29 Apr 2011

The Union Hall: A pathetic venue for a high calibre (or any) show

My father-in-law offered to buy tickets to Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boys fame) and Travis Barker (of Blink-182 fame). Strange that he knew about the show, and I didn't.

Yes! Where? The Union. Oh?! I used to do handbills for a bar that was there in a past life.

I am a fan of Beastie Boys. Their instrumental albums--The Mix-Up, The In Sound From Way Out!, in particular. But no one can deny that their musicianship, including mixing, on their more popular albums are genius.

Blink-182. I have no idea. Well, I otherwise would have been embarrassed to say that I listened to anything Blink-182. How Travis Barker started there and ended here, I have no idea. But he made a good career move.

The show went like this.

MMM and Travis Barker were to take the stage at 11:00 p.m. We arrived 10:15-ish to get a good standing spot and a couple of pre-show drinks--Molson only, sick. There was a beer tub girl, bartendresses asking for your order in sultry tone, and a well endowed, though very short, shooter girl with alien sparkles in her cleavage, but I didn't notice. She asked me if we were with Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission after I bought two shots of her sugary piss water served in plastic.

11:30 rolls around. Shows always run late. OK. Good kids all around. A couple more drinks. Someone from the Union woke up a couple of speaker dancers at home and asked them to come in for a set to keep the crowd entertained, which they weren't. The sound guy was MIA. Do drums really take an hour to set up? Alien sparkle breasts passed by two or three more times.


My cigarettes, wallet, and our patience started running very thin. Good conversation, fortunately. We started inventing excuses for the late, late start. Loud mouth on the speakers kept asking if we were ready. Yeah, an hour ago, jack ass.

The show was almost ninety minutes late, and we were in the worst bar in Edmonton drinking the worst beer for two and a half hours. Had the show started a minute later, we would have split. Father-in-law had to work, and I was to attend my daughter's mass at 9:15 the next morning.

Aside from not enjoying the first ten minutes--until the piss off wore off--the next twenty was a show worthy of any place other than this one. That, and the crowd was either ready for bed or had been served Rohypnol by the bar to avoid a mass riot.

The show was thirty minutes. We left stunned. I have never been to a show where the headliners played for only thirty minutes. We invented reasons why the show was only thirty minutes.

Across town, I stopped in to grab a late night snack before heading home. Two mildly drunk, chatty young women were waiting for their food. I asked where they were enjoying themselves. A Lil Wayne concert at Rexall. They asked where I was. I sneered, the Union. MMM and Travis Barker.

It was shortly after that I learned that Travis Barker also played with Lil Wayne the same evening.

I could have been mad that Travis Barker ditched us at the Union Hall, but I wasn't. If I were a rock star, would I rather play in a shit hole or to a stadium? It's a no brainer.

I got home and sat down to eat my sandwich just in time for the start of CBC's Wills & Kate.

My daughter played bells at mass the next morning. The priest was dull. And I was glad not to be at the Union.

6 Apr 2011

One proposed election platform

Forgive me for yesterday's absence.

I have been trying to quit cigarettes for last several months. I can barely survive twenty four hours, then I just completely lose it. Uncontrollable internalized anger and rage, which are not typical feelings for me at all, sets in at the twenty third hour every time. My withdrawal is so viscous that I would rather quit quitting than put up with another moment of those feelings.

And I get there with the highest dose (21mg) patch and (2mg) gum and a low dose of Champix and Ativan. Unbelievable.

The only way I can see quitting successfully is if I go into lock down cold turkey for a few days. Somewhere I can just lose it but get over it without having to function. Functioning was the problem yesterday. (On one occasion in the past, I tried to quit and I ran into someone's car while parking. I took that same spot one thousand times without even thinking, then vertigo.)

I have wondered this for a long time: why is there not readily, publicly available, workplace recognized detox centres in Canada for smokers who really want to quit but can not on their on? Surely, enough public money is spent on mostly useless anti-smoking campaigns.

If nicotine is the most addictive substance there is, why do heroine and cocaine get special places for a person to recover from them? Because I am not immediately fucking up my life? I kind of just want to improve my health, eventually save the public health care system some money, find better places in the economy to put my habit money. Is there too little drama in that?

Perhaps cigarette quitters should act out--rob, lose everything, prostitute, shoot people for a cigarette and maybe get on A&E's Intervention.

Previous Day's Business
• Groceries
• Contract work
• Washed motorcycle parts
• Worked on found pen set

4 Apr 2011

Dad's Home!

This is in no way a reference to Mr. Benoit Sr.

Routes and Routine

For me, one of the best things about not having an assigned work schedule and having to go to the office is avoiding busy commuting routes, following everyone else's daily routine, and respecting my lack of natural rhythm.

I really enjoy driving. City driving included when it is not routine. I would prefer country highway 12 between Lacombe and Stettler any day, any time. (Think rolling hills, farmhouses, numerous winding sections, prairie valleys, open fields occasionally cut off from view by a few kilometres of trees. Motorcycle is best, but still great by car.) Off peak is tolerable in the city when it is not automatic. I would hope that most people do not eat the same thing every day at the exact same time. If so, whatever food would surely lose it's flavour and perceived value, not because it is unflavorful or unhealthy, but because it becomes a victim of absolute routine. Eating the same food at a different time every third day would make a dramatic difference to the mind. (Or God forbid that we allow ourselves to eat what our body wants or needs when it is hungry.)

I prefer early mornings (awake at 6:00) and early evenings (between 7:30 and 9:30). Afternoon is my least favourite. First thing in the morning, the grocery stock is fresh and not picked over, and the city's stink has not been let out of the seat cushion. Dogs are walked and people are quieter. I am thankfully sober, and my thinking is fresh. Evenings share similar qualities to early mornings.

There is nothing natural about my natural rhythm, which I find quite natural. I have long given up trying to force myself to be normal because it is not to me. I have always operated on  [naturally occurring] tremendous bursts of energy--when I will do something start to finish regardless of time--followed by absolute exhaustion, which can last for a day or two. The [naturally occurring] outbursts of energy are super productive and focused. Sometimes I do not sit down for days.

There is no schedule to rapid cycling, manic episodes, madness, or whatever diagnosis you want to give it. Two things greatly affect my productivity and happiness--The Crash and a routine that is not mostly my own.

Previous Day's Business
&bull Daughter's sleepover drop off
&bull Groceries for dinner
&bull Family walk with Manuel

3 Apr 2011


I lost my really great paying day job just over a week ago. My position was cut--a 'business decision.'

Oh well.

I did not have an emotional attachment to the thing. It was a job. I can not help wondering why everyone else is more concerned about my losing my job than I am. Should I be gasping for air when I wake up in the morning and realize that I do not have a job? Nah.

Maybe I am being naive. Maybe I will panic when money runs thin. Not right now though.

I am a professional hobbyist. I am learning to play the accordion. I have a vintage motorcycle to rebuild. And I have my art.

This is one of the few golden opportunities in life when I can try to do what I want--illustration.
Previous Day's Business
• Cleaned house all day