But They Didn’t Get Us Any Presents…

The Wedding Present rocked this little hole in the wall called the Media Club last night. I didn’t know what to expect and only knew the band from their reputation as a really cool indie sort of band from Britian that’s been around for the last 20 years. They put on a fine show that had all the older, balding men bouncing around in front of the stage. Vancouver’s known for crowds that stand still during a performance with everyone more interested in looking hip than watching the band onstage. So I enjoyed being in an energetic crowd last night.

Opening was an incredibly cool band called Earlimart who came up from California to support the Wedding Present on the west coast leg of their tour. They’re a poppy band who won us over quickly with a dreamy, but snappy set of songs. I’ve ordered some of their CDs this morning since I want to hear more of them.

Today it sounds as though I’m heading up the Chief’s second peak with Josh and possibly Shan and anyone else who’s interested in a hike.

Last night, mostly due to distance and the fact that neither of us will be moving anytime soon, my girlfriend and I decided to call off our relationship. She’s an amazing person and it’s unfortunate that circumstances are what they are but we’re still going to be friends and remain in touch. It hurts though and I’ve been wide awake since 4am thinking about all this.

This led me to thinking about how I can make a bundle of money so things like work and location become less challenging in the future. I’d like to difersity my income and I’m thinking real estate is one way to do it. Last night I’d already ordered a couple of real estate investing books off Chapters so I can think through my long-term strategy as I dive into the market. I will be buying a place within the next several months but I’m undecided about how to best set things up so I can turn my place into a rental property or how I can purchase an additional rental property in the future.

In more exciting news, I caught a screening of Burn After Reading last weekend. It’s a well-done but completely ridiculous movie. I recommend!

Shanman and I snuck into Hell’s Kitchen in Kits for a couple of beers and some tasty pizza (they are famous for their awesome pizza) on Saturday night. Our friend Tom is managing the joint and I was glad to finally see the place. It’s a really cool lounge/bistro spot and they’ve got some tasty Whistler Weissbier on tap. I have become all about the wheat ales recently and this was one of the more tasty ones.

Wednesday night was the Black Frog’s customer appreciation night where they sell beer for $3 and have all kinds of free food and stuff. Since it’s our favorite bar in the city we got in and had a silly night with a waitress that totally out-sassed our friend Reilly! Normally Reilly is ruthless about sassing waitresses but he got verbally slapped around all night by this girl.

Tonight I’m heading down to the Media Club with Kris to see a reunited Wedding Present perform. The band’s history goes back into the mid-1980’s and I don’t know their music that well. It’s been recommended to me before though and Kris was impressed with their last show so I’m going to check it out. Kris has seen heaps more bands than I could ever dream of seeing and when he recommends a show it’s always awesome.

My alarm just went off so I guess it’s time to get up now and head to the gym.

Crude Love

Last night a pack of us saw the excellent play, Crude Love, which presented Fort McMurray in 2012 after peak oil had caused the US military to move in and secure the oil interests up there. The play’s focus was on a love affair that unfolded between a Newfie girl who worked the tar sands and a hippie environmentalist who was working to both sabotage the tar sands projects and raise awareness of the environmental devestation caused by the projects.

Great play and well acted. Thouroughly enjoyed!

After the play we retired to the Keg on Granville Island for beers, food, and chat. Finally, Josh Kimli and I headed to the Railway for a couple more beers and a game of darts.

Interestingly, yesterday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day and we found ourselves sitting near a table of people in full pirate regalia. One of them even joined us for our crazy game of darts. None of us actually know how to properly play darts so instead we use our own system for scoring that involves throwing all the darts in a single bunch towards the dartboard using your non-dominant hand. I.e. if you’re a righty, then you throw the clump of darts with your left hand. It’s great fun and much more entertaining than traditional darts!

Today was about having breakfast at Hamburger Mary’s with Josh and then heading down to the dentist for a teeth cleaning.

Eve and the Firehorse

The Urban Republic Arts Society put on their last drive-in movie tonight with a showing of Eve and the Firehorse on top of a parkade in Gastown. It’s very cool to be at a drive-in show, especially when you’re overlooking downtown Vancouver with all the other urbanites who’ve congregated for the event.

For me, drive-ins make me think of dusty fields on the edge of town where everyone goes for makeouts and underage drinking. Being at a guerrilla style drive-in on a parkade in downtown has a different, more sophisticated vibe about it.

Oh! And this girl forced us to eat the remaining cream puffs that her and her friends couldn’t finish after the movie. Free cream puffs are one of the best things ever!

I Fail at WordPress

I had a whole post written up this weekend but it seems to have disappeared, leading me to conclude that I have failed at using WordPress. So I’m in Vancouver now, am back at work, but find myself unable to use simple blogging software.

Work’s going well. Going back wasn’t as hard as I’d feared. Vacation mode was easy to slip out of although I miss the spare time where I used to be able to drum, take photos, and travel. My biggest thing right now is shifting back into the 5am wakeups so I can get out and whip myself back into shape. I put on a couple of inches driving across Canada and I want them back off so I’m jumping on the “30-60 minutes of sweat on weekdays” routine. I find if I don’t work out in the mornings then I tend not to do it, so I’ve got my alarm set for 5:10am.

What’s strange is I’ve had incredible sugar cravings yesterday and today. Yesterday I chowed down one and a half chocolate bars plus a small bag of chips. Today I took down a pack of Reeses Pieces and a good-sized slice of peach rhubarb pie. So despite hitting the gym yesterday and going for an awesome bike ride this morning, I’m probably gaining weight instead of losing it. I even tried packing a ridiculous amount of fresh fruit today and it was no help!

