Not dead. Just dead TIRED!

And sick. Can't forget about the sick.

No, the journal has not been shut down by the company. It's just been a crazy assed two months.

Once the new year comes around, you'll see me post frequently again. You know, since I've been transferred again. To a slower store, which doesn't make me so tired after work that all I want to do is shut down.

Oh, I had laryngitis. Still do, to an extent. I have no singing voice.

But right now, it's time to sleep and ingest a lot of juice.



Placeholder post. It's concert season.

So, what are you doing this Christmas season? Shopping for gifts? Decorating the house? Shovelling the walk? Why not take a breather during this busy season and join Edmonton a cappella group Apocalypse Kow as they host their Fourth Annual Kristmas Kabaret?

Since 2001, Apocalypse Kow has hosted Christmas charity shows to raise money for different causes around town. This year, they’ll be donating proceeds of their Kabaret to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and will be taking donations for the Edmonton Food Bank.

Every year, we try to get different sorts of acts to help us out, and this concert is no exception. The list of guests include:

TAPAS – A new a cappella group on the Edmonton scene, they captured third place at Northern Harmony 2005, Alberta’s “battle of the vocal groups.”

Father David Bittner, storyteller – Father Dave has participated in every Kabaret, reciting Christmas favourites.

Pavlov Improv – Members of the fledgling improv troupe will be on hand with some sketches for the holiday season.

Singer Jenny McKillop – Jenny, a graduate from Grant McEwan College’s Musical Theatre program, has performed in many venues around the city, and is a frequent participant in the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

Paul Wallace – Paul’s had his hand in many different parts of Edmonton’s arts scene: He’s an improviser, a juggler, a yo-yo artist, and co-founder of local comedy troupe The Wombats. We can only imagine what he’s thought up for this Kabaret.

With this pedigree of guests, the members of Apocalypse Kow are looking forward to one great show. The hosts have been popping up everywhere in town over the past few years, but most people know them from Northern Harmony performances and outdoor shows for the past three Fringe Festivals.

The Apocalypse Kow Kristmas Kabaret is happening on Saturday, December 17th at B-Scene Studios (8212 104 St). Doors open at 7:15 pm, and the show starts at 7:30 pm.

Tickets cost $11 ($10 with the donation of a food item for the Edmonton Food Bank).

For more information or advance tickets, call Kyle or Stan at (780) 439.5799 or e-mail the group at kow@telus.net.


R.I.P. Eduardo Guerrero

I was saddened today to find out that WWE wrestler Eddie Guerrero passed away in a hotel room in Minneapolis.

Eddie's been a favourite wrestler of mine since I got back into watching wrestling about eight years back. One of the funniest guys on the WWE roster, and one of the best heels in the business.

While I am saddened, I can just think back to all the good times I've had watching him, including the Ladder Match three years ago that occurred in Edmonton. I was a good fifteen feet away from the action, and he gave it his ALL.

So, I say this as many other people have over the past day:

Eddie Guerrero, you will be missed heavily.


'Tis Winter Now

It's getting to be that time of year again. Snow fell while I was at work today.

* * *

Last night was the first concert of Oran's season. It also happened to be the first concert of mine with the group. It was a Silent Auction fundraiser held in the Winspear lobby.

Have I mentioned how much I love singing with Oran? Because I do. There's some seriously awesome music choices, and it's one of those choirs where you know that everyone's there because they want to sing.

Now I'll admit, there were some songs I don't think I was ready to have memorized. I was given a burnt CD of the selections we were doing, and that helped with quite a few of them. However, there was one Latin song (Tristis something something Anima Me - this pretty much tells you how well I know the words) whose lyrics just eluded me. The CD's version just doesn't have the lyrics taking center stage. I was fine with the bass part musically, but when it came to the dress rehearsal, I was faking the words like there was no tomorrow.

How can you fake Latin? Meh, it's just a matter of getting the vowels synched, really. In any case, Katy let us use music for that one, thank god.

Kokopelli, the sister choir of Oran, did an amazing job as well. There were a few magic songs I could hear from our position on the Winspear's third lobby balcony, and it was just beautiful how well they sang.

Oran really pulled it out as well. I've been having this disc in the car on rides to work nonstop for three weeks, and it really helped me out, I guess.

My highlight of the night was "There Will Be Rest." We spread out among the first few rows of audience in staggered formation, and it's one of those songs that really filled the space. There was one woman who kept on turning back to look at me on certain notes. And I wasn't singing them wrong, so that seems to be a good thing. Especially once she smiled at me after we finished the song.

Afterwards, a few of us went to Joey Tomato's for dinner. The coolest thing about dinner (other than how good it was) was Karla paying with her Visa (no, I pitched in, but she just used the Visa to cover the amount). The total came out to about $63, and she evened out the total to $70. When she was figuring out exactly what that would make the tip, we found out she gave the waitress a tip of $6.66.


Cory was fretting. "Honey, please just add another cent on there or something. Don't leave it like that."

* * *

On Sunday, I go to my new store of West Edmonton Mall. As the assistant manager again. I enjoyed my month stint as a manager, I guess. Aside from the stress of taking over a store that had loss prevention problems and an old staff who had no clue what they were doing.

And from my end, I know what I have to work on as a manager, and it's being more of an ass when need calls for it, and being a lot cleaner. (Yeah, this is a recurring theme...)

But I think I'll enjoy my time at WEM. It's a big store, sales-wise, and they've got pretty experienced staff. And a very good manager.

* * *

The lyrics to a song we performed last night, and one I find pretty apt after the first noticeable snowfall of the season:

'Tis winter now: the fallen snow has left the heavens all coldly clear;
Through leafless boughs the sharp winds blow, And all the earth lies dead and drear.

And yet God's love is not withdrawn; His life within the keen air breathes;
His beauty paints crimson dawn, And clothes the boughs with glittering wreathes.

And though broad the sharp winds blow, And skies are chill, and frosts are keen,
Home closer draws her circle now, And warmer glows her light within.

O God! Who givest the winter's cold. As well summers joyous rays,
Us warmly in thy love enfold, And keep us on life's wintry days.

-Samuel Longfellow


The concert, and wrestling-ish news

So yesterday was the Matthew Good concert, which happened to also be a Rogers Q4 Christmas training session/bash.

I arrived to find a whole bunch of friends, and people I knew from the company. It's interesting how two of the people I barely tolerated in stints at KGM became managers of Rogers Wireless stores.

We started by seeing Matt Good's warmup (although at first, I thought, is he giving a concert specifically to Rogers guys? Interesting.). Free liquor and food was the theme of the night. After the obligatory training half hour, we went downstairs to socialize (drink) some more.

A friend and I went up to see the opening act warmup, and I was surprised to see it was the Ladies and Gentlemen, whose new single "Stay" is quickly becoming the song I want to hear on Sonic most often. So I was hooked into hitting the upstairs along with the rest of the riffraff who WEREN'T Rogers VIP guests to watch them perform.

I think I was one of, like, two of over a hundred Rogers guests who actually went to the concert, instead of sitting downstairs, eating and taking advantage of the free drink tickets. (Don't get me wrong, I was as well, but I was all about seeing the Ladies and Gentlemen.)

And, man, what an opener. Five guys dressed all in white. A drummer, two keyboardists with two keyboards and a sampling machine, the lead singer/bassist and a guitarist.

The sound was a mixture of straight-out indie rock, 80s new wave, and a bit of electronica. It was awesome, and they really seemed to enjoy themselves onstage. I had to buy the album and a t-shirt.

I like the album a lot, but it's a lot different than their stage show. Mostly because the album was the lead singer with a whole bunch of sampling, as opposed to the full-fledged band that came out on tour. The album's very Postal Service-y, which is a genre I'm into. (Yup. I'm turning emo. Please, somebody stop this from happening. I don't want to always be in black and write songs about how every relationship has failed me. Hell, it'd only be enough fodder for one song.)

I actually left during the Matt Good portion, just becuase it went on a lot later than I had planned, since I told Kaleb I'd be home to play some video games.

Still, free food and drink, and a free concert for which the first half hour was completely amazing? Everything's coming up Jago!

* * *

Do you know what else is coming up Jago? The New Alberta Pro Wrestling e-fed. Dev and I became the tag team champs last night. If you think you'd be interested in making a character and joining up, do so! It's a lot of fun!


Good lord! Is this what happens when I become manager?

So, yeah. It's been too long, but the whole "managing a store" thing is pretty time-consuming. And then there's the "Freaks and Geeks" I've been watching.

Last week was the third inventory I've done for the company in seven weeks. Huzzah!

This time, I didn't have much help. I mean, sure where's all my employess, but none of them has done an inventory before. And every manager I tried to round up to help me talked their way out of it.

When I asked EFB to help out, he said, "What did Marky say?"

Me: "Well, he's closing tonight, so he won't be able to help me out."

EFB: "Bull! It's just a matter of not taking 'No' for an answer. How often did you help him?"

Me: "Yeah? How much did I give him? I went in to inventory when I was hallucinating due to sickness! I couldn't even stand up properly, and there I was helping out Marky. No, wait a sec. That was you."

EFB: "Good luck. Gotta go."

