, man" expression. The woman, her hand still stretched forward, was likely the person who hit my car with her hand. So yeah, I could have killed a Chinese couple. I let them pass by and gave the obligatory "sorry" hand gesture and then continued to back up. The parking stall hunt continued.

Minutes turned into more minutes and still there was nothing. No one was leaving. The number of sharks in the parking tank was also increasing. But no problem. At the end of an aisle I saw yet another spot. I was excited! I began to drive for it, conscious of the fact that it may be occupied by someone's tiny piece of shit vehicle, but I had to remain optimistic! As I drove at a reasonable pace, some assface in a Celica zoomed past me. That's right, in the opposing lane, he decided to go past me because my 20km/h was too slow. Shit! He was going to take my spot! I sped up so he couldn't get back over (thus unable to get the turning arc required for the spot as it was on the left. The aisle was coming to a close and so Celica backed down and got behind me. I soared like an eagle into the empty spot! I got out of my car with a grin on my face. The ass couldn't even beat me while cheating. I got the middle finger straight up as he drove around and into the next aisle. But I won, and nothing would take that away from me.

Well, almost nothing.

Sure, it was a handicapped parking stall. But I figured I was only going in for a minute. I began walking to the mall when some egg-shaped security guard walked over to me. He told me I couldn't park there because it was for handicapped parking only. I said my sign was in the car (just not in the window) and I was picking up my ailing grandmother. He said that was all right and I went on my way.

Unfortunately, HMV did not have any new singles for me. Fortunately, no one ticketed my car for being parked where it was. A small victory in an otherwise travesty of a day. I experienced a lot of shit in a short period of time but I learned a lot as well.

Namely call a store ahead of time to make sure they have stock.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Revenge is Sweet.

I'm stubborn. I admit it. I don't like to lose. I don't need to win. I just need to not lose. I wouldn't say I go to crazy lengths to avoid losing (such as my friend's husband who will practice a video game for days on end in order to best his wife [haha Lisa]), but I won't throw my hands in the air and accept defeat. And when I am defeated, I come back swinging. Revenge is sweet and a dish best served hot.

I'm not sure when this desire to not lose began with me. I was very young. Around five or six years old. I remember a time when B.J., a friend who lived a few doors down from me, stole my wind-up walking R2D2 action figure. I told my parents but they wouldn't do anything. I told HIS parents and they wouldn't do anything either. So next time I was invited to B.J.'s house, when he went to the bathroom I stole his entire fucking "The Other World" Zendo castle and a bunch of his The Other World figures. I ditched them at Greg's house, since B.J. and Greg didn't like each other and never talked. Fuck you, B.J.!

Revenge is sweet. Probably the earliest taste of revenge that I remember. But not the last and certainly not the worst.

When I was around nine years old, I had a babysitter in one of the more ghetto 'hoods in Airdrie (Springhaven, for those in the know). Her name was Mary Anne and she was a terrible babysitter. That's why I was able to leave the home at any time and she wouldn't even know. One such day that I left her house unannounced, I went across the cul-de-sac to see some dude with whom I was friends. It was a friendship of convenience seeing as he lived across from my babysitter.
One day, he and I were outside playing cops and robbers. The game was simple. The robber would be placed in a pair of toy handcuffs and would run and hide. After thirty seconds or whatever, the cop would pursue the robber. The robber had to try and escape the handcuffs before the cop found him.
I didn't know it then, but the handcuffs were either trick cuffs or that bastard had the key. But at the time, I was extremely frustrated because when he was the robber he was always able to escape the cuffs but I never could. I didn't like to lose.
The final turn of the game, with him as a robber, saw the tables turn in my favour (at least in my mind). Instead of waiting the obligatory thirty seconds, I followed the prick early. I watched him run into a large two-level shed in his back yard. I went to the door once he had hidden inside the shed and I shut the door. I then proceeded to lock the padlock, ensuring he could not escape.

Revenge is sweet. Especially when he began to cry because he couldn't get out. I could have gone to get his mother but...Nah. I went back to Mary Anne's home and played with toys.
Sadly, I was forced to go back to the kid's house about six hours later. As it turned out, no one found him for about five hours and then when he was found it was discovered that no one had a key for the padlock. They had to call someone in to cut it. He was apparently very upset and cold from being locked in a freezing shed for five hours. I remember standing in front of his family. His mother was enormous and lay across the sofa. His sister sat on the floor in front of the sofa and repeatedly said that her brother could have died. He sat on the arm of the sofa at his mother's feet. An aunt and the father stood at the archway leading to their filthy dining room. I swear that with the mother being so fat, the scene was a lot like that of Jabba the Hutt's palace in Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi.
Anyway, I was cussed out for locking him in, lectured about how things could have turned out badly, and then sent on my way. It was all quite funny to me. I was a bad kid I think.

A very bad kid. You see, only a matter of months later, I was walking with my friend Leo to school. Leo was something a partner in crime (stay tuned for the tale of our daring bowling alley heist). Anyway, he said something that I didn't like so I started picking on him on our walk. As we walked, I took his glasses off of his little ginger face and I threw them up into the air as hard as I could. They came crashing down and one of the lenses shattered. Crying, Leo began to run and said that he was going to tell on me when he got to school.
I didn't like to lose. I chased him. I wouldn't allow him to get me into trouble! I followed him into a townhouse complex (the one in the Springhaven/Big Hill area that backs onto the #2 highway) and watched as he "cleverly" attempted to hide in a garbage dumpster housing. That is, if you are unsure, a wooden shed that was built around a dumpster. There's a large gate that can be opened for access to said dumpster. I guess it was made to keep the smell in or to hide the fact that there was a big ugly dumpster in the parking lot. At any rate, he ran into the shed part and hid behind the dumpster itself.
Much in the fashion of the story of the cheating robber, I ran to the dumpster shed, closed the gate, and locked it. Leo couldn't tell on me if he was locked in with garbage. Brilliant!