I’m a little tired tonight so I’m going to sit back and then pass out soon. I’ll try and post something about the end of my trip on the weekend.

Home Again

I just rolled into Vancouver after a quick drive over the Coquihalla from Vernon. I’d spent a couple of nights with my Mom on the way back from Calgary, which was nice, and then headed for home this morning. She’s doing quite well although my sister had some news to share. She’s getting married! Over to her dude in Dubai. Hopefully we’ll get to meet him next year. The bonus is they’ll be doing a ceremony over in India (he’s from Bombay) which gives me an excuse to go over there. Score!

In Calgary I got out to Chestermere Lake for some seadooing and chilling on the waterfront. It’s getting a little cold out, but it’s still good to hang out in for now. I’m glad I’m back on the warm coast. It’s sunny and hot in Vancouver still.

I also got to hook up with some of my relatives and hit up Nellies Cosmic Cafe with Clint for some tasty breakfast.

Tonight I’m catching some food with the North Shore gang over at Dadeo’s and then there might be some beer drinking at Hell’s Kitchen in Kitsilano.

It’s good to be home. Feels weird to be in my apartment since I’ve been gone for so long. I scarcely remembered what it looked like. Using windows on a desktop is kinda strange too. The monitors feel huge and the keyboard feels big and clunky after being on a small laptop for the past few weeks.

Gophers and Whisky

I’ve been a little wiped out the last couple of days, mostly because I’ve been trying to make the transition from eastern time and I’m really tired at night. I’ve been getting up bright and early though!

Friday, after an afternoon nap, we headed out with some of Amanda’s friends for a night of rock band. This one guy nailed Ballroom Blitz which I found impressive. Then we stumbled over to the Ship and Anchor for another couple of pints before heading back home. The Ship is my favorite bar in Calgary. Strangely they were spinning a lot of bad metal songs that night. 

On Saturday Amanda and I headed to Torrington to check out the Gopher Hole Museum. It wins the award for the weirdest place I’ve visited on this trip. They have displays of stuffed gophers, in costume, in different scenes from around town. There’s a couple of gophers getting married at the local church. Some gophers pumping gas. Other gophers were hanging out on a beach. You can see pictures on my flickr account

That evening we were invited to some friends for dinner, which was tasty, and then we all piled into a theatre to see Get Smart. Great film! My expectations were low, but it was really funny. They took some digs at cliches from the action/spy movie genre.

Today I think we’re heading to Chestermere for some ski dooing or something. Might be a little cold, but should be fun!

Made it… at last!

I’m writing to you from the comfy confines of my girlfriend’s condo, known as “The Awesome Unit,” in Calgary. This morning I awoke at the outrageous hour of 3:45am and decided to start driving since I was wide awake. I’m still on east coast time apparently. 

Yesterday was quite an adventure. The morning started off normally, with some lounging around at the Super 8 near Fargo, before I started driving west. North Dakota has some of the best scenery along the US route that I took, especially when I got to the badlands near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Since the scenery was so awesome around the park, I decided to wheel in to Medora to gas up and stretch my legs. What I didn’t realize is I was about to drive in to a town that’s built like a town out of an old spaghetti western movie! I expected to see a cowboy come crashing out of some saloon doors at any moment. 

I got some photos, which I’ll have up on Flickr in the next day or so. In the meantime, I’m super-tired, so it’s time to get a nap.

Nearing Fargo

Yesterday I’d planned to make it to Fargo, but 80 miles out I decided to stop for the night because I was getting a little tired. I’m paranoid about driving when I’m tired so I tend to error on the side of caution. 

I never did stop to take any pictures yesterday, preferring instead to burn straight through and see how far I could get. The States are pretty serious about not stopping on the side of the highway anyway. There are heaps of signs along the roadsides about “emergency stopping only.” One thing I missed was a giant pink statue of a moose outside of this resort. Only in Wisconsin would someone put up a big pink moose.

Wisconsin and Minnesota were nice to drive though after I left Chicago. Sunny and scenic farmlands most of the way. It was almost like driving through Saskatchewan or Alberta. Chicago was cool. It seems like a grittier city than most and the traffic was hectic. I was on a 6-lane one-way freeway through the city and it was jam packed with cars who would drive within inches of each other and make sudden, unannounced lane changes. I’m not sure why, but I felt more comfortable driving in this than I do driving in Vancouver. I think it’s because I enjoy the rush that comes from driving in a raging river of aggressive city drivers. People were aggressive on the Chicago roads, but it made traffic flow quickly and efficiently, something that doesn’t happen in Vancouver so much. 

The other adventure was finally hitting up a Target store. Our friends go down there for clothes shopping and I wanted to see what the appeal was. I grabbed: 2 pairs of Levis jeans, 2 button up shirts, 2 short sleeved quick dry running tops, and a vintage looking AC/DC ball cap to help me play the part of the rowdy, small town rocker when I arrive in Vernon. I figure I’ll fit right in with the Limp Bizkit fans blaring nu metal out of their jacked up trucks. This is how one looks cool in a town like Vernon. Anyhow, total cost for all that: $125 US. The same selection of stuff would have been $200 or more in Canada. 

Today I’m going to head towards the border and see how close I can get to Canada. Google maps says I’ve got a 17 hour drive to Calgary from Fergus Falls and I expect I can knock close to 12 hours off that today.

No Fargo For You!

I was getting tired so I stopped in Fergus Falls at a Super 8 instead of pushing though to Fargo. Not a lot of news today since I’ve been driving pretty much all day. I’ll post something more interesting tomorrow morning, but now it’s time to sleep.