So it took two days to count the store, which is super-long. And when I was going through the tilts, some of my employees weren't exactly helping. (More on this later.)

So I got it down to about 13% wrong, which isn't too bad, and a bit less than what I was expecting. Too bad there was a $6600 inventory loss attached to that. But when you've got digital cameras, a few top-end cell phones and some random stuff missing? That's what happens.

I swear, though. If I have to do another inventory in the next few months, I'm going to kill someone.

* * *

Unhelpful employees. Well, one of them that's really getting on my nerves, anyways. I'll call him LX.

LX has not been doing his share of work around the store the past while. Especially when we were doing inventory, and I was emphasising the fact that you have to be super-vigilant and not take the front box as proof as to what's actually there. I'm sure he cost me 3% by himself.

Apparently, he's been pretty angry these past few days. I couldn't tell you why, since I'm so involved in my own shit. All I know is if I have to tell him to do something five times in an hour, he should be ready when I yell at him about it.

"LX! Do NOT sit down on the job. How are the tilts going? Get back in the booth."

And repeat a few times.

I swear, I'm ready to let him go. Good thing I'm at West Ed come next week. Let the new manager deal with him.

* * *

Tonight, I'm going to see Matt Good for free! Thank you, Rogers Wireless!

I'd thank Monster Cable for the pen I won at their last training session, but it broke a week into using it. The hell?

* * *

I just got a call from the store about a guy who came in looking for a TV in the new flyer. Apparently, the flyer said there was a Panasonic LCD TV for $2500 or something, but the number they had in the flyer was for the more expensive $4000 model. So the guy was making a fuss, saying he'd better get that TV for that price.

I didn't talk to the customer on the phone, but I'm telling you there's a reason that the flyer says on the back that the Company's not responsible for printing errors and mistakes happen in our flyers. No way would I let an LCD TV go for less than cost due to a wrong stock number, that's for sure.


* * *

I bought a new keyboard for Kow rehearsals. This time, it actually has the USB connection, and it's pretty awesome how I can play computer arrangements through it and see a composition I play show up in Finale. Whooo!

* * *

Dev, D! and I are all part of this new e-wrestling federation. You create new wrestlers and have them interact before big matches. Dev and I had to tweak our usual PS2 characters so they'd be more than simple Chris Jericho and Undertaker ripoffs. So far, so good.

* * *

I found out today that my brother, Braden, just got engaged to his girlfriend of over a year, Marsha. Congrats! Now you can actually come up and visit me, so I can MEET this mystery fiancee.

* * *

That's about all I've got going on my my brain today. Now to get ready for Matt Good tonight.

You know, I THOUGHT that might be the case...


Giving thanks with alcohol, and signs that confuse me.

While driving down 109th Ave on my way home from work, I saw that the Save-On Foods lit sign was having some problems.

It now reads "Save-On Foo s."

All I could think about was hiring Mr. T to be their spokesman: "I pity the Save-On Foo's!"

Also, before Thanksgiving, Zellers was promoting their restaurant's pumpkin pie. The fine print on the bottom of the poster said that their pie, which sells for $7.49 (so I'm assuming it's either an eight- or ten-inch pie) can serve 10-12 people.

10-12 people? Not the people I know of! If everyone had a sliver, maybe, but I'm the kind of guy who cuts a pie into sixths at the MOST.

* * *

My sister and cousins are lushes.

Now, I can say this because they read my journal, and they know I'm just making fun of them for the SHEER AMOUNT OF WINE they were drinking yesterday. When almost all the young generation Dokken females were there, polishing off about four bottles of wine at least, and then saying, "Kyle! Stay the night! Drink a lot!" you know it's an interesting Thanksgiving dinner.

My sister said, "I don't think I've ever seen you drunk."

I replied, "That's because I've never BEEN drunk."

At which point it was the girls' objective to make sure that I'd get drunk with them.

I resisted their demands, and it was still a fun night with the family.

* * *

My mom's birthday was on Saturday, which is yet ANOTHER eerie parallel to Dev's family.

Dev's dad and my mom share the same birthday. And they BOTH turned 55 that day.

Okay, strange coincidence. Here's another: The Bruce family has three boys named Devin, Brendan and Graeme. The Jago family had three boys in it named Graham, Devon and Braden. (Graham and Devon were my younger twin brothers who didn't survive a premature birth.)

Spooky? Me thinks so.


"But I'm not supposed to BE here!" and "Hey! That's not my dad!"

First off:

So you think you know my dad? Maybe you've seen him on choir tours, or when he's come up to see me. Maybe you only know him as Coach Jago, the pixellated wrestler/caddy/video game athlete. (God, I wish I had a screen capture of that. D!, let's get on that capture card!)

I've known him as Dad (for good reason) all my life. Within those twenty-eight years of knowing Dad, I've seen him without his trademark mustache twice.

The first time, it wasn't so much that he didn't have a mustache, as he decided to grow a beard.

After a few weeks of growing, my mom took one look at him and simply said, "Take it off."

The beard was gone the next day. (This must have been when I was about ten or eleven.)

Some undefined period later, he decided to shave the mustache off. Mom took one look at him and simply said, "Put it back on."

The mustache was back a few weeks later.

Other than those two periods, I have never seen Dad other than what everyone else has seen him like in the past thirty years. UNTIL NOW!

Dad has shaved his head/facial hair for charity. Looks a lot different, to the point of being a dead ringer for Grandma Jago's facial features. Kind of scary, actually...

* * *
I was planning on updating during a free moment, say like a day off.

Too bad that's looking less and less likely for me!

Last I posted, I was talking about feeling ill. Well, it turned into the cold that everyone had, complete with lightheadedness and vertigo. I couldn't think properly, which is not that good when I'm trying to help people at the store.

The EFB would hear me say "Look, man, I'm feeling really sick, so I'd appreciate it if I was able to take the day off, rest and recuperate just in time for the inventory we're about to have."

Of course, EFB said he really needed my assistance, even if I was nodding off at his desk when typing in stock numbers.

So I ended up working through my illness.

A funny little story that happened earlier than my cold:

My favourite radio station had a contest going on where an interesting prize was on the line. Competitors would battle it out to vie for the title of Sonic Newscaster.

Yes, that's right, the radio station's giving away a job as their newscaster for a contract of at least three months.

It got to the point that my MOM was saying, "Call in sick."

So when I asked EFB if I could come in late and make this audition, the answer was no.

Irony is, when I actually GOT sick, I had no voice, and was doing a 14 hour shift regardless.


But, hey, check it out, my friend Randy is a finalist! Awesome!

* * *

I've taken over a store. Yes, I'm now a manager (temporarily).

The gist is, I want to see if I'm a match for my dad's kidney transplant. And if I am a match, I'll need three months to recover from major surgery. So there was really no point in becoming a manager if I was just going to leave for a quarter of a year.

"Hey, I'm your new manager! Well, see you in February! Here's your NEW new manager..."

But when a spot opened up very quickly (loss prevention issues), they told me I can do a month-long temporary manager position, so I can take my sick leave afterwards.

I was to start there today, after the old manager was to be fired. So I'd have a weekend off before starting a long haul in Clareview. And I could get my blood tested.

BUT! On Thursday, at Westmount, I was called up by the district manager.

"Hey, how quickly can you make it here?"

"Um, I've just got two new hires who can't be left alone. I'd have to wait until about 5:30 before I could get there. Why?"

"Um, we fired the old manager today."

"But my weekend?"


"Blood test!"


So on my way to choir that night, I made a oh-so-roundabout route to the store in order to close it for the night.

I found two girls waiting there for me.

"Hi," I said. "I'm your new manager. Sorry about all this. It's hard having a manager and assistant manager get fired on you, isn't it? So! Let's close up!"

Good plan, but when I don't know the old manager's password, and can't get into the system? Yipes. Good thing I knew someone who used to work under him, and they gave me the password.

Before I left, I told the two girls (K1 and K2) that I was to have a few days off.

"K1, you and the old AM were scheduled for tomorrow. Would it be cool if I came in for the morning, and then came back to close?"

K1 looked at me with wide eyes. "Today was my first day."

Me: "Ah. Right. Crap."

I turn to K2. "It's you, the old manager and S on Saturday. Would you be able to cope without me, and then I could close at night?"

"It's my fourth day."

"Oh. Jeez. Okay."

So, needless to say, it's been a fun journey. And by fun, I mean, I'm trying to keep sane. Luckily, I've been given permission to close at 6 on weekdays, instead of 9. Thank GOD!

* * *

Saw Serenity over the weekend. And I enjoyed it a lot, although I'm not going to post anything that people who HAVEN'T seen the movie will read beforehand.

I'll talk about that later. What I WILL talk about is the screening itself.

Because we're big geeks, a circle of my friends saw it opening night. There were nine of us, so we managed to find a row we could sit in. Unfortunately, there were so many groups, there weren't a lot of seats left to couples.

So my group scooched down a seat so we had enough room for a pair of people. My luck, it was a very hot woman. Who was obsessed with the Firefly story. And had dragged a guy friend down to see it with her.

So she's talking with her friend, and would keep on talking to me as well. I'm not so rude that I won't chat up a hottie, so we talked.