Revenge is sweet. Perhaps a little too sweet. Leo was locked in there from around 12:45PM until around 7:00AM the next morning. I remember Mr. Turner taking me into the office the next day and yelling at me. He told me that Leo was very scared and hungry...and that he "soiled himself." I didn't know what "soiled" meant then, so I thought he dug a hole and buried himself in it. No, I didn't laugh while Turner was talking to me. I was too busy trying not to soil MYself from fear.
Needless to say, grounding and lectures followed. I don't think I got a spanking, but I'm sure it was very much on my father's mind. Strangely enough, Leo said that I was the one who locked him in the garbage shed, but didn't mention that I was the one who broke his glasses.

Let this be a lesson to you. Be careful if I end up losing to you. Though I wouldn't be too worried about retaliation. I wouldn't lock you up in a shed for hours or steal your toys nowadays. Well, I probably wouldn't. Actually, best to stay out of sheds and hide your toys so long as you know me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cold Feet

I've never been particularly smooth with the ladies. Never been a player, so how would I know the game? But usually most normal dudes have some sort of tact when it comes to women. Sadly, I must have been busy talking to a girl about that smell gas has or something while the instructional books on how to flirt were being passed out to fellow men.

However, my fail flirting does lead to some amusing stories.

My first year of college was a great year. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and so I thought I'd dabble in a little of this and a little of that. Strangely, I chose two courses that were surprisingly different: Computer Science and Theatre.

Computer science was a terribly boring course that took place on Saturday mornings. It was a drudging 9-12 lecture followed by a 12-1 lab. It was an intro course and so I basically knew everything anyway. I remember all those wide eyed people listening intently while the professor told them that RAM and ROM was not the same thing.

Theatre was a blast, though. Wednesday evenings from 6-9. I've always had some serious issues with public speaking and I took the course mainly because I wanted to overcome that obstacle. Also, I figured it might be a nice outlet to purge my creativity. My classmates were all pretty cool too. Sure, there was the one guy who was WAY out there and his performances were attempting to be original, deep, and entertaining but ended up just being confusing and dull. There were several people in the course that couldn't act their way out of a wet paper bag. But the people with whom I bonded most were great.

One of those people was a girl. This was over a decade ago, so I don't remember her name. But I liked her. Now, you might be wondering why I liked her. It may have been because she was sweet and nice. It may have been because she was talented and intelligent. It may have been because she was pretty. Most likely it was because of her assets. After all, her nickname was "Fun Jugs" for a reason.

But I digress. I liked her a lot but didn't know how to brooch the subject. Telling this woman that I liked her was terrifying and I certainly couldn't think of a reasonable way to ask her out. But for the whole week between classes I was excited to see her, and on days when she never came to class I was really disappointed.

As the semester came to a close, I realised that I was out of time. I wasted so many weeks doing nothing and now I had to work fast. I decided that I would do SOMETHING...ANYTHING...when we talked. But I didn't know what.

She came into the class room and sat on the floor. We had to sit in a circle for some stupid theatre exercise and she sat next to me. While waiting for the instructor to begin, she turned to me and said "my feet are cold." She was wearing sandals and the room was quite chilly.

This was it. This was my chance. I'd either win her over or be shot down brutally. But I had a plan. In my head, my response to her statement was brilliant...both charming and clever. A beautiful organization of words that would have her smile and realise that I was the man of her dreams. I opened my mouth and gracefully delivered the best line ever:

"Your feet are cold? Want to borrow my shoes?"

As soon as the words tumbled out of my mouth I realised that sometimes things sound much better in your head. Once I had said them, I wanted to shrink down to nothing and run away. What the fuck was that? Want to borrow my shoes? WHAT?

I did get the smile, but it almost immediately turned into a bout of laughter. She laughed so hard she nearly tipped sideways. Fortunately for me, other students heard what I said and laughed, asking me why I just offered her my shoes. She then declined my offer and began talking to someone else. Embarrassment.

After class, I caught up with her. We laughed a bit about my poor choice of words as we walked to the bus stop. I had taken the bus because my car was broken (and friends were picking me up from the north side of Calgary to return me to Airdrie). While on the bus, I balled-up and asked her if she wanted to go out to a movie sometime next week. Her response:


Yeah. Ouch. I didn't know what to say so I just said "Why not?" And like my life had been written into a movie, it was at that exact moment that the bus arrived at her stop. She said bye and left.

As it turned out, she had asked "why" because she was curious as to why I wanted to wait until next week. It was because my car would have been repaired by then. But the damage was done. You see, it was a good three weeks between the fateful bus trip and when I talked to her again, and between those times she had met another boy. Fail.

To this day I'm unsure if she thought my shoes question was adorable or retarded. But I do think she did like me. I just wasted so much time to make a move that I lost out. Story of my life. When I meet women, I think I should always remember this story. Maybe then I'll act like a normal guy instead of a pussy.

