An Open Letter to West Edmonton Mall Patrons

Um, hi. How the hell did you get in the store? We're closed. We have been since six.

Yes, we're closed. What, you think that the two inches that the door is open means that we're ready and willing to serve you? Having a closed door isn't enough a deterrent for you? Seriously, are all you WEM patrons that fucking stupid where a closed door simply means open it and walk right in to the furrowed glares of employees? No, I could care less. My frown and repeated statement "We're closed!" doesn't faze you? Seriously, are you that retarded? What, the first three times I shouted it don't clue you in?

Why are you approaching the counter? After all that, you're still expecting me to help? It's an hour past when the store closed! Why the hell would I help you? I could care less about your cell phone not working to call overseas. PayGos don't DO that! So it's MY fault you don't understand how a calling card works? Please, I just want to go home. I've been here since 8 am. That's right, the tills are closed. I'm trying to get home. So's my manager. You're leaving? Thank you.

No! We're closed! Don't shove your head in the door, and ask! I told you three times! Yes, we open at ten tomorrow. Yes, those sales will still be on tomorrow. But not tonight. I'm not going to ring anything in for you, and I'm CERTAINLY not going to help you out of the goodness of my heart. Dude, even if you came in earlier, I still wouldn't want to help you. I stopped wanting to help people today before we opened the store. Because I'm still trying to remember my happy Christmas day off yesterday. No, "we're closed" does not mean, "ask me one question." Fuck. Fine. What's your fucking question?

No, you're kidding me. Asking me "How fast do these cars go" is not one question. Why not? Because that stack of cars includes fifteen different models. It's seven o'clock, I'm not going to answer that. Come in when we're actually fucking open. No. We closed an hour ago. Now, just leave, will you?

Fuck! Why the fuck are you in the store? No, the only reason the door was open a foot was because this lamenuts opened the door. I'm not helping him, why the fuck should I help you? We. Are. Closed. No. I will not ring up one item for you. Leave. Tell you what, if you're so stupid to think a closed door is a good invitation, let's shove this computer cart in front of it. Why the hell are you going around my barricade? The fuck? What the fuck are all you shitheads thinking?




Burnt out

So my store is making record sales this year. L doesn't think we've ever done $30k in sales in one day before and this month, we've done it twice.

So that's good.

Unfortunately, we're doing it while being at least two people understaffed.

That's bad.

I'm pulling more than 52 hours a week at the store. One day off a week. And the other days? Well, there's at least one twelve-hour shift in there. Today I left the store at 11 pm.

I almost had a breakdown while closing tonight. And I'm not exaggerating here. I was counting the $11,000 in cash we made, and my thumb started becoming numb at the hundredth twenty-dollar bill. And I started chuckling because my thumb was cramping up from counting past one hundred bills. It was too funny, and it was all I could do to keep from breaking down crying because I'm so fucking burnt out now, it's pathetic.

My family will be hitting Calgary after Christmas. So there'll be a belated Christmas for the Dokken side of the family, and the first time I'll be able to see Dad since he got his new kidney. And I'm not sure if I'll be able to go after all. Because I don't think I'll be able to get the two days off I'd like. I don't think I'll be able to get two days off period. And one day to drive to Calgary, visit the family, exchange gifts and drive back the same day? No fucking way.

I need to sleep. Or try to keep my mind off of it by playing some sweet, sweet Zelda. Just needed to rant.


This Is A Test

Now, I just bought myself a spiffy new digicam, which should make for Kyle having more fun posting again.

Tonight, Kow went to Barber's house to decorate gingerbread houses for our Kristmas Kabaret. We'll be auctioning off the houses for the Kidney Foundation, and to make things fun, let's make it a bit of a contest on my blog, shall we?

All you have to do is guess which member of Kow made which house, okay?

Here are the houses.



52 hours of work per week.
Concerts, concerts, concerts!
My days and nights off go towards concert or rehearsals for concerts.
Zelda and all things Wii-related.
Writing wrestling promos.
Corner Gas Season 3.
Comic books.
My last day off was yesterday, where I performed in two concerts for Oran. The last day off before that? Two weeks ago Sunday, where I was out of town with Oran for a weekend-long retreat.

These are a few of the excuses I use for not updating my blog as much as I could. Yes, they're excuses. I hate not updating if only for the simple fact that my stories get backlogged, and I don't feel up to making monster posts to explain everything that's been happening to me.

At least, not until I get out of the Christmas Hell that is WEM during December. And maybe not even then.

But for now? Story.

For the past two years, my dad has had kidney problems. And I mean "dialysis thrice a week" problems. So he was on a transplant list.

Members of our family offered to donate a kidney. My Aunt Kim tried the tests, but was rejected. Mom was next, and was in the midst of tests when I decided I'd be a live donor for Dad.