No, it wasn't "Hi." It was "Hey, who's your favourite character?" (Which, as we ALL know, means, "Let's ditch the movie, hit your car and make out.")

Me: (thinking madly to the year and a half prior I saw the DVD series) "Jain, I guess."

Apparently that was the right answer, since she started gushing about Jain.

It's not so much that Jain isn't my favourite, but more along the lines that I love the ensemble.

So, yeah, sitting next to a cute girl that had a bit strong vanilla perfume on. Still, I can handle scents like that. Good thing it wasn't Cheese Girl that she was sitting beside...


Feeling icky.

So I'm starting to come down with something. It's not quite to the point of Kleenex-with-Menthol sick, or passing-out-when-calling-my-boss sick or even the case of suffering-from-both -heatstroke-and-chill-at-the-SAME-TIME-and-passing-out-in-the-bathroom sick.

I called my boss after throwing up this morning, saying I wouldn't be in. Unfortunately, it's inventory (yes, the second one in two weeks), and things need to be ready for the count on Saturday.

So I slept a bit more and came in late. It was the job of the day to completely dismantle the downstairs stockroom. I almost passed out a few times. I was as weak as a kitten and couldn't do much other than the occasional lifting job and reading out stock numbers.

Obviously, I didn't think I was able to make choir tonight due to not having much of a voice.

So I hope to be resting in the next little while...

* * *

If you been to the House of Style in the past little while, you'll have noticed that we've had a LOT of foliage in our yard.

There's a lot of weeds, but also a lot of beautiful stuff, even if they ARE weeds.

Our landlord has asked that we get the yard trimmed, but our resident yardkeeper's been incommunicado for a while, and with my "September of Busy-ness," I haven't been able to do anything about it either.

Our landlord sent out someone to do it for us (for a fee, of course), but when I came home from work tonight, there was NOTHING left. No beauty. All there is is a bit of grass.

Which makes it good for our landlord, but not as fun for me.


Hugs and potential one night stands.

So I was getting some food today at work, hitting the KGM food court.

After getting my Arby's, I'm heading back to the store. Three steps away, a fifteen-year-old guy comes up, says, "I've got to give you a hug," and embraces me.

With a very confused expression on my face, and a little scared, I hug him back with the arm that isn't holding the food.

Everything was (mostly) explained when he said, "I just had to do that when I realized that you're in Apocalypse Kow."

So, that's somewhat cool. I now declare this year "Hug a Kow Member" Year. However, I'm now only accepting hugs from cute women ages 18-30.

Canton will now be accepting the hugs from the teenaged male demographic.

* * *

So, I'm wondering if I might have passed up something in Banff.

On Saturday, after the day of singing, some of us were going to hit the bar across the way from the conference centre hotel. I arrived too early, found no one there, and left the pub on the way back to find friends at the hotel.

Outside, there was a cute girl smoking on the steps.

She said "Hi" to me in an interested tone.

I smiled at her, said "Hi" back, and kept walking. And kept walking further from an interested cute girl.

Granted, I rarely (never) make it a habit to hook up with people I just meet at a bar. (This might be a reason I'm still single.) It's just never appealed to me.

But, yeah, I was kicking myself as soon as I walked out of sight.

* * *

Just so you know, I have upgraded my blog to filter out the spam comments. So there's the tiring "type in a word so Jago knows you're not a robot" part of commenting now. Still, it's less of a hassle for ME this way.


Well, that was fun.

So I just got back from Banff.

I was there for the weekend due to Oran's annual retreat. We hired a clinician from Newfoundland to go over with what needed to be done for us to sound better.

Man, Oran's one great choral group, singing- and people-wise. Susan Quinn, our clinician, was raving over how little she had to do with us. The music we're doing is challenging, but nothing that I can't handle after enough practices. There's one piece that has a score that has to be seen to be believed. (There's no bars. It's all based on intervals. It's also sixteen parts.)

Even though we spent a LOT of time in the hall singing (about twelve hours of singing altogether), it was one rushed weekend. The time flew by, since there was singing to be done, and usually a lot of meals to eat and alcoholic beverages to be drunk. I kept on thinking to myself, "That was three hours of singing? Wow. That was a two hour break? Okay."

The people in the choir are a fun bunch, too. Over the course of a weekend, there's a lot of time to interact with others, and not just the hotelmates (especially since the only time we were actually in the hotel room was to shower and sleep). Some crazy connections in Oran. Some, I know from Mixed Chorus (and not just the ones I knew about). There's a sister of one of my MC friends. One girl went to Prairie Bible College and sang with my high school friend Shauna. Then there's Jaimie, who I DID go to school with, her awesome husband, and her sister, who I'm not really familiar with, but that could be because when I last saw Jaimie, Crystal would have been... eight? Maybe?

I also got a lot of exercise in Banff to counteract all the eating I did there. Some of us would walk the ten minute route to get to these restaurants, and a lot of stairs were involved. On Saturday alone, I probably did about an hour and a half of walking.

In all, it was a very fun, if hectic, time, and I'm really glad I joined Oran this year. It's going to be awesome!

* * *

So, I found out last week that I'm permanently (or as permanent as the Company gets) KGM's assistant manager.

I'm sorry that this throws a wrench into Mark's plans for a Vancouver vacation next week. And he knows if there was anything I could do about going back for the week, I'd do it.

Also, I worked ten days in a row until Friday. This is one of the reasons I was really looking forward to the Banff trip. After so many days of working, and having three 12+ hour days in that time, it's really nice to get a break.

And it gives Dev a chance to show off his "Jago Needs a New Job" shuffle dance.

* * *

Finished reading "Out of Sight" by Elmore Leonard. I haven't seen the movie in a while, so it's a big fuzzy memory. The book's decent, though, even if it ends very abruptly.

On to Christopher Moore's "The lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove." In the first few pages, I laughed my ass off at:

"On the radio, turned low, Reba sang of hard times with the full authority of a cross-eyed redheaded millionaire."

Next week, I'm hosting the book club where we're discussing Neil Gaiman's "American Gods."



So this morning, I printed out the only two posts that have mentioned CapGirl, and took them to work.

The conversation I had with EFB when he came in:

Me: So, the next time you talk with CapGirl, you can tell her that I shut down my journal. If she looks on the website that's in the store's internet history, all she'll find is a farewell note.

EFB: So you shut it down?

Me: As far as she's concerned? Yes.

EFB: Okay. I'll also tell her you apologize.

Me: No.

EFB: What? Yes. I'll tell her you apologize for what you said about her.

Me: I swear, EFB, there's NOTHING I need to apologize for. If you tell her I apologized, I won't be very happy.

EFB: No, Kyle, it's the best way.

Me: Here's the only times I mention her at all in my journal. (I hand him printouts of the pages in question. He reads them.)

EFB: That's it? That's what she got worked up about?

Me: Yup. Absolutely no fucking apology. I'm serious.

EFB: Okay, then.

* * *

Today was my first Oran practice. I really appreciated having something to take my mind off work, especially after the day I had. (When you feel that an eight-hour shift is about thirteen hours too long? That was my day. I was wandering the mall during my break looking for a store that sold bullets. And guns. To shoot myself with. Or others. I wasn't feeling choosy at this point.)

The group seems like a fun bunch. And we're learning some interesting music. And Scott and Katy seem like competent, respectful conductors.

Met a few new friends today. And reunited with a few old ones I haven't seen in forever. It's pretty funny when I can think of about six different ways I know some of my co-members. (Mixed Chorus, Moose Jaw, working with the accompanist's cousin, Kow, other performances, the a cappella community, etc.)

So I'm looking forward to this year of being back in singing. If it can get my mind off work for a few hours a week? It's a godsend.


Sort of a new beginning. Also, I'm sorry.

Ever have one of those times where you decided that there's way too much to write and not enough time to give it the attention it needs? And then it just keeps on piling up on you, until you've got a three-week backlog worth of stories?

Yeah. that's me.

But since this issue is VERY important, I'll go into it before I update you onto the other stuff.

* * *

I've been transferred to Kingsway. (I'm going back to nicknames for the most part. Especially for the people who need them. And I'm not going to refer to my company as anything but The Company.) The Eternal Frat Boy, my boss at KGM, really needed a helping hand, so I was yanked away from Mark for a few weeks.

So when EFB came into the store, he and I went to the food court for a chat.

We talked about the shape of the store, the stuff that happened recently, and just about a whole lot of things.

All of a sudden, because we were talking about "The Friday that Almost Made Jago Kill Someone," CapGirl (the manager who was talking behind Mark's back) came up.

EFB: So, you've got a website.

Me: I sure do.

EFB: Why?

Me: I use it to rant.

EFB: Having a website's not good. People have seen it. Like CapGirl.

Me: Good. There's nothing there I wouldn't say to her face.

EFB: No, man. This could be a Human Resources issue. It's character defamation.

Me: It's really not, EFB. Trust me, I took courses on libel and defamation in school. She'd have no case.

EFB: She says you called her a bad mother.

Me: I'm pretty sure I didn't. (I didn't. I might have called her kids spoiled rugrats and fuckers and questioned why she brought a two- and four-year old to an inventory. But I never called her a bad mother.)