The moral? Get some balls if you want some fun jugs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

King Tit and the Eraser That Saved My Ass

Ah, grade four. What a great year. Wasn't as good as three but it was before the hell of puberty. The calm before the storm, it was a lull of a year. I liked it. I was a good kid back then. Polite. Attentive. And I had an uncanny knowledge of Transformers and G.I. Joe. However, I was also a bit of a pervert. I don't blame myself. It was curious about the then-foreign topic of sex.

In grade three, my pervert self got me the strap. I first had been caught drawing "naked" stick people in my exercise books. It's just like it sounds. Stick men with added wee wees or boobies. See the picture for my best attempt at recreating them for your enjoyment:

When I was caught, I had to erase every nude stick person in my books. But then a few days later, I honestly accidentally touched a female classmate in the no-no place while we were playing tag. She told on me and because of the naked stick people, the acting principle felt that I deserved to be flogged with a leather strap over my hand. It was unfair and unreasonable and I still can't believe that my parents allowed it to happen.

But anyway, my curiosity waned after being beaten. At least for a while. Grade four came along and I was in Mr. Hodgin's class. Back then, one teacher usually taught several classes, and so it was either language arts or math or social studies that he was teaching. I suppose that doesn't matter here. On the day in question, I was very bored in class and so I decided to make better use of my time. I began drawing an admittedly poor recreation of King Tut's mask. I then gave King Tut's mask a body as though it were the king in the mask. But I was creative and wanted to let that creativity flourish. So instead, I drew eyelashes on King Tut and gave him long hair. I also drew a bow on his "beard" thing. I gave Tut a purse and lipstick and a speech bubble that said something along the lines of "I'm a naked pharaoh lady" or something. I had turned King Tut into a woman. I then finished off my masterpiece by giving King Tut enormous breasts.

While I was labeling my work with the clever title "King Tit," Mr. Hodgins happened to notice that I was drawing and not paying attention. He stormed over and took the picture. Looking at it briefly, Hodgins told me to take the picture to the office and see what the principal thought of it.

Principal Turner was a miserable old bag. He wasn't the one who gave me the strap, but if he had been there then, he would have probably strapped me across the face. He was scary. A deep, bellowing voice wherever he went. He was inhumanely tall to a child, not just because adults are taller but because he had a PRESENCE. He had big aviator-sized glasses that enlarged his evil eyes, and a mustache that seemed to have an angry face of its own.

I left the room and the words "oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck" repeated in my head as I slowly worked my way to the office. I was absolutely terrified. I didn't want the strap just because I gave King Tut some hooters! But the gods were shining upon me that day, my friends. For in my pocket I had a pencil stub...the last remnants of a once amazing pencil. I'm not sure why I had not thrown it away. It was hardly usable as a pencil and the eraser was worn down to the metal that held the eraser in. But I wasn't to be defeated.

I dashed into the public washrooms just a few paces from the office (before the receptionist saw me). I struggled with the pencil and managed to pull the eraser cleanly out of its metal prison. I had done it! I had a small piece of eraser. But would it be enough?

I erased. I erased my ASS off. I erased a breast and then I erased it again to be sure. Things were looking good. King Tut was no longer possessing any of the girly additions I felt compelled to provide him in class. I then took the stubby pencil and I corrected the areas that had been erased and added a few "historically accurate" details (i.e. muscles, a staff with a bird on it, etc) to cover the places where one could still barely make out the remnants of penciled in tits.

My work completed, I exited the washroom. And who was there? Mr. Hodgins. Hands on hips, he asked why I had not yet gone to the office. What? Clearly I was in the can. I told him I had to use the washroom. He said fine and then escorted me to the office. Hodgins told the receptionist that I was there to see Mr. Turner. I sat down and Hodgins fucked back off to the classroom. I waited several minutes and then Mr. Turner came out of his room, the end boss in a video game. He told me to come in the office and asked me why I was there. I told the truth as much as needed to be said. I was caught drawing a picture and was sent to the office. He looked at it, looked at me, and lectured me about drawing in class. He said it better not happen again and sent me on my way.

Despite the picture being confiscated, I don't think Mr. Hodgins and Mr. Turner compared notes. I never heard anything about it again. But if not for my quick thinking and fortunate pencil-hoarding, things would have likely escalated to something much worse.

Never throw pencils away. You never know when you have to erase tits to avoid a beating.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The 2-6.

My delivery driving days were a hotbed of weird and disturbing experiences. Fortunately, almost all of those experiences were funny. There were times when Trevor would get on the CB radio and call out "ZEEEEEEEERRRRROOOOOOO" (Zero being my call number, taken from the Smashing Pumpkins song of the same name) and then there would be a simple keyword that was enough to know I was in for something funny.


"Yes, 99" (99 being Trevor's call number).


That was it. From those two words I knew everything I needed to. Two-six was in reference to the 26oz White Sail that I would pick up from the nearest liquor store and deliver to a lowly gentleman living in an apartment complex which I affectionately referred to as "the slums." The guy was a clear-cut case of alcohol dependency. He was always drunk. Like ALWAYS. I only ever saw him for a few minutes at a time, but the sheer number of times I saw him was more than enough to know the basics of his life story.

He once had a wife and child. But the booze got in the way. Wifey kicked him out and he moved into the slum dungeon apartments behind the old Canadian Tire in Airdrie. His kid was allowed to come visit him one weekend a month, but even a child in his home wasn't enough to stop him from getting his buzz on.

