Me and Daniel

Me and Daniel
Me and my then 8 year old son, 20 years ago.

Monday, 29 September 2014

July 4, 2004 Nights out at the Empress

July 4, 2004
2:48 am

What a crazy night this has been.
I'll start at the beginning. It was girls night out, so Brenda and Paula and Peggy and I gathered, first at Brenda's house for the requisite Jello shooters, and then, fortified with a gelish courage, it was off to the Empress for the lot of us.
Yes, yes, the Emp.
Queen of dive bars.
Smells like stale beer, carpet stains and spilled piss. Wall to wall caricatures.
Steven, the crack dealer scoping the joint out from the security of a shadowy doorway.
"Cory-oke" introducing the next act, a drunken rendition of  Mustang Sally, spewed out by one of the regulars.
It's always Mustang Sally.

When we got there, Peggy made her exit into the bowels of the place before our eyes had adjusted to the darkness, muttering something about John having a drink waiting for her.
We found a table on the far wall and set up camp.
After the first pitcher, Peggy reappeared and told us that Eleanor died!
Eleanor used to sit in the Emp for hours talking to anyone who would listen, about her main obsession, great books and the great authors who wrote them.
 She was a self-taught, drunken, bitter but friendly, literary expert.
She knew everything about the works of John Steinbeck, DH Lawrence, and JD Salinger. She adored Oscar Wilde and Margaret Laurence.
She was one of the people I truly liked. She was interesting.
 This shaky, but functional, wobbly old woman didn't give a shit what anyone thought about her.

The squirrel in the wheel that runs Peggy's mind went nuts and came up with a conspiracy theory in .03 of a second.
"I think someone put something in her beer."
And then she set off again, back to the bowels of the establishment to find the truth.
What 'really' happened.

Peggy's octogenarian mother in law, who looks like a chemically altered Dame Edna, suddenly stood up and vowed to help Peggy find the truth because,
"Eleanor liked books."
The problem was, that when she stood up to follow Peggy, she spotted across the bar a gigantic woman, shaped like a carton of smokes, who, she said
"...used to go out with my old man!"
Seeing her old man's ex was, on its own, enough to enrage her to such an extent that she had to face the carton woman.

So they started yelling across the bar about whether or not the 'old man', (who is really super old, so I guess that's not just a nickname) went out with the carton woman, and suddenly the carton woman was at our table screaming into the face of Peggy's mother in law. 
it was stupid
the whole time Brenda was talking about 'poor Eleanor'
 Bar Stars were brandishing the Eagles and Van Morrison from the stage

The night clamored on and Peggy came back from her quest before it had sunk in fully that she had left. She was still unable to decipher what 'really happened' to Eleanor, but she told us that her band was playing at Tornado Joe's and she can get us in for free.
Her husband is the relief drummer so she claims ownership of the band.
 The actual drummer had a heart attack on Friday, she said, so now it's
 "John's chance for the big time."
Yeah okay.
We broke camp and headed over to Tornado Joe's.
turns out that this might be John's big chance to be the second worse cover band in Chilliwack. And there was a whole different drummer!
Either that or the main drummer's heart attack cleared up really fast.
All John did all night was sit at the table and pantomime all the drumming and spill people's beer. It was annoying.
It was like being caught in some strange dream sequence of a bad movie...

And all I could think was how, one time, a few weeks back, me and Brenda and Dave were at the Empress, waiting for a cab and we met up with Eleanor.
She was all folded up on the ledge at the front of the building and she ended up in our cab. We couldn't leave her there. The three of us sat in the back, and Eleanor sat in the front. The whole way to her building she was babbling about her keys and how she hoped she hadn't lost them.
She hadn't.
She stumbled out of the cab when it got to her apartment and the driver waited till she was in the door before he pulled away.
People always look out for Eleanor.

The sane people who knew Eleanor said that what really happened, is she dropped dead of a heart attack when she was coming out of her building on Thursday morning.
It was nice to know you, Eleanor.
It's late now. I'm going to bed.

Friday, 19 September 2014

AGT, John Lennon, Royal Baby and Summer

              Quote of the night, "I'm a cuttin' but you ain't bleedin'!" 
        ~ Foghorn Leghorn to that dog he tortures
So, the results are in.....Mat Franco is the winner of America's Got Talent. 

 He looks like a cross between Jon Cryer and a pack of gum....


Still, he is really good.
I was happy that he won.
 It's a pretty good show, that AGT.  This year was great for talent. I had no idea there were so many people out there with such awesome talent. 
Some of them need to just get a frigging grip though... I the knife throwers?!....come on.. I don't think there's any knife throwing act worth a million dollars, but somehow, they can't be discouraged, those damn guys with their knives.
 Every year there's a few old guys trying to sneak past, thinking we won't notice them, with their over filled balloons and 'target girl' dressed in a tutu, with scabs and a frightened look....toting a length of rope.. Some of them actually make it on to the show, but they rarely go far. People soon wake up and realize that it gets really boring, really quick. I don't know. Maybe that's just me. 

