Delight. I was delighted by so much that we saw today. Small children in a Power Wheels/Barbie Car demolition Derby. Two camels in a pasture. A zebra wedged in between donkeys, all jostling to get closer to the hay mow. The smoothness of a lemon ginger shortbread cookie.
Date night with Keith in Stratford; chocolate, beer and Good Thai food.
Every part of me is happy right now!
“How was Vegas?” I was asked upon my return to real life.
How to answer?
Do I talk about how long it’s been and how good it was to see the people who I have grown to love and cherish since meeting them online 13-ish years ago? About how damn easy it is to be around them, how I can be as close to my true self as I can be in public and get away with it?
Do I talk about the moments of delight: of finding the Art-O-Mats, old cigarette vending machines that have been repurposed to give you art for $5; of the sudden sight of a 2-story metal praying mantis that shoots fire out of its antennae in time to AC/DC; of being able to see the Kusama Infinity Room in a near-empty Bellagio Art Gallery; of old neon signs, horses in front of a biker bar, and cocktails in the speakeasy at the Mob Museum; of sitting in Elvis Presley’s booth, and seeing a chair that looked like the Bobs in Mirror Mask?
Or do I talk about the bad poker, the over-stimulation, the cocktails, the casinos, beer with friends, long conversations and loud laughter, people watching, missing absent friends, the triggered memories, the bad moods, the good moods, the food, the changes in the 7 years since I was last there, the glorious feeling of being with people who get me, warts and all?
“It was fun,” I reply.
Saw the Last Jedi yesterday with my beloved, and I can see now why all the white fanboys are all in a tizzy; the only representation they had was for hot heads who get people killed or damaged heroes who run away to hide from their mistakes.
From my perspective, it was refreshing to see women and minorities cast as characters who rise to occasion, save the day, and if it can’t be saved then pick up the pieces and keep going.
My feet are tired and my face hurts.
The feet are sore from all the mileage that Keith and I put in around downtown today as we walked between venues at the Toronto Fringe Festival. See those six gaps in the FitBit activity log? Those represent the six shows we saw in one day. All but one was very funny, and even the one that wasn’t very funny was still pretty funny. Which is why my face hurts.
We laughed. A lot.
More tomorrow, as right now all I want to do is drink the beer that is included in the above MFP log before I fall asleep.
Good grief, it’s a poker post. It’s been a while since that happened. It’s been a while since I played frankly.
For those who don’t play poker, or didn’t read my blog when I played poker, much of what follows will sound like gibberish. Feel free to bail.
I’ve been trying to remember to play the Buddy Dank home game on Poker Stars on Wednesday nights, now that I don’t have to worry about staying up too late on a school night. Unfortunately, the reason why I don’t have to worry about school nights is the same reason that has me losing track of what day it is. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to sign up to the BD home game only to find that it was the night before. Thank you to Joanada who sends me text and Facebook reminders.
Sidenote: speaking of completely losing track of time, I made a major gaffe when Bammer was talking about sweating his friend Amir on the WSOP November 9 final table. “Shouldn’t they be doing that in November?” I asked, only to be told that sweetie, it is November. Good lord, when the hell did that happen?!? Some days I feel like I’m in early onset Alzheimer’s.
Back to poker.
It was a fun night, like a scaled down version of the old days when 50-75 friends would be virtually playing together and smack-talking in the chat. There were bad beats and trash talking, beer drinking, toasts and general goofiness. I didn’t pay all that much attention to the cards, so was very surprised to go out in sixth place rather than my usual not-Gigli-but-close.
I am absolutely going to do this again. I should really put this in my calendar. With an email reminder so I don’t forget.
Draft clean-up day part 1: I started writing this July 5th.
The rest of the Fringe Festival passed in a bit of a blur. In fact, I can no longer remember what we saw when, so here’s an alphabetical list because I am too lazy to look it up on fringetoronto.com and too fastidious to go through the garbage for the ticket stubs and program guide.
2 For Tea
Odd. Surreal. Funny. Clever. Equal parts Monty Python’s silly walks, physical comedy, audience participation and tea party.
Battle of the Bastards
We had pre-bought tickets to see this one late one night, but we bailed after a day of walking and 3 other shows. Luckily, we were able to get in to an afternoon show later in the week. One New Zealander performing several parts from Shakespeare’s King Lear – such was his talent that I was only slightly confused once.
Hip! Bang! Improv
There was only the loosest of story lines hanging all of the bits together, but alas, they never really explained why one character was dressed as a Mountie and the other as a polar bear. Lots of very funny lines (“I cheated on my Jewish ethics test”…maybe you had to be there), but some serious technical difficulties in getting a laptop to talk to the projector just made me annoyed by the end.
I Hired a Contract Killer
I think this one had to be one of the smoothest, well-rehearsed show we saw, with one of the biggest casts. Definitely worth the $10 just to see them make a believable oven for a suicide scene.
