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.


The Kow media juggernaut keeps a-chuggin'

So we just finished up the CBC gig, which went pretty well. A half-hour interview/concert where we got a pretty good lunch turnout in the heart of Edmonton.

Other than my mic level being a little low, and my voice sounding pretty gravelly, it was fun. We got some publicity out of the deal, we got free CBC shirts, and I went to Fat Frank's for lunch.

Fat Frank's, for those of you not in the know, is the best hot dog kiosk in Edmonton. I got addicted to their Honey Ham Smokie when they opened a booth on Whyte Ave last year.

Seriously, the smokie is HUGE! And it's SOOOO good.

But the kiosk on Rice Howard Way, a block away from my mall? They've got the biggest condiment table I've ever seen! Two kinds of homemade relish (corn and pickle), sauerkraut, onions, pickles, olives, five or six different mustards, the same amount of mayos (including my favourite, Hellman's Bacon and Tomato), chili sauce, ketchup...

It's great. And only five bucks for a huge smokie and drink. Bliss...

Anyways, back to the media blitz.

I was REALLY pumped to hear Shelagh Rogers introduce our "Hey Ya" cover on CBC nationwide this morning. They spliced it in with the original song just so viewers could tell the difference. And we got our names out across Canada! Whoo!

There's the Examiner article, as I posted earlier, and the CKUA show he had to turn down, since it's when three of the four of us are not available.

And in today's edition of See Magazine, we're mentioned twice for our two shows this weekend, which are both listed as Picks of the Week. (Saturday: NoHarm, Sunday: Kitchen Sink Cabaret - The Druid, 11606 Jasper Ave, 8 pm show start, 7 pm doors open, Pay what you can - $10 recommended...)

So, nice publicity for us.

* * *

Brian Wilson's finally releasing the album that broke his mind back in the 60s - Smile.

I'm not sure if I'd buy it or what. It's pretty interesting sounding, from what I've heard, but I think I'd just go ahead and buy Pet Sounds first. I mean, really, after 35 years of hype, Smile can't be all that it's made out to be.

I'd probably buy it for Dad's Christmas gift, mind you...


Free show! Come see!

For those of you who read this in time, and are able to come down to Edmonton City Centre tomorrow lunch, Kow will be performing live for a half-hour CBC Radio taping.

That's right, this Thursday, Kow will perform at 12 noon for Edmonton AM, as well as possibly shooting some video spots for the CBC news.

Note: This is not a concert we're performing just so you don't have to come to Northern Harmony to cheer us on. We still need all the audience we can get.

BTW, NoHarm is 50% sold. Buy your tickets here if you haven't already picked them up. Because they WILL sell out, like they do every year.


Media Harlot, I mean, Darling...

So I've been going hugely into the media for Kow and NoHarm. Firstly, it started with a miniconcert that we threw for the Chorus, which went over pretty well, although Kristin said with some regret that she now has to introduce us as alumni of the choir and not current members.

Although we threw our new Grease spin into Mighty Mouse, which was completely being me being stupid at rehearsal. We just threw it in there for a laugh, and the audience LOVED it. We didn't think it would go over gangbusters like that, that's for sure...

On the way home from karaoke at RATT, Canton and I were shocked at the scene in our backyard.

Vicky, the landlord, called me up that day to say that her husband would be doing some pruning of our backyard tree to kill some of the huge branches.

I'm not sure if her husband's insane or what, but we came to find a trunk with no branches. It looks horrible, so I'm hoping they'll be removing it from the backyard. The tree wasn't the best, but at least it gave us some green and some privacy.

* * *

Then my interview with the Edmonton Examiner came out and all of a sudden, I was getting calls from CBC. Not just Edmonton CBC, which asked for a copy of our bootleg disc, but Sounds Like Canada, a national show that wanted us to perform. Gah!

I mean, we're on the Big Breakfast tomorrow (A-Channel, 8:40 a.m.), but we've done that before, and it's mostly local, unless you've got satellite.

CBC is big. At least, National CBC is. Needless to say, I was almost hyperventilating when I got that call.

Now CKUA's also asking for us. Apparently, we're this year's "it group."

If only our schedules allowed for all these appearances...

* * *

We're doing renovations at the store these days. It should take about a week.

The good news is that I can show up to work in any old ratty thing. The bad news is I still have to show up to work to clean the store, rip out carpets, and just babysit the store while the renovating crew is working.

I've realized that most customers are VERY stupid.