The guy was a friendly drunk but a bit of a crazy drunk. Whenever I delivered to this chap, I insisted that Bob come up with me. Usually Bob would wait in the vehicle while I did a delivery, but Bob always came to the door with the more risky clients. Every time Bob and I went to the door with the man's 26oz, the guy ALWAYS said something along the lines of "ohhhh, takes two to deliver some rum? Maybe that's why delivery is so expensive." He would also always ask me "who's your buddy?" But can you blame him? He was always drunk when he came to the door.

On one such occasion, Bob and I retrieved the man's precious White Sail and went to his apartment for delivery. This particular night, the man had his child over. The child was about eight or nine years old and looked as disheveled as his father. The man handed me payment for the booze and I gave him his liquid survival. And as per the standard routine, he attempted to engage Bob and I in some sort of conversation. As Bob and I were attempting to wriggle away, a tenant living across the hall left his apartment. The man was wearing grey sweatpants and a muscle shirt. As Mr. Sweatpants walked past Bob, myself, and Captain Drunkasfuck and son, the child noticed that the neighbour had a small hole located on the ass of the sweatpants. The kid started to laugh hysterically! The kid then declared that the man who walked by had a hole in his sweatpants. The father began to laugh as well. And then the child stated:

"He has a hole in his sweatpants! That means he's GAY!"

The father's eyes grew HUGE as he cocked his head back, much in the style of a villain whose master plan was unfolding to success. A hearty chuckle burst forth from the drunken moron while his child nearly fell over with laughter. Bob and I stood there dumbfounded. We wanted to leave but we couldn't stop watching. The child began yelling "gay gay gay" over and over again while the father OPENED his bottle of White Sail and took a chug while still laughing himself.

The man then said that he was happy his son didn't have any holes in his pants or else he'd send his son back home. I can't speak for Bob but I was hoping the stupid alcoholic would make some sort of comment about Bob or myself having holes in our sweatpants just as an excuse to punch this idiot square in the jaw. But no, Drunkie McWasteofskin walked back into his apartment while still laughing away. His son followed, still spouting "gay gay gay" and the door shut.

I'm unsure if I was able to properly convey the insanity of the situation in words. It truly was an example of an experience in which "you had to be there." But there's still something inherently amusing about this story that it has to be shared. So simple yet so crazy. Something so not funny creating such uncontrollable laughter. I hope that you enjoyed this tale from my past and I hope that you learned a valuable lesson.

If you have holes in your sweatpants, you're gay. Pass it on.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Knickerbitch and the Biker Dude

