Observations On My Way Back Home From Smackdown!

1. I feel very naked when I'm not walking with my backpack. Seriously, that piece of fabric filled with my essentials has become a part of me. To the point where my balance is off if I'm not walking with it on my back in winter.

2. I really should have said something to the girl I was following down Whyte. Or even the cute cashier at Safeway. As usual, I didn't...

3. A half block away from the house, there was a big tomato or something on a tree. In winter! Upon closer inspection, it was a fake apple, along with a rubber snake entwined up the branch. Very cool, although pretty odd...

* * *

I was talking with my sister today. Apparently, when I sent my family's presents via Purolator, EJ's present got unwrapped. Luckily, Dad was able to scoop it out before she saw it.

EJ: That makes it easier for me to snoop. Maybe not more fun, but a lot less work.

Me: Why would you snoop at your Christmas gifts?

I was reminded of the last time I snooped at my Christmas gifts. I guess I must have been eleven or so, and I was SO busted by my mom.

Granted, when my mom came into her bedroom to find me on a chair in her closet, there wasn't much I could do to deny the facts...

EJ: I've been snooping since I was four.


EJ: I've never been caught. I'm rarely surprised.

It took a little bit of brain wrapping to actually consider that for the past eighteen years, my sister's been sneaking peeks at her Christmas gifts. I haven't done it since I was caught SO red-handed, and so I couldn't imagine being able to do it every single year since!

In any case, I work tomorrow, and need to go to bed. Then, tomorrow, off to Beaumont to spend Christmas with the Jago side, not including my family...So I probably won't post until after the craziness that will be Sunday at work.

Merry Christmas. I hope everyone has a great Christmas Day, and hopefully you all will be able to spend it with your loved ones.


Anagrammatically correct

Lord, I'm stuffed. I participated in the Pseudo-Christmas some of my friend decided to organize.

It went really well, other than the girls losing power in the church hall we rented for three hours during a monstrous windstorm (I'm blaming you, Dave!) this aft.

Since everyone was asked to bring some pot-luck food item, I thought it was time for me to whip up a bunch of Yorkshire Puddings for the event.

My mom sent me a new recipe that makes the puddings NOT turn out like hockey pucks. (Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff regardless of its shape. But my family's Yorkshires never fluffed up like they were supposed to.) Problem was, it was supposed to make 9 puddings. And there were going to be a lot of people at the dinner.

So, I sextupled the recipe. A dozen eggs, 3 litres of milk, 3 litres of flour, a bit of salt and some melted butter. Made for a crapload of baking for the afternoon.

But, man! The new recipe makes the puddings rise, that's for sure! Hot damn! So I was able to make about 36 Yorkshires using my recipe. Apparently, I'm making them a little heavier than what they should be. Although Canoegirl, herself a Pudding fanatic, gave me some tips to make them rise even more.

It was a fun time, seeing some people I haven't for a while: The Hamilton Morris Couple, Mel and Doug...And some people I've seen recently that I never tire of: Girlone, Canoegirl, Crazy Eight, etc...

It was a good meal and fun gathering. Thanks for inviting me this year, girls. Let's do it again next time...

* * *

Those of you who read this journal will most likely know that I'm a fan of writing and literature. And my close friends know me well enough to know I like parodying writing and literature even moreso.

So when I found this site, which imagines what poetry and prose would be like if the title of the poem was an anagram of the author's name, I laughed my ass off.

Also, browse Modern Humorist for some great things, such as the Jim Morrison flash game, or the Positive Prank Calls.

Melodramatic Office Theatre

A conversation with MFJ from a while back. As always, I am in green...

Jenna says:
brb faxing (again)
Transferred... says:
Always with the faxing!
Transferred... says:
Maybe you should MARRY the fax machine...
Jenna says:
lol Leave me alone, *SOB!*
Transferred... says:
I'm sorry! I just always see you...and it..
Transferred... says:
And I'm afraid I'm being left out of the equation!
Transferred... says:
So...I'm giving you an ultimatum.
Transferred... says:
Me! Or your PRECIOUS fax machine...
Transferred... says:
And before you make that decision, let me say this:
Jenna says:
Transferred... says:
I can do anything that fax machine can do.
Transferred... says:
I can hook up a phone cord into me and digitally send a picture anywhere in the world.
Transferred... says:
But the fax machine has me beat in one respect.
Transferred... says:
It can love you a lot more than I ever could...
Jenna says:
Jenna says:
And why is that exactly???!!!
Transferred... says:
You see, my dear. That fax machine is a cyborg. It has a human heart.
Transferred... says:
Granted, I'm a cyborg, too, but my heart is made of silly putty and transistors.
Jenna says:
Jenna says:
[In shock. Not sure what to say...]
Transferred... says:
I think is was Thoreau who said, "Hath not a man a soul, so he can love?"
Transferred... says:
I have no soul. Therefore, I cannot love.
Transferred... says:
So, that fax machine IS the better choice. Go on, and marry IT. While I will cry like there's no tomorrow over having lost you...
Jenna says:
Jenna says:
I love you, Jago!
Transferred... says:
But the fax can love you back!
Jenna says:
No. *sniff* No, it can't! It's not the saaame!!! [wails]
Transferred... says:
No, my dear. It's for the best this way. Leave me with my non-existent soul and my silly putty pseudo-heart...
Jenna says:
[sobs] If that's the way it HAS to be...
Jenna says:
I will try to resign myself to this pining...
Transferred... says:
And I will go off, always thinking about you, and the times we had, and wishing, someday that I could have a soul...
Transferred... says:
And although I want to RIP! the heart out of that accursed machine, and shove it in my endoskeleton, I know that it wouldn't be right....
Jenna says:
But...but it would! And we could run away together! Far from this accursed place!
Transferred... says:
You're doing it again, aren't you? You're feeding paper into the machine, and sending it across the airwaves?
Transferred... says:
Jenna says:
Um, well...yes...
Transferred... says:
Fine! I know that must be done.
Jenna says:
But I swear it means NOTHING to me. Nothing!
Transferred... says:
[storms over to the fax, tears out the toner cartridge]
Transferred... says:
Jenna says:
Transferred... says:
[Camera shot from above: Jago looks towards the heavens, with an unconscious Jen at his feet...]
Transferred... says:
Jenna says:
[wistful violins starting softly, then swelling to a crescendo as the camera, looking down on the scene, zooms up beyond the clouds...]
Transferred... says:
My hands are black, tainted with the soul of this fax machine! Why! WHY, GODDAMN YOU!!!?!?!
Transferred... says:
[Fade to black]
Transferred... says:
Narrator VO: And there ends another story from Office Theatre.
Transferred... says:
Melodramatic Office Theatre, maybe...
Jenna says:
Jenna says:
Oh, my God. I've never had quite so much fun on Messenger before.
Transferred... says:
Pshaw...You just have to be in the right mood...
Transferred... says:
Although I thought you might have picked up on the fact that, by feeling jealousy and sorry, I would HAVE to have a soul...
Transferred... says:
Ah, well...
Transferred... says:
Yup. This was one for the transcripts all right...


Work issues that irk me.

Well, one for sure. But first, let me tell you about the wonderful work day that was yesterday.

These days, with the mall being open longer, I'm usually closing the store, and can afford to show up at 11 am instead of 9 am. So I get to sleep in a bit.

Chris, however, seems to be getting burnt out. I can understand why, since I'm getting there, too. The store is so insane every day, and this is both Chris' and my first Christmas in management positions. So it seems that nothing ever gets done because everybody's helping customers. On the other hand, my sales are doing pretty well.

So Chris' dad came into town for the day, and Chris decided to head out early. It was also Barry's day off, but he had a customer who was getting a stereo sent to her house, so he needed to come in to arrange that.