Those of my friends I told said I was brave, but it was no biggie. It's my dad we're talking about. Although when I did some tests in July, I was unnerved to see thirteen vials awaiting my blood lined up on the counter.

After that? Nothing. Not a peep for two months. But when Mom called to see what the deal was, I apparently was the best live donor we had. So, yeah, I took the plunge. More tests.

But first, a phone call from the Live Donor Program from University Hospital. "Do you have life insurance? Get some. Do you have a family doctor? Get one."

Okay, NOW I was getting scared. Although I realized that the family doc was for checkups after the fact, and they recommended I get the insurance because if I applied with only one kidney, my premiums would be huge.

But so I booked an appointment with a doctor, and looked into insurance. Two months ago, I got a call from my sister.

"Dad found a kidney."

"Yeah? It wasn't mine, then."

"No, he's going into surgery tonight." When Saskatchewan finds recently deceased kidneys, you're got a half hour to decide whether you want it or not. Dad took it, and drove to Saskatoon.

So, the kidney transplant was successful, Dad's recovering and is able to go back to his regular diet. ("I can have butter on my popcorn again? Joy!") And I'm still with two kidneys.

My ego was a bit disappointed, though. I couldn't be a hero if I wasn't donating to my dad. And I certainly couldn't take disability leave for two months to recuperate from surgery. And where would be my nonchalant "Yeah, I donated a kidney to my dad" to woo the ladies?

Although I'm no longer a donor for my dad, Apocalypse Kow will be donating money from our Kristmas Kabaret this Friday to the Kidney Foundation of Canada. (Whoo! Master of segues!)

There's the poster, designed by our own Mr. Woo. (Click to enlarge.) You might see these as you walk down Whyte Ave. this week.

But, yeah, come one, come all! It'll be fun! And Jago's got a voice! (knocks wood)


Concert Announcements

Okay, I'm sorry for neglecting this blog yet again. In a day or two, I will actually write up two stories, the story of my stolen car and the story of my undonated kidney. But right now, as I've got to hit work soon, I'll just tell you about the concerts that Kow and Òran have coming up in the near future.

Thursday, November 23:



Both Kow and Òran will be singing at this one, a fundraiser held at the Winspear. Tickets are $25, but the money goes to a good cause. Tickets available through the Winspear.
http://www.pilgrimshospice.ca/ for the full rundown.

Tuesday, November 21:

Òran/Kokopelli's got their Dessert Concert, also held at the Winspear. Oran will be singing a few songs here, and it's some good stuff.

6:00 PM, Winspear Centre Lobby (9720 102 Ave.)
Tickets $18 Adults, $15 Students/Seniors available through Tix on the Square 420-1757.
The main fundraising event of the season for Kokopelli and Òran, this promises to be a fun evening in an elegant venue as we kick start fund-raising for our summer tour to Southern Africa.

Saturday, December 9:

2:00 PM & 7:00 PM, McDougall United Church (10025 101 St.)
Tickets available through Tix on the Square www.tixonthesquare.com or 420-1757.
After a two-year hiatus from presenting our own holiday season concert, Kokopelli and Òran are excited to bring you a program of music of the season both traditional and new, with special instrumental guests from the community.
It's our full lineup, a bigger concert than what you'd hear at the Dessert Concert.

And, of course,

Friday, December 15:

The Fifth Annual Apocalypse Kow Kristmas Kabaret!

We found a venue (The Cosmopolitan Music Society - 8426 Gateway Blvd.), we've got a time (7:00 pm), and we've got some guests all lined up to entertain you.

Tickets are $10 with a food bank donation ($11 without), and part of the proceeds will be going to the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Tickets available through any Kow member.

And with that, I shower!


I think we both lose...

Pop quiz for those of you who still tune into my blog even with horribly infrequent updates: (To you who don't have it, I really recommend some RSS reader, like Sage for Firefox. It saved my blog-viewing life.)

Which one of these people is nerdier?

The man who buys the custom license plate "NCC-1701" (which, for those of you playing at home, is the ship number of the starship Enterprise) and uses it on his car, or the guy who recognizes the significance of that license plate when driving behind him?


Fringe Journal 2k6: Day 1 - Revenge of Parenthetical Statements!

So, Kow just finished our first performance, and man, was it a performance!

Our first Fringe concert is always a bit of a gamble. We're nervous, ready to see what this year's festival will bring, lost a bit of our tight timing (it takes a few shows for us to get into the groove), etc. Well, I'm happy to announce that this was probably Kow's best Fringe opener!