I think American tv is so much more entertaining than Canadian tv....unless you're really in to period dramas...or shows about orphans in 19th century P.E.I........imagine an entire country watching nothing but Downton Abby or Little House on the Prairie....that's what it's like...or I guess that's what it WAS like. Canadian tv has some good shows now, but I don't know anyone who watches them.

I remember when I was a kid, we'd be watching tv, and suddenly there'd be little videos of wildlife...
.....Who's Who in Hinterland.
Does anyone remember that?

 It was a little wildlife break in the middle of the Flintstones.
The National Film Board of Canada used to air little vignettes, some of which were really catchy and cute. 
I found 'The Log Driver's Waltz'. .....memories! I think this one originally aired in the '80's.

God! The '80's eh?! 
That was a strange decade....people who didn't work out wore neon coloured 'gear'.....every teenager had a 'boombox' that they carried on their shoulders when they went to the alley to 'break dance'....gawd...gag me with a spoon....the decade started with the murder of the most controversial Beatle...and ended with walls coming down.

I remember the night John Lennon was murdered vividly. For me, the evening started with a toke or two with friends, and listening to Led Zeppelin  (betcha didn't see that coming!...),and ended having bran muffins at Bino's. 
The place was packed, It was about 2am. No one could sleep after the news from New York. Everyone I heard and saw and talked to that night was completely stunned. It was one of those situations where we all needed to grieve collectively....none of us knew him, but we felt like he was one of us, and we needed to talk about him. And we needed to speculate on the killer...why he would have done this, and what we would do to him if we ever met him. The place piped 'Imagine', on a loop, through the sadness.
It was a crazy night. 
Earlier in the evening, before we met with a bunch of strangers at Bino's, I remember looking out the window, and seeing a guy in the twilight, in the entrance way of the apartment across the street. He had been stabbed, and he was pounding on all the buttons at once, with his bloody fists. I could hear all these disembodied staticky voices, saying 'Hello? Hello?', "Who is this?'
By the time we got outside, the block was like the set of some detective show....during rehearsal. 
There were paramedics tending to the stabbed guy, and there were cops everywhere. Some had dogs, some didn't. We walked right past a cop with a huge german shepherd straining at the end of his leash, sniffing something at the base of a stop sign. 

In lighter news, (Yes, yes, I know that wasn't really so much 'news' as a reminiscence, still...) it's nice to see that there'll be a new Royal Baby! That's right, the current Royal Baby will become the old Royal Baby sometime in the spring....I suppose every member of that family, was at one time, 'The Royal Baby'. I don't think there was as much hoopla about it before though....I mean, I remember when Prince William was the Royal Baby, and it was news, but I don't think it was as big a story as it was for this last Royal Baby....or it could be that the sands of time have gotten in my eyes and distorted my inner vision....I think that's what's happened here, because you'd think it would be a big deal whenever a future king is born. 
It's so nuts to me that there are some people, who, by accident of birth, are born to rule over the poor slobs who are, again by accident of birth, born to be ruled over.
Well, at least the weather's finally cooling off! It's been damn hot here. 
This is the summer that refuses to frigging back down and admit it's over. 
It's grabbing hold of sticks and clumps of grass as it slides down the embankment and into fall...(some people are even stepping on its fingers)...and it keeps pulling itself up again, like Rocky! 
I would like to put forth the idea that we name extreme seasons, like we do hurricanes. 
So, the summer of 2014, (at least in this area of British Columbia) should be known as Rocky.....all in favour say, "Yo! Adrienne!".......
Hang on.....maybe that's not such a good idea. People might get confused and think it's named after Rocky the Squirrel from the 'Rocky and Bullwinkle Show', and not after Rocky the pugilist from that movie.
You know what no one ever says anymore?
It's gone the way of 'wisenheimer' and 'Sam Hill'.
They're all sitting around a campfire somewhere, eating beans and telling tales....Gumption, Wisenheimer and Sam Hill.
'Far Out' , 'Groovy' and 'Bogart' are around a different campfire, behind pull-tab curtains...still distracted by black light posters and finding out the meaning behind everything...
'Radical', 'Gnarly' and 'Gag Me' are at a Robert Palmer concert....
Another Quote of the Night. (Yes, there can be two! That's my rules.):

"Who did you like the way they acted, that you might act like the way you do now?"
~ David Letterman to Luke Wilson

That's all for now.