Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shite Day

What a shitty day.

We take a cab from the Avalon Hostel to the airport that costs me 28€.

I try and sleep a little on the 40 minute flight back to Manchester but it doesn't really happen.

We catch a commuter train from the airport to Chloé's town which costs £28 for both of us. This was stupid since it took 2+ hours and a cab would have been £12 more.

We need sleep. I grab a few hours on the sofa before tensions boiled over between Chloé and our cousin Laura. Two forces of nature in a small house it was bound to happen. Laura's upset for many reasons, none of which have anything to do with Chloé excepte the fact that it seems "like everything is about her!"(It is. It's Chloé's wedding). She also fails to see the imposition her unexpected tenancy is creating at this stressful time. I am elected to mediate, which I feel I was somewhat successful at since the next day they were both talking.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting My Irish Up

The flight from Manchester to Dublin wasn't even long enough for Marc to watch full episode of Bearish & Butthead before we landed. Customs was a cinch.

We took the public transport to save a few Euros. Checked in at the Aaron Hostel and then went out to find some food.

Marc orders the double burger. Much too much.

We walk to Temple Bar to have some Guinness with all the other tourists.

Time for bed. Big day tomorrow.

an annoying tick

Wake up! Chloé found some fleas on George, which is stress she doesn't need with less than two weeks left till her wedding day. This means we must all tread lightly. If I can survive her wrath I will be flying to Ireland tonight with Marc, otherwise spread my ashes over Black Rock City.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sheepish Sheep and Slags Scrapping

I woke up to Chloe's dog George in my face, licking me mercilessly. Marc and I booked a flight to Ireland for Monday, along with a hostel. It's going to be a great adventure.

We took a walk uphill, through farmers fields. The sheep would run away when they noticed us. We got to the top of a hill that had a beautiful view, but the grey skies made the photographic results underwhelming.

George is a Patterdale Terrier 
Sheep, Bahhhhhhhh.
George digging for moles 

Me on a hill in Great Harwood Lancashire

Elderly People Fisting Sign

Chloe got some great news, her application for British citizenship has been approved! She made a great pasta dish for Tea (Apparently "Tea" means "Dinner", making a "brew" means "Tea", and they call it English).

After "Tea" we went on a family pub crawl to celebrate Chloé becoming a loyal British subject. The first pub Walmesley Arms, had a guy playing Wonderwall on acoustic guitar. I guess Oaisis is still a respected bunch of wankers band here in England.
Marc and I
Me and Chloé
The second pub, Cross Axes, had more lasers than one would expect. The fog machine was excessive for such a small place. They even had a pole on stage, which I'm sure has seen some nasty nights.

Me and Marky at yet another pub
We closed out the night at Baggy's Wine Bar. A full on cat-fight broke out between two slags, complete with hair pulling and rolling on the floor. When the lights came up and the girls were pulled apart one called out "Where's me Ma!?!". I offered Marc a broken heel as a souvenir. Some old dude wanted to show Chloé his muscles, causing Marc to flex his own. She later told us that he had pulled her hair. Marc said he would have fought the ol' bastard had he known. We had seen enough violence for one night.
Chloé and Marc at Baggy's Wine Bar

Clitheroe Castle with Choe

Chloé took me to Clitheroe Castle, which is actually just a small piece of a castle. It offered some amazing views of lush green fields (that's about all there is to see in England, fields). The rain stopped and the sun came out, we watched a youth orchestra play in the bandshell. We walked around the grounds while Chloé explained why it wouldn't make a suitable wedding venue.

Having a pint and reading about the Royal Ascot,
in the British way.
We found a pub and had a few pints. These English pubs are awesome, so old. I counted five fireplaces in the pub, then found a sixth while looking for the Gents Room. This was some of the only alone time I would get with my sister. It was so nice to get away with her if just for a few hours.

I took this photo because it reminded me of the tv show Arrested Development.
There is always money in the BANANA STAND!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rain? In England?