We had a pretty prime timeslot on the bigger, better stage (9:10 pm), and when we arrived, there was, like, eight people max sitting there waiting for us. Granted, it's the first full day of Fringe, and the sky looks like rain, so who knows what will happen? By the time we finished Fat Bottomed Girls, we had a good crowd of at least 250, so I was relieved.

Our new songs got some good receptions. (Yes, we have new songs. No, I'm not going to tell you, because you're gonna have to COME SEE OUR SHOW to find out.) I was afraid during one or two songs when the audience was dead silent, but the applause that followed showed that we just had them in the palm of Kow's collective hand.

So, yeah, we had a good crowd that enjoyed us to start off our Fringe 2006 experience. Now we just have to remember that 45 minutes is NOT that much time to throw as many songs in there as we wanted to. (We had to cut two songs from the set list while onstage, so people missed the awesomeness that is SuperMariopella. Lesson for the next show!)

During this week's rehearsal on Monday, the phone rang, and I answered it in the middle of us going over a song. It was my friend Shelley, who lives here in town, but who I know from MJ through First Baptist. She asked when our show was on Friday, and I told her. She said, "Great. We'll be there. (Kow singing too loudly for me to hear the phone)'s in town, so we'll come to see you."

Me: "Cool. See you then."

Keep in mind that I didn't actually know who was coming along with Shelley. I thought it would be her sisters, perhaps. So it was a shock when Tanya J. came by after the show. I haven't seen her in a good five, maybe six years, since my trips back home since I started living in Edmonton permanently have consisted of MAYBE a weekend max for family stuff like weddings or deathwatches. But so for Tanya to see Kow was an awesome surprise for me, because, hell, if she could have seen any show we'd done, a good opener's a good one to see. (Just like at my brother Brade's wedding, where a good half of my extended family hasn't seen Kow perform, like, for instance, my brother himself. Also, the family he married into were first time Kowboys and Kowgirls. (That's right. I'm naming our fans that now. Just try to stop me.))

Also, while some banter needed work, I was a huge fan of Dev's and my exchange after one hugely awesome version of At Last (Whoops. I just revealed a new song. Dammit!):

Me: Wow. That was just so SEXY.
Dev: It's a good thing I'm on this side of the stage, then.
Me: Dude, I would totally go through three guys for that. (Laughter from the crowd.) Wait, that came out TOTALLY wrong. (Louder laughter from the crowd.)

So, there's our first day. Hope all of our concerts over the next week are as successful. And if I haven't seen you there, I damn well better before the 28th hits!

Back from hiatus (dot) (dot) (dot) (question mark)

Wow. What a summer it is so far. My bro got married, Dev and I won our NAPW tag titles back after a lengthy non-champ run, I'm back at WEM Lower, I saw the box-office sensation Snakes on A Plane last night, and we all know what time it is now, right? Edmonton Fringe Festival!

But first, an open letter to the guy cruising down Whyte Avenue at 4:45 pm -

Dude, you've gotta know that regardless of your sweet car, the summer air and you and your toned friend's girl-getting moves, I'm not going to take you seriously if your thumping car stereo is playing Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life," right? Right?

So, this being the opening day of Fringe, I'm throwing my hat back into the blogging community. "Sure," you say. "Just like December? Or March? Or June?"

Yes, I've burned you before, with my NAPW writing taking precedence. Maybe I'll just tend to keep my lengthy posts quick and to the point. But I'll start things off with the annual "Jago's Fringe Blog" starting with our concert tonight.

If you haven't seen Dev's or Canton's blogs, or Astro's emails with the times of our marathon showlist this year (16 shows, at least one per day, every day!), here it is once more:

Friday, August 18
9:10 PM Journal Outdoor Stage

Saturday, August 19
1:15 PM TransAlta Power Stage
4:00 PM Journal Outdoor Stage

Sunday, August 20
2:20 PM TransAlta Power Stage
6:40 PM Journal Outdoor Stage

Monday, August 21
6:35 PM TransAlta Power Stage

Tuesday, August 22
10:15 PM Journal Outdoor Stage

Wednesday, August 23
6:40 PM Journal Outdoor Stage

Thursday, August 24
1:20 PM Journal Outdoor Stage
6:20 PM TransAlta Power Stage

Friday, August 25
12:15 PM TransAlta Power Stage
6:15 PM TransAlta Power Stage

Saturday, August 26
4:15 PM Journal Outdoor Stage
9:25 PM TransAlta Power Stage

Sunday, August 27
12:05 PM TransAlta Power Stage


Apocalypse Kow Show!

Edmonton a cappella quintet Apocalypse Kow is recording their first CD, and you're invited to help them out!

On Saturday, June 24th, at the Knox Metropolitan Church, Apocalypse Kow hosts a show that will be recorded for the purposes of making their first album.