Jem Rolls Attacks The Silence
Jem is so good at word play and spoken word performance, that we saw him twice. Too many lines, too many laughs. There’s a reason he won one of the Patron’s Picks awards.
Play Actually – a non rom com
Were they still working out the kinks on this show, or was it a well-rehearsed play made to look like they were still working out the kinks? A mostly funny take on love and dating in the modern age. I may never get the image of sex toy fellatio out of my head.
Very funny two-man show about an idealist hiring an actor. Hijinks ensue.
Twisted Beats and Circus Freaks
There had to be one show that seemed like a mishmash of bizzarro. This was it. A clown who played with thrift store toys while rapping could have been interesting if I could have heard what he was saying/singing – thanks audio guy for making that impossible. The lovely lady on the flying trapeze was, well, lovely. But it didn’t seem to fit together that well. Based on the laughs from the rest of the audience, especially from the kids, it could be that I’m just too old to grok that one *shrug.
It’s been just over a week since I walked out of the school for the last time, and so far it feels just like any summer break I’ve taken over the last 12 years.
Well, except for the occasional stomach-dropping, headache-inducing moment of utter panic when I remember that I am an unemployed 51-year-old with no formal education and no real clue about what she wants to be when/if she grows up. But then I talk to Keith or call/text/email a friend who will patiently list my many positives for the umpteenth time until I stop hyperventilating and step away from the ledge.
But other than those moments, it’s been a fun week. School finished on the Thursday, capped by an evening out on a local patio, drinking with my soon-to-be-former colleagues. There were speeches for the staff departing; mine was given by Andy, my fellow beer-loving punk-rocker. It the longest, sweetest, most eloquent and had the added benefit of making the principal who fired me look like she had just taken a bite of an apple only to find half a worm dangling from the core. There were hugs at the end of the night, and promises to keep in touch in varying degrees of sincerity, which will likely not happen now that the only common ground has been removed.
I left the next morning for my writing retreat, feeling only very slightly hung over. I was on the bike, it was a sunny day and I was heading to a cottage on the shores of Georgian Bay to spend a weekend doing some of the things I like the best. It was a great ride along roads I’d not been on before with a stop at the Meaford waterfront park for one of the best burgers I’ve ever had from a chip truck. I arrived at Chris’s family cottage around 2, settled in, and sat on the beach for a while drinking in a view filled with only sky and water. Everyone else arrived, and the day was filled with laughter and workshops.
My sense of peace and equanimity went to shit sometime after breakfast the next day. My period started and I experienced cramps so painful that I couldn’t sit up for the morning workshop (I blame the Super Moon!), and spent the afternoon in bed cuddled up to a hot water bottle and letting the hormone roller coaster take me for a spin out of control. No writing, just crying. It wasn’t pretty. Bad-ass biker chick cover was completely blown. The day was saved by the kindness of the women around me – I can’t describe just how awesome they all were.
I couldn’t really get completely out from under the shadow of Saturday’s melt-down though. I had been looking forward to the weekend for months, and I felt like I’d blown it, wasted my money by not partaking. I did get a few things written, but not what I’d wanted.
Sigh. File it under Shit Happens, and move on.
The rest of the week was moderately productive. Keith was working the Toronto Jazz Festival all week, so I spent my afternoons knitting and watching Torchwood on Netflix. I finished a pair of socks in 8 days – a new record that only sounds good if you’re a knitter. Otherwise, it’s just kind of sad.
The Headstones played on Thursday, a private event for the fans (like me) who had backed their new album on PledgeMusic.com. As always, it was a great show, but a bit surreal to be back in Lee’s Palace after a decade away. The scene of so many bad decisions looked both bigger and smaller, vastly different and yet completely the same, proving once again that memory is a tricky thing.
I crossed over to the dark side on Saturday – I bought a Macbook Pro. It’s used and the battery is crap, but it’s got the software I need on it and I can do the programming I need anywhere. I’ve been working on it for three days now. I am still waiting for it to change my life.
Sunday was a lazy day – we went to a friend’s cottage and basically hung out on the deck and chatted about everything and nothing while listening to the wind in the pine trees.
Which brings us to yesterday, Canada Day. We talked about going out and doing something, seeing a movie or going for a walk, but inertia proved stronger than desire. I made strawberry jam for the first time since leaving my parent’s house and Keith made scones and coffee. We feasted on them all day as we watched odd movies like Sushi Girl (think Tarantino wanna-be), and finished them off as we sat at the window and watched fireworks around the city.
Yes, I know we’re already almost a week into 2013 – it took me a few days to go through the few hundred photos I took last year and then another day or so to re-surface back into this year. 2012 was a very good year and holy FSM, I did a lot of stuff for am old broad. Here’s to more fun times to come!
The theme of February’s road trip was What do a summer beaches look like in winter?
Frickin’ cold is what they look like.