We spent the rainy day in the house. Chloe says it's usually not like this, I don't believe her.

George nipped a bird in the backyard and was then obsessed with getting back outside to finish the job.

We watched a tv show called 8 out of 10 cats, where British comedians discuss the news of the week. It was a nice lazy day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tea Time

I landed in Manchester at 10am, cleared customs and took a commuter train to Chloe's place. She had a cab waiting for me at the station. The cabbie assumed I was American, on account of my accent. He' also erroneously supposed my sister was English on account of hers. 0 for 2 cabbie.

It's so nice to see Chloe and Marc after such a long time (more than a year!).

We went to walk Chloe's cute puppy George, then went to the pub for a nice room temperature beer. It's like drinking in someones house.

So tired. I find myself falling asleep while chloe rhymes off a list of wedding songs. Time for bed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lounging, always lounging

A huge line of people I got to avoid because
I'm blind. Just another one of the perks.
The unemployed jet-setter often finds himself in a classy airport lounge.
This plaza lounge is slightly less classy than the maple leaf lounge. No windows and thus no view(of planes, big deal). 27$ for a nice place to have a little nosh and a drink.

My flight takes off in one hour. Boarding should be starting any minute. I'm going to push it so I can max out my value in the lounge. 
The bar selection is so weak compared to Maple Leaf Lounge.
Im drinking Canadian Club Whiskey and coke.

Premature boarding. I'm in my seat on the plane. I boarded early and now I'm taking elbows from all the passing passengers. I was forgot to buy cashews before boarding but now I will have to pay the Over-Atlantic-Ocean price. In the flight announcement they actually warn against consuming your own alcoholic beverages, a dishartening warning since I stole 2 Keith's from the hobo lounge.
Pre-flight beverage

Lounge food, not bad
Damn it! More important than the cashews I was supposed to bring Chloe the latest in trashy periodicals.

Did you read this far? Comments are welcome below.

A mother and child are seated next to me, he starts whaling "DADDY!" once the plane is in the air. This may suck.

Stingy alcohol selection

Road to England

<p>It's 7:08 pm and I'm on a bus up Spadina, I don't know what took the streetcars out of commission. Looks like the slow beginning to a massive track repair project. Its so damn hot in Toronto I'm looking forward to the UK's famous rainy days. This bus has air conditioning which is more than I can say for the streetcar.

The subway platform is muggy as hell,making the train feel like an icebox. Every time the doors open coolness escapes.

In the next 5 years a new train will make this whole trek from downtown to the airport obsolete.

I don't think my footwear will have any life in them by the end of my voyage.
I'm using up my battery blogging about nothing.

A woman asks the airport express bus driver a question he must get 50 times a day; "What terminal does ______ airline fly out of. He says he doesn't know cause he's not flying anywhere today. I like this answer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Banana Baker

I'm in a Starbucks in a bookstore. Enjoying the air conditioned sweetness but running short on power. Coffee shops seem to have less and less power outlets, maybe hoping you will move on when the battery gets low.

Is it cheating to go back and make up a post for yesterday? It was a busy day and by the end of it I was much too tired to write about it.

I leave for my sister Chloe's wedding in England tomorrow night. I have tons to do still. Laundry and packing, is all really.

So this is what happened yesterday:

Yesterday I went to the bank to get Euros and Pounds. I'm not sure which I will need more of but I'm glad I won't have to try and find an international bank machine or pay insane service fees. The bank tried to sell me on a service package that I pointed out would end up costing me more over the long run. I did end up starting a tax free savings account. We will see how that goes.

I picked up a birthday gift for my brother Marc. I haven't seen him since last April and I can't wait to have a pint with him in (fingers crossed) Dublin.

I made banana bread, maybe not the smartest thing to do on a hot day but I wanted to use up my over-ripe bananas instead of tossing them. I bought a nice loaf pan for a birthday gift I never ended up giving so I used that. I used a basic recipe I found on the internet and it turned out pretty good.

