I Am King of the Laundry

Whenever I’ve rented an apartment I’ve always jumped on the cheapest thing that will fit my needs. In college I remember us stuffing six people into a three bedroom townhouse in a run-down complex in Calgary (the infamous Vista Heights). We had our rent + utilities down to $100 per person! 

The last place I was in was a small studio that was a little rough around the edges. It was the first time I’d splurged on living without roommates and again, I wanted to keep it as cheap as I could. Rent is like throwing money into a bonfire — that’s the philosophy I’ve always had. 

The same thinking applied when I started looking at condos. I wanted to keep things cheap so I could pay off the mortgage quickly and start putting that extra cash towards an investment portfolio which will help get me to retirement faster. When I found a place that was *amazing* and had no rental restrictions I realized it was time to spend a little more on a better long-term investment even if it meant it would take a bit longer to get rid of the mortgage. So that’s how I ended up in my new pad!

Tonight is my first evening at home and I just threw in a load of laundry. For most people this isn’t a big deal, but for me it’s pretty huge. I left home when I was 18 and I’ve never lived in a place that’s had in-suite laundry since. So being able to walk upstairs and throw my clothes into the laundry machine in my own apartment is more exciting than I would’ve expected. Laundry has gone from being something that needs to be planned in advance to something I can do as casually as putting on my shoes. I never have to go downstairs to the laundry room to find all the machines taken. Nor do I have to set an egg timer to go and get my clothes out so the next person isn’t inconvenienced. 

The biggest bonus: I don’t have to keep a sock full of loonies in my apartment to pay for laundry machines anymore!

Now that I think of it, there was one brief time when we had laundry in our townhouse. Back at Vista Heights Dave and Lance found a “deal” on a washer and dryer for $100. Not wanting to believe that this opportunity was too good to be true, they ran out and bought the pair, dragged them home, and proudly threw in a bunch of clothes to get laundered. Unfortunately the laundry machine started making all kinds of racket and when the clothes came out they had big black rubber streaks across them from where one of the internal parts had caught as the washer tub spun around. It took a couple of trips to the local laundromat to get all the rubber off their clothes and we never used the washer and dryer again.

It’s All Coming Together

Today I slowly pulled my place into a livable environment. Everything’s still boxed but the furniture has been moved into place and a bunch of junk that the previous occupant left behind has all been thrown out. I can move around now and have pulled the most important items out of my boxes. Which makes me wonder why I own so much stuff? I think I’m going to slowly unpack and anything I don’t need in the next couple of months will have to pull off a very convincing argument as to why I shouldn’t sell it or toss it.

Last night, after the move, we headed into Steamworks for a tower of R&B’s Raven Cream Ale (the best beer on the planet IMO) and a late lunch. Later that evening we converged on the Black Frog for pints of Guinness and a little celebration of being all moved in. I’m so happy with my place! The paint looks amazing. I’ll try and get some photos in the next couple of weeks when I’ve unpacked some more. 

I’m looking outside and the sunsets off my balcony are beautiful! I’m going to head over to the Commodore to see Bloc Party shortly. I can’t believe how awesome the weather has been the past few days. I’ve stopped wearing jackets and was thinking I should’ve been in shorts this afternoon.

All Moved In!

Thanks the the help of my team of friends we blasted through the move in 3 hours this afternoon. Just got back from a late lunch at Steamworks and will be heading towards the Black Frog shortly for an evening of hanging out and (for me) letting the worry and stress of moving wash away.

It’s Moving Day!

Today’s the big day! My place is all painted up (and looks amazing!) and all I need to do is pack of the remainder of my stuff, move it over, and start setting up in my new space.

Looks like we’re in for a night at the Black Frog afterwards. Calgary’s playing and lets hope they can win on the Blackhawks turf tonight.

OMIGOD I LOVE MATES OF STATE!!!

Some friends recently mentioned my tendency to get excited about stuff all the time and it happened again at last night’s Mates of State show.