You recall my post about Knickerbitch and the knickerditch in Lethbridge a few days ago. If you recall that, you may recall that I said I knew Louise (aka Knickerbitch) from Shannon's parties. However, there was another time that I met Louise before the Lethbridge fiasco. A time I earlier thought to be after Lethbridge, but in fact it was before. And that time was on a trip to Wayne, Alberta.
Wayne is an old mining town that is essentially a ghost town now. It consists of the remains of several sites of old buildings (some sites cleared out of debris and others still littered with it), a few homes that are still lived in, and the Rosedeer Hotel for passersby to have a place to stay. Here's some information on Wayne, if you are interested:
Anyway, the first time I visited Wayne was with Shannon and Knickerbitch. It was expected to be a fun-filled overnight trip to a scary ghost town. And for the most part, the place delivered. The drive down to Wayne was pretty enjoyable and everyone got along. After all, who wouldn't get along with me? I'm very personable. 
Upon arrival in Wayne, we immediately ran into the Rosedeer hotel to get a room. We had to wait a while in the lobby for someone to come, but no one did. We entered the lounge and found the proprietor of the hotel. He was polite and checked us in. On the way upstairs to our room, he told us a story about a ghost in the hotel and how the ghost was his friend. He also, however, mentioned that the ghost once pushed him down the stairs. Okay. Gotcha, crazy guy! You may go now. 
As he left us to our room, he told us that there was an old miner's graveyard located at the top of one of the coolies. Exciting!
The room was...creepy. Faux wood paneling enveloped the room and a dingy brown carpet snuggled our feet. There was a double bed and a single bed in the room. I decided to take the single just to ensure no accidental feel-copping occurred in the overnight hours.  Floorboards creaked under our weight as the hotel was quite old. The second floor was the only floor to have rooms for rent. The lower level was the lounge and kitchen, and the third floor was the owner’s personal space. An unnerving door led to the third floor that was padlocked so we could not see what was up there. The hallway had an eerie red glow from the emergency exit light at the end. 
First things first, we visited the lounge. The lounge had a certain creepy charm, with an old band box in the corner and bullet holes still riddling the walls. We did not stay to have drinks as we were far too eager to visit the graveyard. 
We walked up the coolie and explored along the edge, trying to find the graveyard. Eventually we came across it and all I can say is WOW. This place was like something out of a cliché horror film. It wasn't filled with organized rows of grave markers. It was, after all, from the early twentieth century. I believe the newest grave was from 1913. The grass had grown quite long and some trees were creeping out of control through the graveyard. A barbed wire fence surrounded the grounds. Old cracked grave markers hinted at those who were buried beneath for the most part, but there were also several graves marked only with rotting wood crosses. Some graves were sinking in and the old wooden grave liners were now exposed. Some markers were difficult or impossible to read the names. Others damaged or stolen by other tourists. It was quite the place. 
However, this blog entry is not centered on what we saw there that day. The entry is about Knickerbitch and her insanity. Let's move ahead. 
Later in the evening, we all decided to visit the lounge. We got some drinks and talked amongst ourselves. While we were there, a gentleman came in and sat with us. He was greasy. Yes, so greasy. His hair was dark, combed back, and greasy. He had a cliché biker jacket on and his teeth were yellowed and just all over his mouth. That being said, he seemed to be a nice person. A stranger wandering the night, we allowed him to join us for a drink. 
I don't really recall much about the chap, but that's because Knickerbitch and the biker dude ended up dominating the conversation...mainly talking to each other while Shannon and I listened. 
Last call came slowly and when it did, we decided to head up to the room. Biker dude had his own room but couldn't get enough of Louise. Knickerbitch and the biker dude talked about his motorcycle and cars (remember that Knickerbitch was a tomboy) and then he invited Knickerbitch outside to see the bike. 
A few minutes later, Knickerbitch and the biker dude return to the room. Biker dude started telling Knickerbitch that he thought the sunrise would be beautiful when witnessed from the top of one of the coolies (near the graveyard of which I spoke). Yes, it was an obvious line to try and get her alone. It worked. Sort of. 
I didn't know Knickerbitch that well, but she seemed like a nice person. Sure, she seemed naive and perhaps lonely, so biker dude's invite was likely very tempting to her. Biker dude asked Louise if she would like to go for a walk and then watch the sun rise. She said yes and so they prepared to leave. But I wasn't having it. This stranger might be anything from a rapist to a murderer. Knickerbitch needed backup. I boldly stated that I would come along too as I wasn't tired. I'm sure they were both pissed off as they could be with me, but that wasn't going to change anything. 
We walked. Walked, walked, walked, Walked for hours. Up to the end of the road and back. Up to the top of the coolie, all around the edge, through a farmer's field, to the graveyard, up down and around the area. Biker dude and Knickerbitch seemed to be hitting it off. I was quiet for the most part as I wasn't attempting to stop the magic that was happening. I just didn't want him to kill her. 
We left at about 2:30AM and returned at nearly 5:00AM. I was tired and so were they. As I stumbled into my bed, trying not to wake Shannon in the next bed, Knickerbitch announced that she was going to let biker dude take her for a ride on his motorcycle. I told her it was a terrible idea but she wouldn't listen. She never listened. So whatever. Fuck it. If she was going to be irresponsible, then I couldn't stop her. I went to sleep while Knickerbitch was sped off on the back of biker dude's cycle. 
About twenty minutes later, she returned and crept into bed with Shannon.
It was not long after that when I heard the floorboards cracking and creaking. I sat up, expecting to see Shannon or Knickerbitch working their way to the door. However, no one was there. Crack. Creak. No one. I'm not saying it's a ghost. There are a lot of explanations for what it could be, but the sound was coming from the floor IN the room. That's all I'm saying about that.
The next morning, Knickerbitch woke us up at about 9AM. We had plans to explore more of Wayne and then check out some sites in Drumheller. However, Knickerbitch said that she wasn't feeling well and wanted to go home. 
Translation: "I'm homesick and want to go home." 
There was no debate. She became irritable and bitched about any delay. So we left early. I should have learned about Knickerbitch and her inability to stay away from her family for more than twelve hours, and I paid the price in Lethbridge later that year. 
Knickerbitch refused to talk about biker dude on the drive back home. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm willing to bet it was something naughty. Did biker dude get what he wanted from Louise and then dump her back at the hotel before leaving on his way? Who knows. Whatever did happen, she's lucky that things weren't a lot worse. 
So that's the story of Knickerbitch and the biker dude. It's not a funny story but it is entertaining. The choices people will make in the heat of loneliness or naivety never ceases to amaze me. Let's just hope the rest of you have more self-respect than to settle for a greasy guy named biker dude.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

During the previous decade, there was something of a tradition among a few of my friends. It was an annual Boxing Day trip, in which I, Shannon, and Bob would travel from Airdrie to Calgary to visit the madness that was the malls. Shannon always brought along some of her own company, but the person whom Shannon invited seemed to change by the year.

Some years the experience was excellent, while other times the experience was less than adequate. For example, one year that we decided to hit the Boxing Day sales, we decided to stop off at Denny's before our adventure. In Denny's, I think I may have been a bit too sarcastic to the server that we had and I'm pretty sure she did something to my apple juice. Now, I would like to keep this entry reasonably classy, so instead of referring to the grumbling and eventual horror show by its actual name, I will refer to it as "waxing philosophically."

After about twenty minutes from when I downed my apple juice, I had the worst case of waxing philosophical that I think I've ever experienced in my life! My stomach sounded like someone blowing bubbles under water. I made a mad dash for the washroom and I'm not going to lie to was a photo finish. I was very fortunate that all that had really been in my stomach was tainted apple juice and water, so there were no offensive odours. However, I can only describe the audio coming from that bathroom as a jet engine while a bird is being sucked through it. Damn, I never knew waxing philosophical could be so loud and embarrassing, but it was. The fella taking a leak at the urinal was probably wondering what the hell I ate that was putting up such a fight.

Anyway, after a tumultuous several minutes, I managed to extricate the philosophies and was comfortable once more. I left the washroom and noticed the stares of those unlucky enough to be put close to the doors.  Ignoring them and hoping there was no leakage on my pants, I returned to the table and proceeded to bitch about the server and her poison apple juice. We left the restaurant soon after. On the way to our first stop, Market Mall, I insisted we stop at a convenience store. I bought a big bottle of Pepto Bismol and would tank back a gulp every little while. It was helping. I wasn't feeling nauseous at all. Dave 1, stupid bitch server 0.

