Holy shit, am I ever spending a lot of time on Flickr. Ever since I signed up for that two-year Pro Account that gives me unlimited uploads and the ability to send each of my photographs to up to 60 groups, I've been spending entire nights there. Yep, I'm pretty well hooked on photography now. At the very least, I'm hooked enough that I'm considering dropping film altogether and taking Focal Point's Full Time Diploma Program come September. Not only would that be an excellent excuse to get an awesome digital SLR -- "But I need a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II for CLAAAAAAAASS!" -- but I think it'd be fun to just kind of start all over again. Besides, it seems to me that I have more of a talent for photography than directing. I can't direct my way out of a paper bag. (I hate that video.)
I'm just kind of sick of showing up on film sets on a day call and not knowing what's going on because everyone else has been working for two or three weeks and I'm completely out of the loop. That, and being a PA is just about as degrading as selling my tight ass on Hastings. No, I don't know where the locations truck is because no one feels the need to tell me seeing as how I don't need to ever go there. By the way, it's on fucking wheels and you have a walkie too. What's that? I can't do my job? My "job" is standing here being a human paperweight making sure the bloody set doesn't blow away. Don't you have a C-stand to shove up your urethra or something? And that's why I no longer work for Circle Productions.
I much rather prefer wandering the streets of Vancouver on a sunny day or going to a concert with friends and just snapping some pictures on my own time. Hell, even working on Kyoko as a stills photographer is better than having to haul garbage cans around or burn the skin off my arm for the fifth time in a week trying to set up an HMI older than half my extended family combined. It's very calming too. There's something very Zen about photography. You wait, you watch. Stillness. You control your breathing. Inhale, exhale. Waiting for that perfect moment when all the individual elements in your frame come together in one cohesive mise-en-scène... *CLICK!*
And at the end of it all, you have something that represents that perfect moment. Something capable of evoking memory and emotion. Even looking at a photograph is calming, a world away from the frenetic, fast-paced world of Hollywood filmmaking. I love it. And at the end of the day, there's no C-stands up anyone's urethra. Sounds like a dream job to me.
Oh, the Fray concert. Yes, I know it said [NO CAMERAS/RECORDERS] right there on my ticket but I couldn't resist. Besides, as Shannon was telling me -- I bought her the tickets for her birthday -- everyone had a camera there. So there we were, in the Orpheum, Dress Circle Row 4, Seats 119 and 120 when a security guard suddenly leans over to me. Turns out I'm really bad at trying to hide medium-sized cameras at a moment's notice. I nearly sacked myself twice doing it.
Security Guard: Could you come with me please? Me: (Shit.) Sure.
Me and Shannon share a look and I get out of my seat. He leads me back into the main lobby. They always walk in front of you. That's why I like security guards. When they're not looking, you can do all sorts of things. Ditch the booze, swallow your dimebag and look for it later -- ew. -- or in my case, pop out your SD card and stash it in your pocket. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I really don't know what I would've done if he had asked me to show him the pictures I'd taken though.
Security Guard: Does that camera have a detachable lens? Me: (Crap. He wants to take Jenny's lens.) Um, I can give you the batteries if you want. (SHIT! Why did I say that? These are my rechargeables.) Security Guard: That's not what I'm asking. I'm asking if your camera has a detachable lens. Me: Um, no. (Liar.) Security Guard: So it's strictly as is? Me: (Well, I could throw on a Tele-converter 1.5x lens, a Wide-converter 0.75x lens...) Yeah. Security Guard: Oh okay. You're good then. Me: (What?) What? Security Guard: We consider cameras with detachable lenses professional cameras. We don't allow those. Me: (OH! He means digital SLR's!) Ah. Yeah, this is a point-and-shoot. (That's the first non-lie I've told all night. Good job, Ben!) Security Guard: You're good then. Sorry to have dragged you out of the show. Me: You better be. Prick.
Okay, so that last bit never happened but the point is, I got to keep Jenny and I even managed an entire set of excellent Fray Concert Photos. (They're sweet, I swear. Check them out.) I'd find a way to get in touch with the band and forward them the link but the last thing I need to do is piss off Rod Blackhurst and get threatened with another lawsuit. Something tells me the guys from Fox are still watching me. At this point, I'm ready to believe that all I'd have to do is mention Jessica Alba in this blog in order to get sodomized and killed. And we all know Fox; it wouldn't even necessarily be in that order.
The concert was quite amazing though. On the last chorus of the last song, "How to Save a Life" (what else?), Issac let his singing and the melody drift away until all you could hear was the ENTIRE audience singing along. Perfect pitch, no one off-key and beautifully harmonized. The show ended with a choir of thousands singing the band's own song right back at them. I'd never seen anything before quite like it.
Totally worth selling my left kidney for the online ticket price.
It only figures that the moment I start getting an audience for this frickin' thing, I stop writing in it. People have been coming up to me for weeks now, saying things like, "I never see you anymore and you never update your blog so I never know what's going on with you." Fighting the temptation to expound on the modern wonder of technology that is the telephone, I've had to explain time and time again that a blog entry takes up a ridiculous amount of time, what with HTML and going through Photobucket for all my pictures, and for me -- just me -- it's a helluva lot easier to just pull out my paper journal and write in that. But no, all you bastards actually care about me, you half-naked sons of bitches. So this is for you.
In the past month-and-a-half, I've completely thrown myself into my personal projects. I haven't missed a day yet with either my paper journal or Project 365 (which I'm also participating in), and I'm all the more into it now that I've gotten a few new toys. On January 12th, me and Shannon went to a Future Shop all the way out in Richmond to pick up my new Canon PowerShot S3 IS, a particularly sexy point-and-shoot -- as though I could afford a digital SLR -- with 6.0 Megapixels and 12x optical zoom. I'm nowhere even near becoming a good photographer right now but the camera seems to make up for my general ineptitude by taking the occasional picture so good, I could've sworn I had nothing to do with it. I've already started putting together a bit of an online portfolio. I firmly maintain that I was not involved. It was all the camera. (Oh, and her name's Jenny.)
Speaking of named inanimate objects, my old Mac -- Hal -- just bit the dust recently. I was on a production meeting for a student film named "Homefront" out in Langley and reading the script on my computer when the screen suddenly went black. Long story short, after that, I couldn't get the fucking thing to stay turned on for longer than ten minutes at a time. (Insert your own ex-girlfriend joke here.) So after going to three different Best Buy locations because they're all PC-using pussies with a terrible aversion to anything except accounting software, I was finally able to get Hal looked at at their Cambie Street location. As of right now, Hal's on a bit of a business trip to Apple Offices in California. Not being the type of person who's able to survive 24 hours without e-mail or downloaded midget bukkake, I immediately headed off to a Future Shop the next day and bought myself a brand spankin' new MacBook. You know, one of those nice, black 13" ones with 120 GB and the Intel Core 2 Duo processor? It came out to roughly two grand. Totally worth it for the look on Hal's face when he comes back from his trip to find Jenny loading her photos into a younger, black computer boasting 13 inches. His name's Rilo.
See that? That's one of the sets from "Homefront". That shoot lasted four days and I got to light it. Which was easy enough considering that there were only two locations and one of the scenes takes up over half of the script and only required one HMI outside the kitchen window. Hell, I'm used to running C-Way. In fact, I had so much spare time, I was able to pull out Jenny and snap a few extra publicity shots for them. Just practicing for my publicity gig on "Kyoko", I told them. Secretly, I'm kind of hoping for an Additional Stills credit.
Film school's not so bad anymore. Now that we only have two classes a week and I've already completed all my take-home assignments for both of them for the rest of the semester, it's smooth sailing from here. More time for personal projects then. I've been meaning to talk to Reza, the guy who owns the local Blenz, about getting some of my photos put up on his walls to sell. In time, I suppose. I need to become a better photographer first.
