March 2009

Anonymous's picture

Early Flight

So, I leave for Washington DC on Tuesday, for Drupalcon.

I am traveling with two coworkers, Josh and Trevor, who happen to be big hockey fans. Thus, we are going to a Washington Capitals game while there. Actually, I think they are going to two, but I'm just going to the one, because while I do have a hockey background, having played the sport when I was younger, I follow hockey about as closely as I follow "Appropriateness Illustrated" or "Feminism Weekly", which is some magazine for chicks on the rag I hear.

So we are going on a game Tuesday night, meaning we have to arrive in Washington in time to go to the game.

My gist is we are leaving very early from Calgary. 7:27am to be exact. Which isn't too bad; however we have to drive there first, from Lethbridge, which is about a 2 hour drive.

You are supposed to arrive, at minimum, an hour and a half early.
Let's do the math: 7:30am - 1:30 = 6:00am - 2 hours = 4:00am.

So basically, I gotta be on the road by 4:00am. Although I am shooting for 3:30am because I don't want to fuck around when catching an international flight.

My plan is this: shower the night before. Go to sleep at about 10:00pm. Why that late? Because there is no way in hell I can make myself sleep earlier than that. Let's be honest. In order for me to go to sleep that early, I am planning on watching any number of TV shows that puts me to sleep. NCIS always works, and lately Heroes has been putting me to sleep, and it's on Monday night so that will work out.

I will load and then start the car before going to sleep, and then put on my jacket and everything else. Sleep. Wake up at 3:00am and walk straight out the front door, which I left open the night before. Then into the car, which I also left open. Zoom, I'm on my way.
Sleeping in my clothes and keeping several doors open will increase my efficiency by at least 4 seconds, and every second counts.

Actually, I should stop typing this and go to sleep so I at least have a decent sleep the night before.

Although.. I could play Grand Theft Auto for an hour or three first.

Anonymous's picture

Washington DC, Day 1

I am in Washington DC! Home of many old buildings and historical whatsits!

My day started very early, in fact, at 3:00am, which is when I woke up, after a stunning 1.5 to 2 hours of sleep the night before. It was raining! I picked up my coworkers Josh and Trevor and we headed for Calgary.
All was fine until about halfway through when the GIANT SNOWFLAKES began to fall. By the time we reached Calgary, the roads were sufficiently slushy. Basically lately everytime I drive to Calgary, it snows. On our way to the airport we saw a taxi UPSIDE DOWN in the ditch. Not good.

Finally we made it, with a few minutes to spare.

Then we waited in the plane for almost 2 hours while the de-iced the plane.

This was very boring. I attempted to sleep, which did not work. And of course, since we were delayed, we missed our connecting flight in Chicago, but luckily we just got on a plane an hour later, so no big deal.

The Chicago O'Hare Airport is a massive beast. We had to take a tunnel connecting two of the main wings, and it looked like this:


In The Future, All Tunnels Will Look Like This


Weird crazy lights and soothing music and the scent of Fairydust on a spring day in Rainbowland. Apparently their attempt to soothe customers who are pissed off at their canceled flights and lost luggage. Air Rage. It was kind of neat/weird. It reminded me of a long out of date "futuristic" ride at Disney World, showing how amazing the world will be in in the year 1990.

We had time for a quick bight, and I saw this at the McDonalds:


Airport Double Fish!


Don't worry I didn't eat it.

Chicago is a huge ass city, as I observed from the plane. Giant skyscrapers up against the coast of Lake Michigan, which by the way, is also huge, as you probably know.

Anyways, we eventually made it to our destination, Washington DC. What a town! So many amazing buildings! Check out this shirt!


Barack, in Sequin form!


These guys love their Obama!

Washington sports a very impressive subway system called The Metro. It's pretty much awesome, and will get us everywhere we need to go using this handy Obama Card!


To Think, McCains fat head could of been on this.



The Metro


Our first stop after the hotel was to the Washington Capitals game vs the Carolina Hurricanes. The Caps played pretty crappy and lost 5-2. Still, impressive stadium, and I chatted with some Drupalcon dudes too. I found it sorta ironic that, while in the CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, no one sang along with the national anthem. American's love hockey!


