Friday, November 21, 2008

First concert back in the Lower 48

I went to my first concert in the lower 48 for the first time since my return. I felt like an absolute tourist, planning my travel times on the train & having back up money incase I had an accident.

I went to the Dir En Grey concert at the House of Blues. House of Blues...Japanese Metal Band= bizarre. Since it was being promoted by Hot Topic the concert started @ 6:30pm. Even more bizarre. I didn't know the venue so I actually showed up on time & had to wait in a line outside. Its been ages since I did that. It was remedied when they picked out over 21 concert goers to let in first...& head directly to the bar.

The House of Blues has this automated announcement before the show starts that anyone caught crowd surfing, stage jumping or head walking would be ejected from the venue....and these kids actually listened to it!! If it was a crowd of my peers (though ejection into a Chicago winter is a deterant) it would of been an invitation for everyone to the above listed. Different crowd...lets just say if the building caught fire, it would of been one large virgin sacrifice.

Dir en Grey was great! They didn't wear their Visual Kei costumes...alas, they have been around long enough to not need them. But the image of a small tattooed Japanese man in shinny Adidas outfit hasn't quite settled in my head. Just a little too yakuza for me. The music itself was really pumping & I enjoyed myself thoroughly! The lead singer had a demonic solo that at moments I thought they were channelling Diamanda Galas & Current 93. A true sign of talent.
By the end of the concert I had one question: Why don't women ever practice scream singing?
Miss you more than being a roadie for a j-rock band,

Friday, November 14, 2008


[Note to all friends & family that read my blog. If you can tell by the dates I have been taking my sweet time in telling the tale of my relocation. For all of those confused that have been contacting, I am not moving to Canada.]

Relocation: Day Eight. I made it to the Canada/US border & the best part was that I could finally go into a Duty-Free Shop. Proof that relocating isn't as exciting as a beatnik novel. The most fancy thing that I bought there? Maple Cream cookies to bring as an offering for my new roommates. They wanted me to pick up cheap cigarettes because Chicago has over 10% sales tax, but Canada doesn't sell American cigarettes. The cigarettes need to be covered with huge pictures of heart disease & old men coughing their lungs out which the US doesn't do. They even have their cigarettes covered with curtains in gas stations.

I have some impolite things to say about homeland security but since I have to work with them when I design airports, I will mutter them to myself.

Relocation: Day Nine & Ten: Near death, I stayed in my hotel room for a couple of days. I'm respective of the hotel owners that let me stay there & let Itchy wander unattended & for Itchy loving me enough to come back to me. Forever will these days be known as The Black Days of Relocation.

Relocation: Day Eleven. I desperately needed to get to Chicago. My roommates didn't know if I was dead or alive & my cell phone battery died just as I was telling them where I was. So late night I hung out in a rest area while my battery powered up. I slept in my truck with my puppy because there is no place scarier than a Good Sam's at 1am without any working lights.

When I made it to Chicago I was almost pleased to see toll booths & bumper to bumper traffic. My roommate Jason took the day off & unload the trailer with me in under an hour. Then we went to the Uhaul 'castle' to return the trailer. To my joy, the great guys in Fairbanks gave me three extra days on the rental so I wasn't late turning it in:) And what a relief to have that thing off the back of my truck! I was free....& unencombered to try to parallel park again....with a pickup truck. Yeesh! Talk about 42 point parking job.

That night was bliss. Theres nothing as nice as sleeping in your own inflatable bed:)

Monday, November 03, 2008


Relocation: Day Seven. Made to Winnipeg in a deluge. Very unfortunate. I had a coworker in I Alaska that was from Winnipeg & he recommended some sites in town that were all outdoors. So I didn't get to see any of the street buskers at 'The Forks'.

I did eat at this great little cafe called Eat A Samosa that served what else....all samosas. Yummy. I'm glad that I filled up because it was a long evening of entertainment trying to find a hotel that allowed dogs. I was hoping that the Queen Bee Hotel allowed dogs just to see if it was in anyway connected to the black explotation character called Queen Bee. Maybe it was for the best that I didn't stay there because Queen Bee was a huge, afro stylin' madam. Instead I stayed at a no-tell-motel near the college.


Relocation: Day Six. After a horrible nights rest I had another breakfast @ Humpty's. I drove lazily all day in order to make it to Saskatoon. I was hoping it would be like yesterdayin which I could make it in time to go do something in town. Saskatoon was a nice town but not even the Viistors' Center was open. But I did have a mission to make it to a book store.

While I was on the road, I got an email from an architecture firm in China that wanted to interview me when I stopped travelling. So I thought it would be in my best interest to get an instructional Chinese cd set similar to the Japanese one that I had been listening to already. It is amazing how many people don't have a clue where a local book store is in their town. Fortunately the woman at the front desk of my hotel was willing to do a mapquest for me.

I had rushed to Saskatoon to get to the Dolly Museum only to find out that it was closed for the season:( So instead I had my first Arby's in ages....have they changed the formula for a Jamocha shake?

No more pictures because I had used up my disc accidentally when I left the camera on video while I was at the Ukranian Village. One of these days I'm going to read the instruction manual.


Relocation: Day Five. I started the morning off seeing a German Shepard on the side of the road eatting from an elk carrcass. Once I got close to Edmonton around 9am I took a detour to Devon. I'm a real sucker for Japanese gardens & there on the side of the road was a billboard for the Japanese Gardens at the Devon Botanic Gardens.

I drove around Edmonton to the Ukranian Village...which I got a AAA discount, yosh! Its part of the new trend to relocate historic buildings instead of tearing them down in cases of modernization. The village was possibly an entire afternoon walk about. They had the churches closed due to rehabilitating the onion domes but you could walk into practically all the buildings. They had little villages arranged from era of imigration. The first was the 1920's town that had a blacksmith there to talk to you & a shop owner. They could only respond to you in terms of their time period.

My favorite would be the pioneering hut & the 1900's farm. First, I could completely see someone in Alaska living in the hut. Very friendly chickens that I had to push out of the way to get up the path.

The 1900's house was so well built with thermal insulation & dry root storage above the rooms.

And who doesn't like the appeal of a thatched roof.

After a look @ the borsch I decided to get some grub in Edmonton @ my true destination for the day- the Art Museum.

My trip downtown was a complete wash when I couldn't get into the underground parking with my trailer @ the Art Museum! So I decided to find my hotel.

This leads me to my next story. By the time that I arrived to Edmonton I could efficiently describe everything on the road in Japanese do to a instructional cd gift from my friends Rachel & Glenmore. You add that to the fact that I can find by natural intuition either a comic book shop or asian town in any city. Now add to my honing skills that Canada has an ENORMOUS Chinese imigrant population. What happened is I was surrounded by Asian stores on every turn. So I decided to pull into a mini mall to eat at this cafe called SOU KAWAII. (If you know any Japanese, that means so cute.) It was a cosplay cafe/comic shop. What my luck! It only had paninis & bubble tea.
But when Itchy was given her own chair to eat at & my meal was delivered by a guy that looked like this I heard the girls in Alaska saying, "He's definately from out of town." [Which is AK girl slang for an attract man:)]
I spent the night in a hotel room near the train tracks because of over filled hotels. I slept through the trains but Itchy was up every hour.