I’ll start from the beginning: Kris’s wife Lisa bailed on the show so I got a Facebook post asking if I was interested in joining. So I met up with Kris and Matt at the Morrissey but the bar decided to screen a gay softcore porn UFC match instead of the Calgary game so we went over to another place on Granville. Unfortunately Calgary gave up 3 goals in the second period and lost the game 3-2. Looks like Vancouver is Canada’s best hope in the playoffs this year.

After the game we wandered into the Commodore. It’s a good thing I don’t drink much anymore. The Commodore is charging an outrageous $7.50 for bottled Stella beer! Even GM Place charges less ($7.25) at a hockey game.

The first band, Judgement Day, was an interesting set up since they were playing a violin, a cello, and drums. They were pretty heavy. Matt remarked they sounded like Primus on speed without any vocals.

Black Kids rolled on stage soon after and busted out an 80’s disco dance party which spread to the entire bar. The crowd that night was mostly early 20’s people who looked as though they’d escaped from one of the Granville clubs. The Black Kids were impressed with everyone’s enthusiasm and kept saying what a great time they were having.

The guy spinning music between the Black Kids and Mates of State decided to keep the dance party going and everyone kept rocking out to old hip hop tunes, Michael Jackson, and even Miss You by the Rolling Stones. This girl who looked like a young Kathleen Hanna started bouncing around and soon had a whole pack of indie kids join her in a goofy group dance.

Mates of State set up with a drum kit and a rack of keyboards at the front of the stage with the two string guys in Judgement Day at the back. I did some reading this morning and discovered that Mates of State is a husband and wife team who started jamming together on keyboards and drums one day when the rest of their previous band didn’t show up for rehearsal. They’ve been around since 2000, when their first album came out and have gained a devoted little following over the past 8 years.The girl, Kori, plays the keyboards while Jason handles the drums. The both sing and their voices mix in kind of an interesting way. Not sure I can describe it but I thought they sounded pretty cool.

Their show was amazing! The first couple of songs slowly grew on me and then I found myself saying, “this band is awesome” to myself. I could see how well they connected musically which was emphasised by the grins they kept giving each other throught the show.

I’m definitely going to see them if they come though Vancouver again.

I Own a Place!

Yesterday was possession day at the new condo and it was with some excitement that I met MJ, my realtor, at noon to get my keys. It didn’t really hit me at first that it was actually my place. There were some things to sort out and discoveries things that had been left behind by the previous tenant. Like two nearly-empty bottles of liquor and the pack of roladen in the freezer. 

Then I had the painter in to estimate things along with Reilly and Miranda to help with color choices. As a software guy I am totally unqualified to make good color choices! So I’m leaning on my creative friends for help with that. Shan and I had found a great color for the bathroom at our Wednesday night band rehearsal and Miranda and Reilly have used some fantastic colors in their place right now. 

One that was all over and everyone had piled out I spent some time alone with my new place. That’s when it hit me that I owned this space! I could do whatever I wanted to it! Now I have sheets of paper filled with diagrams and scribblings about closet organization, things to take care of in the next week, and layouts for living room furniture. 

I never understood the need for people to “nest” but now I find myself knee deep in that mentality. I blew most of my money on the down payment, closing costs, and painting so it’ll be a while before I’ve got the place set up to my liking. What’s great is it gives me the opportunity to take my time and do a proper job of setting it up over the next couple of years. I’m excited!

Why I Never Watch Hockey At Home

I enjoy watching hockey, not so much for the game itself, but for the entertainment of joining a pile of people in yelling and cheering at television sets during the highs and lows of a game. Last night, before we headed to our friend Steven’s for his 30th birthday bash, I snuck up to Davie for a quick bite to eat.