You know what's annoying? Snapping awesome pictures of the Chinese New Year festivities, contemplating sending them in to a small daily newspaper like Metro for publication and maybe a quick buck, deciding not to because you're not sure they're good enough, then opening up a copy of Metro the next day and seeing bad pictures taken with good cameras. I could have taken those! Hell, I was right there in the street using all the other photographers as cover to snap some wicked close-ups and I'm positive that at least ONE of my shots is newspaper-worthy.
Of course, I had to lower the quality of all those just to get them to fit on this crazy blog. You guys should see the original files. I damn near spunked all over my camera when I first got them printed out. (Which is why I don't look at photos on the bus anymore.)
In other news, I haven't been back at Zesty's in about two weeks now. I wouldn't say I'm bored of the place; I just don't see how I'd be able to top the last time I was there. I've now done stand-up five times, only one of which was in a different venue than Zesty's. I don't see how anyone could think that Myles of Beans was a good place to do lowbrow scatological comedy, but I was there. And I've burned the footage! Yee-haw!
So that's life for me right now. Yes, I know this post was shorter than a centipede's dink compared to my previous entries but I've got more important things to do. Like watching Lily Allen videos on a continuous loop until my friends from Seattle arrive. (And if I'm feeling really wild, I might even make some tea! I'm a maniac!) Charlee and her friend Caylean (wildestarduster) are coming up here from the States for four days to see how us Canadians function. I told them we don't have toilets and that we have to bury our feces in the backyard.
Wait until they realize all I've got is a large balcony.
Today's my first official day back at film school. I hate it already and I haven't even gone today yet. See, my class doesn't start until 1:30 but I've got a pretty good idea how this semester's going to run. And so far, I've seen no indication at all that it's going to be any different than last semester. I know this because I've already had to attend a class. Yesterday was supposed to be my last day off but I got a call at 10 in the morning telling me to make a 1:30 class that wasn't even on the schedule in the first place. So like a good little boy, I show up and just like last semester, the classes are long, far from enlightening and mostly consist of whichever instructor I happen to have that morning talking about what he/she had for breakfast and how great it's going to be shitting it out later. The good news is that this semester I have fewer classes -- only four to last semester's six -- and the film projects we pump out are going to be bigger and better than anything we've ever attempted to do on our own so far. The bad news is that the short script I wrote last semester in my Screenwriting class wasn't chosen for production. Apparently, psychological thrillers and quirky character dramas are still all the rage. Ah well.
Of course, none of this is to say I'm not ready to go back. The past three weeks of freedom have been amazing and if anything, I probably need some pointless busywork just to keep me from drinking myself to death. One of my New Year's resolutions was to stop drinking as much as I was. That lasted until exactly 8:30 PM on January 2nd.
Originally planning to get a large group of us together to go see the Body Worlds exhibit at Science World last Tuesday, our plans for the night were thwarted when we realized that tickets had to be bought weeks in advance just to get in. Plastinized cadavers are bigger than Jesus now, it seems. So, settling on the next Tuesday to buy tickets for, we wandered back outside into the cold and wondered what to do next. Two-thirds of the group that we came with, most of them people that I didn't know anyway, went back home soon after, secure in the knowledge that they would soon be able to take up-close-and-personal looks at internal organs without having to murder a close relative or euthanize a pet. This left me, Shannon, fellow drinking buddies Mark and Alex, and Hayley from the Blenz party. Long story short, we ended up at Zesty's for their comedy night to see Mike and grooved to much industrial techno along the way in Alex's car. (At least, I think it was industrial techno. All I know is that it sounded like someone getting persistently and percussively raped in a steel mill.)
I learned later that night why alcohol was so frequently referred to as "liquid courage". After downing a delightfully colourful bitch drink known as a Fuzzy Shark -- how could anyone resist the name? -- I felt hilarious. Maybe it was just the fact that me, Mark and Alex were having an in-depth conversation about the different methods of drowning drunk Korean men to produce the sounds necessary to mimic the putties from the Power Rangers TV show, but for reasons beyond my comprehension at the time, I felt that it was my God-given right -- nay, my duty! -- to storm the stage and entertain the fuck out of everyone. (Everyone being my four friends, about eight other comics and the bartender, but I try to not let details get in the way.) And here's proof that I did just that.
Despite everything I was doing wrong -- holding the mic as though I were trying to beatbox, for instance -- I didn't do nearly as bad as I thought I would. Hell, I even threw in that putty conversation we were having at the table and got a few laughs. (Sanitary Poo Spray made it in as well.) And to be completely honest with you guys, this was the first time I had performed anywhere in recent memory without feeling as though I had utterly embarrassed myself by the end of it. I just might go back one of these days. I've even taken to writing down a few things in that Moleskine I have for material.
The week directly following that was just one arbitrary adventure after another. On the 3rd, for no other reason than to continue fighting Canada's War on Boredom, me and Shannon found ourselves in Alex's car again (albeit sans Mark) on our way out to Squamish of all places. I'd never been and as soon as we got there, I remembered why. Squamish is a hole. Our destination was a Tim Hortons that Alex was particularly fond of and the moment we stepped in there, it was like a foreign land of child labour and stale doughnuts. There was a woman watering the floor. Like, with a watering can and everything. So this is why Americans think we still eat pemmican and live in igloos. Farther north, I'm beginning to wonder if that's true. Doing our best to keep up with embodiment, me and Shanbot wrote in our journals for a bit and snapped a picture for the ages. Note the tourist attraction smiles we all have. Coming to this crazy Timmy Ho's out in the boonies was as bizarre an experience as setting foot in Legoland and finding out it's a real place.
A few days later, me and Shannon are with Alex again, only this time we've got Shannon's friend Andrea and this guy named Trystan in tow. Having found out that the roof of BC Place collapsed, effectively turning Vancouver's largest concrete balloon into Vancouver's largest outdoor swimming pool (video here), we decided that we had to see it for ourselves. Being a stadium and not a stripper, it being topless and not moving around much failed to keep us as occupied as we had hoped so we just snapped more pictures and went in search of a Starbucks. We're all coffee whores, by the way. A Fuzzy Shark may be liquid courage but a hot caramel macchiato is liquid sex.
(Toldja it doesn't beat a stripper.)
The only Starbucks we find turns out to be attached to a GM dealership. It figures, don't it? First, they invaded Chapters like a plague, then slowly spread to Safeways and now, GM dealerships. It's only a matter of time before you won't be able to take a piss in a public urinal anymore without a barista asking you what soy-mocha-double-shot-lowfat-fuckbeans drink you want. In any case, that night turned out pretty low-key. As per usual, we sat around, told dirty jokes, debated the pros and cons of childhood hobbies and anal fucking and then ended up back at Mark and Alex's place so the girls could look up contortionist porn and the guys could watch plane crash videos on YouTube. (You think I'm joking about the porn but I'm not.)
And then I started getting these weird whispered phone calls. I couldn't even trace the number because it showed up as 'Withheld' on the call display but for almost three hours straight, I was getting continually harassed by a bunch of douchebags who apparently knew my name, number and that I had recently done a night of mediocre stand-up. I distinctly remember hearing a girl's voice first, then a guy's. Immediately, I wondered if my ex had suddenly taken up hard drugs and why she and her boyfriend would feel compelled to bother me between mind-blowing LSD fucks when I realized it could really be anyone. My friends back in New West were all drunk out of their minds at the time, the comics at Zesty's knew Mike and Mike knows my number and what's more, I'm fairly certain I may have left my number floating around on MySpace somewhere with a direct link to my profile right beside it. I ruled out the possibility of my friends being in on it when Shannon picked up the phone later on to try telling these guys off and one of these fucknuts called her a whore. The calls persisted for two more days after that. I just hang up on them now.