EFB: Still, there's the chance she could try to take you down based on your website.

Me: That's a bitchy thing to do.

EFB: As it was, I defended you. I said there's no way you'd do something like that. And then I found the website.

Me: Really, it's not hard to find. Just google "Kyle Jago." It'll be the first thing to pop up.

ERB: Well, could you stop writing on your website?

Me: No. There's no way I'm shutting down my personal page where I can express myself.

ERB: Could you at least move it? So CapGirl can't find it?

Me: That I could do.

So, yeah. I almost got dooced. So I'm making some changes here. Nothing drastic, but I'm not referring to my worksplace with proper names of the company or people. Unless they say it's find.

And, of course, the change of address.

Gotta go, watching some Joe Schmo.


Fringe Journal 2k5, Part II: The post in which I don't mention work once.

So, three days into Fringe. I must admit, my playwatching wasn't quite all there for the first two days, with me just hanging out at home (or, as I've taken to calling it, "Fringe Central") with our assorted billets/friends/crashers, and performing.

But yesterday, that changed! But first, our concerts:

I told you about Friday's show. We enjoyed ourselves, it was probably the best opening show we've done in our three years as Fringe Outdoor Stagers, and we found out which song not to sing.

On Saturday, we had a late afternoon show on the bigger stage. Once again, it was a beautiful, if very hot, day, and we had a decent crowd.

This year, unbeknownst to us until Randy from the Wombats told us, there's been the chance for indoor productions to "host" the outdoor shows. On a first-come, first-serve basis, actors from productions would be able to introduce the upcoming act as well as plug their own shows. Not cool for us, since why would actors bother to check the board to see who's actually performing? The guys who were hosting before us were killing the crowd, but managed to get our names right because I told them our names as they went on stage.

Another a cappella group performing at the Fringe that we MIGHT have a rivalry with? They didn't get off so easily. The host's comments once he went on stage before our show:

"In a few minutes, Apocalypse Kow will be hitting the stage. They're an a cappella group, just like Hoju."

Cue me laughing my ass off offstage.

Go to Canton's journal for another pretty funny story of how some cast members from Eating Raoul die fifteen slow, painful deaths while doing their hosting duties.

The most memorable moment of Saturday's concert was the three-year-old blond moppet who wandered up to me during our set. I bent low to get to his level, so I could talk to him properly. I had the mic at my side, but didn't quite know it was as live as it was.

Me: Hi, how are you?

Moppet: Good. Can you sing "You Are my Sunshine?"

Me: (murmuring) I'm sorry. We don't know that song.

Unfortunately, the mic picked up the entire exchange, and since I was saying this sotto voice, it sounded a lot harsher than I had intended it. The crowd boos. Dev, sensing unrest if we brush off a toddler, says, "Let's sing it!"

So we take a note, and start improv-ing some harmonies for a verse of "You Are my Sunshine." And it sounded good. To the point that some people completely thought this was set up.

Because, yes, we'd completely rig it so I'm apparently brusque to a three-year-old.

* * *

Canton, his friend Em and I went to see the Wombats' first show that day. While Paul and Randy were saying give them a few days to warm up, they were pretty much spot on for their show. Rarely a missed note during the entire show (and I'm not saying this musically, since it's them juggling and joking around. And seriously, their finale is hilarious.

* * *

Yesterday, we had two shows, and Canton had a performance of his OTHER play in between.

Some of my family was able to see our first show, since my parents are in town for Dad's kidney dialysis. My sister and a friend of hers came up from Calgary, my aunt and uncle were there, and some family friends I haven't seen in the longest while.

Of course, the show was peppered with a whole bunch of Moose Jaw and Mr. Jago ribbing. I was also given a wireless mic, so I was having fun being able to run around the stage.

During our version of D!'s "Johnny Cash" (which the audience LOVES, by the way), I was asking the audience to sing along, with the threat, "If I hear anyone not singing, I'll have my dad kick your butts. He knows everyone in Moose Jaw, you know."

I think that was probably one of our better shows, although I was a little aggressive in the hat plug, to the point of being negative. Our banter was pretty decent:

Barber: Just so you know, our next show's at 7:40 pm on the same stage. It'll be a completely different set.

Me: We changed one song.

Astro: No, Jago. We changed one member. You're fired.

At which point you can hear my dad's belly laugh from the second row.

It was my sister's first time seeing Kow perform. I think she enjoyed herself.

* * *

I went to see Canton's first show of No Entry. It was a very well-written show, and all the actors have great performances.

It's the story of a guy who can see a ghost in the week before his wedding. Apparently, this means he's slated to die soon, and he's the only person who can see the 80s' fashion-wearing girl.
The characters were funny as hell, especially Andrew Mecready's comedy-loving Death, and Ryan Hughes's paranoid pee-hoarding boss.

I'll enjoy seeing it again with Kow, and am looking forward to heckling Death this time around.

* * *
In the evening, my old friend Heath came down with his girlfriend, Pam, to see our second show of the day.

This one was still a decent show, as we did have a lot of people staying around to the end, although Barrett's Privateers almost went down in flames, once after I forgot my verse, and a portion where Barber forgot to come in, so the five of us were staring at each other, clapping to keep the momentum.

Then an audience member gave us the next line and we were back on track.

There was this annoying ten-year-old girl with no social skills who interrupted our concert once to ask what was the deal with the sound booth. We managed that fine, but when I went to get a drink during a song I don't sing, she followed me and kept on asking me questions like "What are you guys doing?"

Me: "We're performing. We're singing on stage right now."

Girl: "Do you let others sing with you?"

Me: "Sorry. We sing by ourselves for the audience. It would kill the show if we let other people on stage to sing. Hoja lets some people onstage to sing with them, though, (Yes, it's true, Astro and I saw it happen earlier.) But Kow's our own act."

Apparently, she went up to Devin after the show and asked if the tech would let her sing with the mics. Dev was saying "I'm pretty sure that's not allowed."

Of course, this morning's when I thought of a good line to let her down easy with, telling her that we paid $450 for the use of the stage and microphones, and there isn't a place on the stages for people who haven't signed up for them.

I wonder how this girl's busking circle will do.

* * *

After our evening show, Heath, Pam and I went to see Hip-Hop 4 Dummeez. My god, was this an awesome show. I never was able to see the previous play these guys did (Job: The Hip-Hop Musical), but this one was a VERY funny look at the elements of Hip-Hop culture, including how to force rhymes, what sorts of slang are used, and how different elements come together to create songs.

One of my favourite moments was when they did a rap at the end of their first act that incorporated every lesson they had taught the audience in the first half-hour.

Jacob Sable was a treat in this one. His "Bushman" character was a cross between Ray Charles and Flava Flav. Every time he wasn't talking in his almost-falsetto, he had this manic grin on his face. Such a great character.

If Canton goes to see this one, I might ask him to bring me back a CD of the performance.

* * *

Well, off to shower before we meet with the Wombats to discuss strategy for our upcoming show today...


Fringe Journal 2k5, Part I (or, "What part of 'I'm on vacation' do you dickheads not understand?")

So, it's Fringe time again, and at the end of the first day, I've done two concerts. First of all, let me fill you in on what happened at work in the past week, shall we?

* * *

Due to stupid scheduling, my vacation at Fringe coincides directly with the Source by Circuit City's annual manager's convention. As such, when I'm performing, Mark's in Ontario for three days.

This leaves us with Chelsea and Jordon as the only two staff members over the days that Mark's out of province and I'm ON VACATION. But no store can spare any staff, since, SURPRISE! Every manager's in Ontario.

Against my better judgement, I decided to go in for a few hours on two days next week. But they're NOT being counted as vacation; if they are, people will die.

Yesterday, I did a 12 hour shift, and man, was it a day. It was busy, and I was in the "day before vacation starts" mode. I told Jordon when he came in, "I don't want to do anything. I WILL do what needs to be done, but don't be surprised if my morale hits the deep end later on tonight."

I left early, at 8 pm. Jordon had things under control, I gave him my keys, everything's cool.

Today was the first day of vacation I've had since...last year's Labour Day, I guess, when I hit Moose Jaw for Mrs. M's wedding. It was about fucking time. I was ready to sleep in, hit the print shop to check the proofs on Kow's new business cards, and perform twice. Until I was awakened by Canton knocking on my door.

"Jago, phone's for you."

I pick up the extension in Canton's room, and answers somewhat sleepily.

"Hey, Kyle. It's Chelsea."

"Hey, what's up? What needs to be done? I'm ON VACATION. (boldface mine, since I'm not yelling. Yet.)"

"Well, Mark's not at work."

"WHAT?" I yell. "He's working a twelve hour shift today! Where is he?"

"He called me up at 1 am last night, said he was chosen to be an extra on a movie shooting in town, gave me the keys to open, and said he would be in the store around supper time."

Chelsea's still VERY uncomfortable being in the store by herself, since she's not familiar with a lot of procedures like activating cell phones, or selling satellite.

Me: "Have you called any other store to see if we could get someone?"

Chelsea: "I called up Jordon, but I only got his machine. When I talked to Kingsway, Jeff told me to ask Ron at Southgate. But he was being pretty rude to me."