Unfortunately for me, Barry's idea of "arranging things for this customer" was to drop it in my lap.

"Okay. She'll be home at about 4 pm, so you can send it to her house at that time. Also, let's call a cab company to do it, since our courier service is really sucking."

So, at 3:55, I get a call from this customer, who doesn't speak English all that well. "I'm home now, so you can send me the stereo."

I'm about to call the cab company, when I realize it would help if I had an address to send it to. I look up the receipt, and manage to find it only due to how foreign her name was. Barry, the guy with excellent foresight, didn't leave me a name or address.

Unfortunately, the address on the receipt is #9116 107 106 St. Which, if you live in the area, and are familiar with the efficient Edmonton way of gridding everything, you'd know does NOT exist.

There's no 107 106 St. Unless she lived in the oil refineries. Or the highway.

I call the phone number on the receipt. No answer. I call again. No answer. She must not have given us the right phone number, since she SAYS she's home, but not picking up a ringing phone.

4:30 pm. I get a call for her, asking where this stereo is.

Me: "Okay, I needed you to call back, because I don't have your address."

Her: "Apartment 9116. 107 106 St."

Me: "I'm sorry. That's not an address."

Her: "I live on 106 St. And 90 Ave."

Me: "So do you live at 9116 106 St? Or 90 Ave? (decides to go a different way with this) Tell you what. Can you give me your postal code?"

Her: "It's T6x 0x0. (I'm forgetting this, obviously)"

Me: "Okay. If you'll hold on a second, I'll find out where this postal code leads."

Her: "So I can hang up?"

Me: "NO!Pleasedon'thang(click) FUCK!" (I'm obviously in the back room when this conversation takes place.)

Okay, the woman's obviously an idiot. But I can't call her back, because I DON'T HAVE A PROPER PHONE NUMBER!!! So I look up the postal code. And find out that she WAS wrong, and that it was 9116 106 St. So the apartment MUST be 107.

So I call up the taxi, head outside with this HUGE stereo, waiting for the cab. When it comes, we start loading it in, and I give the guy what meager directions I have for him. Meanwhile, a security guard throws a young woman out of the mall. This leads to a great piece of outdoor performance art. Which the cabbie and I decide to watch, while holding this 50 pound stereo halfway into a cab.

"Fuck YOU, you SHIT! I'm doing my fucking CHRISTMAS shopping! You fuck! You fucking piece of SHIT! Kick ME out of the fucking mall! Fuck!"

Interesting story all by itself. If ONLY that was the hardship of the day. BESIDES getting repairs that have been sitting for a few weeks out. And then THIS phone call:

Me: "RadioShack Downtown. Kyle speaking."

Girl: "Is Chris there?"

Me: "I'm sorry. He's left for the day."

Girl: "Well, isn't that brilliant?"

Me: "Pardon?"

Girl: "I called earlier today because we got a USED iPod. And he was supposed to get me a new one."

Oh. Right. I remember Chris grumbling about this before he left. One of our salesguys sold an iPod that we had to get in from Kingsway. When it comes to stuff from other stores, sometimes people are idiots.

In this case, as well as some others I could share, we asked if they had a new iPod. They confirmed they'd send a new one. It comes in, we give it to the customer. And of course, it turns out not to be new. (Variations on the theme: Selling a "new" computer monitor, bringing it in, only to find out there's a repaired TV in that box. I'll tell you later...) But it's matter of us taking their word for it, and customers yelling at us.

Me: "I'm sorry. I'm not aware of what's been done about this."

Girl: "All I wanted to know is if I could get a new one today. And he was supposed to call me about it."

Me: "Ah. (I check my watch. 4:45.) I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be able to get one for you today."

Girl: "Well, that's an answer. Not the one I wanted to hear. But it would have been nice to have heard an answer beforehand."

Me: "I'm sorry-?" (asking if an apology was good enough from the guy who has no clue what's going on.)

Girl: "I wasn't really happy with the way he treated me this morning. I'll tell you that I'm going to write a letter to your head office about this."

Me: "Okay. If that's what you feel you should do."

Girl: "What's your manager's name?"

Me: "His name is Chris."

Girl: "That's it?"

Me: "That's the name he goes by, yes."

Girl: "Well, it could be short for Christopher, or Christian."

Me: "(chuckling) Well, it's not like I'm giving you an alias. Chris is his name. Last name McCrea."

Girl: "You don't have to be defensive about it."

Me: (about to say "I'm not being defensive." Which, of course, would be defensive in her eyes.) "Okay."

Girl: "Because if I'm writing a letter to head office, I'm going to need his name. My mother's coming in on Monday to return this iPod. And she's not as nice as I am."

Me: "Okay. Thank you."

I hang up. And immediately think, Man, if her mom's half the bitch that this girl is, I'm staying the hell out of the store on that day.

* * *
So, yeah. Yesterday was not my best day. I decided to unwind with some wrestling and beer with D! and Elimination.

My beef TODAY is about Kenneth, one of our new hires. He's bad. Not just Anthony-autistic bad, but bad.

He doesn't learn, takes half an hour to sell a phone that a customer wanted when they came in, and talks too much for his own good.

Also, he doesn't "trust the products we sell." Which really pisses me off, because if there's a product I hate, I try to recommend one that I like. If a customer asks me which phone is better, Panasonic or Nexxtech (our crappy house brand), I tell them point-blank, the Panasonic. Better phone, higher price. And it's worth the higher price.

But what I DON'T do is badmouth our products, like Kenneth does.

There's now a list of things I forbid Kenneth to talk to customers about. Today, he forced me to add cell phones to the list.

A cute girl came in asking about cell phones, and she got Kenneth. Guess which store she won't be coming back to. (First of all, I'd definitely help cute girls all the time, especially when it gets me the revenue cell phones give me. Second, I was too late to stop Kenneth. So I decided to listen to his spiel.)

Turns out that only way he could have done any worse would be to say, "You know, cell phones give you cancer." Or "Do you know how many children died in a sweatshop to make that phone?"

Granted, it wasn't much better. It was all I could do to not throw the heaviest, most blunt product I could find at him.

Kenneth: "One way where the cell phone carriers get you is in roaming fees. If you're traveling through a place that doesn't gave reception for your cell phone, you can get dinged a LOT of money, even by three or four different carriers."

Me, while pulling my hair out and considering slitting his throat with an ExactoKnife: "Kenneth, that's only in the States! The only time she'll have a problem is if she leaves the country. Here in Canada, Rogers has reception EVERYWHERE!"

Kenneth: "Still, you can lose a LOT of money through roaming fees."

Me: "KENNETH! Rogers doesn't have any roaming fees within Canada!"

Too late. The cute girl has left. And, surprise! She didn't buy a phone from us.

And I really had to control my temper and refrain from giving him an outright beating.

Sigh. Maybe it'll be better tomorrow. At least I got a RadioShack Card sale on an iPod today. Unopened, this time...


Odd Transformations 20

Man, if my life was a Cerebus comic, 7.5% would be these dream issues...

My dream today was that I was back in Moose Jaw, hanging out during sort of a Heritage Days period.

I remember a lot to do with horses that could turn into humans at any time (sort of like Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series), and that one of them was tolerating me riding her. Because when it comes to horseriding, I can't even do it properly in my dreams.

Also, some generic friend was falling in love with one of them (in human form, of course). And when we left one of the horses in the front yard, a nosy neighbour from next door decided to Christmas wrap it.

Otherwise, not too many details stick in my head.

A one-act, written last week


Jago: the narrator
Grank: friend of Jago
Jago's Brain: Jago's brain.

Setting: Jago's house, at his computer. Grank, on Messenger, has just finished reading Jago's journal.