Oh, and here's that Starbucks I was telling you about.
I also, amazingly, got another chance to go back to Seattle. Mark and Alex had been planning a trip to the Experience Music Project for a couple of weeks now without my knowledge so when Shanbot told me about it, I jumped at the chance. Having been shafted out of an opportunity to go before by my ex (which you can read about in my '04/'05 emo blog), I had never been and it only made sense to go given that I still had $75 USD floating around from the Seattle trip I took less than two weeks ago. Besides, I love road trips. The perfect excuse to rock out to music on the ride that you would normally never admit to ever listening to. There ain't no party like an S-Club party.
There wasn't as much to see in the EMP as I had envisioned and for $19.95 USD, the price was a little steeper than was justifiable, but I figure it was worth the time the five of us spent in the Jam Rooms. (Oh yeah, there were 5 of us. One of Mark and Alex's chick friends, Christine, was with us too.) We dicked around in the Vocals room, discovering once and for all what The Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" would sound like if Justin Hawkins were a helium-huffing chipmunk, rocked out on a few drum kits and -- this was my favourite part -- slashed away on a few electric guitars in a God-awful rendition of Green Day's "Warning". I still remember the A, D and G chords I was taught in my high school Guitar class. Who knew?
Shame that the EMP doesn't allow pictures though. Otherwise, there'd be tons more.
The day after I got back, I had to go to the dentist and get seven fillings done in four separate teeth. That was a great time. Especially the novocaine. It was like a party in my mouth, only everyone was a coke addict who got shot in the eye. The fun never ends either. I have to go back in three weeks to get another round of fillings done on the other side of my mouth. Fucking sugary Long Island Iced Teas rendering me incapable of brushing my teeth. (What can I say? I love the bitch drinks.)
And here I am now, on a snowy Wednesday morning waiting for my 1:30 class to start just so I can show up and sleep right through it. Some bullshit course called CMNS 135 - Storytelling for Media. At least it's not a morning course. Then again, now I'm going to have to hear all about what the guy had for breakfast and lunch and how awesome it's going to be shitting out two meals at once. Joy.
The snow's beautiful but I just heard an ambulance go by.
This'll probably be my last entry in this blog for a while. With only a week left before I have to drag my ass back off to film school to be all productive and shit and with the embodiment project in full swing as of yesterday afternoon, it's seeming less and less likely that I'll have time for anything other than school and documenting the much juicier events of my life in my new leather paper journal now. Not like there'd be much to talk about either. I doubt I can make 20 hours on Final Cut Pro interesting to anyone who isn't a seasoned film editor. We'll see.
So, this is 2007. I'm optimistic. Considering that one of the first things I did in 2007 was wake up in a dingy washroom with no real recollection as to how I got there just so I could puke up four shots of tequila into the sink, there's really nowhere to go but up, is there? I make a mental note to never drink tequila in any amount that doesn't work out to be a prime number ever again. I should have either stopped at 3 or kept going until 5. The Prime Number Rule holds true. But I'm getting ahead of myself. My day started when I met up with Shanbot so she could go shopping before Dick Clark's balls dropped at midnight.
Metrotown's always been boring for me. And the idea of shopping with Shanbot was a little odd too. Her never having been the type to spend hours in the bathroom putting on makeup or tweezing her eyebrows, her acting like so much of a girl right before New Year's was almost unsettling. Of course, it's not like I wasn't aware of her gender. It's just been ages since that time I saw her in a dress back at our high school grad. So, there I was, in the mall holding Shanbot's stuff while she was trying on new clothes, wondering in brief passing moments whether or not my ex was doing the same thing to Kevin or whatever the fuck his name is and how long his leash was now, when she sees this green Hurley hoodie. She falls in love with the thing. I feel the sleeve and I was right; it's softer than blended kittens. Then she sees the price tag. The damn thing's almost $70. "I dunno," she says, "That's a lot of money." Being ever the prick and not the type to have any sales resistance at all just because I don't care all that much about money in itself, I say, "You'll just regret it if you don't get it. It's soft. Blended kittens." She gets it. I'm a sucker for soft things too.
The original plan for New Year's was that all our friends go to Doolin's Irish Pub but me being underage and Shannon not particularly enjoying the idea of walking into something pre-planned by a bunch of drunken Irishmen, our plan was to just find Stasia and have a little party of our own. We were under the impression that she was working through 'til after midnight at her restaurant but thanks to a well-timed suspension on her part, it turns out she was free after all. So somehow, that prompted a change in plans, Doolin's was cancelled and the new plan became to get a little tipsy at a Cafe Crepe beforehand, then celebrate the actual countdown bit at Stasia's place in Kits. Me and Shanbot find out about this change of plans while we're still shopping. We head back to her place so she can get ready -- and so I can nap for half an hour like my lazy ass has been known to do these past three weeks -- and make it to 22nd Street Station in time to meet up with everyone at 6:15.
Cafe Crepe turns out to be a disaster for me. I get carded and sit there watching all my friends have the time of their lives while I pound coffee after coffee, figuring that hey, since I'm not allowed alcohol, I might as well load up on my second drug of choice, caffeine. I get all twitchy and buzzing off the collective inebriation of the 20 or so friends we have there, start grooving to the classical techno blaring from the house speakers. Some band called Bond is ripping through a song called "Explosive" but it just sounds like the X-Men theme. And wait, is that what I think it is? It couldn't be. It is! It's fucking Pachelbel's Canon in D, but with a techno beat! It doesn't take long to have the entire table singing along at the tops of our lungs. You'll have to excuse us. We're not at our best.
I also lose $5 to Shanbot for assuming she wouldn't be drunk enough to toss an entire sugar packet into her mouth, open it with her teeth, suck out all the contents and fold the packet itself into an origami crane using only her tongue. Granted, the crane came out soggy and looking like a Chernobyl flipper baby but it's not as though I could've done any better. "It wouldn't be the first time," she says.
She's a trooper.
Being back at Stasia's place is a blast. Somehow, on the way there, Kayla grabs a random guy off the bus and we drag the poor sucker miles out of his way to come hang with us. I don't even remember his name but I do remember trying to explain the whole Pachelbel joke to him. He doesn't get it. It takes a special breed, I guess. At the party, I strike up a conversation with an IATSE graphic designer. The need to network gets the better of me and we end up hanging and exchanging stories of how we came to be where we are in the biz. I've got nothing on him though. He's been union for years and has worked on virtually every single superhero movie they've shot in Vancouver since 1990. I've helped an independent TV series called "Blood Ties" out with some camera tests. I am to him what spiders are to my cat. Edible.
With a 'Savvy Bachelor' shot glass in hand, this was where I made my fatal mistake of downing four tequila shots in rapid succession. Which, naturally, didn't mix well with the two-six of Bailey's I had split with Shanbot earlier that evening. Someone in the next room started counting backwards from 10. It wasn't until they made it to 4 that I realized that the New Year was almost upon us. I come to my senses just in time to make the obligatory cheer and I start singing the first few lines of "Auld Lang Syne" before suddenly realizing that I'm the only one doing it. I make a big show of falling over the couch, thinking somehow that seeming more drunk will make me look like less of an idiot for being the only person singing. (It doesn't.) New Year's kisses are exchanged but me being single, realize that this is the first time in two years that I won't be getting a proper New Year's kiss. Not yet drunk enough to start making out with people at random, I find Shanbot, wish her a Happy New Year and, somewhat more aggressively than I intended to, give her a peck on the cheek. She returns the favour.