Now, I can understand coming into the store when we've got the doors partly open so we can take fixtures out, even if all the staff is in non-selling attire. I'd just say, politely, that I'm sorry but we're currently closed, and we couldn't ring in anything even if we wanted to, because we have no working terminals. To be quite honest, though, we DO have five 8x10 signs up on the doors saying that we are closed for renovations.

When the renovators started making a scaffold and blocking people's way, the stupider ones would go AROUND the scaffolding, OPEN the doors to the store that seem to be closed for a reason? That's when I have a problem, and I pretty much say, "I'm sorry, but we're closed. Please, I can't do anything for you."

When there's a PROTECTIVE BARRIER that's 14 feet high, and a door has been put in front of the storefront, along with 5 blatant signs saying that we're closed for a week, and you OPEN the door, go past the construction workers, open the STORE doors, walk through an empty store that has all the carpet ripped out, and there's only product on the walls and that's it? That's when I start saying, "Bitches, leave!"

That's when I brought out the paintbrush and paint, and started writing in three foot high letters, "RadioShack is closed, motherfuckers!" Well, more like "Closed for renovations," but you get the drift.

I wonder how many people will ignore that blue on white message. Next, I bring out the tasers.

* * *

Sunday was my day off. Canton had just bought the Sims, so I was sitting down at play it on Sunday morning.

At 12:20, my boss Chris called, saying that Ammon, our new hire, hasn't showed up for work yet, and he's got the keys to open the store.

"It'll take me about 45 minutes to get to work, with my shower and all," I said.

"What if I picked you up?"

I resigned myself to working on Sunday, since it would be a four hour shift at that point. Chris said he'd make it up to me.

So he picks me up after one of the shorter showers I've had, and we drive off to downtown.

Where I get there, Ammon's opening the doors, an hour late.

I wait until Chris takes Ammon in the back to chastise him, and then I go off in search of a good place for breakfast.

There's a restaurant in the mall that serves eggs benedict, I so tried them out. A darn good breakfast (Mixed Grill Eggs Benedict - Instead of just ham, it was ham, bacon, and Mundare sausages. And the sides were great...), although they were out of English muffins, and their hollandaise was too small an amount for my liking.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for them to give me a cup of hollandaise to drink after dousing my eggs in it.

God, I vowed to myself I'd never do that again.


The l*** sat upon the gr***y knoll...

On my way home tonight, I passed some derelicts at the Second Cup on Whyte. I caught this snippet:

"This whole shitty planet is fucked up!"

I'd like to see you cope on Mars, bucko. You think EARTH is a shitty planet! Try living on a planet that doesn't support life! Like, oh, I dunno. EVERY OTHER PLANET IN YOUR SOLAR SYSTEM!

* * *

So I was on the Quintessential website today, checking out our competition in Northern Harmony.

They've got a guestbook, so I thought I'd leave a note.

This is what I typed up:


Well, it looks like it'll be another year of performing at NoHarm with you guys. The guys in Apocalypse Kow and I are looking forward to see what you come up with in terms of repertoire, as I'm sure it'll be another set of fun and great harmonies. You guys really deserve the Audience Favourite you picked up last time.

Just so you guys know, Kow is looking forward to taking the crown this year.

So, here's some smack talk (tongue in cheek, of course...) to get you guys riled up and ready for the performance.


You guys are going down. Alas, you happened to get in the way of the a cappella juggernaut that is Kow. Talk to Saskatoon's Hoja to see how much pain they suffered at our hands at this year's Fringe. It was a dirty game, but I know all the moves to be assured victory on any stage.

As a courtesy to you, I will be sure to make your demise swift and painless.

Bass, Apocalypse Kow

Oh, are you guys planning on having an accident before the show so one of you will need crutches again? I think I can milk the crutch gag a little more...

Or, at least, that's what I typed. Apparently, the guestbook has a filter on it so the family-friendly types won't be offended by people writing in.

So, it appeared as "Kyle Jago, B***, Apocalypse Kow" and "***uming."

So what was a fun little challenge in my eyes turned into something which LOOKED a lot more profane and mean-spirited.

Eh, I'm not miffed or anything. If anything, it adds to my rep.

Before I leave, a list of words that wouldn't be let through by Quintessential's guestbook:

S***afr*** (Dev thought that one up)
******in (That was all Axler)

Listening to: Frou Frou - Let Go; Postal Service - Such Great Heights; Aimee Mann - The Scientist (originally done by Coldplay)


Misunderstandings on the drive home...

On the way back from Kow rehearsal in Barber's car:

I had bought a Super Big Gulp to alleviate the non-liquid intake I had yesterday during work, since it was too busy for me to grab food/drink.