Grank: So, this girl on the bus. Please tell me you talked to her and gave her a good "get in her pants" line.

Jago: Sorry, I didn't.

Grank: Why not?

Jago: I was too into my book and music, I guess. Besides, I was going to D!'s for some wrestling action, and I couldn't very well stand him up.

Jago's Brain: [inner monologue] My GOD! You did WHAT? What the hell did you do that for? That's it. I'm leaving! (Footsteps, door slamming.)

Jago: (to Grank) Besides, I was a coward.

Grant: (laughs) That's an explanation that's closer to the truth.

Jago: I guess I'll be stalking the Manulife Place bus stop for a while now, waiting for her to come back...

(Lights down. Scene ends.)


Neat Little Link

This website shows what the skeletons of famous cartoon characters would look like.

Pretty neat stuff.

If I could be vain for a tic...

So I got a haircut before the Kow shows.

My usual stylist wasn't in, and I got a girl who didn't know me. Melissa, my usual stylist can tell what I mean by "short on the sides and back, not so much on the top."

I didn't realize until the end of the cut just how short Jessica had cut it. It looks GOOD, mind you. Just not what I was expecting.

Then she took out a straight razor for the back of my neck. And did a very good job of hacking away the old growth back there. I made sure to give her a good tip.

So, yeah, my hair's currently the shortest it's been in about three, four years.

I have, however, noticed more women checking me out these days. After I hit Swizzlesticks, I was walking to the LRT, and some good looking coeds would smile at me.

Granted, maybe they were previously, and I just had no peripheral vision to see them doing so.

Last night on the bus after work, there were no seats left, so I was standing (as I tend to when no seats are available) in the back doorway.

I was sharing this door space with a cute girl off her work as well, I assume. Slightly Asian features, black hair. You know, the kind I go for. And every time I'd look up from my book (Fluke, by Christopher Moore. Read it!), she be looking at me with a closed-lip smile. And so I'd smile/smirk back.

Short-haired Jago gets the chicks. Why didn't I know about this earlier? (And, if you guys say that you DID tell me this earlier, I'm going to ignore you...)

* * *

One of the reasons it's taken me a week to post was partly due to preparing for the concert Kow had on Saturday.

Before the show, all of us were frazzled to our wits ends, due to people not showing up where they were supposed to, mistaken directions, us sending someone for MFJ, who had decided to take a bus instead, etc...

So, we were a little late and a little unprepared for our first set.

It wasn't bad. We sang well, and junk. It's mostly a matter of we lost the stage presence we had at Fringe, mostly due to us being shellshocked.

The ESC did a decent job yet again, even though due to the technical side being all screwed up, no one in the audience could figure out where skits started and stopped at some points.

Also, having three interrogation scenes with similar character names really threw us for a loop.

Two White Guys, jugglers, did a good set. The Wombats are also funny, if long, in their improv. D! and some ESC members were grumbling about how long they took, and how "bad" the improv was.

Sure, the improv itself wasn't great, but they had the audience entertained, which was all I, as a host, cared about.

Father Dave, as always, was a great storyteller. The singer we got wasn't so great, as she kept on trying to embellish and failed doing so.

The part that sticks with me the best was, of course, the part that hurt me the most.

The show was going a little long, and Kow was finishing up with their last set. After we left the stage, the audience cheered for an encore.

We walk back onstage, and I do my usual encore schtick, lifted from the Spinal Tap episode: "Thank you, Springton. There will be no encore."

I turn on my heel and fake walking off stage. The audience boos, the rest of Kow's watching me act pompous. I turn around at the curtain, turn on my hell to walk back to the mic, and I find myself flying in the air. Apparently, there was some dust or something on the floor, and I wiped out. Huge.

The audience laughs, I bring it up again during our Hey Ya encore. ("Okay, now Jago!" "Um, I slipped." Beat. Back into the song.)

It wasn't until the next day that I realized I must have fallen onto my left arm, since I wasn't able to support any weight with it for the next few days. I went gimpy, and it hurt like hell afterwards.

* * *

Two days ago, I went over to D!s for some virtual wrestling action, and to hang out with Morgan and Ryan. I decided to bring over a 12 pack of Sleeman's, and put it out onto the porch for a quick cool.

The next day, I went back for some Smackdown, and forgot that we had left the beer on the porch.

Now, I'll admit, I stopped taking chemistry once I graduated from high school, and we were pretty tired when I left the previous day. I forgot that, while some alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, beer isn't really one of them.

So we had six Sleesicles in various flavours. I decided to let mine thaw out by putting them in D! cavernous sink and a tubful of lukewarm water. D! decided to open his and drink around the hunk of ice. At which point, we had a beer volcano happening on his coffee table.

D! decided to wait for one of my thawed beers.

* * *

Reading: Finished up Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson, a great travelogue of Canada. In the midst of Fluke.
Listening to: My MP3 mix. Although we're forced to listen to Christmas music at work, so I'm going to have to bring down some of my non-traditional music for the store so I don't go insane.
What's Trapped in My Head: O Christmas Tree, sung by a bunch of synthesized cats and dogs. Kill me.


Odd Transformations 19: When Aliens Attack Choirs!

Brief post dealing with the dream I just had. And then back to sleep.

I dreamt that Kow was having a workshop with some college jazz/show choir. It might have been in Edmonton, but we were all touring on the same bus around to other places to hold joint concerts.

There was interaction between us and the other choir, and they even had their own Erin Q. or something. I felt obliged to mention to her that there was an Erin Q. in our old choir.

We were at one school, and were sleeping on some classroom floors like choir tours of old. We never slept in the dream, but I do remember laying my stuff on the floor in order to change and prepare for workshops/concerts.

At one point, we were getting ready for a dance between the two groups. Because I remember Dev and I in a friendly competition to pick up some of the girls in the other group.

In the end, before a concert. we were attacked by large aliens, ones that would hurt you with eye beams if they looked at you and decided to strike you down. I guess the best way to describe these things would be to say "Ever seen Neon Genesis Evangelion? They were sort of like pint-sized Angels, and just as deadly." Because there was nothing scarier in my mind as me off the bus confronting one in the parking lot, only to watch as ten more descend to the ground.

It was really one of those "The choirs are doomed" thoughts racing through my dream-self's head.

Also, after one of the choir members got struck down by one of the "Angels," I found out I had the power to consume any type of matter, since I was eating the virus off her face to save her from being infected.

So the moral of the story is, I guess: If you don't want to have dreams connecting dark sci-fi anime and choir tours, don't make a dozen Yorkshire Puddings before bed.


"I Will Make You Fishsticks of Men"

So for everyone who's interested in idiots in the media, here's a couple of good links:

Woman Sells 10 year Old Cheese Sandwich for $28,000.

And closer to home:

Man Says Fish Stick Looks Like Christ

The woman with the cheese sandwich? Who'd keep a grilled cheese sandwich for 10 years and then sell it on eBay? Who the HELL would BUY a cheese sandwich for $28k???

I mean, at least the guy's doing it for humour value...

* * *

Nothing too much going on with me. Working, working, working.

Got sick on Saturday and took the day off.

Buying a new (for me) video card from my friend Myles. He's buying one that should, I dunno, reach out and slap him in the face or something. And I'll be able to play games that are younger than two years old! Finally, my copy of GTA will run properly! And I'll be ready for World of Warcraft (Canton picked up a copy, and is loving it) or City of Heroes if I decide to get immersed in an online computer game.

Kow show in under a week. Come see it!

Will be involved in a Channel 101 pilot with a guy in town here. That should be fun.

* * *

Canoegirl: I finished Christopher Moore's Practical Demonkeeping. Pretty good for a first novel. Although I'm liking Coyote Blue a bit more...

