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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...


Odd Transformations 28: Musical?

So I had a dream I was cast in a musical for something or other. It might have been for Oran, but I'm pretty sure I remember my high school drama teacher in the proceedings.

We were on this stage at some high school, I guess, since there was a walkway over top of the stage. Before anything musically happened, I was sitting there and kept on getting hit by projectiles (bottles, binders) thrown by people waling above me.

In the actual musical, I was playing an Indian brave (Tommy Two-Feathers, according to one of the lines.) My chief was boxing or wrestling in the finale. I remember having my own solo song at one point (which was fun, since we only had one rehearsal before we staged it).

Also, in the ending moments, my chief was getting in the ring, when all of a sudden, his opponents grew in a green glow, going to three times my chief's size.

I look to the side, and there's the traitor of the musical, none other than Reed Richards, scientific genius of the Marvel Universe and part of the Fantastic Four. And he was being financed by evil corporation Sony, who didn't want my chief to win.

Yeah, strange dream. And it featured a lot of cameos, such as Chapman behind the sound booth, who kept trying to add his own personal embellishments to the musical that weren't needed.


I got in!

This year, I took a year off of choirs other than Kow. After ten years of the Mixed Chorus, I thought it best to just not have anything on my plate for concerts and rehearsals.

Not having to give up a week of my vacation for a tour that would always leave me more ragged than I began. Not having to book off a lot of December to shoehorn in all the Christmas concerts.

In about May, or maybe a little earlier, I realized that, while it was refreshing to take a year off, I was jonesing for a new choir.

I was certainly not going to head back to the Mixed Chorus, since every year, the choir gets younger and younger. Hell, I was "old guard" back in 1997. I didn't really want to be the guy who's just hanging around because there's no place to go.

In February, I saw Oran's performance of an entire concert of African songs, and I was enraptured.

I had a few friends in the choir, like Astro and his wife, and the Chungs. And there's an old friend from Moose Jaw there as well.

When Bob, my Mixed Chorus director, emailed me asking if I wanted to apply for the Greenwood Singers, I was torn. I certainly couldn't join TWO choirs and expect to be sane.

So it became a matter of, "Which choir would I enjoy myself more in?"

While I like Bob as a conductor, I've been singing with him for ten years. I thought it was time for a change, as I'm sure I'd learn different stuff from Scott Leithead, one of the conductors from Oran. Plus, I couldn't pass up singing with some old friends.

So I booked an audition with Oran.

On Wednesday, I was pretty nervous. It was the first time I had to audition for a choir in ten years. Although Astro kept saying "You're a guy who can sing. How can you NOT get in?"

For my a cappella piece, I decided to do "Spider-Man." It's one of my only solos, and shows off most of my higher range. While my low range is good, it doesn't work for volume, which is something I thought I'd be needing.

Before the audition, Scott had me fill out this form about myself. It asked what I brought to the party, what things I was hoping to learn, experience, etcetera.

Scott welcomed me and said, "You look familiar."

"Well, I DO sing in Apocalypse Kow with Astro."

"Right! Kow! Now I remember. Kow's awesome."

I was still nervous, but it was a little better now that Scott remembered who I was.

On the sheet, it asked which choirs I've been with. So, with confidence, I wrote the following:

A.E. Peacock Jazz Choir (1991-1994)
A.E. Peacock Concert Choir (1991-1994)
University of Alberta Mixed Chorus (1995-2004)
Apocalypse Kow (1997-present)

When he looked over the sheet, he yelled out, "You went to PEACOCK?"

Me: "Yeah, that's where I went to high school."

Scott: "Who did you sing under?"

Me: "Allison Litt."

Scott: "Oh, Allison. She's amazing, isn't she?"

Me: "I enjoyed myself in that choir."

So, another point in my favour.

When I sang Spider-Man, I didn't realize how much I'd miss the rest of Kow backing me up. Man, that's scary, singing a cappella when you're solo.

I did well in my listening tests, and had a decent sight reading test.

So I thought I had a better than even chance of getting in. It wasn't the greatest audition known to man, in my opinion, but we are talking about me here, who's pretty self-critical.

So I'd be reloading the website every few hours, looking for the audition results.

They finally went up this morning, and I'm now a part of Oran.

So, my choir adventures will continue for the next year or few years.

I'm happy and relieved. Because I hate auditions.

It should be a very fun time.


Odd Transformations 27: Pantomime and wrestling bosses

My dream today involved me driving back to Moose Jaw for a special acting project I was asked to participate in.

My old drama teacher, LJ, called me up to take part in this silly play that was being held during the MJ Music Festival, I guess, since the audience was a lot of musicians.

I was involved in something else (vaguely, it was in a church or community hall), and I had to leave Dev and Canton to go to this play. Someone had already taken my script to the play, so I'd meet up with them and collect it then.

For some reason, Mark was with me, and my car ran out of gas in the north side of MJ, about a half-block away from a Shell. So we pushed the car over to the gas station and filled up.

Due to my car running out of gas, I arrived a little late to the auditorium and scrambled to get into costume. I was playing a haughty prince, and I guess the reason I was asked to do this is because it's pretty much a pantomime (in the British "holy crap, this is being played completely overboard" sense, not the "no talking, bitches!" sense) that involves musical numbers.