The Capitals: blowing it.


After the game we decided to check out that white house and those things, as I had heard the were "the cats meow".

The Dwight Eisenhower Executive Building is AMAZING. A huge building with more columns in it than Tetris clone for the Sega Genesis.


Now THIS is a building


Plaquey


I also noticed the "U of L Sun" on this sign:


U of L Sun


On one side of the street across from the Eisenhower building was this:


"Thrift"??


I haven't a clue what the hell that was; it reminded me of second-hand dot-matrix printers and smelly button-up shirts.

Anyways, just east of the Eisenhower building is the White House!


Obama bangs his wife here


To my surprise, there was like, nobody there. Except for a few cops, watching from afar. I guess it was too late/cold out for people? I was surprised you could just walk up there. There isn't any warning signs like "Don't hop this fence or you will be killed" or anything like that. Weird! There was one light on in one of the windows, but I didn't see Obama or anything.


Seriously I can just stand here and take pictures? I was expecting more security or something.


Next to the White House is the Treasury Building, which is also quite impressive!


USA! USA!



USA + ME!


But most amazing of all... was this 7-11 we found nearby! Check it!


Secret 7-11!



Yes, 7-11 gets as many photos as The White House on my blog.


Obama water!


Taste the hope!


This city is pretty cool.
Anonymous's picture

Washington DC, Day 2

Ok so Drupalcon started today. We arrived at the Washington Convention Center (they spell Centre "Center" here, which doesn't even make sense) sorta late and signed in, and got our "swag bag" full of shit.


No I didn't just go shopping at Whole Foods.


Eventually I had amassed not one by FIVE free t-shirts, including the legendary Lullabot T-Shirt which was promised to me over a year ago in Portland.


So many shirts! So few I would wear!


I had a nice little chat with Hayley from Lullabot which was cool, as she remembered me, probably because I whined about my phone bill to her back in Portland. Lullabot had the awesomest party invitations in the form of a 3 1/2" floppy disk. Check it!


Magnetic Media!


So anyways, the day was long but mostly pretty good; talks about SEO, XML, ABC, and XYZ (Not to mention a little 123 and ???). Yep, all that stuff. Good times.


Drupalers!



...more.



Drupal plays in a band too.


Also, we had lunch provided for us, in a large empty room in the basement of the Convention Center. This room was huge!


It's so huge!


I think it is normally used to store extra aircraft carriers.

After the day there was to be a Welcome party taking place at two adjacent bars, fairly north of the center. We retreated back to our hotel to drop off our various T-Shirts then made our way to the bars.


Me on a fast-moving train.



Given that Drupalcon had 1400 attendees or so, it wasn't quite as busy as I expected, but was busy enough to have no seats. I talked to this one dude I had met a year ago in Portland; he seemed really very drunk. After a bit we left and just returned to the hotel hoping to eat at our hotel restaurant. Of course, the restaurant was closed at this point, because 9:30pm is SO LATE, so we walked down the street to some bar/restaurant whose name I forget already. It was a short flight stairs downwards, and sorta dark and dingy, but also roomy and quaint, and other words that are awesome. I had a medium-rare hamburger, because they DO THAT in the USA. It was a fucking mess but also delicious! I also drank 3 beer, which for me, is a lot, especially since I haven't slept more than 6 hours in the last few days.

So thus, I was drunk whilst writing this not-so interesting post. I promise more hookers/dead bodies in the next post.
Anonymous's picture

Washington DC Day 3, 4, 5, and 6

LOTS OF PHOTOS AHEAD!

Ok, so I'm a bit late on updating this. What happened the rest of my trip? Did I get murdered on the mean streets of DC? Did I break a law in the lawless none-state of DC and get imprisoned at Gitmo? Did I slack off and not feel like typing or uploading photos? All three are true, especially the last one.
Why write when you can look at pictures, anyways?

At one of the sessions I observed this slide:


Subtle Indie Rock Lyric Reference?


Presenter James Walker was slowing slides of people complaining about Drupal in his "Why I Hate Drupal" presentation. Much like my excitement at the Guided By Voices slide 2 years ago in Vancouver, I picked up on the LCD Soundsystem reference immediately, that being their song "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down". Come to think of it, that's really not that interesting, but my typewriter is out of eraser ribbon so oh well.