Apocalypse Kow has been around since 1997, when all the members met through the University of Alberta Mixed Chorus. Since then, Kow's been seen busking around Edmonton, and they’ve been featured guests in the Carnival of Shrieking Youth, participants in multiple Northern Harmony competitions (Alberta's "Battle of the A Cappella Bands"), and most notably, had their own outdoor stage show in the past three Fringe theatre festivals. Last year, Kow was honoured to be the hosts of the World Masters Games "Party in the Park," where they entertained an audience constisting of athletes from around the world.

Apocalypse Kow has been trying to record an album for quite a few years, now, but technical difficulties keep getting in the way. But this year, they really want to get a CD out for the fans that have been asking for one for the past eight years now. So they decided that a live CD was better than none.

At this concert, Apocalypse Kow has asked John McMillan and Jennifer Kinghorn to participate as well. Aside from being a member of Canada’s premier nose flute ensemble, Jennifer accompanies many choir ensembles, such as Oran, the Brail Tones, Kokopelli, and Operanuova. She recently completed her diploma in Music Composition at MacEwan College, and sings with local a cappella jazz ensemble, Tapas. John McMillan is also a graduate of MacEwan’s Music Composition program, and recently returned from the University of Toronto, where he studied jazz voice. He conducts the FORM vocal jazz ensemble and is the artistic director of “Happnin,” the U of A vocal jazz ensemble. Besides directing choirs, John is in demand as a performer, conductor, composer, arranger, teacher and clinician.

The concert takes place as Knox Metropolitan Church (8307 109 St) at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and at the door. For more information, call Kyle or Stan at 439-5799.


Concert Alert!

This Saturday, May 20th, come see the choir that Kokopelli managed to bring in from Namibia for a month tour, Mascato!

I've got in my hands 12 tickets, six for the 2 pm show, six for the 7 pm show. Adults go for $16, Students/Seniors are $13, and Children from 6-12 are $8.

You'll see Mascato, which is one awesome chamber choir from Africa, along with Kokopelli and Oran.

The show takes place at West End Christian Reform Church (10015 149 St), and tickets are pretty much sold out.

So, if you can get a hold of me, I can get you some tickets for one sweet show!

And now off to work.


Is anyone doing anything next Wednesday (the 26th)? Does anyone WANT to accompany me to the Small Sins (formerly The Ladies and Gentlemen) concert at the Starlite Room?

Because I'm going. Thom d'Arcy and friends ROCK the JOINT! (Here's the review of the last time I saw them...)


Also, how could I forget about this? Jordan Jose Elek Rivero was born last Monday. I'm a pseudo-uncle! Now if only I knew Astro's Photobucket address so I could link to all the baby pics!

Congrats, Joel and Anita!

Odd Transformations 31... OR IS IT???

So I went home for Easter. It was a very fun time. Loads of food from my parents (Friday: Steak. Saturday: Turkey. Sunday: Steak. Again. Not that I mind. Monday: Homemade hamburgers.), hanging out with Braden and his fiancee, silly pics taken at Mac the Moose for my e-fed friends, and a trip to the set of Corner Gas.

Now, Corner Gas isn't currently filming, but of course, the sets are all up and in some cases, boarded up. And a lot of local Rouleau buildings act as sets, so it's not like they tear THOSE down! Still, once Kow goes to Moose Jaw for Brade's wedding, I'm sure I'll take Canton and others who want to go for a proper tour, when they ARE filming.

Here's me at the actual, boarded up set.

When it comes to my dream, I had one on Monday morning. When I woke up, I realized that I wouldn't be able to post promptly, since my sister was sleeping in the computer room. So I used the whiteboard beside the telephone to make notes and then went back to sleep.

Now, lots of dreams escape in that period where you just wake up, and this was no exception. Good thing I took notes! But my heart dropped when I read the notes:


- Demon attacking
- Killed by a possessed Durgrlwrw

Yup, I was sleepy when writing, and I couldn't figure out the last word. It took me five minutes of trying to decipher it! But I remembered, sort of.

Now, I'm not sure if I was killed by a possessed D-word, or if it was the demon. However, the word I had trouble figuring out was "Dagwood."

Yes, something was killed by a possessed Dagwood sandwich. The one that gained fame from the Blondie comic. Yes. A monster sandwich turned, well, monstrous.

* * *

Otherwise, not much going on. Went to Metric last week with Dev, Marky and Dustin. Fun concert, although I'm very happy I managed to finangle earplugs from a security guard. And, as Dev said, the encore is a LITTLE long when they play Dead Disco for 18 minutes.

Now, if only I could get a lead on Death Cab/Franz Ferdinand tickets...