The four of us (Me, Dev, Barber and Canton) were, of course, just having way too much fun bantering. I was also just drinking my 7-Up like a demon. (Yeah, everyone who's ever eaten with me/hung out with me/done ANYTHING with me knows about how quickly I drink and eat. It's pretty scary to see me suck back a litre of liquid in under five minutes, or eat two cheeseburgers before we get half a block away from the fast food place.)

Canton had said something to make me threaten him with my drink. (Like that's something new...)

Me (muttered): I'll stab you with my Big Gulp.

Dev mentions Richard Gere in some form or another.

Me (muttered): I'll stab Richard Gere with my Big Gulp.

Dev turns back to me. "WHAT?"

Me: I said, "I'll stab Richard Gere with my Big Gulp." Why? What did you hear me say?

Dev: "Stan Richard Gere'd my Big Gulp."

Me: What does that even mean?

Dev: I don't know. That's why I was asking for clarification.

Barber: I didn't know that "Richard Gere" had become a noun all of a sudden.

Dev and I (in unison): Verb!

The four of us died laughing for the better part of five minutes.

* * *

I was interviewed for the Edmonton Examiner today.

Not for a position, mind you. For a write-up on Kow going into Northern Harmony later on this month.

I'll have to see how that goes...

You people ARE getting tickets, right? Only $16 for adults, $13 for students! Click the link!


So Florida gets hurricanes, and we get...?

Yesterday at work, my district Manager was talking on his cell about how he was heading out for Spain the next day, and that he's glad to get out when it's expected to snow.

I was ready to just condemn him on the spot when I saw the conditions outside. Cold rain, below-average temperatures.

Still, when Ii left the house with D! at about 10:45 p.m. to go to his place for some WWE viewing, I didn't think that it would be that much and that puffy.

And I certainly didn't think the visibility would be so low as to make D! completely miss the big telephone pole in my back lot. Or should I say, completely hit it, as he took out his passenger's side mirror with it. And as the guy SITTING in the passenger seat, it gave me quite the scare as well.

So, yeah, there's a bit of snow lying on the ground today. Not enough to shovel yet, which is good, since I'm not sure where I put the snow shovel.

Oh, wait. I remember where I put it. I put it in NOVEMBER, where it belongs!

* * *

Snippets of dream that I thought were weird today:

Me having my haircut by someone I've never gone to before. Different, but more of a variation on the way I get my hair styled these days.

Also, finding in a West Ed Mall hybrid, a likeness of me as a small toy statue. As in, there was a miniature me in one of those little displays, with my hair cut in my usual place, the details pretty well exact, including the shade of maroon/burgundy of one of my dress shirts.

I was pretty freaked out about it.


If I didn't know any better...

I'd say that someone was joyriding around in a fire engine tonight.

I was outside D's place, waiting for the bus to arrive. A few blocks down Whyte, a siren went off and out came a fire truck, rushing in the direction of University.

When it got past the Safeway, it decided to u-turn at the crosswalk, plowing around until it was literally about four feet away from the bench I was sitting at.

Out of instinct, I pulled my legs underneath my bench.

The truck then stopped its siren, went back towards the east, flipping its signal lights left, then right, all while keeping in a straight line down the middle of the road.

I sat staring in the direction it disappeared in, trying to figure out exactly what I just saw. And then I went back listening to U2's B-Sides, 1980-1990, deciding it wasn't worth the strain on my mind.


Wedding #4,057...

So the wedding today was pretty good, all things considered.

It took place at Moose Jaw's new Performing Arts centre, which had a good sound system, if an awkward-for-a-wedding setup, since it was, after all, a stage and auditorium.

So the Bride, when she came down the aisle, disappeared through the proc doors to reappear on the stage.

It was a nice wedding, although it was VERY short. Only 20 minutes! Mark said afterwards it was due to them sort of rushing it due to nervousness, which I can understand (Kow's done that a few times...).

But I had some downtime between the wedding and the reception. I came home and plowed through John Grisham's Bleachers, a not bad book, although short as hell. It's not a long read...

I realized at the wedding that I was pretty much the only high school friend of Penny's at this wedding. There was NOBODY I knew, other than Penny. Not quite as bad at Rich's wedding, where I knew a few more, but this one was just one person I knew. And I haven't seen her in ten years, although we talk online these days...

So I get to the reception, and I find out it's not arranged seating. Gah! I know no one there, and I'm supposed to just plop my ass down in a seat? At least with arranged seating, there might be some rhyme or reason to put me with someone. But this was a crap shoot...