March was too awesome for words. We spent three weeks in Australia, seeing friends we don’t see nearly often enough and to experience a place unlike anything I imagined.
I could have spent another few days exploring Uluru and area…watching the colours change as the sun set was one of the best memories of the trip.
Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time. We were riding through Coboconk and stopped to take in their summer festival which included a travelling reptile show. The woman who ran it was happy to let me hold this 2m long albino Burmse python. I really don’t understand why most people are afraid of snakes…but then I guess most people don’t understand being afraid of bridges.
July saw many small trips rather than a big one since we were still light on cash after Australia. We headed to Manitoulin Island for some camping, then to my newphew’s cottage on Tyson Lake, where we had nothing more pressing to do than go swimming or kayaking then watch some spectacular sunsets at day’s end.
Headed to Oklahoma for Okie-Vegas and drank Keystone Light to stay hydrated (insert canoe joke here). It was so great hanging out and playing drunken silly poker. I was introduced to apple pie moonshine, which I liked a little too much.
I’ve been to Niagara Falls at least fifty times but have never done the touristy things. We went on the Maid of the Mist and Journey Behind the Falls, and I voluntarily went on the Sky Wheel. I almost chickened out, and the first orbit was a bit…tense, but I was able to smile and enjoy it by the third orbit. So glad I did the CBT!
School kept me busy, because of course I did no prep over the summer. I made it out one night to meet an old friend for dinner, little knowing when we booked it that it was Nuit Blanche. the odd art installations, like this programmed Space Invaders added a nice bit of surrealism to the night.
The definite highlight of October was the weekend spent in Greenville, SC at Mastodon Weekend. Too many highlights to list, but being able to belatedly cross something off my summer list thanks to the efforts of the Fire God was one of the main ones.
Made it back to Pine Vista Resort for a weekend. We explored waterfalls, climbed over rocks, fed apples to horses and found Buddha in the woods.
This was the first year in 6 years that I could not go to the annual blogger bacchanalia in Vegas. I was in danger of becoming very depressed about having to be all adult when Heather decided to come visit Toronto for a weekend. We ate, we drank, we did touristy things including going up the CN Tower. It only took one martini to get me to stand on the glass floor. Now that’s progress!
While many people at school werre spending their winter holiday somewhere south, I went to Calgary. Where it was cold. And snowy. I hadn’t seen my brother & nieces in almost two years, and five days of hanging out with my family and seeing Joanada & Buddy Dank flew past too quickly.
Last year, we finally made it to Montreal for the Just For Laughs Festival. We went for 3 days, walked around (well, Keith walked. I hobbled on a cane), and took in four shows. It was lovely vacation, filled with gorgeous weather, interesting walks, good food, and most importantly, lots of laughs.
We decided to forgo it this year. No one in the line-up jumped out at us, and our post-Australia finances are not as fluid as we’d like. We decided to do Fringe instead. 155 shows to choose from, no more than an hour in length, for $10 a ticket? How bad could they be?
We’d only planned on seeing one or two, but the shows are a bit like crack. Before we knew it, we’d seen seven in three days. We took Monday off because they were starting to run together. I have to write them down, before I look at Keith and say something like, “so you know the one character with the goth bondage costume and the lisp? Was that in Absolute Alice or Gay Nerds?”
Think Scooby Doo with a twist. Predictable for the most part, but also a few did-not-see-that-coming moments. two days later and Keith is still talking about the end. Lots of laughs throughout though! Worth the tenner just to see how two good actors can portray three people on the stage.
Now I just wish I could get Hungry Heart out of my head.
It was billed as ” Monty Python meets Game of Thrones at the Moulin Rouge“. The reviews printed in the program call the show “very funny” (CBC) and “hilarious” (Globe and Mail).
Makes me wonder what show they saw. The show I saw was none of those things. I may have been in the wrong theatre.
I like it when a show states upfront that it requires audience participation. Then I know to sit at the back.
And frankly, I’m not a big fan of magic shows.
But this one worked.
Wow. Just wow. Intelligence + wit + an excellent vocabulary + timing + a dollop of anger at the status quo = words that echo in my head for days after. Tempted to see this one again.
Alice in Wonderland. Told in less than an hour. With Toronto’s underground scene as the backdrop (oh yeah, goth bondage character was here). Big cast, big costumes, some fun original music, but it still felt like a high-school musical. Like a regular high-school musical, not High School Musical ™ by Disney ™. Fun, worth the ten bucks, but not going to run out and see it again.
Another highlight. Flowed so well that I was genuinely surprised how fast the time went (as opposed to Temple of Khaos where time slid past as slow as molasses in January). A clever breakdown of the fourth wall, lots of gay jokes, lots of nerd jokes, and lots of gay nerds in the audience.
” See what happens in a kingdom that was once magical, but now is kind of lame due to intellectual property disputes.”
Lame. They said it, not me. But worth the ten bucks to see the bit about with the Meme Troll.