Odd Transformations 30: Coming home

My school's having its 75th anniversary reunion in July. Unfortunately, due to Kow singing at my brother's wedding the week afterwards, I don't think I'll be able to make it to the celebrations. Regardless of if I can go or not, my mind decided to take me there in the midst of sleep this morning.

Kow decided to take a bus full of Peacock alum to get to Moose Jaw. When we got there, the celebration was in full swing, and the rest of Kow melted away while I went to be part of these celebrations in my old high school auditorium. There was a talent show, that I might have been a part of, I can't remember. My friend kingston did an act that got straight zeros from the audience.

My old drama teacher LJ was the MC for the night, and he got into a fight with some teens who were tuning up for their rock band portion of the show.

Odd dream.

* * *

So I had a week of vacation last week, one where I just decided to stay in town and rest. It was fun, and I've still go another week to burn before the end of April, so I'm heading to Moose Jaw for a few days over Christmas.

Inventory was last Sunday and I was at the store for 16 hours! Whee! Apparently, I wasn't there for all of the fun, like when the computer broke and lost a good chunk of stock numbers (I went in to sell Dev his shiny new MP3 toy for about an hour or so on Thursday), or when that finally got fixed, the inventory was all out of sync.

I went back to work yesterday to find a whole bunch of things that hadn't been fixed (the sale that ended last week not taken down, old flyers in the flyer basket, etc.) and the store the temperature of a sauna. We called maintenance and they went on the roof to clear out our vents or something, because we finally had ventilation in the store in the afternoon. Other than that, it was a VERY slow day at work. Marky's taking some time off in between my two vacations, and I think he deserves it with him working his ass off. Every time we think we get to relax, there's a threat of a store visit by the new boss of the company, or inventory, of threat of a visit by the old boss. Sigh.


The reason I rarely hit the clubs...

First off, today was the Mixed Chorus concert.

Beforehand, Dev, MFJ, Astro and wife, Justice and wife, and I went to L'Azia's for dinner. I love L'Azia's. Such good food, and more than just the Asian fusion cuisine they're known for. I had myself an awesome steak. It was the first time in a while that we had ALl gotten together, but Justice was determined to have us hang out, to the point of setting a time every month since January, only to finally have today settled upon before we realized it was the night of the concert.

But, hey, we're all alums of the chorus, except for Justice's wife, the Talkative One. So we decided to just go for dinner beforehand.

The concert was decent. Nothing really stood out to me, except for one song with a harp. I enjoyed the second half more than the first, and the choir didn't really seem to be giving it all they've got. They were holding it in. And it showed. But all in all? Good.

But tonight was ALSO the Oran pub crawl. Astro really wanted to go, and I thought it'd be fun to hit one of the places they were going to before coming back and hopefully having rest before tomorrow's inventory at the store. (We start at 8 am. When do we finish? Who the hell knows? WHEEEE!) The bad part? The location that party was at (since it was a crawl, they were at club 3 of 4 or something) the Union. Now the Union's a typical club for Edmonton: Lots of young folk, half-dressed female staff, pumping loud music. And crowded as hell.

Astro and I get in without worrying about cover (God bless the pub crawl party reservation), and manage to locate our Oran friends. Since we were at the UAMC concert beforehand, we were also two of the best-dressed guys at that place. I'm soaking in my surroundings (such a gaudy club) and observing the friends already on the dance floor when I get kicked in the head.

Yes. Kicked! In the head! (Snakes! On a plane!) I only realized it when my glasses were pushed halfway across my face. A guy at the bar was swinging his girlfriend around (in a very crowded bar) and her foot caught me in the temple. The guy asks if we're cool, and I shoot him a dirty look before saying that everything's fine.

So it became my catchphrase in the bar:

"Hey! Jago! How are you doing?"

"I'm so hardcore, I was kicked in the face!"

"What? When?"

"I dunno. Five minutes ago?"

Astro and I get some beers and travel to the dance floor in search of some of our friends. I'm pretty decent at travelling through crowds. My height really helps me locate people in a crowded room, and I'm big enough that I can cut my way through a bunch of people pretty easily and not jostle them to the point of being pissed off.

Halfway to our group, I hear someone mutter to her friend, "Hey, can you pinch that guy's ass for me?" At which point, someone decides to take a pound of flesh from my posterior.

To be honest, I was so intent on getting to people I knew in this place, that I completely ignored whoever decided to pinch my ass. Didn't turn around with a scowl, didn't anything. Just kept on slicing through the dance floor to get to my destination.

So, was the pinch enough of a good thing to counteract the "kicked in the face" part? Well, I could say it was Schrodinger's Girl, and that she could have been either hot or not-so. But I'm not sure if even a very good-looking girl would be worth the fact that I could HEAR HER GIVE INSTURCTIONS to her friend, and that it wasn't exactly something that'd make me say, "Your place or mine?"