Lamb's still my favourite, though...


My new obsession...

Before we start off with the main point I have to make, that being how kickass Katamari Damacy is, a few small things:

On Remembrance Day, I saw two movies.

First of all, girlone, Channers and I saw Ray, the Ray Charles story.

I loved it, mostly because Jamie Foxx does a great job inhabiting the role of Ray, and also due to whenever some bit of music came on, the movie kicked into high gear. Some great musical sequences, including the (fictionalized?) origins of "What'd I Say" and "Hit the Road, Jack."

I was even singing along with "Ray's Rockhouse," even though it was only instrumental and edited. Enough so noone could hear me.

The only things I couldn't reconcile: an end scene where Jamie takes off the glasses in a dream sequence and is able to see, since it was Jamie Foxx there, not Ray Charles Robinson like the rest of the movie. The other was a concert bit where they're singing "Night Time is the Right Time," in which all I thought about was that one episode of The Cosby Show where Cliff's parents are having their anniversary and the family lip syncs the song. (You know what I'm talking about: Where Rudy is the one singing "Baybaaaaaay!!!! Baybayyyyyy!!!")

Later on that night, I saw The Incredibles with Canton. It was also very good, but in a completely different way than Ray.

While Ray moved me more due to the music, The Incredibles was also a good movie.

Unfortunately, I already wrote this once, along with a hugely long-winded rant about how cool Katamari Damacy is.

Let's just leave it at: Whenever a game makes me look around at things on my way to work and think at what I'd need on my ball to roll them up into stars for my drunken "King of the Universe" dad, you know it's a came I'm obsessed with...

Read the reviews. Play the game. For only $30, it's a must-have. I only wish Canton's PS2 wasn't broken...

* * *

While watching Angel with Dev and Canton tonight, I got a 6-pack of Pepsi with my pizza order.

I drank three cans in an hour. I'd drink one, put it on the table, and repeat.

Or so I thought. When I was getting ready to leave the couch and put my cans away, I realized that two cans weren't fully empty. In fact, one wasn't even half finished.

So, yeah. I drank half a can of Pepsi, put it on the coffee table, forgot about it, opened another can, drank from it, forgot about it, opened ANOTHER can and fully drank that one.

Time for bed for Jago.

Reading: As much Christopher Moore as possible. Seriously, for a hilarious read, pick up Lamb.


Another conversation with Jay

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

I'm looking for a word.

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

this word plagues me.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:


Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

I know it exists, I repeatedly need it, but I can NEVER remember it when I want it.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

Okay. What's the definition?

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

let's say I believe that life is precious, and that i believe Saddam Hussein deserves to die.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:


Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

it would be difficult for me to ________ those two views.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:


Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

fucking q.

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:


Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

thank you.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

No probs.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

How ofter does it slip your mind?

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

And what the hell is "Fucking q?"

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

every time I have wanted to use the word reconcile for like the last 2 years.

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

I can't remember it.

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

It's inexplicable.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:


Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:


Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

"Fucking q" is similar to "Fucking A," except your pinky slips.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:


Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

I like "fucking q" better, methinks...

Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

I liked it when I saw it, too. Which is why I didn't correct it.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:


Gauntlet - Essay. Not Halo 2. says:

fucking q, my man.

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

Fuckin' q, indeed...

Now, I'm not posting this conversation to make it sound like Jay's a complete dumbass.

Because I blank on words, like, ALL the time...Anyone involved in a face-to-face conversation with me for more than, say, three minutes, can vouch for that...

And then, later on that night, when he's still writing his essay, and NOT playing Halo 2, I decide to play with his freakin' MIND!

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

Jason, this is the XBox calling. Take a break. It'll only be a few minutes...

Gauntlet - Essay. Red Bull. Not Halo 2. says:

xbox? is that you?

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

Yes. I am wanting you to plug me in to XBox Live. There you will find a lot of people to play agains- I mean, help you with your essay...

Gauntlet - Essay. Red Bull. Not Halo 2. says:

but... it doesn't sound like you, Xbox. I'm so tired...

Jago - Go See "Ray"! NOW! says:

Nonsense! Is not the colour of XBox green?

Gauntlet - Essay. Red Bull. Not Halo 2. says:

no, there are FOUR LIGHTS!


It's been a while...

First off, my Christmas wish list, which I know my parents have been waiting for.


Mr. Show, Vol. 1
Spider-Man 2
The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection
Hard Knocks - The Chris Benoit Story
The Rise and Fall of ECW
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast
Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story
WWE Backlash (mostly for getting the PPV I attended on DVD. See if we made it on somehow...)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Invader Zim


Mr. Show: What Happened? - Naomi Odenkirk
Sock - Penn Jillette
Ultimate Spider-Man Graphic Novels (from the beginning)
Tintin/Asterix books


Prince of Persia 2 (GC)
Metroid Prime Echoes (GC)
X-Men Legends (GC)
Def Jam: Fight for NY (GC)
City of Heroes (PC)
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC)
Scotland Yard (Board)
Carcassone/Settlers of Cattan (Board)


Jakalope - It Dreams
U2 -– How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Ray - The Soundtrack
Early Cake CDs (I’'ve only got Pressure Chief)

The Spider-Man 2 poster featuring Doc Ock from behind. (You know, the cool one...) Preferably big.

Pipe Dream
The Minolta Maxxum 7D, a 6 Megapixel digital SLR. At $2100, it's a big gift, and it can use all my old lenses. Let's face it: The only way this is happening is if everyone I know pitched in to get it for me. But it's lust-worthy for sure...

Otherwise, I'm not too picky.

Also, I know this might sound harsh, but I'd prefer it if Mom and Dad didn't read this journal anymore.

Dad, I know you accidentally found it, but there is some stuff on this journal that is me just venting. And I feel I can't properly vent these days if my parents are in the room.

Sorry. But you guys asked me to tell you if I felt this way. And I do. And I can still give you the news, I just don't want you to see it profanity-laden if I'm angry.

* * *

Has it really been two weeks since I last posted? Yipes.

Although I know the reason why:

If I'm shirking off my novel writing (only done 3500 words) and trying to find things to occupy my time, writing in my journal doesn't seem fair.

"Okay, I'll let Pirate Academy slide because I don't feel like writing. Now I will type for hours on my journal." Nah, doesn't work that way...

Here's what's been happening in my life:

At work, my store had been upgraded to an A-level store. Which means we're on the same level, product-wise, as Kingsway.

When I was on my sick days, the big boss from Ontario came in. The president of the company.

He saw how it was, and wasn't impressed. Apparently, our district manager decided to give us a different set of goals to focus on, which left Chris looking incompetent when Ean came in.

On the plus side, it was horribly busy, to the point where my old manager (and current regional Manager for the West) Mitch was ringing in tickets.

Ean took a look at the madness, went outside, flipped open his cell phone, and called head office.

"It's Ean. Edmonton Centre is now an A volume store. Get on it. They also need a third cash pod. Give them everything they need to get in shape before Christmas."

Like that, we got new staff, and our orders are getting bigger.

* * *

The Third Annual Apocalypse Kow Kristmas Kabaret is on.

Saturday, December 4 at the Stanley Milner Library Theatre. Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8.

Tickets will be sold at the door for $10 with an item of food for the Food Bank.

Guests this year include the Edmonton Sketch Conspiracy, The Wombats, Jason Morris, and more.

This cabaret is to support Astro, who's going to run in the Rome Marathon in March to raise money for diabetes. So proceeds will go to the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Kow hopes to see a lot of you there...

* * *

Also, congrats go out to my boy Justice, who got engaged to his girlfriend Helen recently.