So I couldn't find my script, and when it was time for my first entrance (where I find out my horse has just died), I start adlibbing, which is great for all the kids in the audience. When someone DOES give me the script (it was a staged reading), I start my lines from where I thought we were starting.

I realize I actually skipped over a page and a half of pretty important dialogue. And mutter, under my breath, "Ah hell."

* * *

Since I' ve been driving in Westmount this past week, I've been lucky enough to take the River Valley road to work.

It's great that I get to drive one of the most beautifully scenic roads in Edmonton twice a day.

(in best Groucho voice) And the trees ain't half bad neither...



(The title's because I screwed up while typing to Grank. So, there you go, Grank. It's now the title of this post.)

So this week was my first week at Westmount, as well as the taping of Smackdown! here in Edmonton.

There's a guy at the store who I've really despised ever since I first got a call from him when I was working downtown. Garry's the kind of guy who you know is an idiot from the first time he speaks.

And so, every time I received a call from Westmount, it was all I could do to not yell at him over the phone, calling him an idiot and to just quit the company.

When Mark took over Westmount, I told him my Garry stories, but it took Mark a face-to-face to realize how much of a dope the guy is.

I was so scared that on Wednesday, the first day the Garry and I would work together, the first thing I would do upon seeing him would be to break his nose, hardcore.

Well, Garry reminds me of a substitute teacher I had back in elementary, looks-wise. He's in his 40s, and, unlike that sub, completely clueless. Seriously, it's taking me back to the days I worked with Real. Or Tanner. Or Anthony. Or Emmanuel. Or Marilyn. Or Barry.

Just typing that now, I realize how much of my career at RadioShack has been spent working with idiots. Hold on a minute while I shoot myself.

Okay, I'm back. Missed my head, got my shoulder instead. So I'm bleeding all over my keyboard for you patrons. Hope you're happy.

One of the things that Mark and I have been worried about is the amount of in-store theft has been going on. Like how a GPS unit has mysteriously vanished, along with the box from the back room. This inventory's going to be the funniest one I've ever been a part of, I think.

The other two in this equation of four is the sheer amount of teenagers, mostly native, who call or come in the store asking for Garry. So why are kids who I really shouldn't profile, but hey, half my job is figuring out who's stealing from my store, calling a 42-year-old dope?

My three theories are as follows:

a) Garry's selling them drugs.
b) Garry's stealing stuff from the store for these kids.
c) Garry's stealing stuff from the store in order to buy drugs to sell them. (so, really, a+b)

The scariest is when a two-year-old Chinese kid came by the store with his mother, and said in a two-year-old shouting voice, "Where's Mr. Garry? Mr. Garry?"

What? What the hell?

Due to these things, and mostly because he's been one of the biggest idiots I've met, Mark and I want him out.

Yesterday, Mark laid into him in the back room while I was helping customers. I only heard a bit of it when I went into the back room. (Keep in mind, they were shouting. I really don't want to have five paragraphs completely in bold block letters.)

(I open the door)

Mark: Why won't you use this bathroom?

Garry: It's dirty!

Mark: I just cleaned it!

Garry: I've got medication! You want to know what for?

Mark: Not particularly.

Garry: Diarrhea. You happy?

Mark: And you won't use this bathroom because?

Garry: I just won't!

(I leave the room, without the box I came in for.)

So when Mark leaves, Garry decides to bitch and moan to me about his. Even though I repeatedly said I didn't want to get involved, and that he should just do his job. (For the record, Mark, I'm not sure which is worse: Typical idiot Garry, or bitchy moany Garry. They're both bad. Fire them both. Fire every incarnation of Garry that comes along. Especially Senor Garry. I hate that sombrero.)

So I decide I'm going to clean up a booth full of audio cables, because it's one of the things that I REALLY must fix.

When I poke my head out to see how things are, Garry's talking with a fifteen-year-old native kid. And I don't let this kid out of my sight. So Garry asks if he can do to the washroom, take a break. I mumble, "Whatever."

I just have to ask this: Why's he going to the washroom with a fifteen-year-old native kid? There's not really a good reason for that, I'm sure.

* * *

On to something happier that my work situation: The Smackdown! taping! Whoo!

Before the show on Tuesday, I decided to hang out with Elimination at his place. This was one warm day, and I needed to pick up some sign-making stuff, such as bristol board and markers.

Apparently, Tuesday at 3 pm is bad on Whyte Ave when it's so nice out. Wha? I can see on a weekend, but Tuesday mid-afternoon? Whatever. I've got my A/C on, my tunes playing it's all good.

I get to Fox Drive before I realize my ticket to Smackdown is still on my counter at home. I turn around, at the breakneck speed of 20 kph, since traffic's horrible.

Halfway home, I notice my air conditioning starts bringing forth the hottest air I can imagine. I look at the console, and my engine's overheating. Shit.

I get home, pick up my ticket, and drive the five blocks to the Esso. It takes me five minutes, which seems a lot longer because I'm holding my car together with the power of my hope and desperation.