I said goodbye to my best friend Ian. He's going to Hollywood to work for some big movie Director (yeah, Seriously). We went for a drive and chatted about what the future may hold, which neither of us know. I'm looking forward to visiting him in LA at some point. How exciting. I'm really happy for him but I'm sad because I will miss him so much.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A good day turns tragic

It's a busy day in Toronto. Tons of huge events going on in the city, from the baseball game, 2 huge concerts along with NXNE, the World Naked Bike Ride, even a historic battle reenactment at Fort York from the War of 1812. I will go to the ball game and Radiohead since I only go to war reenactments where my side wins (we won the war, but lost this particular battle) and don't ride bikes naked (for comfort and not modesty purposes).

I woke up early for a Saturday. I put the new Radiohead album (The King Of Limbs) on the turntable and got pumped up for the show that night.

I met Regimbal at the Steam Whistle Brewery for a pre game pilsner. I'm so happy to see my good friend. 

Me & Regimbal at Steamwhistle
We realize that we probably havent seen each other since last summer on Canada Day (which ended in a epic shit-show). I asked Regim to join me for Radiohead that night. I bought the extra ticket thinking I would easily find a friend to go with, but it being such a busy weekend everyone seemed to have plans.

The Jays were awesome. Rallying to tie the game and then win it in extra innings with a walk-off homer. It was a sunny day, which forced me to retreat into the shady caverns of Skydome for brief moments between Jays at-bats. I still got too much sun. Not burnt but a little red.

We went back to my place to prepare for the big show at Downsview Park. Regimbal gave up his ticket to see the band almost ten years ago and always regretted it. I realize I have lost count of how many times I have seen Radiohead live in concert, either 4 or 5 times, making this 5 or 6.  

My aunt is a cop and was working at the show, she passes on the news that the show has been canceled due to a terrible accident. The stage has collapsed and 1 person is dead (We now know it was Radiohead's Drum Tech Scott Johnson).

Terrible news. My thoughts are with the man's family and the band.

I'm not upset about the show being cancelled, I will see them next time. No one should die because of a rock concert.

We have dinner at Epicure on the rooftop patio. It's good, as always.

The Flaming Lips balloons
over Yonge & Dundas
Regimbal and I decide to check out the free Flaming Lips show at Yonge & Dundas Square. We get there before the crowd turned away at the Radiohead gates got a chance to get back downtown.

The band takes a while to get going, starting 35 minuts late, but once they did it was wild. Tons of streamers and confetti and of course the lead singer in a hamster ball hurled into the audience. I rocked out to the Absolute 90's classic cut Vaseline and then headed towards the exit, I had to close the night at my friend Ian's going away party.

As I walked away from the by now massive crowd I heard them play a cover of Radiohead's Knives Out.

Wayne Coyne in a Hamster ball
Ian's party was great. A buch of his work friends wishing him well on his adventure to Hollywood while not-so-secretly wishing it was them.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

20 years of Batmobiles

Me in front of the Bat Tumbler from Dark Knight Rises 2012
I love Batman. I have followed his silver screen adventures with feverish interest since my auntie Chrissy showed me Tim Burton's 1989 version when it came to VHS. I was even overly enthusiastic about the Joel Shumacher films, knowing the character deserved better but happy just to have him on the big screen.
Me and the Batmobile from
Batman Returns back in 1992

This polaroid cost me 10$ at the CNE back in 1992. I knew the Batmobile would be there thanks to a vague map. My grandma and I were the all over the fair grounds looking for it. My hand is recoiled because the photographer snapped "DON'T TOUCH THE CAR!" at me as he snapped the picture.

So twenty years later, when I found out the Tumbler from the upcoming Dark Knight Rises was going to be at Yonge/Eglington I had to put it on my to-do list.

Bat Tumbler in Toronto

Bat Tumbler rear-view
Here are some photos of the batpod (or is it a catpod now?).