Market Mall was pretty much as expected. Busy, busy, busy. Bob and I were having a good time, usually getting up to mischief since we weren't really interested in shopping and Shannon and company abandoned us to try on clothes they had no intention to buy. However, after a short while, I felt philosophy coming back with a vengeance. The Pepto wasn't working anymore and I knew that I would have to reach a washroom in short order. I told Bob that trouble was brewing, and like a champ Bob ran with me to the loo. I bursted into the stall and got ready to wax philosophical once again. This time it was worse. Like two freight trains sounding horns at the same time while smashing into a school bus full of screaming children with their feet on fire. It was unavoidable.

Now Bob, being arguably one of the best people I know, stepped up in a way I would have never imagined. In order to help drown out the sound of my philosophical waxing, Bob began to engage in hysterical bouts of laughter and screaming. Imagine the Joker and a hyena competing for who can be the most obnoxious and loud and that is what Bob sounded like. I began to laugh and yell as well to further cover up the awful gurgles and plunks from below. It was so epic, made even more epic by the gentleman in the next stall screaming at us:

"Would you guys SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

After about five minutes, I was clear of any remaining philosophy. Bob and I left the washroom in tears from the laughter. I survived the rest of the day without even a glimmer of philosophy. I had survived.

Moral of the story? Don't piss off your server!

And as a final note I must say that I'll never forget what Bob did for me that day. It meant a lot to me, and is great to know that I have a friend true enough to make a complete ass out of himself to help spare me some serious embarrassment. So seriously...thank you Bob. You're the greatest!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trevor and the Tripod

Meadowbrook Deliveries. I've mentioned this company in previous posts as it was a big part of my life for a couple of years. It was the first job that I had that was actually FUN. I worked at Dairy Queen, a bowling alley, a music store, and a video store, and they were all dreadfully uneventful jobs for someone who needs constant stimulation in order to not become bored. But Meadowbrook Deliveries provided me with nothing but stimulation.

It was a delivery job. A company created solely for the purpose of providing delivery services to businesses in the Airdrie area that did not necessarily have the customer traffic worthy of hiring a delivery person. Smaller pizza outlets, Chinese food restaurants, or larger chains that needed to give a little extra help to their in-house drivers during peak hours.

How it worked was simple. The business would charge us, the drivers, the cost of the food/items being delivered, minus a "delivery fee" which we pocketed. We'd then deliver whatever needed to be delivered and charged the full value of the product to get our money back.

Enter Trevor. Trevor was our "boss," though I use the term loosely. We were sub-contractors more than employees. He would carry around an outdated P.O.S. cell phone and when delivery requests came through, and then he would call us via CB radio or on our cell phones and give us the details. At the end of the night, he would take a cut of our earnings as his dispatch fee.

Trevor was...interesting. Yes, let's say interesting. He was a loud Chinese man (though EVERYONE thought he was Native) who was 6'2" if he was a foot. He had chin-length black hair that waved in an uncooperative manner and a smile that was nearly earlobe to earlobe. HUGE smile! Trevor was a big fan of Diet Coke and drank it by the litre at a sitting. He tanked back so much of the stuff that the aspartame affected his brain and made him's say loopy. He was very very loopy.
Trevor wore those old school huge framed glasses that your dads used to wear in the 70s and his attire was as predictable as anything. He would always wear a t-shirt under a ratty greyish-blue vest (colours are tough for me, because of my colour blindness, so if anyone reading this remembers him, feel free to correct me). In winter, he would wear a pair of khaki cargo pants and a big puffy jacket. In summer, it was the vest/t-shirt combo, socks that were desperately stretched over his enormous and taut calves, and...always the same pair of shorts.

These shorts were nothing short of an abomination. They were the kind of 70s/80s style shorts that were too short and flapped around like a flag in the breeze. They were blue and probably had the nutsack netting that you see in swimming trucks and that used to be common in regular shorts back then too.

Trevor had NO shame. None at all. He would stand defiantly in front of us while we chatted, with his thin short-shorts flailing around when the wind picked up. Bob and Shawna both swore on separate occasions that they saw his twig and berries peek out to say hello when a gust hit the shorts just right, but surely they were seeing things. I'd never had the misfortune of seeing anything like that.

Until the night that my eyes burned.

Trevor had moved out of his sister's basement and into a nasty apartment building with his good friend Mike the Mystic (more on him to come in future entries). One night, Trevor invited a few of his sub-contractors over to see the new place. What a dump! Mike was extremely protective of his own area and refused to let us see his room (Bob saw that Mike had several crystal balls and both Bob and I saw a variety of dragon statues and such on his shelves). Trevor's room was a barren waste, with a mattress on the floor, his Sony Wega television in the corner with a Sega Dreamcast attached, and a 2L bottle of half-drunk Diet Coke on the floor.

The living room was even worse. There was a nasty sofa along the wall and a shelving unit. I think that was everything. So some people sat on the sofa. I chose the floor, which was not much better. The carpet was stained and riddled with holes. This place was brutal.