I sigh, tell her I'll call around, and hang up.

So I call Jeff, and tell him the story. He tells me to try Ron and see if he's got anyone he can lend for a few hours.

I call up Southgate and get one of the flunkies. When I ask him who's working today, he rattles off about three people per shift.

Me: "Can I steal someone for a few hours, so Chelsea can function properly?"

Flunky: "I'd call around to closer stores, like West Ed."

So I do. Lambert just got off vacation himself, and needs all his staff. Deryk had a fashion show in his part of the mall, was expecting a large amount of customers, and had an order to count.

I call Jeff again.

"Talk to Ron. Don lives in Westmount, so maybe he could come in for a few hours."

I call Southgate again, and ask to speak to Ron.

"Ron, I was talking to Jeff, and I REALLY need someone to come in and help my store for a bit. Nothing like a shift, but if I could get Don for a few hours to help out Chelsea, I'd be really grateful."

"No, I can't spare anyone."

"Please, Ron. Mark's away, and I'm on vacation."

"Can't you come in?"

"Ron, what part of 'on vacation' did you miss? I perform two concerts today."

"You can come in before one of them. When are they?"

"Ron, I'm already coming in on two shifts during MY VACATION. I don't see why I should be at the beck and call of my store because my manager fucked up and is being a jackass. BECAUSE I'M ON VACATION."

"When are your concerts?"

"I don't see how this makes a difference. I'm rehearsing at 1 pm for one of them, but I really need to do some errands this morning. It's my vacation after all. The first one I've had in eleven and a half months."

"You can work before 1 pm, then."

I slam the phone on the hook. And promptly dial Mark's cell. The message kicks in.

"Hi, Mark. It's Kyle. I'm going into work today. Thanks." SLAM!

I drive into work in my street clothes, because there's NO fucking way I'm dressing up for a shift I shouldn't even have. And I stay there until 12:30. I try calling Jordon. I call Mark's cell again.

"Mark, I wasn't aware that you told people that you were sick. I might have let slip that you're actually being an extra on the day you're supposed to work twelve hours. To Jeff and Ron. And Lambert. My bad. Whoops. Sorry."

Chelsea was telling me how Jennifer (Capilano's manager) was saying that Mark screwed up bad. Which is odd, since I didn't call Jen at all. (Note to self: Call up Capilano tomorrow. Bitch out Jen and tell her what happens at my store is none of her fucking business.)

Other than that, good day. Let me just tell you one more work story before continuing on...

* * *

A few days back, it was Jordon and I working. (Saturday? Sounds right.) It was crazy busy in the store, and Jordon might have been doing a cell phone sale, so I was picking up the slack. The phone rings.

"The Source by Circuit City. Kyle speaking."

A man with a high voice is on the phone, asking about a phone he bought a few years back. I'm being polite enough, but I'm very terse, as I've got four customers waiting in line, and I'm really in no mood to talk with someone who's taking their sweet time to ask a question.

After about six minutes, and a lot of mouthing, "I'm sorry" to the guy who's next in line, I say, "Sir, I'm sorry, but there's a lineup here. If you have any questions about new phones, you can come down to the store and we can talk in person."

"You keep on calling me sir, when, obviously, I'm a lady. What to you have to say to that?"

"Pardon?" My heart sinks in my stomach.

"Do I sound like a man? Am I confusing you here?"

"Well, actually, ma'am, I have heard a lot of older men with higher voices. You do have a pretty low voice for a lady. I'm sorry if I offended you."

"I don't have a penis. I am on the phone with you and I'm not a man. What do you have to say to that?"

"Sorry, ma'am." I hang up.

* * *

Speaking of gender-bending, on my way out of the store today on my non-shift, I saw one of two things. (I'm not sure which is the correct view here.)

I either saw: a) a 6'2" guy with breasts, or (b) a 6'2" woman with a beard.

I'm talking Alan Moore beard here, people, not a few dark whiskers.

I think I was triple-taking at this person who had passed me and had SOME sort of perfume on. Scary.

* * *

So, first day of Fringe! First of all, we had our first "Kowbats" show today, which was the joint Wombat/three-fifths of Kow show that we're putting on three times this week.

It was fun improv-ing with Randy and Paul, and the crowd of fifty or so seemed to enjoy it. Dev and I were talking with the young parents of a family who was there from Calgary, who had come in for a day of events. They had the day of shows all planned out, and Kow was on there twice! So they were kind of bummed out that they weren't able to see us perform with the family of five. But they were going to see our evening show, if they were able to get Three Dead Trolls tickets quickly enough.

Canton's been full-blown sick the past few days, but seemed to be in fair enough spirits tonight after last night's run for orange juice and Fisherman's Friends. We were joking about it all day, saying that Canton would be fun doped up on couch medicine.

Canton: "Hello, little girl! Your head's a FISH!"

It became the running joke of the day.

At 9:45, we had our first full-blown Kow concert. I was winded after running home for the "bitchpipe," as we've taken to calling our, yes, pitch pipe. So I wasn't properly in tune until about three songs in.

Since it was a stunningly beautiful day today, after the week of rain we've been having, there was a HUGE crowd for the show before ours. We had a respectable audience, but unfortunately, it didn't translate into a lot of people putting money in our hats. Also, as Kow discussed in our post-mortem, we're killing the Gulf War Song from our Fringe sets.

As much as we loved it, the song KILLED the audience. Some people left, and one of the recurring pieces of feedback we received was "What was that one song in the middle? I'm not sure if I didn't get it, or just didn't like it, or what."

I think that's an all-time record. The song we killed after singing it once. I'm sure we'll find an audience for it somewhere, but we're not taking any more chances this week.

To people who come to an outdoor show, there are some simple rules of protocol I'd like to go over. Funnily enough, a LOT of them have to do with drinking:

1. Don't get stoned in front of an open stage. While I'm sure it's fun for you, the fifteen families I saw in the crowd weren't so cool with it. If there's a three-year-old sitting at the front of the stage, please, smoke your pot somewhere else.

2. No matter how drunk you are, the back of the stage is not a place you want to be on when we're performing. Sure, it's open and you can see us from the side. There are plenty of other shortcuts in the area, and the stage we're standing on is not one of them.

2a. Dancing is also not something to do on the stage we're standing on. Even if you are very drunk.

3. Don't drink at an open stage. The reasons for this are explained in rule one, and everyone knows it isn't iced tea you've got in that Coke bottle.

4. It's cool to sing along with us. Unless you're stoned and drunk and disrupting those of us who are doing it for real. Then it's not so cool.

5. Talking on the cell phone might SEEM like a good idea, but if you're drunk and stoned and was previously singing loudly with us and sitting in the third row, we can hear your conversation. Even if you turn around and face the other way. While this is an open stage and, as such, is a crapload noisier than an indoor stage, the performers will want to kick your ass if they see you doing it. I know I did.

6. When the show is over, and we come around with our hats for donations, do not pretend to not see us, to the point of shading your eyes, and looking away. Especially if your friend if reaching for their wallet and complimenting us right beside you. Just because we don't charge admission doesn't mean we want you to have a free show at our expense. If you like the show, show your support, or even say, "You know what? I just spent all my money of pot and Jack Daniels, and I don't have enough money to show my gratitude for you not kicking my ass in front of two hundred people." Even if you do have enough money, if you don't want to give us any of it, that's fine. Just don't treat us like you treat panhandlers on Whyte Ave.

After our evening show tonight, Chelsea came up to me after the show. So I had to ask, "What time did Mark come in? Or did he?"

"Jordon came in at five, when I finally got a hold of him. I didn't see Mark, although he called the store and asked, 'What happened?' He's in a lot of trouble, isn't he?"

"OH, yeah..."

* * *

In other news, Heath called me up and said he'd be coming down from Fringe. So I really hope he shows. That would be fun.


Odd Transformations 29: Vigilante crimefighting!

For the past few days, or maybe even just one long stretch of last night that SEEMED like a few days, I've been having a recurring dream.

I've been part of this huge plot of thieves, where I overheard something and have been going around looking for clues on how to stop or solve this crime of robbery on a HUGE scale.

Problem was, I've been followed by a pair of plainclothes detectives because I keep on trespassing/breaking into places to get evidence.

I'm not sure if I was an author (I kept on writing my investigations in prose form, which would somehow get to the detectives each day), but I'd be trying to avoid these guys, only to have them appear at the places I'm casing for evidence. (Mostly schools.)

So they'd keep trying to arrest me and stop me from investigating an obviously innocent woman (played by Carol Burnett, I'm pretty sure), because when it came to the word of a socially powerful woman against a guy who kept on breaking into everywhere for clues, I was the untrustworthy one.

It all have down to a head at a local school's benefit, I'm pretty sure. It one point, I was in a school gym, trying to evade these two detectives, the next, I was under a table at this banquet with the two cops, eavesdropping on this entire table's guilt in the matter, as well as seeing a whole bunch of fifty and hundred dollar bills fluttering underneath to where I was.

So while the details are a little vague, as they always tend to be, it looks like I was in the middle of my own Fletch novel/movie: Using disguised identities to gather information, being chased by cops, trying to keep one step ahead of both Carol Burnett and her crew AND the detectives, and writing it all down for the detectives to keep on my trail.