So I just look for a table with people my age at it that's not full. And end up sitting with three girls Penny knows from USask. All Engineering grads, and they knew each other. So it was a lot of me listening for a while, before starting to active participate in the discussions.

During the reception, it was either demonstrate kisses (a la Rob and Reag, where Dev and I kissed using chocolate. Don't ask...), or tell stories.

You know, I'm TRYING to think of stories involving Penny back in high school, but they usually follow the trend of yelling at teachers, something that was a recurring theme amonst her university friends.

Yup. I realized Penny has a lot of stories to tell about me, but I don't have many to tell about her, other than us half-competing for grades, or band.

We were also sitting at a table with a coworker of Mark's and his wife, who told us they were married 26 years ago this weekend.

All of a sudden, a couple went to the mic and said, "Mark, Penny, this is how you kiss after 10 years of marriage."

Those of us at the table were urging the co-worker to go up with his wife, this being their anniversary and all.

Another relative of Mark's comes up with his wife. "Guys, this is how you kiss after 20 years of marriage."

We keep on urging the couple at our table.

Another couple: "This is after 25 years of marriage."

More urging.

Mark's grandparents go up. "This is how you kiss after 50 years."

Too late for the couple at our table, although I wanted Christina (one of the engineering girls) to go up there and say, "This is how you kiss after only knowing someone five minutes, and after a shot of tequila."

It made for a funny joke, although I wouldn't have minded if she had dragged me up there herself.

Also: Man! That photographer was one hot girl! I'd like to exchange photog tips with her, if you know what I'm saying. ("Nope." - The Tick)

Over the course of the evening, I realized that while I didn't know anyone there, a few people knew me. Like the maid of honour, Lisa, who was a year behind Penny and I at Peacock. And Penny's cousin.

This is the problem with being infamous at high school, is that a lot more people that I don't know of are able to pick me out of a lineup ten years after the fact, and ask if I'd be doing "something crazy" tonight.

Me: "Lisa, I was forty pounds lighter back then. I can't do all my old tricks."

Lisa: "Yeah, I've noticed. You look good with the extra weight."

Me: "Thanks."

(Well, okay, the fact that I can't contort these days is a bit of a lie. I'm still pretty flexible, although the extra mass doesn't really help me out with it. Truth is, I wasn't prepared to make that much of a spectacle to a wedding full of people I don't know...)

And one of the bridesmaids I've never met before was able to pick me out as well at the bar.

Kim: "You're Kyle, right?"

Me: "That's me."

Kim: "Penny's told me all kinds of stories about you."

Me: "Ah. Well, I hope they're good ones..."

And then we just talked about the differences between Calgary, where she's from, and Edmonton, as well as how easy it is to pick out the real cowboys out of the Stampede/Klondike posers.

One thing I was shocked about at this Moose Jaw wedding was the deejay. Granted, he was playing quite a bit of country and old dance tunes to make the older people happy, but when I came up to request a song, he had it.

Me: "Do you take requests?"

DJ: "Sure. What're you looking for?"

Me: "Got any Outkast?"

DJ: "Yup. Which song?"

Me: "I've got a choice of Outkast songs? I don't even get that at Edmonton weddings!"

He had four tracks from Outkast: Hey Ya, Roses, I Like the Way You Move, and The Whole World.

I asked for either Hey Ya or The Way You Move. Told him to surprise me. But I know when I get married? Bombs over Bagdhad is going to be on the list...

Alas, I never got to hear it, as I left the reception when the engineering girls left. I didn't really feel like sitting at an empty table at that point.

So, yeah, I'm glad I was able to come down to Moose Jaw for this. It was a lot better than I expected a wedding where I knew nobody to be...


The following people and places have been added to my list of wrath:

1) The girl working at Northland Mall Hallmark, who, when I asked how to get to Brentwood Starbucks, gave me the wrong directions.

2) Northgrove Drive. As part of my directions, I tried to find a way off of this street to get to Brentwood. The first time, I was scared I missed the turnoff, since I didn't see any of the landmarks she told me.

So I doubled back. And drove it again. And found myself on 23 Ave, instead of 32 Ave.

So I doubled back again. And found myself on 14 St and 64 Ave. Once I hit John Laurie Blvd., I was ready to torch most of North Calgary.

3) St. Francis High School. Because I saw it about seven times.

4) 30 kph school zones. When it takes me 45 minutes to find a place that should only have a five minute travel time, the last thing I need is zones to slow me down.

5) The 7-11 in the middle of nowhere I stopped at gas for. I was on 28 Ave or so in the upper north, and I stopped there for gas. The girl at the counter looked at me blankly when I asked how to get to Brentwood.