Which takes me right back to where I started. Stasia's bathroom. I pull myself up using the toilet seat by my head and make my way to the sink, where I proceed to empty my guts out and become extremely religious. ("Why, God, WHYYYYYYYYY?!?") By the time I feel sober enough to rejoin the outside world, it's as though the outside world has come to join me. The unconscious dot the landscape of Stasia's living room like so many punctuation marks in a blog entry and the few vertical members of the human race are either wearing things that were never designed to be items of clothing or nothing at all. Shannon and Stasia are the only ones left of the people that we originally came with and I end up passing out on Stasia's bed next to a remarkably sober Shanbot.
And when morning struck, it struck with a vengeance.
Just ask them.
So that was my New Year's. And after the strangely-enjoyable shitstorm that was 2006, I'm ready to attack 2007 with everything I've got. So I'm going to leave you all with a little something that got me through one of the most challenging years of my life.
Thousands of years ago, a tyrannical king called his court jester before him and said, "Find me an object across my vast kingdom that will make me happy when I am sad and sad when I am happy. Should you fail, I shall behead you. You have two weeks." Believing full well that this was an impossible task, the king and his court left the jester to his own devices, confident that beheading one jester would set a proper example for his people. The king wouldn't want anyone to think that he had low standards, after all. As the sun rose and set with each passing day and the king heard no sign from his jester in a fortnight, the king began to wonder if his jester had simply run away and the thought infuriated him. But as the sun rose the next morning, the jester returned and, in front of the entire court, presented the king with a simple gold ring. "What is this?", the king crowed, "I ask for a mystical object that will make me happy when I am sad and sad when I am happy and you present me with a simple piece of jewellery? Is your life worth so little to even you that the task I have set before you was not even worth an admirable attempt? Guards, seize him!". But the jester stops the guards in their tracks and advances towards the king. "My liege, the inscription," he pleads. Etched on the inside of the ring in fine calligraphic writing as delicate as the morning sun, are the words, "This too shall pass."
I've been living my life by those words ever since I heard that.
Happy 2007, guys. May it bring each and every one of you everything you desire and let's all have a kick-ass year. Rock on.
All right, I'm back home now. And with New Year's just around the corner, everyone and their dog is posting their answers to these surveys about how 2006 has dramatically altered their lives and what they plan on doing in 2007. I refuse to do that. No one year of anyone's life should ever, by any means, be summed up in 30 questions. Mostly because I don't feel any one of the answers I've seen so far seems to be sufficient. Not to mention the questions are stupid. Like "Do you plan on having children this year?". Doesn't the whole process take nine months anyway? It should be more like "Are you currently pregnant and/or do you feel like getting knocked up within the next three months?". I dunno. Seems the best way to keep track of it all is to just keep a journal. Cue embodiment.
Looking back on it now, I really wish I had written more about what was going on in my life in 2006. In a year where I finished my first year of film school, had my first experience directing, started working, went on to make more money per month than my old man, lost my virginity, lost a girlfriend that I loved immensely (only to realize that after she was gone, I didn't care as much as I thought I would), started hating the world, fell back in love with the world and then almost got sued by Fox, the whole experience has been surreal enough to, at the very least, write a bad teen novel about. (Like "How I Paid for College", but with less homosexual urges.) The drama itself has been worth every moment. I honest to God can't remember a time in 2006 when I wasn't doing something, loving someoneand hoping for something greater, and that something just kept on coming month after month. Alexander Chalmers would've been proud.
And virtually every single person I've talked to so far feels the same way. For some bizarre, surely-astrologically-motivated reason, everyone I know seems to feel that 2006 has been the best year of their lives. I attribute part of that sentiment with the fact that 2006 is still fresh in everyone's minds but a lot was lost this year. Yet, myself included, they all seem to feel that the experience was worth it. I find that the moments of pain, sadness and suffering only serve to make the bright days brighter, the happy moments happier and the people we meet in the future that much more amazing. There is no greater joy in this world than to recall a time of sadness in elation. Feel free to quote me on that. (No really. Please quote me on that. I'm not dying without at least one good quote under my belt... I'm sure Dante doesn't mind.)
Oh right, Seattle. The 28th of December shan't be a day that I'll forget soon. (Whipping out my Moleskine as a reference guide here. Heh.)
Charlee picked me up at my hotel and took me out for breakfast at The Sun Break Cafe in downtown Auburn. Being with Nikki the evening before was a great time but seeing as how this was the first time in five years that me and Charlee were alone together to talk, it was fantastic being able to catch up with her. She already knew all about the sordid details of my private life through the e-mail correspondence we kept up with surprising regularity over the years (despite her ex-boyfriend despising the very core of me on principle alone; apparently, he considered me a threat to his romantic life because he was too much of a prick to listen when his girlfriend was talking, so she started talking to me) but seeing her in person was something altogether different. For one, she was taller. And for another, I could see that she was remarkably comfortable with herself and that she was ultimately very satisfied with how her life turned out. It's odd really. It's as though she's the closest out of anyone I know to becoming the person she will be for the rest of her life. Her new boyfriend must've worked out extremely well for her. I want that.
My thoughts are interrupted by our all-American waiter asking us what we want. Complete with a baseball cap, a stoner's lopsided grin and somewhat vacant eyes, and sporting a notepad with a flowered pen to match, I can't help thinking that there are some stereotypes that should just be packaged and sold and sent overseas so Korean children can learn how the world works. I order what later turns out to be the best eggs Benedict I've ever had. (I wish I had taken a picture.) As we eat, our server comes back and with an almost-Southern drawl, tells us that he got exactly what he wanted for Christmas: A remote-controlled Hummer. I leave him a 20% tip.
We drive up to the middle of Buttfuck Nowhere, WA to Charlee's boyfriend's place after that. The first time I meet Ryan, I'm thirty feet away from his front door when he comes out. Thanks to Charlee, the two of us know exactly who the other person is but out of politeness, we both figure we'd introduce ourselves anyway so we end up doing this semi-retarded jog towards each other to shake hands. I'm sure he feels like as much of an idiot as I do and I figure maybe us Canadians and Americans aren't so different after all. We both hate the same president so we can't all be bad. So after meeting his chocoholic dog, Booty ("Isn't chocolate toxic to dogs?"; "Hasn't killed her yet... Good girl.") and scraping the ice from his car...
... we're off like a prom dress.
The plan is to go to downtown Seattle so I can take in some of the sights and buy myself a new American wardrobe to take home. Having crossed the border with over $450 USD, it was my unabashed intention to chick it up a notch and embark on somewhat of a shopping spree. Yet, as the hours spun away, we strayed a fair distance from the shopping malls and department stores and ended up at a costume shop across town where Right Said Fred was blasting from the overhead speakers as though no one was aware that 15 years had passed and the outside world no longer wore fanny packs and those goddamn Adidas windpants that made a noise every time you moved. I almost spent $100 on a giant stuffed penguin, just so I'd have something interesting to take back across the border. I can just imagine how that would play out.
Border Guard: So where do you live? Me: New Westminster, BC. Border Guard: And what was your reason for travelling to the States? Me: I smuggle penguins. Border Guard: I see. And how do you know this penguin? Me: I met him online. We really hit it off and one thing led to another. Border Guard: Do you work in Canada? Me: I told you. I smuggle penguins.
Okay, so maybe not. But border guards are still uptight pricks.
On Ryan's recommendation, we make our way to Hunter's Antiques and look through old camera equipment and vintage smut. Apparently, to this day, people still go through chests in their attics and find ancient collections of pornography belonging to the house's previous (and long-deceased) owners. Not having such inspired publications such as Playboy or Amazing Wet Panty Carwash back in the day, the majority of these black-and-white photographs are of these men's wives or mistresses. Imagine the homeliest women you've ever seen. Now imagine them naked in sexy poses, but smiling those demure, confidence-exuding smiles you always see in old black-and-white photos. And none of these women are supermodels either. Not a single one of them is particularly sexy, in the modern definition of the word. But they meant enough to someone for them to have pictures of them taken and hidden away for decades as their guilty little secret. I think we lost something along the way. Remind me to delete all those pictures of Jessica Jaymes off my hard drive.