I go into the station, and tell the cashier, "Okay. I'll be straight with you. When it comes to cars, I'm a huge idiot. But if my engine's overheating, would that be because of the coolant being low?"

He thinks a bit. "That could be the case. Seriously, I'm not the best with engines."

I open the hood, and steam comes out. Yipes. I open the coolant container and see some fluid in there. I take the manual out of my glovebox and read about the coolant situation. In bold print, it reads, "LET THE CAR COOL DOWN BEFORE OPENING THE COOLANT LID."

Whoops. Well, no harm done, I think. I let the car cool down a bit, and decide to take my chances getting to Elimination's place.

Of course, my eye's locked on the temperature gauge, which is still redlining. I'm fretting, I must admit, since, as I must have mentioned when I first got the Escort, this is MY first car. The other ones I drove in Moose Jaw, and they were owned by my parents. I was safely at home with Dad and Brade, who knew a lot more about cars then I did. If anything happened, I wouldn't really need to worry.

Once I hit Fox Drive and am actually moving properly, the gauge drops to halfway. Whew. "So," I realize, "when an engine is starting and stopping and not going past 40, it heats. When it's smooth sailing and above 60 kph, there's ventilation. Good to know." I still don't turn on the A/C, just in case.

I hang out with Elimination after getting some supplies and food. Chap shows up, and we start making signs. I make the "Solid Steel Sign," a now-Jago-trademark when it comes to wrestling shows. Chap makes a "Haas of Pain" sign, since he's gay for Charlie Haas. Which is cool, since he can wrestle real well.

When we head out, I ask if it's cool to take Chap's car. I really don't want to have a dead car on the way to Smackdown! No probs.

We meet up with D!, Marauder and Gibble at Northlands Coliseum Skyreach Centre Rexall Place and find our seats. They're on the same side as the cameras, which is too bad, since it's harder for us to be on TV. But we've got a great view of the ring and are pretty sure we can be heard.

In the dark match (non-televised match), we've got Harry Smith (the son of the British Bulldog), against this other guy who I've never seen wrestle (George King).

At last month's Prairie Wrestling Alliance show (the fed my boss wrestles for), I got there from work just in time to see Mark and his tag partner, Phoenix, wrestle. He had told me that his opponent, JD, had been trashtalking him to some friends, and so Mark and Phoenix would be playing it a little real, rough him up a little during the match.

JD came out with his tag team partner, Harry Smith. Now, my boss is a few inches shorter than me (he's about 6'), but skinny as hell. Phoenix is shorter, but built. JD's about in between the two.

But Harry? He dwarfed everyone in the ring. He's at least 6'5" or so, and built. D!, Elimination and I were awed at that show.

So when he came to the ring at Smackdown!, we cheered. Unfortunately, he lost his match.

D!: Jago, do you realize we haven't seen Harry win yet? We're his bad luck charm!

The next match was a tag match taped for Velocity, the small one-hour show that mostly recaps what happened on Smackdown! for those that don't have cable.

Teddy Hart, who's one of Gibble's least favourite wrestlers, and JD(!) were in the ring. Gibble starts booing the hell out of Hart, and I start mocking JD, thanks to his history with my boss. So whoever's facing off against them is going to get my cheers.

Too bad it was the Bashams, one of the evil tag teams on the show. I hate cheering for them and their lame-ass two-year-old trick of fooling the referee that should have been stopped after the second month. But cheer for them I did.

Gibble's throwing out these jeers to Teddy: "Hey, Teddy! Do a fucking moonsault! I hope they kick you out of a second federation! Is Ring of Honor calling you at all?" (Except add more swearing.) I'm booing JD. Gibble apologizes to the woman and her two children (probably 10 and 8 in age) behind us for the swearing he's doing. And continues to do.

At which point I realize that I'm playing the part of those assholes at wrestling shows that I hate. YAY!

My other favorite match of the night was a tag-team Most Falls in 15 Minutes match between Charlie Haas (whom Chap is gay for) and Hardcore Holly (who I despise more than JD) vs. MNM, the tag team champs, and D!'s favourite tag team right now.

Man, I lost my voice booing for Hardcore. The cool thing is you can hear our "We Want Spark Plugg" chant on TV (Spark Plugg was Holly's 90s gimmick: The NASCAR driver).

I cheered for everyone in that ring, but every time Holly was tagged in, I'd boo him horribly. Fun times.

It was a good show, and the three and a half hours went by so fast!

Afterwards, we decided to hit a restaurant. But we only had one car and six guys. Elimination, one of the scrawniest of us, took the passenger seat, which kind of confused me. D!, Marauder and I took the back, and had Gibble lay on top of us. Which is when we noticed the cop watching the people leaving the parking lot.

So, after we had Gibble run across the street and then join us again, where we drove to the West Side with him laying on us. His phone rang.

Gibble: "Hey, honey. Yeah, we're just leaving. I'm laying on some guys in the back."

Me: "Don't forget to mention your face is in Marauder's crotch."

Gibble: "Yeah, my face is in Marauder's crotch."

It was a very fun night, and I enjoyed myself immensely. Here's to the next time the WWE comes through town.