Unless, you know, I knew them.

It brings up another story that happened a few years ago with Canton and one very cute soprano in the Mixed Chorus:

I forget the context of this story, but I'm pretty sure it was at least the three of us hanging around, and Canton, EB and I were shooting the bull. Somehow, the conversation turned into how much guys like getting their asses grabbed, and Canton said, "Jago doesn't like getting his ass grabbed."

EB: Oh, really?

Canton: Nah, watch.

And Canton grabs my ass. Of course, I know how to play this up and I frown, furrowed brow and all.

EB: That can't be right. Let me try.

And she does. And I smile.

Canton: Wow. That's never happened before.

Canton grabs my ass, and I scowl. And repeat, Canton not figuring out that it's not so much me getting my ass grabbed that makes me angry, so much as it's when it's not being grabbed by a hot girl.

And with that, I'm off to bed. Whoo! Inventory!


Getting back into the swing.

Don't worry. This isn't going to be Jago Ranting Quarterly. I'm alive.

So, last week, I was minding the store on a slow Friday morning. An older gentleman came in, looking for some compressed air. I showed him what we had.

"How much is it," he asks.

"Ten dollars," I reply.

So when I tell him it'll be $10.70 at the till including taxes, he almost blows up at me!

"You told me it was ten dollars!"

"Well, yes, before taxes, sir."

"How much is that?"

"Seven per cent, sir. Same as always."

"The government was supposed to lower that!"

I wasn't going to go into how that was just a promise that the Conservatives made, and that in a minority government, it'll be hard to get that ratified, since I didn't want to get into an argument about that. So I just shrugged.

"The government, always lying," he said. "If we were in Norway, there'd be only one way we deal with liars: The firing squad!"

In my mind: "Um, what?"

"It doesn't matter if he'd be the prime minister. If he lied, firing squad!"


Now, I've never been to Norway, but it's the largest slice of my heritage. (My Grandpa Dokken's family was from there.) And I'm pretty sure capital punishments by way of executions aren't really the way things work there anymore. But this gentleman was old, so who knows? All I could do was listen as he talked about firing squads for ANY offense.

In any case, he buys the compressed air and leaves.

Now I was opening on Saturday by myself, and managed to miss my alarm and sleep in until 9:45. The store opens at ten. So I hurriedly dressed, didn't shower, and drove as fast as I could to work. I got there to open at about 10:10. A half hour later, guess who walks in?

"I'm here to return this air. It doesn't work."

I figure out that the old man just didn't take off the plastic safety latch, but he already bought a new can from the Sony Store.

"You weren't open at ten," he said. I did say that we did open late, but I didn't bring up the fact that it was my fault for sleeping in. For all I knew, there might only be one sort of punishment for tardiness in Norway: FIRING SQUAD!

So what subject does he get into again? Yup, you guessed it. After I returned his money, he left, but not after telling me about his favourite form of recreation. (Well, no, instead, he talked about the FIRING SQUAD!)

Sometimes, you meet the strangest people...


Before I get back into a very-much-more constant habit of updating, I'm going to post first about something that just happened this week.

My cousin took his own life.

Adam and I were pretty close back as kids, since we were the two oldest boys on the Dokken side. Whenever my family would visit Red Deer, or they would come to Moose Jaw for some lake time or Christmas, we'd hang out. Playing Lego, Scotland Yard, Uno. You know, fun times with cousins back when you're a kid.

When we became teenagers, we kind of drifted apart. I was into my own thing: jazz choirs, plays, and the like. He got into music like Pink Floyd (one of the more overrated rock bands, in my opinion) and Skinny Puppy. He started going goth, listening to Nine Inch Nails (which, at the time for me, was a huge dark thing). He went to raves in his twenties.

Once I moved to Edmonton, the opportunity was there for us to hang out, since we now lived a lot closer to each other. For some reason or another, we never did. I'd hear things about him from the cousins I did see or my parents. We'd see each other very infequently, like ships passing in the night, a Christmas dinner every few years.

He got into cooking, which is a pretty big trait for some Dokken family members. He was able to help Aunt Marian and Uncle Cliff prepare some delicious meals.

The last time I heard about Adam was right before this Christmas. He had checked into the Fantasyland Hotel with a duffle bag. And then missed his check-out time. So the housekeeping found him unconscious in his hotel room.

Apparently, he was working as a pharmacy tech, stole a bunch of drugs from his workplace, and checked into his hotel. He overdosed on the drugs, and went into a coma.

This was a pretty big shock to me. While we never talked about his drug use, I suspected it might be the case. Hopefully, this would shock him into finding a way out of his depression, his addictive habits. Hopefully, he would find what he's looking for and power out of this spiral.