* * *

Kow's Fringe schedules are up. Hope to see some of you at our performances.

Also, I'm planning on going to Pavlov improv tonight to perform. It'll be a long-form improvised play, and Dev hopes to hit the stage for the first time since Survival broke up.

$5 admission, at Jekyll and Hyde Pub (one block south of the Jasper Ave Boston Pizza: 10610 100 Ave) at 11 pm tonight (Saturday, August 13th). Hope to see a bunch of people there as well.


Odd Transformations 28: The televised reunion

I don't think any of my recent dreams have had this much backstory.

A few years ago, I guess I starred in a reality TV show. It was a moderate success, since a lot of us went back to our old lives afterwards, but the reunion that was being prepared for us was making quite a splash in the entertainment industry. It was going to be BIG!

First of all, I was invited to a fancy dinner. Outside the convention centre where the dinner was taking place, I ran into my first friend who was a part of the reality show along with me, a nice enough guy who went on to become an RCMP officer, since he was wearing his uniform. We caught up outside the centre, and when the bus that was going to take the cast out somewhere else was leaving, he told me to go with him in his car.

The second phase of the reunion was getting us into a pool. I was all for this, and used the alcove of this meeting room to change down to my swim trunks. I remember I was wearing two pairs of socks for some reason.

In a room adjoining the alcove, where was some sort of preparation going on. It was a bunch of people from a high school in Ardrossan.

"Oh, Ardrossan!" I said. "Is there a girl named Kerry there?"

They call for Kerry, who turns out to be not my cousin, but a lather large girl who really intimidates me.

"Oh hell," I mutter. "Did I say Ardrossan? My cousin Kerry was in Wetaskiwin. My mistake."

I tried to go to the pool with my reality show co-stars, but this huge Kerry said, "Look at your hands! They're smaller than mine!"

So she forcibly grabbed my hand and showed how small it was to hers. I gulped. Then she insisted we compare feet. Mine were bigger than hers (whose feet AREN'T mine bigger than?), and I was able to get off the hook after a girl from the show came in to wonder where I was.

In this room we went into was the reunion party. It seemed to be a mix of people from a lot of my paths in life along with people that don't exist in the non-dream world. (That is to say, when I saw them, I completely remembered them from points in my life that never happened, but my dream-self had context.)

I saw Shauna (my first crush from high school), Debates, some people from Lister. One bigger German guy who I'm pretty sure was gay came up to me and embraced me, saying how much he missed me. Shauna made some sort of remark, which made me mock-glare at her, pointing at her and miming "I'll kill you!" This made people laugh, especially when I'd look back at the gay German adoringly, only to glare again at Shauna, still miming threats.

The part at which I woke up finished with a surprise cameo from Canton, who looked to be about forty, until I realized that he had dyed his hair grey and given himself stage makeup wrinkles for effect.

"You looked a lot younger, Canton, when I last saw you...THIS AFTERNOON!"

* * *

Last night, Canton, Dev and I went to play some Deadlands RPG, a very dark magic-infested Wild West setting.

My character, Barney Bailum (Think on that. You'll figure it out...) is a snake oil salesman, a man famous for the fast talk, and even more famous for his sheer greed. Canton plays my twelve-year-old son, Petey.

We were in a town where some friends of ours ran into some demons who blew up some churches and blamed them for it. So this session was all about getting our reputation back and foiling some baddies.

Dev and I made this plan up where we'd have an outdoor church service, since the main church was now uninhabitable. Dev, who's character is an Anglican priest, and I would bring all the townsfolk together so we can see which one is possessed by the demon, and we can exorcise it and maintain our good name.

Dev's mentor was an old bishop that you just didn't want to mess with. And when it came time for our service, where we had a donation offering to build a new church, the bishop had warned me specifically that all the money went to the church.

Dev started off by bringing the mayor up on stage, who had the demon on his back. He started off by hoodwinking the mayor into giving a lot of money to rebuild the church. I was acting as the deacon, and when six hundred dollars was placed into my hat, Dev said, "You've made this town very happy, mayor."

I decided my character would be stuck to his promise to the bishop, and could only watch, horrified, as people put loads of money into his hat that he could not touch. Barney started bawling. "Yes, Mayor, you've made the church (sob sob) very happy." Single tears ran down my cheeks.

The room was laughing its collective ass off, to the sight of the greediest man in our game having no choice but to not touch the over fourteen hundred dollars in his hat, and still playing the part of the deacon to Dev's minister.

"Boo hoo! I'm so, so HAPPY. Boo hoo hoo hooo..."


Well, I think I've neglected this enough, don't you?

Yeah, almost two weeks without an update isn't cool.

And as much as I'd love to blame it on work and whatnot, it's not entirely due to that.

Although I did lose a day off due to remerchandising the store according to the new Source by Circuit City plans. While I lost a day, Mark had to work three 12 hour days in a row to get the store to the halfway-complete stage it is now. So I'm not horribly bad off.

It's just another reason I don't want to jump up to the ranks of tSbCC Manager. While the money's a bit greener, the workload isn't. At least I get overtime for my AM overages.

And our store's looking good. Damn well better, after all the work we've been putting into it.

So, where were we?

* Kow did the Party in the Park for the World Masters Games at the end of July. While other people have written quite thorough posts about it, I'd just like to say even with all the shit we had to put through that night due to lack of organization, I still enjoyed myself a lot.

And, hey. Free beer. And I'll be the first to admit I started LONG before Dev's second act startup. As soon as it was put on the Ryder truck, I was the first to grab one.

* Kow also applied for this year's Northern Harmony. Fifth (sixth?) time's the charm. We got our application in, and I'm sure we'll be a shoe-in for it once again. Hell, we're NoHarm ironmen, all things considered.

And if we get the same kind of publicity we garnered last year due to it? All the better.

* Dev, Canton and I dove into 24, Season 3, on DVD recently. Because we're bitches, we crack wise during some parts of any show we watch.

In the first ep, someone mentioned they had only hours to find a terrorist's bio-weapon.

Me: (pretending to be a character) "TWENTY FOUR hours, actually!"

Dev: "And that's REAL TIME!"

Me: "Hey, baby, did I mention you're one TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX?"

Dev boos. Canton throws pillows.

We finished the first two discs. The first third is complete.

* Nathan Fillion, Edmonton-born Hollywood actor (you might remember him from this, this, this, or maybe even this), ripped on our juggernaut comics store, Warp One. Too much has been said on this, so I'll just let you see the whole story (and a sheer crapload of speculation and insults) from various sources.

I'll just say that while this is pretty typical (from stories from friends and acquaintances) from the way that Mr. Minty treats people, and that Warp One's pricing can be high, I'm still willing to pay the price they offer their comics for.

Also, since the shop's only two blocks away from my house, I tend to frequent it. Although there IS Wizard's on 109th, and I've heard good things about Happy Harbor on 124th and Jasper.

For the meantime, nothing's changing with my buying habits at Warp.

*And now, a story from work:

Let it be said, that while it can be a pretty assholish thing to say, nothing gives me more joy at the Source by Circuit City than kicking kids out of my store. Once, after a particularly bad day, it was shocking that throwing some truants out didn't actually improve my mood.

Usually it does.

A few days ago, there were two ten- or twelve-year olds (max) screwing around with the electric guitar. Figuring that the fifteen minutes they spent in my store was MORE than enough, I approached them with my usual "polite" story (so I actually sound like I have a reason, instead of being a complete prick).

Me: Hey, guys. Where are your parents?

Kid: (not even looking at me) At home.

Me: Oh. Well, I'm sorry, but I don't let kids in my store without their parents. If your parents aren't around, then you'll have to leave.

Kid: We're not kids.

Me: Oh? Well, you can leave now, regardless of if you're kids or not.

And I kicked them out. And of course, that's where my wit started, and I was thinking of all those things I should have said to make me sound like I'm Oscar Wilde on my blog here.

Like, "If you're younger than me, you're a kid. (Turn to my manager, Mark) Sorry, man, that means you, too." Or, "If you're not a kid, then can I see your driver's license, please?"

Stuff like that. As it was, that was a definite "my mood got a lot better" occasion.

Nothing much else happening. I'm reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I'm halfway through, and am certain I will finish it before the weekend.

* Oh, I loved the new "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which I saw with a few of my friends. Having only seen the Gene Wilder '70s version once, I didn't have childhood nostalgia ruining this Tim Burton version.

It's a lot truer to the book, and I loved everything about this one. At times, pictures from the book seemed to have inspired certain scenes and shots. And I teared up when Charlie shared his birthday chocolate bar with his family, and everyone would nibble it slightly to keep the bar longer.

It's no real secret that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my absolute favourite books when I was growing up. I must have read that one about fifty times, along with the Great Glass Elevator.

So this movie hit me on all the right notes.

* I've been playing a lot of Warcraft recently, now that Morg and Marauder have started playing. Fun stuff.

* I'm looking forward to my vacation coming up just in time for Fringe. Kow shows, seeing a lot of theatre, improv stuff, and seeing old friends is a good way to spend a week and a bit. And also not working. Wheee!