Following that, we start dicking around at Pike Place Market as the sun begins to set. The long shadows and backlighting lead to some of my favourite shots on the entire trip.
I still have no idea what this thing is but note the outlines of Ryan and Charlee as they wait patiently for me to take yet another goddamn picture. I think it adds quite a bit to it.
For dinner, we wind up at The Crab Pot, this expensive-but-not-particularly-fancy joint where they throw a bunch of seafood in a large metal pot, steam it with all sorts of tasteless spices, then dump it out in front of you with only a wooden mallet and a disappointingly tiny fork to get at all the delicious ocean meat inside. I'm a bit of a dink so I start pounding the mallet and making People's Court jokes just like every other dumb fucker who wanders through there and Charlee and Ryan pretend to find it funny for my sake. As polite as Canadians, those two are. As we leave, we're all about to head back into the street area when Charlee motions down this long hallway leading to nowhere and says, "Let's go this way." Being guys, neither me nor Ryan have anything better to do so why not, and moments later, we're in one of those tiny little video arcades where kids throw away thousands to win tickets and exchange them for shit they don't need and could've bought for a fraction of what they spent playing Whack-A-Frog in the first place.
Like I said, I'm a dink so for some reason I don't recall ever making any conceivable sense, I stick a twenty in a change machine, fully expecting the thing to spit out 20 ones. Eighty quarters was just a bit of a surprise to me. At that point, Charlee knew that A) eighty quarters in a video arcade + B) two college guys = C) her having to watch us play and hold our jackets for an hour, so instead of complaining, she just accepted her fate like the comfortable, self-actualized person she is. Naturally, me and Ryan feel bad so when he pipes up and says, "Hey, let's try to win Charlee something!", I'm all up for it. Of course, this was after a half-hour round of 'House of the Dead' but what we had left, we poured right into Skee-Ball. You should've seen us. It was like a marathon of ball-rolling goodness. Side by side, the theme from Rocky undoubtedly playing in both our heads, we bowled our hearts out. Before the ball we just rolled even made it off the ramp, another one was coming and when our nine balls were up, we'd already have 10 more quarters in the machine so we could just kick the Start button to send the next nine up. Tickets ejaculated from the Skee-Ball machine with enough force to send small Asian children flying in their wake and at the end of it all, we both collapsed, wiped the sweat from our brows and began counting tickets with dumb, accomplished grins. DVDA's Now You're A Man was penned for moments just like these.
I find out later we parked illegally but luckily enough for us, when we got back to the car, the local gangs were nice enough to inform us of our poor parking choice via rather creative graffiti. This still cracks me up every time. (Note the text to the right of the car.)
It's a long drive back to Charlee's place but we occupy ourselves by exchanging invention ideas. I still say Sanitary Poo Spray deserves a patent. The idea is that you spray this perfectly harmless chemical that just happens to smell like shit all over stuff you don't want people to steal. Leaving a bike in a bad neighbourhood and don't have a lock? Spray it with Poo Spray. Whoever steals it won't be able to ride around town without everyone thinking they can't wipe their ass properly. Or spray it on your kid when he goes to school. Guaranteed Kidnapper-Safe.
Charlee's mom turns out to be a cool chick. Despite her knowing fully well that I'm three years under the American legal drinking age, she helps Charlee open a beer for me and the four of us, Ryan included, sit down and watch a few episodes of CSI. Turns out Charlee owns Night of the Living Dead and it's a foggy night out so on our way back to my hotel -- it now being about 11 o' clock -- we decide to stop at a local cemetery and wander around. I love cemeteries. To most people, they're creepy for obvious reasons but to me, I find them kind of calming. With the tiny LED flashlight I always have on me now, we take an hour reading headstones and wishing all the lonely forgotten ones without wreaths or flowers on them the Merry Christmas they each deserved. Many of the plots belong to couples that died within a year of each other. Charlee points out they must have been one of the couples that just made it in life and loved each other so much, the second one to pass must have died of grief. Me and Ryan murmur in agreement. Later on, I find a plot dedicated to two baby twins that passed away in 1957. And I thought a little breakup was heartache in 2006.
The three of us lie down in the cemetery for a while as the fog rolls over us, leaving us with an unobstructed view of the night sky. I see the constellation, Orion, and think back to how in the good ol' days, it meant something much different to me than it does now. A tiny bit of the 2006 heartache creeps back into me but I squash it back down. I wonder for a moment about my friends back home and whether or not they're looking up at the same stars I am at that very moment. It's past midnight. I doubt it.
Charlee and Ryan drop me back off at my hotel and I climb the stairs back to Room 237, which was as freezing cold as it ever was. I shower alone, then fire up my laptop to check my MySpace. Shanbot's giving me shit for not writing more epically. I chuckle and send her back a "Fuck you, Shannon." The lights go out, I wrap all the blanket around my ankles the way that only people who sleep alone do and fall into a deep, dreamless sleep.
I snap this the next morning. It's time to check out.
The day is fairly uneventful. Charlee and Nikki take me shopping and I blow $150 USD at Abercrombie & Fitch and JC Penney like the corporate slave I know myself to be. Charlee takes off for work and Nikki is left with the task of getting me back to the Greyhound station in time to make the 6:25 bus back home to Vancouver. We leave early enough to swing by Pike Place again so I can order myself a caramel macchiato from 1912 Pike Place, the very first Starbucks. For the record, it doesn't taste any different.
After getting lost, figuring out exactly where we are, then getting lost again repeatedly for close to an hour, Nikki finally gets me to the station. We hug goodbye and I climb onto the bus. On the way home, I actually finish that "How I Paid for College" book that Shannon lent me all those weeks ago and pat myself on the back for being able to read. As always, the border proved to be a good time.
Border Guard: So where do you live? Me: New Westminster, BC. Border Guard: And what was your reason for travelling to the States? Me: I smuggle penguins...
I've been up for close to 24 hours now but seeing as how this is the first time I've left the country in well over a year, I felt that it was my duty to bring along my laptop and post a quick entry while I had the chance. This is coming to you straight from Room 237 of the Days Inn Auburn, but since it is getting late and since I'm on vacation, this entry probably won't be as epic as some of you have come to expect. You know who you are. Shannon.
Christmas turned out to be comparatively tame after the night of the 23rd, but what else can be expected from a small family gathering? Naturally, I don't mean my family -- my folks only sit down at a table to fight and throw feces at each other nowadays -- but Stasia's. Having known Stash since 2001, I've practically become a local relative, so being invited to Christmas dinner was no big surprise. Crashed over there on Christmas Eve and tossed the present P-Dawg gave me under the tree so I'd have something to unwrap in the morning. Then, that night, for reasons even I don't understand, I showed Stasia's mom this very blog and watched her opinion of me plummet to earth like so many pieces of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Apparently, facetiously advocating bestiality is frowned upon by civilized society.
Waking up on Christmas Day proved to be difficult. I had the sore throat of a Hastings Street hooker and as far as I was concerned, my present should've been More Fucking Rest: The Movie. Quite the full day after I got up at 1 though. Helped a butane huffer get proper medical attention (seriously!), loudly sang more Pachelbel in the streets of New West ('cuz people just need to appreciate classical more), loaded up on Bailey's (Step One of Two), drank most of said Bailey's (Step Two!) and watched Dane Cook's Tourgasm (which turned out to be what P-Dawg got me), all with Stash, her brother Greg, and Shanbot herself. A whole 364 days of waiting and buttfuck a nun, was it ever worth it. Watching all those episodes of Will It Blend? shortly after waking up probably helped too. I think they should blend a smaller blender.