"32 Ave.? London Drugs? Anything?"


Yup. I had to get the girl who couldn't speak English.

6) Girls who can't speak English.

So, by the time I FINALLY found the Brentwood Starbucks, to give a surprise visit to A-Lo, I realize that it was EJ's ex, not A-Lo, who worked there...

* * *

Sorry, a bit of background. I was in Calgary today, on my way to Moose Jaw for the wedding this weekend.

I decided I'd go to Northland Mall to get some shopping done (Penny's wedding card, new headphones for me...), and thought I'd go into the Starbucks and surprise A-Lo.

Brade and I would be travelling to Moose Jaw, so he said he'd be done his drywall work in my aunt's place at about noon or so.

At this point, after my 45 minute cultural tour of Northern Calgary, it was about 12:10.

And I was at a different Starbucks than I should've been.

So I go in, and ask the girl working there, "Is Kyle in?"

Alas, he has the day off.

"Okay. I've got a friend - A-Lo - who works at a location around here."

"Hmmm...I think she's at either Northland or Dalhousie."

Well, since I was in the mood to burn down Northland Mall, and since Dalhousie actually sounded familiar, I went to the Chapters there. And found out she wasn't working...

I travelled back to my aunt's place, saddened that I wouldn't have been able to see her for a bit before I went east.

"Hey, Lorna. How's Braden doing on the drywall?"

"Oh, it's going to take a few more hours, at least."

"Okay, then. I'm heading out again...See ya..."

I get to A-lo's place, and her roommate said she was out shopping at WalMart. So I had a bit of time to kill, and ate at Harvey's.

When I got back to the house, A-Lo was putting some boxes in the back of a car. I park behind her, saunter up the the car, and lean on the side.


"Oh, hey. How's it going? [long beat] Oh, my God! Jago, what are you doing HERE?"

So we hung around and talked for a while. Even though she was cleaning her house frantically and I was just following around in her wake, I was still calmed down from my morning's adventure just by being around her. Which was good.

* * *

Sign seen on Medicine Hat, on the side of a truck:

Daffy's Ducts (and Furnace Cleaning). With a picture of Daffy Duck on the side.


* * *

So getting to Calgary was also quite the adventure.

I was supposed to drive down with a friend of Brade's, but I wasn't having any luck contacting her to see when she was planning on leaving.

When I called up Braden last night, he said, "Oh, yeah. Chantelle MIGHT not be coming down, because her sister MIGHT be coming up from here. I'll give her a call."

Me: "She's not at home. I just called there, and had her roommate tell me."

B: "Oh."

Me: "Yeah. What time is it? 7:30 p.m.? And when does the next Greyhound leave?"

I check it out. 8 p.m. Oh, god. Granted, it's fifteen minutes before it gets to the South station from downtown, but, still. Time for a split second decision.

"Brade, I'm hauling ass to the bus depot. If I don't call you before 9:30, assume I'll be hitting Calgary at about 11:30."

I perform the quickest packing job ever, call a cab, and make it there with fifteen minutes to spare.

In front of me is a native woman who smells of booze.

Cashier: "Have you been drinking, Ma'am?"

Customer: "Two beers."

Cashier: "Greyhound has a zero tolerance alcohol policy, just so you know. The driver might not let you on the bus."

Customer: "Fine. Just sell me the ticket."

Cashier: "If the driver doesn't let you on, you can get a refund on the ticket, just so you know."

After I get my ticket, the native woman's also-tipsy boyfriend buys one. Same spiel, about how he might not get on the bus if the driver smells booze.

I sit myself down, and turn on my discman, listening to the bootleg Barber's dad made of the Kow show. (Yup. We've got free bootlegs of Kow's fringe shows. If you want some files to share with others, let me know...)

I get on the bus, and pick a seat that overlooks the depot.

Sure enough, the driver stops the two drunk fares, and brings them back into the depot. To which the drunk guy starts yelling, and gesturing hand job motions to the cashiers.

In the mute theatre I'm watching, one of the cashiers goes to the phone and calls the police, at which point the pair leaves.

The woman comes back in to use the washroom, but the two cashiers block her way, saying the depot's closed, since they're turning off all the lights.

I, on the coach, just shake my head, thinking, "You know, those two really were warned enough times this might happen. Serves 'em right..."

* * *

So, now I'm in my parents' basement, getting prepared for the seventh wedding I've attended since November of last year. (And I had to decline two more that I couldn't make...)

Meanwhile, the Frenchman hasn't been to a single wedding yet...

Off to bed.