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.