Yes, J, we've definitely got to hang out in the upcoming weeks. And I expect an invite to your July wedding.

And when the hell did you get saved? Give me more than the occasional six month e-mail, guy...


BONUS POST! Transcript 1

So, for those of you who are wondering about my current MSN handle, it's from a conversation I had with Jay, who's the proud father of his first son Liam, who was born a week and a bit ago.

The conversation takes place a few days beforehand...(I am the green text, Jay is the black text...)

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

Big event?

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:


Silver Belt in Joga... says:


Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

no sign yet, though.

Silver Belt in Joga... says:


Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

we expect it thursday at the latest.

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

Maybe he's under the couch...

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

we have a sneaking suspicion that he's in Maja's belly.

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

we keep shouting "Baby! Get Out Of Her Belly!"

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

but it doesn't work.

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

Three words for you, Jay: Bait. And. Switch.

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

Seriously, though:

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

Check the cushions.

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

That's where all my change ends up.

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

good call.

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

Lori suggested repeatedly shouting things like "Wow! Look at that! That's Awesome!"

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

I suppose that's kind of like the bait and swtich approach.

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

"Man, baby! I'd hate to be missing THIS view! Good thing I'm not inside my mom's uterus!"

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

"Who wants cake? Everyone who's outside of mommy gets some!"

Silver Belt in Joga... says:

"Oooh, tough luck, kid. No cake for you!"

Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:


Gaunt|et - Off work for the big event. says:

if only we could taunt him over MSN in-utero.

I actually got this mailed to me by Astro, who died reading it and had to send it to me, not realising that I had it saved on my comp, as I usually do with conversations that I like.

Maybe later, I'll post some more good ones, if my audience is receptive...

Odd Transformations 18: The Novelization! (Special Edition)

I tried posting this a few days back, but Blogger decided to kill the post due to server maintenance.

So, here we go, with some extra content...

* * *

So I'm involved again with the National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, or NaNo, or Nnnnnn...But I'll be referring to it as NaNo...)

Two weeks ago, I had a dream that involved me winning a scholarship to a pirate school. It was a pretty "Harry Potterish" dream, with pirate magic, and a huge archaic school building with golden banisters and staircases everywhere.

I remember buying some fancy pirate clothes with my scholarship. And then I woke up.

The next dream right after that involved a friend of mine who, in my dream, moved to France. I went to visit her, and a wicker chair was stolen from the store she was working at.

Since I had, as yet, no plot for my NaNo project (starting up on November 1st), I thought I could go a story based on the dream.

But the pirate school dream was, in my mind, WAY too stupid for a 50,000 word novel.

I brainstormed a bit, came up with three characters that would work well in a story about a guy who visits France to meet up with a female friend who suddenly moved there two years ago. It was to be revealed that there was a third character (the best friend of the guy, the boyfriend of the girl) who had died of cancer, which led to the situation that the two living characters were in.

When I posted on the NaNo message boards, I started getting messages from friends asking me to do the pirate story.

I realized, after a bit of brainstorming, that I could make the ludicrous pirate academy work.

I forget who said this, (if it was Peter David, or David Cross, or someone who might or might not have "David" in their name) but I remember telling a good trick to writing anything:

The audience will only believe one lie that you tell them. The trick is to make that lie SO big that within the context of the one big lie, you can cram as many implausibilities into that premise.

So make the lie so STUPID, so incredible, that the reader will go along with anything you tell them afterwards.

Also, if I make the main character real enough, and have him comment on the stupidity of pirate school, I will deflate anyone else who tried to naysay my story with that argument.

So I've got a way for him to get into pirate school and win a scholarship. After that, everything else can be the most ludicrous story ideas I've ever thought of.

Such as the rival school across the lake, the school that consists of ninjas...

* * *

So there's a lunar eclipse happening as I type this. Every now and then, I stop typing, go to the front door, and watch.

* * *

On Monday, the members of Kow FINALLY had their Fringe-end dinner, something we wanted to do right after our last show on Sunday. Then our show got rained out, and we didn't have the energy to go out right away.

We thought we'd do it the day of NoHarm. And then we realized we wouldn't have enough time after sound check. So we postponed it again.

But, damn, that was a meal to wait for. We went to Tom Goodchild's Moose Factory, where it happened to be "30% off steak" night. And such GOOD steak! My mouth waters just thinking of it. I was completely satisfied with the ribeye, but I think I'd try the bison the next time I go there...

Dev wasn't too happy about not being able to eat half his mussels due to not being able to pry them open, but they managed to give us a huge amount of foccacia bread and garlic loafs. And the Honey Brown was great (probably the best on tap I've had in a while...).

Dev and I were considering dessert, but the rest of the guys wanted to leave. So I bought a peach Boston cream cake at Safeway when Dev and I went to D!'s for wrestling action later that night.

* * *

I'm just getting off a case of illness, one that left me bedprone and sleeping for about 16 hours over the course of yesterday.

I think I'll be back to work tomorrow, since I'm able to sit at my computer and type this...

* * *

I've decided to get tested at the hospital and see if I'm a match for my dad. He's going to need a new kidney, and my aunt Kim is a match as well.

I thought, "What the hey?" Dad's helped me out so much over the course of my life, the LEAST I can do is attempt to extend his life.

I'll wait until after Christmas for the surgery, but I'll have the testing done on me soon.

I was waiting to see what my company would say to me missing 6 weeks of work, and they said that I'd be eligible for temporary disability for donating a kidney. Which is good.


Odd Transformations 17: Nightmare

It snowed overnight. Time to bring out the gloves and toque..

* * *

For the first time in a while, I remember a dream that turned into a nightmare pretty fast. Granted, the fact that I tried to fall back asleep for the remaining half hour before my alarm was to go off and couldn't might have something to do with it.

First of all, I was supposed to go to some night class as my old elementary school, St. Margaret's. Dev was taking a bus and wanted to know if I'd accompany him. I thought, "Kill two birds with one stone. Sure."

We took the 5 north, and it was only when Dev and I got off the bus that I realized that I was supposed to go south from where I lived, not north. So I was a lot further away than I needed to be.

(Apparently, my old elementary had switched locations from Moose Jaw to somewhere like Mill Woods. And apparently the 5 goes from Westmount to Coliseum. Obviously, I was pulling numbers out of my head.)

When I was trying to figure out how to get back to where I was needing to go, the bus rocketed up into the air, and into a 20 story high bus barn. Apparently where it's parked for the night.

Instead of waiting for a bus to catch, I decided to walk home, instead of going to St. Margaret's, since I'd certainly miss whatever workshop/class I was going to.

I tried taking a shortcut that led me through houses. Once I realized this. I started backtracking, and found myself (now with a bike) confronted by this French guy sniffing glue out of a bag.

I tried to outrace him on my bike, but I couldn't go fast enough. He was wanting to hang with me, and even though I was trying to flee by biking through red lights and taking impossible tasks, it wasn't working. I do remember having access to a radar screen which showed me how close this guy was.

My plan was to bike to D!'s apartment, and seek sanctuary from the French glue-sniffer.

I passed by a kid hanging by his underwear on a street sign. A car screeched and stopped behind me, and the kid's mother yelled at him to get into the car. He also had a drug problem.

The mother, kid and I got on a bus, and I was apparently part of the family or something.

It wasn't until about five minutes or so dream time that I realized I was the kid's 40-year old white-trash father, trapped in Jago's younger body and liking it, while Jago's mind was still trapped in there with him.

The white-trash man started hitting on this girl who was on the bus, and asked, "Hey, baby. Where's your boyfriend?"

When she replied that he was out of town, the man inside my body picked her up.

That was about the time I woke up, freaked out.

* * *

I watched a feed of Crossfire where Jon Stewart showed up and really took the hosts and American media to task about the presidential election.