There are tonnes of great places to get food on Davie and I wasn’t sure what to do for a fast supper. The decision became simple once I walked past a falafel place which had two TVs blasting the game at high volume and I walked in to get some food and see the end of the 2nd period. I think I caught one of the most exciting points of the game, partly because there was a dramatic goal by Alex Burrows which was disallowed, but mostly because the falafel guy leaned right over the counter to start yelling and cursing at the referees when they waved off the goal! 

The rest of the period was even more fun to watch as people began to pile into the place to see what all the excitement was about. When Vancouver scored near the end of the 2nd the whole place erupted into cheers and falafel guy looked like he was going to jump right over the counter to celebrate with us. 

When the 2nd wrapped up, I got up to head out and the falafel dude looked at me and said, “what? You’re leaving!?!” I explained I had another thing I had to be at but I would be sure to keep an ear out for the final score that night. Vancouver ended up winning 3-0 to take a 2 game series lead. I know I’ve trash talked Vancouver in the past but I’m excited to see them doing so well in the playoffs this year. I expect they’re going to be the strongest Canadian team in the playoffs this season and I hope they make it to the final round. 

If they do play for the Stanley Cup, I know where I’m going to watch those games.

Long Weekends Are Awesome Even When It’s Raining Outside

We did get a nice day yesterday though. I was up late on Thursday night jamming with our band. We’ve got a small set of 5 songs plus 3 covers worked out and are spending out time tightening them up and working on the endless small things that need to be worked out. I’ve started drumming along to our songs ever other day so I can get my parts figured out. Once I’ve dialed the drumming in I’ll just have to repeat it over and over so it becomes automatic.Lots of work for 8 songs!

I was feeling a little bushed yesterday and didn’t end up doing much outside the house until the evening when I nipped over to the Black Frog to meet the gang and catch the end of that atrocious Calgary game. I can’t believe it! 5-1 for the Edmonton Oilers, who are already out of the playoffs!? I guess Calgary’s down to 3 lines but still, I’m worried about our playoff chances.

Once the game wrapped up we nipped over to the Konbiniya Japan Centre to gawk at the strange Japanese food and pick up some of their bizarre candy. I was going to head to Matt’s party after that but wasn’t feeling up to going out any later.

I’ve procrastinated going to the gym long enough. Time to get my butt out the door before it becomes fat from sitting in front of the computer all morning.

Beach BBQ

Palm Trees At English Bay

I’ve just returned home from Jehrico Beach where the gang and I had the first BBQ of the summer! It’s been so warm out that I even put on shorts for the occasion.

The weekend was pretty relaxed. Sunday morning I got up and went on a photowalk to take a last spin through the west end before I leave for Gastown in a couple of weeks. The weather was so awesome outside and I got some cool shots of things like the palm trees at English Bay. I love living in a place where there are palm trees!

I’ve made a set of photos on flickr for anyone who’s interested.

When It Rains Bands It Pours

I’m a huge fan of live music, which is no surprise to anyone who knows me. What I’ve noticed over the years is concerts seem to come in waves. You’ll have a couple of months where there isn’t a compelling show in town then you’ll find yourself buried in a heap of awesome shows that all happen in the next two months.

Right now I’ve hit the avalance of great shows to start off the summer season. I thought I’d put up a list in case anyone who’s not already attending was interested in checking something out.

Tue, April 21 – Cold War Kids w. Crystal Antlers
Sun, April 26 – Bloc Party w. Hot Hot Heat
Sat, May 2 – The Weakerthans w. The Constantines
Sat, May 23 – Mon, May 25 – Sasquatch Festival (so excited for this!)
Mon, Jun 29 – Al Domeola World Sinfonia
Tue, Jun 30 – Kenny Werner Quintet
Thu, Jul 16 – Death Cab For Cutie

These are all going to be great shows! The two shows in June are part of the jazz festival and I’ve never heard of either of these bands. My friend Chris is a jazz guitarist and will sometimes tell me I should go to a particular show that he’s attending. Every time I’ve joined him at one of these concerts I’ve been blown away by some incredible jazz musicianship! So now I just go without questioning his judgement.