And since P-Dawg wanted to see my expression when I opened my gift, here it is, in all 28 embarrassingly clear kilobytes. I would've used a less, um, exuberant picture but I just think it's funny that it's such a huge crotch shot of me. And it's all for you, Pearce. Sweet dreams.
Me and Shanbot don't get back home 'til 3, Boxing Day morning. I stay up until 5:30 writing down stuff that I think would be funny in a stand-up act should I ever choose to do one. I wake up the next morning at 12, read what I wrote and cry for hours. I'm as funny as a dead mime. And every bit as drained. No Boxing Day shopping for me.
I'm up at 4:15 in the morning on the 27th, ready to head off to Seattle. I get to the station at 5:45, board the bus at 6:20 and hit the border by 7:45. Something about seeing the American flag everywhere starts making me paranoid. I mean, if Fox -- an American production company -- can screw me over so much on Canadian soil, imagine the ass-raping I'm in for if I step out of line in the States. So when I get to the border guard, I'm avoiding eye contact by any means necessary like I just farted on a bus.
Border Guard: So where do you live? Me: New Westminster, BC. Border Guard: And just what are you doing in the States? Me: Seeing some friends in Seattle. Border Guard: Do you work in Canada? Me: Uh... yeah.
He looks me square in the eyes at that first hint of hesitation. I damn near Canadian soil myself.
Border Guard: Do you work in Canada? Me: I, er, work for the movie industry in Vancouver. I work, but it's not a steady job. Just day calls, mostly. Border Guard: So... pseudo-work. Me: Um. Sure? Border Guard: I suppose that accounts for the initial fluctuation in your voice then? Me: (Just say yes. Just say yes. Just say yes.) Yes. Border Guard: Good enough. You're on your way.
Amazing how he just lit up like that. As though "yes" were the password to the States all along.
The bus gets into Seattle at 10:45, almost a half hour late thanks to six -- six! -- dumb fuckers who couldn't figure out how to use a luggage tag properly. Charlee and Nikki (nikki_desu) are waiting for me at the station. And I guess now would be a good time to explain just who the hell Charlee and Nikki are.
I met Charlee back in 2002 on a cruise ship to Alaska when the entire extended family on my brick of a father's side decided to all get together and "spend some quality time with one another". (Only they said it in Cantonese so grab a wooden spoon, bang on a metal pot for half a day and you have an idea of what it sounded like.) When everything inevitably degenerated into yelling and poop-tossing, I found myself hanging with the other kids on the cruise and Charlee ended up being my mental sanctuary of sorts. I continued talking to her after the cruise through the internet and good ol' snail mail and about a year later, was introduced to Nikki, one of Charlee's best friends. While Charlee once came up from the States to do some shopping and to mock the colour spectrum of our currency, Nikki never did. I only spoke with her online and through maybe five or six letters, so the whole purpose of the trip was really just to see Charlee again and to meet Nikki for the first time in person. And there you have it.
(And here you have them. That's Charlee on the left and Nikki on the right.)
My memory from here on in is rather hazy. We end up eating at this place called Johnny Rockets that looks like it was designed by the art department of Pleasantville, then we all go shopping, only I'm the only one who actually buys anything. Shortly after that, we stop in the food court to get something to drink when suddenly, in red and blue neon, it becomes apparent that everything I've ever heard about America is true and should be feared.
Hot. Dog. On. A. Stick.
My Canadian arteries thicken just knowing a place like this exists. Charlee and Nikki mock me for being so quaint. After I cough up all the cholesterol I've absorbed via optical osmosis, Charlee announces that she has to depart for the day and me and Nikki end up watching Eragon at the local multiplex. Back to her place for dinner, then I'm off to my hotel room to shower and type out all this swill.
It's not much, but for the next two days, I call it home.
It's now 2 in the morning. So much for not being fucking epic.
This whole damn season's sneaking right by me. Just a few days ago, it was just another day in December and now, tomorrow's fucking Christmas. Which means the trip to Seattle is only three days away. I haven't packed a thing. Time probably wouldn't fly by so much if I weren't drinking like a fiend. (That having been said, if anyone has any idea what or who I did on the night of the 21st, I would love to know.)
So thanks to the Pachelbel Rant on YouTube here, I've had Pachelbel's Canon in D running through my head for the past three days. Even downloaded the damn thing. (Downloaded Vitamin C's Graduation Song too, but anyway.) Now, if you know me, you'd know that this is bad enough already. If I have a song stuck in my head, you'll know about it. And that's when I'm sober. When drunk, I belt it out like fucking William Hung's trying to stop a tank in Tiananmen Square. Especially hilarious when attempting to put words to something with no lyrics. It's things like that that make public transit fun. But more about that later.
I went out with my mom for dinner a few nights ago and that was the longest night of my life. I'm telling you, if you're ever bored on a Friday night, just go to some shitty Chinese restaurant and order yourself the Undercooked Oyster Special. Your whole night is planned, just like that. And for reasons that I feel are obvious and that I don't particularly want to go into detail about, let's just say that I got a lot of reading done. Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is quite possibly the only science book that I have ever enjoyed. I got to learn all sorts of interesting facts about what was going on right under me at the time. (Hear that? That's the sound of Shanbot gagging and Mike Wolfe beating it.)
Yesterday was an absolute blast though. Despite having to go through the day with what felt like a mangled asshole, the 23rd was a day of copious partying and it was spectacular. Robin of R&G was having her Annual Christmas Potluck Dinner, so me and Shanbot had to bring some shit before eating everybody else's food. I took the easy way out by just going to Safeway and buying two rotisserie chickens like the lazy, can't-cook motherfucker I am ('cuz as much as I love scalding hot bacon grease to the eye, I can only handle so much orgasmic pleasure a year), but somehow, Shanbot coaxes me into helping her make potato salad. After peeling one potato too many and consequently naming it Catherine Tater -- I have a thing for naming inanimate objects; I even went so far as to name Shanbot's DivaCup Dane (also, see Catherine Tate) -- we pack up our food, the two-six of Bailey's that we planned to share and head out to Robin's.
Behold, me sober. (That won't last for long.)
So we get there and it's a high school reunion, pretty much. We all met in high school and have remained a fairly tight group since then. Even with half of us either working or a ferry ride away at UVIC or something, every Christmas, we still come home and raise a glass to the best and worst years of our lives that brought us all together. Everyone was there. P-Dawg, R&G, Stasia (teardropped), Ryan, Kayla, Tawse, their friends and of course, me and Shanbot all gathered around the kitchen, ate heartily, then gathered yet again in Robin's basement and proceeded to get tanked. Two-and-a-half glasses of Bailey's and two really-Crown-heavy Crown & Coke's later, I'm fuckered.
Irish rapper P-Dawg here is ashamed to even know me. (Got me a present though. How sweet.)
But hey, the night's not over yet. Remember our little trip to Zesty's last week? Well, on the way out, we hit up a brief conversation with local comic, Seth Perry. Turns out he was having a party out near East 1st and Nanaimo and he invited me, Shanbot and R&G along. R&G couldn't come because they had to deal with the aftermath of their party but me and Shanbot caught the 10:38 Skytrain leaving 22nd Street and made it to Seth's party 22 minutes later with much obnoxiously loud Pachelbel being sung along the way. God bless baroque. ("If it ain't baroque, don't fix it!")
We make it in the door just as Mike Wolfe's wrapping up his set but it's not like we don't know his jokes already so we just mingle. Already hammered, I make the decidedly poor decision to drink two open beers that seem to have misplaced their owners. (Bringing my drink count to six-and-a-half, which I suppose is sort of like a prime number.) I end up with Seth in the living room later that night, buzzing off the roofies, trying to follow along to his heartfelt karaoke rendition of, um, 'Sugar Pie Donkey Punch'. Mike has to pry me away from the karaoke machine. Somewhere in all this, Shanbot punches a wall and leaves a forensically-flawless imprint of her fist behind. "That's okay," says Seth. "This isn't even my house."