It was amazing. And I've got the segment on my computer now, if anyone wants to come by and see Jon Stewart plead that shows like Crossfire just "Please. Stop."

I remember why I admire Stewart so much...

* * *

On the recommendation of my manager, Chris, I downloaded LimeWire for my filesharing needs.

Man, it's a great program. A lot better than the iMesh I've been using for a while now.

It's quicker, there's a lot more files, you can have multiple searches, and there's no spyware in it whatsoever!


Great, so I have to memorize three more numbers?

I was waiting at the bus stop beside D!'s place last night after our weekly Smackdown viewing when I decided I had to buy a Journal due to an article teased on the front page.

"Ten-digit local phone numbers coming."

Immediately, I thought: Wait a tic, didn't we get a new area code five years ago?

Well, yes we did. But we're running out of numbers already, thanks to the huge explosion of cell phones, fax machines, and pagers in the province.

At this rate, Calgary and Southern Alberta will run out of numbers in the 403 code in 2009, while Edmonton and the rest of the 780 area is expected to run out in 2011.

Even though there's a potential 10 million numbers (granted not every combination would work, as there's no 0 is the prefixes, usually) in all the permutations of phone numbers we could have in our area code. (Taking out all the numbers that start with 0xx, 911, 866, 800, 611, and 411, we get 8.95 million potential phone numbers in Northern Alberta.)

Crazy, isn't it? There's just over a million people in Alberta, and I know that these are including corporate numbers as well. But that's saying that the average Albertan has at least 5 different personal numbers, which is kind of scary.

In any case, since it's a HUGE pain in the ass to cut up the areas again and give Alberta four area codes, we're looking at a new area code overlay, where they'll just add this new code to the front of numbers. Which means that we'll be using 10 digit phone numbers to get someone in the same city that happens to have a cell phone or a new number come three years from now.

Vancouver and the Lower Mainland had to go through this already, where they've got two area codes, and it seems to have worked.

And it is easier to do all of Alberta simultaneously, which is why it's going to happen so soon.

So buckle up, Alberta. It'll be time for remembering to add 780 or whatever other code we'll be getting to the front of any local number we dial.

Also, do you know the reason why most of our prefixes have lower numbers in them? Rotary phones. I could elaborate if you want to know...

Canadian Regions that will run out of numbers in the near future:
780 Edmonton/Alberta North - Nov 2011
403 Calgary/Alberta South - Sept 2009
250 B.C. (excluding Lower Mainland) - May 2009
519 Southwest Ontario - Oct 2006
613/819 Ottawa/Hull - June 2006

416 Toronto ran out in 2001
905 Toronto area ran out in 2001
514 Montreal ran out in 2002
604 B.C. Lower Mainland ran out in 2001


Odd Transformations 16, and a great Thanksgiving dinner

Just woke up from a dream where I went back to Moose Jaw for the Christmas holidays, and took the rest of Kow along with me.

It was December 21, and I was wondering why my family was still getting ready for school.

Mom asked me if I needed a ride from school today (for some reason, I was going back to my high school, Peacock), and I said, "Nah, I'll take the bus home. It's only a two block walk to the bus stop, and I'm used to walking a lot further than that. Besides, I've got my book to read."

Before school, though, some radio station had set up a live unit in my front room, because Kow was doing a media appearance, along with Quintessential, who had decided to add a woman to the group.

At one point, I, along with the female Quintessential member and another guy, did an impromptu version of Moondance, and I somehow sang lead, even though I didn't know the words to the song, and tried to muddle my way through it.

My friend Romy was in the audience, sitting at my dining room table.

Afterwards, EJ and Brade were in the living room watching TV, while I was frantically getting ready for school, trying to find Dev, who was also going to go to Peacock along with me.

I remember thinking, "If it's the 21st of December, wouldn't we get the week off for Christmas?"

Dev was getting a ride to school from a neighbour, and I was trudging my way through broken ice to get to the car before they took off.

I woke up then...

* * *

On Monday, Canton and I were gearing up for a season of video hockey, when I got a call from Marauder.

"I hear a rumour that you didn't get a turkey dinner."

"That's right. My family dinner was in Wetaskiwin yesterday, and I was working."

"My parents are offering to cook you a Thanksgiving dinner, if you're interested."

So I took him up on his offer.

Before Marauder, Neeta and I went to St. Albert, I made sure to stop off at the liquor store for a nice bottle of white wine. I picked up this good-looking South African chardonnay.

Before the dinner, the three of us watched The Impostors, one of my favourite movies. There's just something about a movie full of stars that wants to be a thirties comedy and succeeds, pratfalls, mistaken identity, singing and all...

The dinner was delicious. Mrs. Marauder went to the store to find some turkey parts so she could cook over some leftovers, but could only find a full turkey. And they made me a pumpkin pie, since there were no store-made ones.

So I gorged on turkey, buns, mashed potatoes, peas, dressing, cranberries, and of course, a crapload of gravy, along with a few glasses of milk and a great wine.

I was much appreciative of the Marauder family for going through all that trouble of making sure I had a Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Axler invited me to his family's dinner, but I had to decline since I was working until 5:30 on Sunday.

And there was no Heath this time around to come in from Prince Albert to visit his girlfriend, since she now lives in the same city as him.

So it's nice to know that the Marauders, who, while I've met them a few times, but wouldn't say were like family to me, were willing to go out of their way for me.

Thank you.


A better-than-expected movie, shmoozing with small-c celebrities, and yelling at people...

So I've been a little slack in posting here. Not that there hasn't really been nothing to say, there has and this post will kind of show it...

It's just been, well, between work, sleeping, relaxing and sheer sloth...

Eh, in any case, here we go. Bah. One week. No probs. It's a lot more prolific than other people I know (looking at you, Marauder. And Nova. And, well, everyone other than Dev, Dan and Dave...

* * *

Last Wednesday, I was asked to participate in a choir event, singing at the opening of the new Churchill Square.

It was cold for the girls, not so bad for the guys (especially when you're like me, and have something like four layers on when wearing a tux).

A decent time, other than seeing Mayor Bill Smith pimp for the camera like his job was on the line. (Oh, wait. It is...) My old coworker Mike Jenkinson was there in Edmonton Sun capacity (EDIT: He says he wasn't there that night. Odd. Someone in the city looks eerily similar. Granted, he could be mistaken, although not usually when he looks like his Sun pic...), and my old GMCC Video News Writing teacher, Steve Hogle, was the MC.

Afterwards, the choir was invited to join in on the finger food and wine at City Hall. Very good wine, yummy snacks, and I was able to shmooze with Steve for a bit. Talked about what I've been doing since Grant Mac. And I've got an in for publicity for Kow's Christmas show. Not that I'm worried about publicity for it, since we were No Harm's media darlings, but it's always nice to be able to think ahead for a change.

* * *

Last Saturday was Marauder's birthday, and D!, Canton and I went to celebrate along with a crapload of theatre people. Highlight was the video Lee made featuring Marauder's best Edmonton Sketch Conspiracy moments, which must have been every sketch Lee taped that featured Marauder.

Including the infamous Bubba Bomb that D! sold like a madman two years ago.

* * *

Yesterday, Dev and I picked up The Girl Next Door, since we both wanted to see it, and didn't think it would be too appropriate if either of us watched it alone. We just imagined it being too much of a "sitting in the dark, lusting after Elisha Cuthbert" kind of way.

The ads all show the film to be a typical teen movie, in the style of Road Trip or American Pie.

But when Dev and I first heard the opening song (Queen's "Under Pressure"), we knew this wouldn't be what the ads promised.