So that's about all for now. I'll be speeding up my updates now. Won't get as distracted. Must post and not procrastinate!


Another day, another personality test.

My friend Ryan found this quiz online, and so I thought I'd take it. My results?

You are 42% Rational, 57% Extroverted, 0% Brutal, and 57% Arrogant.

As the Lord as my witness, I swear upon the good book that you are indeed the TELEVANGELIST! Characterized by extreme arrogance, self-assurance, and extroversion, you would make a very charismatic leader (or a very despotic one). On top of that, you are also more intuitive than rational, predisposing you to a more spiritual or emotional outlook on life. Thus, you are thoroughly irrational. You also tend to be rather gentle and considerate of others' feelings. Clearly, you would make the perfect televangelist. Emotional, extroverted, arrogant, and gentle, you annoy the hell out of people who have to listen to the feel-good, intuitive shit spewing from your mouth. Not only that, but people may look down on you as a self-centered asshat. So while you are gentle and genuinely care about others, it is quite clear that you still care about yourself MORE. Why is your personality flawed? Because you are too damned extroverted, emotional, and arrogant. So preach your irrational message, brotha-man!
I assure you, no one will be listening!

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more INTUITIVE than rational.

2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.

3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4. You are more ARROGANT than humble.


Your exact opposite is the Spiteful Loner.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Hippie, the Starving Artist, and the Robot.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 22% on Rationality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 61% on Extroversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Brutality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 65% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on Ok Cupid

So, let me get this straight here. I got a Brutality Rating of ZERO PER CENT?

Eh, at least I didn't get Sasquatch nerd, like D! suggested I might. (Stupid robot...)

A bigger post tomorrow, I promise. Off to wrestling.


Thanks for the invite!

Two days ago, I got the following email in my mailbox.

Dear Andrea,
The department of Art and Design would like to offer you a space in our program. Please find attached, a letter of acceptance to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. I will forward this to the Faculty of Arts and the Registrar's Office to request admittance on your behalf.
Please send me an email immediately to indicate whether or not you would like to accept our invitation.

Now I was confused, since I don't remember applying for the Fine Arts program at the U of A. Also, my name wasn't Andrea and I wasn't from Calgary.

I sent a letter back to the registrar, saying that it went to the wrong place, and that she should try again. I figured out Andrea's last name was Kowalchuk, and if her email address happened to be something like akow@telus.net, then one letter accidentally dropped off would go directly into the Kow mailbox. Which leads to my computer.

As it was, the email address was similar, but only if you leave off the full first name of her father. So, there you go.

Now you people can stop congratulating me.

* * *

At our last Kow meeting, we had the Wombats join us, since they've also got an outdoor stage this Fringe. We're trying to figure out ways to cross promote each other and occasionally join each other's shows.

Obviously, for Kow to be useful during an improv show, we can sing background music for a particular sketch, or make noises, or so forth. But how do we get them in our show? Dev and I were trying to mull it over. We decided maybe we can let them do one of our many rants (such as mine in Spider-Man, Canton's in Sukiyaki, Astro's in Faith, etc.). It'd be an easy thing for us to vamp while they promote their show or something.

At the end of the meeting, I asked Paul how many shows they had. "Sixteen," Paul said.

"Yeah, we would have had sixteen too, but we can't make three of them. So I guess we'll drop them."

"Whoa!" Paul said. "Don't drop a show! Why would you do that?"

I explained that Astro and Barber will still be doing their day jobs during Fringe, so it'll be impossible for them to make the very early afternoon shows, like 12:45 pm and 2:00 pm. And it would be super-hard for Canton, Dev and I to trio these slots.

But what we decided to do is to share the slots with the Wombats. Canton, Dev and I are all pretty decent improvisers, and it could be a pretty fun show with Paul and Randy. Hell, with five of us, we can even make it a special Pavlov Improv Fringe show. Now that would be cool.

* * *

On Wednesday evening, Roland and I were closing the store. At about 8:30, this man comes in, wanting to upgrade his cell phone. I'm handling him, but I need to see what can be done, since he's off a monthly plan, and I'd need to switch him to a whole new plan. While I was calling Rogers, he went for something to eat.

"Man," I told Roland. "Looks like I'm not getting out of here until 10 pm at least!"

"Why?" he asked me.

The clock was currently 8:50. It would be hard for me to renew his plan, do the upgrade, and help this guy out before I could properly leave.

As it was, his old plan was something like 1600 minutes monthly, free long distance anywhere in North America, and included "By the Second Billing," something Rogers hasn't offered in three years.

So I had to change his plan, which would kill the second billing, and the price has gone up by $30 a month.

This guy was pretty pushy, too. But all I could think was "It's a sale, he'll be out of here. It's a sale, he'll be out of here." So I kept my cool.

At about 9:30, he told me he was impressed with my handling of him, and asked me if I wanted a job at his company, which would pay me more than what I'm making here. As I always do when I'm headhunted, I thanked him, but said I'm doing fine where I am.

Besides, if the guy frustrated me for an hour when I'm doing a cell phone, think of how often I'd get pissed off when dealing with him day in, day out.

As it was, I was done with him at 10 pm. And still had to close the store. I left the store one tired Jago at 10:30, ruing the fact that tomorrow I'd be doing a 12 hour shift right after this one.

So I get in and start my twelve hours, selling and putting away stock, thinking to myself, "Look towards Saturday. Look towards Saturday."

At 12:00 pm, Roland calls in sick. Swell. He was the only other person scheduled. So now I'm doing a 12 hour shift alone. I'm tired after a twelve regardless, but when I'm stressed out, can't get anything to eat, can't leave the store, can't hit the washroom? My day just hit rock bottom.

I called up Mark and told him the news. He told me he'd come in a bit. For a little while. Which was better than the alternative, mind you.

He came about 2 or 2:30. And was distracted with Ron, another manager, who was giving the store a visit. So I ran for some food.

He happened to pick the busy time to come, because when I came back with my oh-so-deserved sub, I had to spend another fifteen minutes helping customers. And then told him I was going to eat.

In the back room, I unwrap the sub, and am about to take a huge bite, when another rush comes. Sigh. He left again at 4. So I was alone until 9.

The reason I appreciate people with me during my twelve hour shifts, is that my mind tends to shut down about the ten hour mark or so. I end up making mistakes, losing my focus, just not caring.

Which is why, during another busy period at 7 pm, where I was selling a guy an Expressvu system and there was a lineup, some older kids managed to walk out of the store with a $120 toy. When I noticed it missing two hours later (my brain had shut off), I was livid.

So today I start to work at Kingsway for a few days. It's nice that Jeff thought of me as someone to run his store while he's gone. But I wasn't so happy to do it when my store's got a guy who's being investigated by Loss Prevention, and our girl's not comfortable enough to be left on her own.

Good thing Mark's getting a new employee today. No, wait. He has to train as well as do everything else? Yipes.

Well, good thing I'm at a store where there's two or three new hires. No, wait. I have to train as well as keep the store in shape? Double yipes.



So, yeah, I've been delinquent here at my journal. Hope you guys are starving for some Jago writing...

Now it's been a fairly long time since my last post telling you about some stuff. When it comes to wrestling, it looks like Canton's got it covered. Needless to say, my boss has really shown my friends and I some great matches that have us fearing for Mark's life.

Inventory: Never really PROPERLY done, since Mark and I both had a crapload of commitments that were keeping us from taking a good amount of time to do the inventory. There was about a 19% error in what we had vs. what we should have had, but we were expecting that, with what the previous managers weren't doing. Looks like there might be another one when I'm on vacation. And when Mark's wrestling. Yipes.

Justice's Bachelor Party: A fun time, although I had to leave early due to inventory the next day.

At one point, I was asking Justice about what his dad must have thought of me back in the days where I'd go over to the Engel house for wrestling.

Me: I can just imagine your dad asking, "Adam, who's that driving around the block four times?"

(A very inebriated) Justice: [silently shocked, whispered] You just said the dead man's name.

Me: Oh fer... I was referring to a time BEFORE you changed your name.

Justice: I don't care. I can't believe you'd call me by the dead man's name!

What followed was a five minute debate over the logistics of telling stories from a time BEFORE Justice Gray and what I should call him if speaking as someone in that timeframe.

Since I'm on the subject of Justice, let's skip to the wedding that occurred this Saturday.

Dev and I went, and were afraid there might not be many people from our circle of friends there. We were right. There was our friend Mike ushering, and Justice came by to give us hugs before the ceremony, but otherwise, we were on our own.

I realized during the wedding that Helen's the sister of one of my old Grant Mac Journalism classmates. This was realized when I saw Jo-Jo as a bridesmaid, and wondered if that was indeed her, since we haven't seen each other/talked for five years. It was only when I heard her talk that I could confirm it.

(Funny thing was, I'm pretty sure when I got the invite last month, I saw "Helen Mah" and asked myself, "Wouldn't it be funny if she was related to Jo-Jo?")

Dev had brought his travel mug full of coffee (it was an early noon service), and I snickered when, during the processional, everyone stood up and turned around to watch the bride come down the aisle. When Helen was a pew away from us, Dev instinctively went for a drag from his mug before realizing that he was in full view of the bride at this point.