By then, it's far too late to even think about catching a bus back to New Westminster so we decide to go back to Mike's. Somehow, I manage to navigate the streets of Vancouver, a bus and roughly 27,950,124 stairs to his basement suite out in North Van. I don't remember doing that.
Is this the face of someone who looks like he knows what's going on around him? I thought not.
The three of us ended up staying up until 4 in the morning -- Christmas Eve, yay! -- watching Clerks II and Shock Treatment and eating partially-raw french fries. Me and Shanbot pass out at around the same time and I'm almost positive Mike took the opportunity to snap some dirty pictures for his own private collection. The inside of my mouth tastes like a horse's scrotum. Which is fantastic because by the next morning, that taste has been replaced by the much more pleasant Eau de Baboon Cock. But I survived.
And here's the obligatory Morning After picture.
Merry fucking Christmas, fellas... Now who wants to buy me a drink?
No major anti-racism campaigns out there closing in on me yet for that jihad joke? What about Michael Richards' lawyer? Nothing, eh? Looks like this third blog just might last. At least for a little while.
So I think this whole blogging thing might actually be good for me. Before I kicked off this third blog, I always found myself going to bed with a distinct sense of not having done much of anything that day. Rounding off my semester at film school with a 3.86 GPA was hardly anything to be proud of, especially considering the fact that I practically made a conscious effort to half-ass all my assignments and I still got nothing lower than a B plus. Know what the difference was between this half-assed semester and last year's give-it-all-you've-got semester? A lousy fucking 0.09. I'm never trying that hard again. I also used to go to bed vaguely horny too, but that's besides the point. The point is, now that I've started writing on a regular basis again, I go to bed almost inspired, and I lie there in those dark, lonely moments before I actually slip into unconsciousness wondering about what I'm going to write next and wondering about who's reading what I've posted. I also wonder if what I write inspires the people reading and makes them want to write. And whether or not what they write inspires other people. And so on. Then I picture the people reading all this, sitting there in their rooms naked unbeknownst to the online world (which I suppose accounts for the vague horniness) and remember all the times that I've done the same. When you read the personal thoughts and feelings of another person, they become your best friend in the entire world for just that moment. So whose best friend am I right now? I guess what I'm really trying to say is that more people should read blogs naked. Go ahead. Do it right now. Take it off. I won't tell.
Now that I'm all obsessed with writing again (which totally beats my recent obsession with illegal child porn), I've been stocking up on writing supplies in preparation for the next year. You guys already know all about my new journal but since then, I've also gotten myself a brand new Parker Classic pen and a Moleskine reporter's notebook. Both of which will serve me extremely well when I leave the country next week. But more about that later.
Last night, me, Shanbot and R&G went to this place on Commercial called Zesty's to catch Mike's comedy show. I've since learned that, yes, it is true that no one will ever ID you as long as you know one of the night's performers and that that's especially true if the place is relaxed enough to hold a comedy night in the first place. I mean, you've got guys up there talking about the last time they used bacon grease to lube up their dog's asshole prior to Brokebacking the poor thing and what's more, they're proud of it. If bestiality and describing in vivid detail the alabaster complexion of Heath Ledger's rock-hard cock are par for the course, are they really going to care that an acne-faced teenager is slamming Long Island Iced Teas in the corner? Probably not.
The quality of the performances vary, as they always do. It never fails. You want to absolutely slay an audience, tell the shit jokes. Poo is hilarious, no matter how you slice, dice, sculpt, cook or juggle it. What's not funny? Politics and your sex life. No matter how attractive you think you are to all the ladies in the room, no one there wants to picture you giving some cheap hooker a Dirty Sanchez. So where does Mike fall? Well, I don't want to say anything bad seeing as how he's a friend but I'm not going to lie either. In the immortal words of Shanbot, "It's a real shame that Mike's funny doing everything except stand-up." (Hear that, Mike? Donkey punch her!)
This picture sums up both Shanbot and Mike pretty well, methinks.
Shanbot goes home early yet again (something about having to work and being responsible), leaving me with R&G back in New West an hour and a bit later. On impulse, I convince them to hit another bar with me 'cuz I've only had four drinks -- the rules dictate that you have to keep drinking until you hit a prime number or it's bad luck -- and we end up at this dive called the Brooklyn Bar & Grill. I get carded but one look around the place tells me that they need the extra business so we cut a deal with the manager. One pitcher, no more and we have to drink it fuckin' fast. Done.
A short trip to Tim Hortons later, we've gone our separate ways for the night. I'm back home alone too fuckered up to even think about sleeping so I do what I always do when I'm drunk by myself. I go online. Remember the whole Kinder Surprise incident at my Blenz party? Turns out the guy responsible for that is online too. So I grab him through MSN. We chat for an hour and we end up going on a bit about how us guys sometimes make little gestures of affection towards people we're sort of attracted to and how those gestures don't really have any sort of intent attached to them. You know what I mean. You sort of admire someone so you go out of your way a little to do something nice for them. It doesn't necessarily mean you want to Brokeback 'em with bacon grease. In fact, I've always found that in the few times that I've done the whole small gesture thing, it's always been more for me than the other person. So I told him this and he completely understands. He replies back, "Just let her know I have no intentions with her. Too young. Just thought she was cute and saw an opportunity to do something I couldn't for a long time." I can relate. We sign off at 3 in the morning. I go to sleep sucking on a plastic bottle of long-stagnant water to fight the oncoming hangover.
My plan on just getting away from it all next week is going well though. Booked my hotel and bought my Greyhound tickets. Now to just convince my mom that she doesn't really want to come with me on my trip. Which, of course, you'll get to hear all about in a week.
The last thing my mom needs to see is me luring Seattlite puppies back to my hotel room with promises of bacon.
Never have I started a blog with a happy ending. In fact, this now being the third time I've tried to get a blog up and running, I have always been foiled by the fact that I simply choose never to change anyone's name, censor myself in any way or even attempt to conceal my identity. The triumvirate of fatal blogging mistakes. The first time, I was found out by my ex-girlfriend when I was still dating her. Remember when you were younger and you were convinced that in order to hang on to someone, "you should tell them how you truly feel because girls appreciate your honesty"? They don't. End of story. The second time -- and I'm still paranoid -- I was almost sued by Fox 'cuz a little blog of mine dubbed 'Memoirs of an Extra' revealed just a wee too much about what was going on on a certain Vancouver film set. And that ended with me scouring the internet looking for any traces of what I had written because a pack of rabid morons had decided to Copy and Paste entire entries and repost them on fan sites all across the globe. The plane tickets were one thing. The ammunition was the expensive part. But it's done. And gone. And over.
But I've still got a feeling that it's going to come back and bite me hard in the crack. Goodbye, film career. Hello, blacklist.
So, being ever the glutton for punishment, I'm back. And even though I'll have this blog going, this chick friend of mine, Shannon (redesignmymind), also convinced me to join some crazy LJ community called EMBODIMENT: keeping paper journals in 2007, so maybe I'll find myself in less trouble this year by keeping all the really sensitive stuff in there and ensuring that what I write here isn't going to make me the guest of honour at a public beheading or something. Then again, it's always kinda fun writing about people who probably shouldn't even be reading my blog anyway. Keeps me on my toes too. ("Well, I never SAID you were a loudmouth crackwhore; I only WROTE that you were!")
This is the bad boy right here. Handcrafted bonded leather surrounding 192 gold-edged pages soon to be filled with prose of almost Biblical resonance. I can hardly wait.