The best way I could describe it is as the sort of "coming of age" film that Risky Business and Something Wild are: A high school senior realizes he's spent all of his school life studying for college, and when Elisha, a former porn starlet, moves in next door, his studious little world is blown apart.

Some great acting from Elisha, who Dev and I are used to as the dumbest girl on the planet, Kim Bauer.

Tim Oliphant, as a porn producer, was probably my favourite character, but everyone in this movie with a better-than-average part was pretty well-written and characterized.

If you're looking for a good "coming of age" film, you can do a lot worse than The Girl Next Door.


Back up and running...towards bed...

So the renovations are done. Which means I won't have to yell at customers to leave my store because we're closed. Now I have to tolerate them once more.

Seriously, these past few weeks have made it so I'm needing to get back on the horse, retail-wise. For the past two days, I've been trying to keep myself in the back room away from customers, because I don't want to look at them.

And will they get off my freshly waxed laminate floor already???

Unfortunately, my co-worker Ammon, who's a new hire, has fallen into the habit of doing what most new hires do when they don't know much about the product: Say "You know, I'm not sure. But Kyle will be able to help you out, since he's sure to know."

And so, I usually come out of the back room to find a lineup of customers waiting to talk to me. Or I'm helping one customer for a long time because they need the help, and I hear Ammon tell his customer to ask me about fuses when I'm trying my hardest to sell a set of speakers with no box.

I, of course, straightened out Ammon by telling him that that's my least favourite thing to have to deal with when I'm already dealing with my own crises...and that the catalog is his best friend.

It was when I started out...

* * *

Went to the No Mercy PPV tonight. I happened to have the line of the night. (I know so because I got a standing ovation by some in the room. Or at least a sitting-up-straight ovation...)

When Dawn Marie, Smackdown's resident lustbunny, came out wearing a "Charlie Haas [heart]s Dawn Marie" shirt, Elimination was stunned by her usual lack of clothing.

Elimination: "Oh! Hey, wait! Dawn's shirt has writing on it!"

Laughter from room.

Me: "Oh! Hey! It's written in Braille!"

Two minute laugh break.

* * *

I've been having odd sleeping habits these days. I mean, I've ALWAYS been borderline narcoleptic, usually falling asleep in the moment WHILE I'm putting my glasses on the nightstand.

Usually, I can't stand less than ten hours of sleep. I can make do with eight, but I thrive on more.

So ever since the week of Northern Harmony, where I was renovating and being bored for eight hours a day, and going to so many media stops, I've been falling asleep a lot earlier than usual, hitting the sack before midnight. (Before September, I wouldn't consider going to bed before one a.m.)

So these days, I' d get into bed, read a magazine, and two paragraphs in, I'd be out cold. Not so bad, until I wake up at three in the morning, realize my lamp was still on, find my reading material half-crumpled beneath me, and locate my glasses at the foot of the bed, sometimes folded neatly.

God, I've got to stop falling asleep before I fall asleep...


Last performance for a little while...

Before we had a little rest to prepare for the Christmas season, Kow did a gig last night at the Kitchen Sink Cabaret.

It was a fun time. We got to the Druid pretty early, and made sure to have our mics and monitor just in case something like last year, where the sound tech wasn't prepared, happened again.

As it was, it seemed they had no sound tech at all. The bartender MIGHT be able to do it, if he calls his boss to coach him through.

Also, no mic stands.

So we had an uphill battle to begin. Not to mention that the Druid is the LAST place you want to go unamplified, since that place sucks up every bit of sound coming from the stage.

Since we got there early, Dev, Canton and I decided we'd get some food and drink. Well, I had the drink, since Canton always has iced tea, and Dev picked up some coffee.

The waitress tried giving us menus when we were walking from the bar, and Canton and I picked one up, Dev had no hands free.

When we get to the table, and the waitress (Nicole) comes up, she apparently decides that Dev would be the one she talks sass to. And decides to flirt with me the entire night.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Cute girl, shorter, raven hair. You know. My type.

It starts out with Nicole caressing my shoulder. A lot. When Dev would ask for a refill on his coffee, Nicole would say "Nope. Not a chance." Dev hides in his sweater like a turtle. I ask, "Can I have his coffee refill?"

"Sure. Coming right up."

Then she'd give me pet names, like "monkey." And I think she called me sweetheart once or twice as well.

Dev, on his journal, tells his side of the tale, saying "Our waitress, a keen judge of character, decided that in order to maximize her tips she needed to a) flirt like crazy with Jago, and b) be a gigantic smartass to me."

I do have one bone to pick about that. The flirting with me would not so much be more likely to make me give her a bigger tip. I mean, sure, it does inflate my ego a bunch, but if she was as sassy to me as she was to Dev? I'd still give her an equivalent tip.

In any case, the show went pretty well. The crowd was responsive to our songs. Both the ESC and Blacklisted did some very funny sketchcom, although Blacklisted went completely for the dark side of things, like two guys trying to molest a lamp, the drunk driver who gets home to find his family dead, the "Happy Eighteenth Birthday, Olsen Twins" song.

I'm not sure if I'd want to have Blacklisted perform that sort of stuff if we invite them to our Christmas cabaret this year. I mean, we apologized enough last year with the ESC's choice of sketches. If we decided to have both of them perform, I might as well just start drinking a crapload of eggnog during the show.

Wait. Did I say eggnog? I meant scotch.

Mario got great cheers, as did pretty much all of our songs. Before Hey Ya, you had a bunch of girls (who weren't there for the show, so much as they were there to drink) go to the performing area, and call out to us that it was Amanda's birthday.

Dev: "How old are you, Amanda?"
Amanda: "Eighteen."
Dev, me: "Well, happy birthday, Amanda!"

We then start setting up for our next song. There's a disappointed groan from Amanda's friends.

Dev: "What? Because we're an a cappella group, you think we're going to sing Happy birthday to Amanda?"
Me: (to the tune of the Blacklisted song) "Happy eighteenth birthday, Amanda-ah!"

Cheers from both Blacklisted, and Hughes, the MC, died laughing.

Me: "Tell you what, Amanda. Dev, we can sing the next song to her, can't we?"
Dev: "That works."

At which point we sing Hey Ya, and to their credit, the girls, who seemed to be the kind who really couldn't care less about the Cabaret, watched us for the rest of the set.

In all, a fun show. If only it wasn't just the usual drama/theatre patrons there...

* * *
(edited to remove the post about the book I just finished. I didn't think it made it into the last post, as my modem happened to get unplugged en-poste. I was wrong...)


We gave it our all...

Alas, no awards for us this year.

Yesterday, Northern Harmony 2004 took place at the Eva O. Howard Theatre. Along with four other a cappella groups from around Alberta, Kow vied for the crown of Best Group.

First of all, before telling my thoughts of the other group, I'm going to pretty much go for my thoughts on our performance:

When we were introduced to the audience as the second group to compete, there was a pretty noticeable cheer for us. Hey, it looks like we've got a pretty big fanbase, which is nice. Maybe we'll nab the Audience Favourite award this year.

We came out to the big cheers, trying our best not to acknowledge the audience, since we get timed from our first second performing, whether it be a note, a look at the audience, anything that starts the show.

We opened with Mighty Mouse, and if there's one thing that Kow did to a 't' last night, it was channel every bit of energy we got from the crowd, and shove it right back out at them.

The air was electric with energy. It was amazing, and it has not too hard to throw a big smile on my face for the most part. Stan did a good job with the solo, and the audience seemed to enjoy the old theme song, as well as our added Grease riff at the end. (That was my idea, during a rehearsal. What can I say? I'm a jackass that likes making the others crack up.)

After the applause, I introduced us.

"Wow. What was that?"