This week, at some point, Adam overdosed again. He didn't wake up this time.

The funeral's on Wednesday.

My parents were trying to get a hold of me to tell me this yesterday, but I was at work. After coming come from V for Vendetta last night to celebrate Canton's birthday, I noticed my sister online, so I asked her if she knew why Mom and Dad were trying to contact me.

EJ: Yeah, this isn't something for Messenger. I'll call you.

So she told me the news. I felt kind of hollow, empty, about hearing it. No tears came. After Christmas, this wasn't a big shock to me anymore.

It wasn't until writing this part that the tears started to flow. I can hardly see the keyboard now.

Adam, I'm going to miss you. You had such potential. (Okay, I'm back. Had to step away for a while.) Now there'll never be a chance to reconcile. No more being able to taste what you cooked for the family dinner.

A friend told me that he hopes Adam can find what he's looking for now. Without trying to sound too harsh (since I can't even begin to fathow what would make someone want to take their own life), I don't think that's possible.

The funeral's on Wednesday.

I'll be trying to kick myself into a regular posting schedule afterwards.


Back to bitching about work...

So this morning, I answer the phone to have a guy ask me about the USB Christmas trees we carry.

Me: Yeah, I got some in stock.

Man: And I hear they're discounted?

Me: No, they're ten dollars each.

Man: I was talking to a girl at Westmount, and she said that any store would be able to give me a deal on those.

Me: Well, it's really manager's discretion. That would be something my boss would have to clear. What the girl promised you at Westmount would usually only apply to that store. it's a case by case basis.

Man: Is L there?

Me: No, L's the manager of the store downstairs. M's the manager here.

Man: Okay. I'll just get the phone number to downstairs.

Me: Certainly. Here you go.

No problems, right? Fast forward three minutes...

I answer the phone.

Woman: Hi, I'm the wife of the customer who just called about Christmas trees.

Me: Okay.

Woman: I'd like to speak to your manager.

Me: I'm the assistant manager.

Woman: I'm wanting to get the number to head office because of how you treated us.

Me: (starting to bristle) Pardon?

Woman: The last time I called head office, they told me whatever one store promised, the others would honour.

(I'm pretty sure that's bullshit. The hairs on my neck stand.)

Me: As I told your husband, that's completely at the manager's discretion.

Woman: Well, it's kind of convenient that your managers aren't here. L's not downstairs, M's not there, the girl I was talking to at Westmount isn't working today.

(Because, I thought, they've OBVIOUSLY left to spite you, bitch.)

Me: I'm sorry, ma'am, if that's what Westmount wants to do for you, that's something only Westmount will do for you.

Woman: Give me your head office's number. If you're not willing to do it for me now, you'll do it when they tell you to.

I start vibrating in anger. Seriously.

Me: Here you go. This is my district office's number. If you really want these trees at the price that Westmount told you, I could always send them out to Westmount.

Woman: You can do that?

Me: If Westmount asks for them, yes. You'd have to have them bring them in for you.

Woman: So I couldn't ask you to?

Me: No, it'd have to be them. (Well, that's not true. I could've sent them out if you didn't decide to anger me. But too bad. Not helping you now.)

Woman: I'm calling head office.

Me: If you feel that's best.

At that point I would have hung up, but she kept on irritating me, leaving me to fume and vibrate in silence, because if I had opened my mouth at that point, I would have given the bitch something to complain about. But, man, after I put down the phone, I was needing to let out some anger, let me tell you...


By the Numbers: My Car

First off, does anyone know how to get frosting out of one's nose?

Yes, thank you, I've tried blowing my nose. And I know the main question by you, my audience, is "How did frosting get INTO my nose in the first place?" I dare you to eat a CinnZeo cinnamon bun and not get something like this happening. Yes, as a rule, only one orifice should admit sugar into it, but give me a break, eh? My nose is THAT big!

* * *

I've been the owner of a car for a solid year now. A few days ago marked the one year anniversary of me getting my plates and insurance and being legitimately able to drive.

When my parents asked me last year (before last Christmas) if I'd use a car if they bought me one, I said, "Oh HELL yes!" Since I was working downtown at the time, there was no way on earth I'd drive it to work, but outside of that? Having a car in Edmonton is very handy.

So they bought me one for Christmas. Nothing fancy, and anyone who's been reading my journal since last year knows most of the stories about me getting used to life with a car again. Bob (dF) had a car he was willing to sell, and my parents had two grand. Jago got a car.

Irony of ironies, a few days after I started driving, I was transferred to a store other than Ed Centre (which, of course, is a big shock for anyone who's tried placing me down at one store or another...), and had to start using the car for commuting to work.