At the reception, we were pleased to be seated with some people we knew: Mike and my old friend Otis, who's disappeared off my social list some three years ago. There was a lot of catching up and socializing at our table (which, according either to the gods or to people who know us, traditionally is as far away from the head table as we can be.)

Justice's friend Suresh was master of ceremonies, along with Jo-Jo. Problem is, Suresh's style of humour, while fine for Justice, is not the best choice for the dozens of elder family members who prefer their socials to be more, um, socially acceptable.

Suresh decided to improv at times, which led to such precious moments as offending all of the Mah side of the reception when he said "Chinese, Japanese, whatever you are..."

There was a gasp and then a silence. One of the younger Chinese kids broke the silence with an extremely well-placed "Let's get 'im!"

My favourite part of the evening was the toast to the groom, done by his best man, Philip. I was crying. Mostly from the laughing-so-hard-I-couldn't-see-or-breathe aspect.

Philip: "My job is to talk about my friend Justice Gray. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how good at that I'll be, considering I've only known Justice for four years, and that was primarily through e-mail and the very occasional telephone call."

In my mind: "Eh? I thought Philip and Justice met in elementary school."

Philip: "Now, Adam Engel, on the other hand..."

From my table, a loud chorus of "Whoooo!"s and whooping was heard. (Damn. I knew they put us there for a reason.)

Philip then goes into this story of a lot of Adam's prior alter egos over the course of their friendship. I couldn't see I was laughing so hard.

Good wedding, a fun time afterwards.

* * *

A few weeks ago, I was working by myself. I was preoccupied with some paperwork and only noticed the girl who was waiting patiently on the other side of the counter.

I start. "Oh! Hi! How can I help you?"

"Are you hiring?"

I look her over. She's blonde, very cute, and relatively tall. I look her over again.


I take her resume. She was professional, wasn't looking like she just stepped out of bed. I consider who Mark would have to fire to hire this girl. I then contemplate if I'd be able to get any work done with her around.

After five minutes of carefully considering if she'd be too much of a distraction, I decided I could be professional about it. Unfortunately, we couldn't justify hiring a fifth person on staff. I faxed her resume into district office.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I'd talk Tannis up in front of Mark, hissing, when I could, "Hire this girl!"

* * *

This past week, I had to hit Rogers training. Even though I've taken the course before. Even though I'm one of the select few that's certified by Rogers. (Sorry, had to take a rain break. It started to storm here, and it's blazing hot inside the house. I went out onto the porch for a few minutes and let the rain cool me down. I am a little damp, but much cooler now. On with the story.) But two days off of work is two days off of work. So I go.

On the first day of training, at the TD Tower elevators, I notice a cute girl standing, looking confused. She starts following me into the elevator, and asks me if I'm going to training. Oh, okay. A very cute girl in the class with me. Nice.

At training, I notice three very good looking girls. Seriously, three in the running for hottest ladies in the district. And they're all training with me. Score!

When we introduce ourselves to the rest of the room, I say, "Hi, I'm Kyle from Westmount. I've been with the company for five years, took this course last year, passed it, and have now been certified by Rogers. So I'm not sure what I'm doing here."

When they get to the cute girl from the elevator, it wasn't until she said, "Hi, my name is Tannis," that I realized it was the girl who dropped her resume off. So she WAS hired. Score!

Over the course of the two days, I was hanging out with all three girls (Tannis - West Edmonton Mall, Eve - Bonnie Doon, Skyler - St. Albert) during lunch time and during the session. I didn't know how bad I had it until the review for the test came.

Guss, our trainer, unbeknownst to everyone in the room (except for me, who suspected he'd do this), was reviewing questions word for word off the test. And even though I knew it was happening, I couldn't concentrate for one reason.

I was...imagining... what...actions of a carnal nature... would be like with these three girls. And I only realized I was daydreaming for a good ten minutes when I brought myself out of the reverie and finding out I missed about 25 questions on the review.

As it was, I'm pretty sure I passed the test. And, hey, I got a very good daydream out of it. A very good daydream.

As I was joking around with Dev over MSN later that night:

Me: So I was with three beautiful girls during training today. Sooo hot.

Dev: So you do anything with them?

Me: Seven times. Twice each individually, once with all three.

Dev: Score.

Me: Now, mind you, I'm not the guy who kisses and tells here...But since there was no actual kissing, I think I'm able to tell in this case.

Dev: Sweet. Do tell.

Me: You're not buying any of this, are you?

Dev: Are you selling anything?

Me: Not half as well as Eve sold that one trick she does that...

Me: Nah, I got nothing.

* * *

Listening to: Sonic 102.9 radio. There's not many songs I don't like on this station. I can only think of one offhand, and I really with The Transplants would just die. But otherwise? I heard the freakin' SHINS today, with a song off the Garden State Soundtrack. Awesome.

Reading: Just finished Jennifer Government, by Max Barry, recently. A very good satire of a world where corporations rule, with enough tongue-in-cheekiness to keep it from getting preachy or too dark. Also, I'm really loving this blog, written by a very well-written bouncer on the New York club scene.



Take the MIT Weblog Survey

This is an MIT study of weblogging. I'd invite anyone who reads this to take ten minutes out of their day and fill it out.

It's for SCIENCE!

Posts about inventory, working my ass off, wrestling, and Justice's bachelor party to follow...


The hell?

Going to D!'s to watch some SmackDown!, I pulled into the Safeway parking lot. On Sonic 102.9, they were playing this song that sounded very familiar. But it wasn't the version I was thinking of. So I'm trying to place the song by the tune (sort of) and the lyrics.

"Must be a cover of a song I know," I thought.

After a few lines (What have I become? My sweetest friend), I realized that it wasn't a cover after all, but was instead the original "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails, instead of the Johnny Cash version that I' m used to.

I don't think I've ever heard Trent Reznor sing that one before...

* * *

While shopping in the Safeway, I came across a headline in the Globe and Mail that read something along the lines of "20 Years Ago, Canada's Own 9/11."

What? We're referring to old disasters as versions of an attack that happened 17 years later?

It was talking about the Air India bomb that was placed on a plane in Vancouver, and detonated just before reaching Ireland.

So is this what I have to look forward to? I've already resigned myself to the fact that what happened on September 11th will be trivialized and watered down by everything and anything tragic that will inevitably be linked to the World Trade Center. But will I be seeing England's Guy Fawkes Day turn into "9/11, except over four hundred years prior, and nothing really happened, but otherwise, exactly the same freaking thing?"

God, sometimes I really hate the media...


Uneasy with the slightest hint of celebrity...

So Canton and I went to Pub 1905 for dinner a few nights back. (Good food, decent prices for what we thought might be a more trendy experience than, say, the Next Act, and MY GOD! The Menu! Fifty hundred hot dogs! Mixed greens with a dill vinaigrette! As Canton said, "Why haven't we ever come by here before? And this is going to be one of our new places, isn't it?")

When we sat down, the busboy came by us and said, "Hey, you guys are in Apocalypse Kow, aren't you?"

We nodded.

"Man, you guys are cool. Especially that one Green Day classical song. And that web flash Christmas cartoon you guys made..."

Canton: "What? Do you remember the link?"

BB: "I might have it around in a email somewhere. What's the problem? Copyright infringement?"

Me: "No, we just never heard about a flash cartoon that might have our music in it." (Especially since we've never really released anything that might sound better than a bootleg Fringe CD.)

As it happened, it wasn't our version of the song that has a Santa boogieing around a trio of reindeer. Must be the original college version from somewhere down in the States, since that's the group WE stole it from. (A funny story comes to mind about how we had that in our set list for a Northern Harmony a few years back. When the Heebee-jeebees sang their version of Aerosmith's "Don't Want to Miss A Thing" with a background arrangement of Pachebel's Canon a set before OUR version of Green Day's "Basket Case" with a background arrangement of Pachebel's Canon. Man, were we freaked out...)

Still, I get recognized around the city here more than some people. Mostly it happens when Canton and I hang out together, because people are more apt to recognize two of a group of five more than just a singe member.

Even at work, I've had customers ask if I'm part of Kow.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm on par with a Ryan Smith or any Edmonton celebrity. Just that I'm a bit uncomfortable when people recognize me on the street for anything other than being me.

Because that means that Kow's grown in leaps and bounds since they days we'd be a part of the Carnival of Shrinking Youth and do the occasional concert for our friends.

And I've known this ever since we've been a part of Fringe (which, for those who haven't heard, we've been accepted to again. Woo!) and our attempts at recording and the recognition factor.

Hell, the fact that we're MCing and singing at a party for competitors of the World Masters Games? Knowing someone on the board only got us so far, but I'm still coming to grips with the fact that we're not just the little group we used to be.

I'm happy that we're at the point we are, but I'm just concerned when our "celebrity" might eventually become celebrity, on a city scale, anyways...

But that's just my insecurities jumping down my throat. Seriously, the only reason I posted this was to get it out of my system.

So, in a nutshell, happy for Kow, happy for "success," freaked out at people knowing who I am.

But that's just something I'll have to get used to...