Trevor, having no place to sit, decided to whip out one of those tripod chairs. You know the ones. You unfold them and it is similar to a bicycle seat in shape. Well, Trevor sat on down on his tripod chair and that's when I realized it was a terrible mistake to be sitting on the floor. You know that nutsack netting I mentioned earlier? If it was in there, it wasn't doing its job. Slowly, Trevor's left testicle creeped out from the left leg hole of his shorts and dribbled down until it reached the end of its rope. The thing was huge...just as Bob and Shawna had attested previously...Trevor had HUGE balls!

I pretended to cough and adjust my shirt so he wouldn't see me trying SO hard not to crack up. But I just couldn't handle it. I excused myself to use the washroom and laughed under my breath until my abs were sore. I flushed the toilet so there were no questions and ran the tap. Then I returned to the floor.

Alas, what happened while I was away? Trevor's right nut popped out his other leg hole and was dangling back and forth while he laughed and talked. So there's Trevor, sitting comfortably atop a tripod, talking and joking with his company...all while his ballsack was drooping out both openings to his shorts. Like two baby hippos trying to escape a plastic bag. If you are having trouble picturing the image I saw, just imagine two bowling balls in stretched bags made of bubblegum. It was nasty.

Thankfully, a delivery order came in on the phone so Trevor got up and his buddies sucked back up into the security of his Richard Simmons shorts. I can't remember if I was given the order or someone else, but I decided it was prudent to leave. I don't think I stopped laughing for the rest of the night, and even the best part of a decade later I still crack up when I remember it.

While it wasn't a visual any person wants to see, at least it's a fair warning to us all. ALWAYS wear your underwear, because you never know when you'll get caught with your junk out.

I guess this is a perfect example of the age old expression:

"Look down! Your fucking balls are showing!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010


When it comes to human behaviours, very little shocks me. Through excuses such as religion or politics, there can be some utterly shameful behaviour in this world, but I'm rarely surprised. And the emotionally driven exploits of the insecure and damaged around me also are unlikely to phase me. But once in a while, someone will do something so out-of-the-blue and bizarre that I have to pick my jaw up from the floor.

One such time was about eight years ago. When it comes to leaps of nearly a decade, you'll forgive my inability to pinpoint a date. Shannon lived in Lethbridge at this time as she was attending the UofL. Over a long weekend, Shannon convinced me to come for a visit. I hate driving and always have, but all was right in the world because Shannon's other friend Louise was planning to drive down as well. Score! Lethbridge wasn't exactly a tourist hotspot, and this was in November so the weather wasn't the greatest, but I figured why the hell not? From Friday evening to Monday evening (or Tuesday morning), we'd make the best of it!

Louise was a nice person. I'd met her only once or twice before at one of Shannon's parties. Louise was quiet, a tomboy, and didn't have a lot of luck with the boys. She was also a ginger. Louise drove this big ancient truck that I believe was once a fire station pump truck. There were rivet holes (filled in) on the roof from where emergency lights may have rested on top, and of course Louise told me that it was once a pump truck. This thing was as hard on the ears as it was on the eyes. When she pushed the gas, the behemoth sounded like a large aircraft taking off. The truck vibrated and moaned as it got to speed as well. But she loved that truck so I didn't make fun.

At any rate, the drive down to Lethbridge was fun with Louise, even though I didn't think we'd get along. When we found Shannon's place, it was a big super-happy fun reunion and all was going well. It was pretty late when we got to Lethbridge, so we just hung out at Shannon's place until we crashed. On the Saturday, we all slept in and then took a trip to "downtown" Lethbridge just to see what we could see. By this time, Louise seemed to be a little frustrated with something, though neither Shannon nor I knew what the problem was.

In the evening, Shannon wanted to go out to a "club" in Lethbridge. Slim pickings, that was for sure. I was down for it but Louise said that she wasn't feeling well and decided to stay at the house.

*Interesting sidebar - The next time I went to Lethbridge, when Shannon and I decided to go to the club again, Shawna and Shannon's brother Darren (with whom I went to visit Shannon) said they both didn't feel well. Shannon and I returned home early to catch Shawna and Darren feeling each other up in sleeping bags on the floor. Awww, young lust. But seriously, everyone please stop using "not feeling well" in place of your real feelings. Thanks!*

Shannon and I returned to the house pretty late and Louise was asleep. Louise woke up and told us that she missed her family (thus why she didn't want to come out with us in the evening). A little case of homesickness. Happens to the best of us. We all talked for a while and then crashed for night #2.

Around 8AM Sunday morning, Louise wakes me up and tells me that I have to get ready RIGHT now. Shocked and confused, I of course inquire as to the urgency. Louise says there's a snowstorm outside and she doesn't want to get caught in it. Louise called her parents while I'm still trying to snap out of the groggy state I was in. I distinctly remember the phone call because I could hear her mother through the earpiece from where I was sitting. Louise explained to her mother that she was going to head home early because of the snowstorm. Her mother said to Louise to STAY in Lethbridge because the roads were terrible and Louise could travel back the following day when everything died down. Louise argued for a short time but then it seemed she had lost. She got off the phone.

Louise then walked over to me and said to my face that her mother thought it was best that Louise and I head back NOW! What? I said I heard her mom talking and that wasn't what her mom said, but Louise denied it as she ran around getting all her possessions packed up. I went and looked out the window. The snow was falling really heavily and any idiot knew it was a dumbass idea to leave in that weather. Well, not ANY idiot. An idiot who was suffering the sort of extreme home sickness that Louise was suffering would make the poor judgment call...