Dev: "I love Olivia Newton-John"

Me: "Okay, then. Hi, we are Apocalypse Kow! That means our initials are A.K., which, if you're a bad speller like Joel here, also stands for Audience Participation."

It was a subtler joke, one that took a few seconds to sink in with the crowd.

At which point we sang Hey Ya. What can I say? We were on. I got the proper timing for the Beyonce bit. The crowd was into it, clapping at all the right parts. And they just died laughing when all five of us broke into the Kingston dance during the "shake it like a Polaroid picture" part.

Granted, there is something inherently funny with five guys dancing like spazzes, and it is a running joke within quite a few of our friends who were in the audience. Seriously, it's hard to describe the dance my old buddy Kingston does (or at least, did), but it's akin to taking out your knee and elbow joints before hitting the dance floor.

After Hey Ya, we premiered our "mystery song," the song that Kow made sure not to tell people about lest it ruins the surprise. Astro had arranged the Mario themes, everything from the main theme, to the water levels, underground, the star bit, the flag sting, and, of course, the dirge of Mario's death.

It went over quite well, but them, so did our entire set. We had most of the audience eating our of our palms.

We then finished off with a rocking Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen. Dev lost a bit on the high notes, but it was nothing major.

We did a very good job. We were playing with the crowd, we were solid, we didn't make many technical mistakes. I know for me, that even though I was channeling the audience's energy through me and throwing it back at them tenfold in everything I did, I was also very focused on what we were doing, not letting the music go to autopilot.

The things we were trying to fix minutes before the show were fine. Everyone was ON. It was a great show by Kow. We rocked, no, I'm sorry, we RAWKED the house.

We thanked the audience and ran offstage. We thought we went over the time limit by a few seconds, which by NoHarm rules would drop us a place in the standings regardless of how we did. We wouldn't be getting first place, no matter how much ass we kicked.

Dev thought he killed our chances by cracking on FBG's highest note. Which wouldn't have been the case regardless (losing because of one cracked note, that is...).

All I knew is that no matter which awards we didn't get, this was one set where I was really proud with what we accomplished. And nothing could take that away from me.

Ka (my old friend and producer of the show) came to me after the intermission, and asked how I was doing. I told her, quite honestly, that I was exhausted. Apparently, some people were asking her, "Jess, what's the deal with Kow?"

Jess: "What do you mean?"

Other people: "I can't believe that's the same group from a few years ago."

Other people were saying the same thing. Quintessential was telling me backstage that they loved our set, and they thought we had improved so much in the last year.

Vince, the group's tenor, said he was laughing so much from our set (in a good way) that he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to sing properly during their set.

Now, my opinion of the other groups:

Rhythm Speaks did a great job. Especially with their version of BoyzIIMen/Mariah Carey's "One Sweet Day." You can definitely tell these guys have practiced, and since they had a member change a month before the show, and they became a mixed group, it was pretty darn good.

Rhapsody was a tight Sweet Ads (female barbershop) group. Alas, I wasn't listening to them so much, as they went on after us, and that was when I had little energy to do anything except for reviewing our set in my head.

Quintessential was tight, as always, and their version of Glass Tiger's "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone" was amazing. What I want to do this year is perform a joint concert with the group, and give them one of our arrangements in exchange for one of theirs. See how it'd sound with a different take.

It was also the first time I've ever heard a medley of Weird Al polka medleys. Yes, they actually combined a load of medleys and still made it pretty slick.

Vince was telling me they were having troubles with some of the risque songs that are in Weird Al's songs, so they added some from others, just so they don't alienate the audience. He then told me how much he liked Canton's slapping of Dev during Hey Ya's "Just wanna make you come-a" line as a way around potentially risque lyrics.

Last was No Assembly Required. They, as always, are very tight. Unfortunately, to ME, they're VERY whitebread. Not that it hurts them any when it comes to their audience. Their audience just isn't my audience is all. Different strokes...

Still, I can't say that they didn't sound good, because they sounded excellent. Joel, the tenor, has a great voice (and he won Best Soloist to boot), my old high school friend Spanks was a good addition as their high tenor. They did a few standards, a fast rollicking Newfoundland shanty. Good stuff.

No Assembly Required won the Audience Favourite award again this year. Good for them. Also, whichever fans of ours thought that trying to rig the voting so we'd win would be a good idea?

Please, we thank you for your devotion, but it's not necessary, especially when the producers can figure out that a ticket ripped in half is NOT two tickets.

Apparently, it happened in a bunch of voting boxes, but it was most prevalent in ours. Eight times.

Last year, thanks, but no thanks. Seriously, the only way we're going to win Audience Favourite is if we keep getting more people to come out to NH, not to have our friends try to cheat on our behalf.

The fact is, No Assembly Required is a safe group. And when it comes to NH, the audience is made up of (after friends and families of the groups) a lot of older folks who like the barbershop and traditional a cappella groups.

And No Assembly Required is definitely a traditional group. Good for them!

Kow's biggest weakness (and biggest strength, for that matter) is we ARE an edgy group. We don't always make our audience comfortable.

I mean, sure, we have fun performing (otherwise we wouldn't do what we do, obviously) and we have a lot of people who are fans of us. In fact, in the past two years, I can definitely say that not only have we improved in leaps and bounds, we've become known, as much as a cappella groups can be known, really.

But our musical tastes and tastes in most things, collectively, are not ones that are universal.

I mean, I can see us going back to NoHarm, because it is one of our favourite things to do, although it IS a competition, and sometimes we seem to be masochists in that respect.

And some people were thinking that the voting for Audience Favourite was rigged, since we seemed to have the most crowd support.

To which I say, quite emphatically, bullshit. We were not the most popular group there. I mean, sure, it might have been VERY close (and I'm sure it was), but the reason we keep on having good crowd support is, due in part, to the fact that we have VERY vocal fans. I'm sure that there were a lot of people who enjoyed us. I also know that when it came to the intermission, when I was selling shirts, there were a few people who wouldn't look me in the eye.

And, since NAR is a traditional, safe group, a lot of people felt a lot more comfortable voting for them. As well they should. We just have to get more of our friends' butts in seats next time. Same as it ever was...

(As it was, when we thought we went over in our time limit? We didn't. Out of 12 minutes allotted, we took up 11:55. So we were happy about that.)

Second place went to NAR as well. First place went to Quintessential. They took time for one last song, because Vince arranged with the producers beforehand to propose to his girlfriend onstage during their rendition of Good Lovin'.

The Chickadivas hosted the show, and did a good job with it. Although I DID have a sinking feeling in my stomach before they went on. Since I asked one of them:

"How many songs are you singing?"

Diva: "Oh, we've got 30-40 minutes."

Me: "Um...Oh."

Me, thinking: Do they know that it's already something like 10:00? Do they know they're not there to perform an entire concert?

As it was, Mike and Ka were almost killing themselves jumping up and down on the wings trying to get them to notice that they should stop after about 25 minutes.

* * *

So that's pretty much everything I remember about last night. I wouldn't change a thing about our performance, I'm proud of everyone in Kow for being so energetic, yet focused. Unfortunately, we fell a little short. Just gives us more of an impetus for next year.

* * *

In other Kow news, I've put our bootleg into my iMesh shared folder, so people are able to find Kow songs online in a file-sharing way now...

* * *

I finished Minister Faust's book The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad recently. Such a good book, I might use it as my book club's selection come my turn to host.

It was sort of sci-fi-ish, I guess. More like an urban fantasy with sci-fi elements that was brought to life and grounded it in reality due to Faust using Edmonton as the setting, as well as Faust knowing his characters' voices very well. I could actually see where these things took place, due to my familiarity with the city. It made it more real for me.

I heartily recommend picking this book up at the library or at your nearest bookstore.