Well, I didn't HAVE to, but it sure beat the bus.

And so, after a year of driving again, there are some stats for your enjoyment:

Number of accidents I've had in the entirety of my driving career: For argument's sake, let's say 4. There were some close calls, but I remember 3 for sure back in MJ.

Number of accidents I've had with the Escort: 0

Number of times Dev has shouted or moaned while driving with me: A lot more than 0. (Dev: "A WHOLE lot more than zero!")

Number of kilometres I've put on the odometer (rounded off): 7,500.

The amount of gas my tank will hold: 40l.

Approximate mileage I get out of a full tank: 400km.

Furthest drive I've taken: Either my aunt's outside of Sherwood Park, or Gil's parents' place in Stony Plain.

Largest load: The trip I took to the airport with Jaso and Rachelle after Fringe. All of their suitcases filled with a week of clothes, as well as the entire set to Smile While You D.I.E.

Number of dings in my windshield:
About six.

Highest price I paid for gas:
$1.07/l (Yup, I managed to miss the week of $1.20)

Number of times my car has not started: 0

Number of times my car has overheated and died: 0

Number of tires that have blown: 1

Distance driven on one totally blown tire: 6 km

Number of days I have not had the car since I got it:

Number of days between my tire blowing and my bank account being able to afford the new tire:

Number of times I have not been able to park in my driveway due to the sheer amount of snow: 1

Number of times I have not been able to park in my driveway due to the sheer amount of cars in it: A lot more than one.

Number of times this has been my, Canton's, or Dev's fault:
Maybe two.

Number of times this has been the downstairs guy's fault: Every time excluding two.

Number of months before I realized that I didn't know how to properly check the oil: 10.

Smallest margin of time between coolant fill-ups: 2 weeks.

Margin of time after the coolant ran out the seocnd time that I realized it was due to my oil being so low, it was past the "PLEASE FILL UP NOW" demarcation: 5 seconds.

Frequency of time between mutterings of "jackass" by me:
30 seconds.

Frequency of time between mutterings of "jackass" when Canton and I are in the McDonald's drive-thru: 3 seconds.

Time spent towards taking off the Roxy Boarding decal on my back windshield: 5 minutes.

Percentage of Roxy decal that's still on the car:

Ratio of thanking the Lord for such a small car to cursing myself when I can't find the small car in WEM parking lots: 1:1

Number of times I've let Canton drive the car: 3

Days that go by where I don't curse myself for not getting new wipers: 0.

Times I've flipped from Sonic 102.9 to another radio station since March: 2.

Percentage of time where my stereo is either set on Sonic or a CD: 100.

Cost of insurance, 2005: $110 a month.

Cost of insurance, 2006 (according to girlone): $70 a month (WHOOO!)

Span of time from getting my car to having it replace my backback: 5 milliseconds.

That's about all I can think of right now.

* * *

So now's the time when Dev is seriously starting to plan the trip that he wants to make to Cleveland next year. And he wants Canton and I to go along with him on his trek to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Which I am in for. I mean, when's the last time I made a road trip with friends? A loong time. And when's the last time I've gone to Cleveland? Never. So, it's a goal to get to for next year.

* * *

Yes, yes, yes...I've been neglecting my journal.

Even though I was transferred to the other store in West Ed, it's been a lot of getting that store into shape, followed by the inventory we just did this past week.

But I'm not totally blaming work. Or sickness. Or video games.

Actually, the NAPW has been keeping me pretty busy lately. The wrestling e-fed I joined four months back? Yeah. I'm having fun doing promos as my superbad wrestler, and I was even roped into writing one or two matches a week.

So it's been an outlet for my creative writing that was previously lacking, and this journal's suffering for it. I'm going to try to get back into the blogging mindset, but I have no idea how much writing I feel like doing from one day to the next.

It's just, you know, how often can Jago rant about idiots at work? It was getting tiresome to write about day in and day out. I'll still post, and if something really gets my goat, sure i'll tear it up like the Jago of more free time typing out shit.

So, how about those Conservatives, huh?

* * *

Just so people are aware, my choir's big show will be happening on Feb. 11.

Kokopelli and Oran present: Stories.
Saturday, Feb. 11
Shows at 2 pm and 7 pm.
West End Christian Reformed Church (10015 149 St)
Adults: $16, Students/Seniors: $13

So, who's got tickets for sale? Me. If you want some, feel free to email me, leave a comment, or phone me. If you know me, you'll know how to get a hold of me. If you only know me through this outlet, shame on you. And email me here.

But, please, by all means, get your tickets for this soon. Last year, when Dev, Canton, MFJ and I went, the HUGE church was PACKED! Hence the two shows. But I'd like to see a crapload of you there...