Packed up, Louise gave me the "last chance" ultimatum, as she was leaving. I had not showered and was still half asleep so I said I couldn't just travel the way I was. Louise then began to cry a bit and said she couldn't wait. The last thing Louise said before leaving the home was "Dave, please don't hate me."

And with that, Louise abandoned me a couple of hundred kilometers from home. Shannon and I were both in utter disbelief that this woman just left me in Lethbridge like that. Even if one overlooks the fact that she chose to alter plans selfishly two days early, to not even wait an hour so I could get ready to leave was mind-blowing. And WTF? How the hell was I supposed to get home?

I tried to put it out of my mind and enjoy the rest of my stay in Lethbridge. Sunday evening I went to visit The Girl From The Rock Show (stay tuned for that entry). It was nice to see her again and we had fun. However, it started to become clear that I was not going to make it back to Airdrie in time for work on Tuesday if I didn't have a plan. Sunday night, Shannon and I checked the Greyhound schedule for the best times to ensure I return on time. OF COURSE the only opportunity was bright and early Monday morning. Motherf***! Shannon and I chilled Sunday night (aka I helped fix her computer) and then went to bed. I remember her living room floor as being uncomfortable. I should have got a better sleeping bag for my future visits.

Anyway, Monday morning came and Shannon kindly gave me a ride to the Greyhound station, a drive that was white-knuckling for Shannon at the very least. I got my ticket and Shannon waited with me until it was time to leave. Then, I was off...aboard the Greyhound death trap. It was a ridiculously long time to get back to Airdrie, made possible by stops at EVERY possible location and a layover at the Greyhound Station in Calgary. Then when I got back to Airdrie, I had to track down someone to give me a lift home as it was -30 and I was a few kilometers from home. Fortunately I was able to get my Meadowbrook Deliveries boss Trevor (stay tuned again) to give me a lift. Unfortunately, as "payment" for his help, he managed to convince me to work Monday evening.

What could have been a super weekend away turned out to be a serviceable half-weekend of fun. And all thanks to Louise...The Knickerbitch. Wondering where that nickname came from? Keep your eyes peeled on my blog!

As for the Greyhound bus trip...sure it was long, boring, and uncomfortable. But it certainly wasn't something to lose my head over...

Dave Wayne...aka Batboy!

I've always had quite the imagination. I've also been quite the geek. Ladies and gentlemen, I tell you now that these qualities, when mixed together, can be quite embarrassing.

Circa 1989. Chad and I had just been given a lift by Chad's father to the Famous Players theatre at Sunridge Mall (the OLD Famous Players to those geezers like me who remember it). Michael Keaton turned out a brilliant performance as Mr. Bruce Wayne aka Batman. Jack Nicholson was stunning as The Joker. And Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale was certainly easy on my pre-teen pervert eyes. But this movie was not just two hours of entertainment for me. I was impressionable due to said imagination and the subject matter was perfect fuel for my geekatomy.

I was really into Batman. Like REALLY. I had to get all the posters on my wall, all the action figures, any magazine or comic book with the symbol shown on it. Novel based on the film? Check. Cereal with some sort of free Batman thing in the box? Check. Batman printed underwear? You know that's a check!

What I didn't have, however, was a costume. A wonderful foam latex costume that could stop bullets and yet be aerodynamic enough to let me jump from rooftop to rooftop with ease. And I didn't have the Batmobile. These were blemishes in my life at the time. It was unacceptable and so I improvised as best I could.

An oval cut from cardboard and coloured in black and yellow made for a serviceable Batsymbol to tape to the handlebars of my bike, and another fin-shaped piece of cardboard was attached to the back of my bicycle seat to give it that streamlined effect.

My costume was the perfect disguise, from the Lone Ranger mask, to the cheap all-black Dracula cape, and the black and yellow Batman officially licensed t-shirt. Black sweatpants and stretch-gloves finished off the ensemble.

But this wasn't enough for me. No, I couldn't just embarrass myself in front of my family with this silly outfit. I had to embarrass myself in front of the whole world.

On one of the busiest streets in Airdrie at the time, I decided I. Would. Be. Batman! Decked out in costume, I retrieved my Batbike. However, the damn chain fell off again and again so I had to leave it in the Batshed. On foot I marched out to East Lake Blvd with shoulders back and dignity intact. And then, in front of hundreds of vehicles that day, I held aloft my Batman action figure and screamed "BATMANNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!"

I ran as fast as my legs would carry me up and down the boulevard, repeatedly screaming "Batman" to anyone who would listen, my flimsy cape billowing behind my thin frame. I vaguely remember many faces staring at me. I choose to remember their expressions as that of awe and respect. Even when I tripped on uneven sidewalk and fell on my face, the laughter from that asshole in his backyard was merely done to hide his jealousy that he was not Batman. My aunt and cousin lived right along this route that I was selflessly defending from evil, and even to this day my cousin will never let me forget how much he and the rest of Airdrie admired me and appreciated the great work I was doing.

I'm not sure what happened to the costume. I guess it was cleverly thrown out by my mother when I wasn't looking. The Batbike survived until it was stolen from outside a comic book store a few years later. But no one will ever be able to take that day away from me...the day I became a true superhero.

By superhero I mean loser. And to those of you who actually took the time to read this...35 "likes" on my status update about this post or "likes" on the post itself in Facebook...and I'll do it again. I'm just that crazy. Let's just hope this time I can find a real latex suit.