So where to begin? If this is the first chapter in a new age of blogging for me, it should be something profound and moving, shouldn't it? Perhaps something elegant and Dickensian should be in order. Yet, in a whole world, with all its greatnesses and littlenesses, even sublimer intelligences whom may read in the feeble shining of this earth of ours, every thought and act, every vice and virtue, of every responsible creature on it... cannot figure out how the bloody fuck to milk something poetic out of the veritable orgy that was the 4th Annual Blenz Christmas Party last night.
Picture the most relaxing place on the planet. Now add warm coffee, people you love, a good book and just a hint of corporate corruption. Pleasant, innit? Now add 25 soccer hooligans masquerading as college students and three badly-timed racial slurs. Welcome to New Westminster. See, what happens is, every year, instead of forking over $20 for every person I know on a CD or DVD that I'm not even totally sure they'll like anyway, I just bring everyone I know together in one of the many Blenzi dotting the Canadian landscape and buy them all coffee. (It's my fucking blog so they're my fucking plurals, all right?) And this just so happens to be the fourth time this particular event has taken place. The manager's just given up now. He just leaves two unfortunate underpaid employees in charge that night and takes the night off, which essentially translates into free reign for me. So, with our CD's blaring over the coffee shop speakers, we proceed to tell dirty and generally inappropriate jokes, sexually harass close friends of the opposite sex (same sex too, when feeling especially frisky) and play tackle football, sans football, awarding points to one another based on how many elderly customers we can drive away to the neighbouring Starbucks. Which was all well and good until we noticed three members of the African-Canadian community ordering coffee. The gods must be crazy. At least they didn't put a cap in my ass. (Kidding.)
A touch of romance as the night wore on too. Sweetmeats were exchanged and eyebrows were raised. Mostly because of a six-year age gap that basically amounted to a legal technicality. Surprising, but sweet in a way. Gives me hope for the future of the universe.
Blenz closed at 2300 hours and we consequently migrated to the Tim Hortons across the street with much running, hugging and traffic dodging. The bill came out to be $112.39, which was roughly $112.38 more than I could afford given that after being dooced for Attempted Blog #2, I'm not even totally sure I'm getting paid for the days that I "worked" as an extra. But what can you do? It's Christmas after all and I am a firm believer that there are two things that one should never skimp on and one of them is the holiday season. (The other one is talking dirty. You know who you are.) But good times were had by all. And it wasn't even over yet.
So we know this guy named Pearce, who's always been somewhat of a target of my particular brand of humour given that he's a) the most Catholic guy I know and, b) has a monosyllabic name that just so happens to be homophonous with the verb meaning "punching holes in parts of your body that dangle". Hence, the Pearce Movie Game. Much like the Vagina Movie Game in which you take a movie title and replace one of said title's words with the ever-hysterical noun, 'vagina', you simply substitute in the name, 'Pearce'. Which leads to such gems as "Men in Pearce II", "Pearce-ing Private Ryan" and "Four Pearce-ings and a Funeral". (We allow ourselves some liberties when playing.) "The Nut-Pearce-er" gets me every time. In any case, we're about halfway through a round of this when I notice the other conversation going on across the Tim Hortons. A couple that I've known to have recently split up are chatting and laughing as though they've just met. Not one iota of the energy that they exude hint at how they were together for over two years, that he left because he felt that they were too young and that he wanted to enter his senior year with a fresh start and no commitments. In short, he was a total man-whore. But if I hadn't known them at all, I would've guessed that he was about to make the moves on her and that it would start raining babies in three-quarters of a year. But, of course, I did know them. And, of course, it couldn't possibly rain babies. I mean, that's ridiculous. But all the same, having been through a rather bitter breakup recently, that kind of struck a chord with me. We are young, aren't we? And to be honest, it hasn't been killing me to be single. Besides, I keep running into Skankosaurus Ex out in the street and seeing her now is like that feeling you get when you move out for a while, then come back to your old home. She's changed. Like, entirely. Instead of the charmingly-awkward girl I knew when I was but a young pup, she's now this Vogue Magazine xerox of almost venomous perfection. If I didn't know her and met her tomorrow, I wouldn't even approach her. I've discovered as of late that I prefer normal people with flaws, idiosyncrasies and, oh yeah, personality. A friend named Hayley punching me in the back of the head jostles me back to reality and Helen Keller jokes.
People start milling back home and an hour later, me, Hayley, Shannon and Robin and Gordie (the likes of whom must always be written as "Robin and Gordie" because they are but two parts of the same entity, much like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) are outside a combination gas station, convenience store with a massive craving for breakfast.
Me: So how's about Denny's? Robin: Ben, that's about twenty miles away. Me: Isn't there one on Kingsway? Robin: ... Eighteen miles. Me: Fuck. Shannon: Why don't we just buy some bacon and eggs and cook it back at someone's house? Me: Sounds good to me. One problem though: Where do we get bacon and eggs this early in the morning? It's, like, dark-thirty. (Joke courtesy of Mark Richmond.) Shannon: Well, there's a gas station over there. There's bound to be some sort of breakfast food. Me: Deal!
It took us a while to find what we needed. This was due to the fact that the Iranian man jockeying the cash counter had never even heard of bacon, not to mention considered the idea of eating bacon and eggs together preposterous. Nevertheless, we make it out of there alive without even so much as a jihad. (I don't actually mean what I say. You know that, right? Fox, I'm looking at you.) But our happiness is short-lived. We make it as far as a KFC two doors down when Hayley's phone rings. Apparently, her "menopausal bitch of a mother" wants her home in two shakes of an extremely delicious lamb's tail. We wait outside the Colonel's pad. Hayley's dad shows up and ushers her off to safety. We go back to playing in traffic.
Shannon drops off a few blocks later, no doubt exhausted at being taken from behind numerous times during the night by fellow film student Mike Wolfe, leaving me and R&G back at my place, making breakfast at 3 in the morning. We scramble eggs, fry some bacon and steep some tea and hunker down at my kitchen table to eat. (Note to reader: Eggnog instead of milk in your tea? To die for!) I pull out an old photo album. Me and Robin go way back. Same with Pearce. We've all known each other since Grade 8 and I was just another short kid that everyone was sure had repressed homosexual tendencies based simply on the fact that I knew all the words to one too many Shania Twain songs. And the photo album took us right back there. (Man, I feel like a woman.) Pics of P-Dawg himself, back in his halcyon I'm-wearing-braces-and-playing-Magic-cards-and-I-just-don't-care days; Robin in her pre-Gordie, Ben-I-just-don't-feel-the-same-way-about-you days; and of course, me, in my you-may-be-taller-than-me-but-that-don't-impress-me-much days. Good times. It's good to know that there are some people who'll stick with you forever. The pictures are a pleasant distraction from the bacon grease slowly turning my plate translucent.
Robin and Gordie leave shortly after that and I head back upstairs alone to a cold room and an unmade bed. I poke around online. No new comments on MySpace. Pathetic really, that that actually makes me a little sad. E-mail? Nothing. I sigh. But then I remember the details surrounding a certain Kinder Surprise that was exchanged over the course of the night; how Blenz mochas always have the distinct quality of being the best thing you've ever tasted right up 'til you're about 2 cm from the bottom of the glass at which point, it Jew-morphs into raw sewage; how everyone's eyes lit up when Charlene M. sauntered into the room after no one had seen or heard from her in months; and even when that Iranian man back at the gas station smiled at me when I told him, "Happy Holidays". I thought back to all that and couldn't help grinning like a fiend.
Despite all the heartbreak, potential lawsuits and lack of any recognition for my shitty student films, there was no denying at that point that everything would turn out just fine in the end. Yessirree, as long as you can still poke fun at visible minorities in a jocular, please-don't-sue kind of way without ending up hanging upside-down from a tree with a fork in your ass, everything would turn out just fine.
In my opinion though, invisible black men still get off easy.