One thing I didn't mention before was that the area surrounding the White House is magic. Black magic. For example, these columns:


Magic Columns


When one of the DC cop cars drive up to these, they magically sink into the ground, like something out of Harry Potter and the Sinking Columns. Then the car drives through, and then the columns magically rise up preventing passage for other vehicles. Also we observed a uniformed guy walk up to the White House gates, and part of the gate magically disappeared into the ground! I think he used some sort of ESP or other higher-cognitive function. I think he was a cyborg.


The Onion, in paper form!


One cool thing about DC is that they have The Onion in newspaper boxes, like a real physical copies! Amazing! Pretty cool. I snagged a copy because they are free, unlike the local hookers (more on that later (not really)).

On Wednesday morning we came across some Korean girls selling donuts near the subway entrance.


I gotta be honest with you: this isn't one of the girls


Who wouldn't buy donuts from a person in the subway entrance, where the homeless sleep?


Subway station donuts


I tell you, those donuts were damn good. Speaking of homeless people in subway entrances, I observed a flying hot-dog bun coming out of one on our first day in DC. Apparently, beggars CAN be choosers. But seriously, who wants a stale bun, right?

As I had predicted a few posts ago, it wasn't long before someone brought up the Canadian Health Care system. This happened over lunch with some guys from New Jersey, and they asked how long you have to wait to get your arm fixed, and whether we thought it was a good system. Also, fulfilling another one of my predictions, some guy on the subway asked if it was true that Marijuana was free in Canada! We told him: obviously. Also, that same guy told us about his idea to sell "Obama Snowballs" to tourists which he would create by crushing up ice and freezing them in his freezer. For real.

I made sure to wear my Endangered Ape shirt on Friday, to confuse people into thinking it was some sort of Drupal company. The only comment I got was "is that gaelic?"


Endan Gered Ape: Gaelic for "Giant Primitive Phallus"


On the last day we also did a group shot. The first Drupalcon had about 20 people. This year it was 1400 people, which required more than a brick wall to stand in front of. We settled near the back.


Nerd herd



That's us.


After the final Drupalcon day of sessions, we went to a ribald party thrown by Lullabot where I consumed multiple beers. I was even blessed with a drink ticket from Lullabot James Walker himself!


Free BEEEER Coupon!



Free BEEEER!


I stayed out until closing at 2am, and chatted with various people who's names I mostly forget now. Someone from Japan, some guys from Denver, a lady from Boston, some other people from Seattle. I met the worlds biggest Rush fan as well. He thinks they are pretttyyy pretttyyyy prettttty pretttty...prettttty good.

On Saturday we decided, since it was our last full day, to do some sight seeing. We headed to Georgetown, which is one of the older parts of Washington, and is basically streets and streets of little shops and restaurants. Pretty awesome!

Washington has one version of their license plate that bears the following slogan:


Taxation Without Representation


Apparently DCers are cranky about that.

I spied this amazing outfit in a store window:


Hurt Me!


I guess if you hated your kids you could buy that, tell them to flash the same smug smile as the mannequin once they get to school, and then watch from the comfort of your car as your child gets the living shit beat out of him.

I of course had to stop by the Puma store as well.


There be shoes


They had a shoe which was custom made for Shaq there:


No this photo isn't photoshopped, that is the actual shoe.


Obama Pajamas anyone?


No idea.


I also saw the most amazing works of art; they must of borrowed these from the Smithsonian!


Art school dropout


Why I didn't buy one of those I have no idea.

So then we headed South to the fancy buildings.

Here is a map so you know:





We made way from our Hotel down to Obama's pad.


Me, a fence, the White House.



If you look closely, you can see Obama disguised as a white guy in uniform.


Some dudes were playing street hockey on the streets next to the White House.

Street Hockey, how American!


We started to make our way south to all the famous stuff. The White House looks cooler from behind:


White House from behind, a huge lawn which would be perfect for BBQs! BYOB!



This button was on the gate. I have a feeling it doesn't get used much anymore.

Pressing it kills a kitten.


This statue is around the same area:


Scandelous!


That chick is totally topless! Tits out! I used this opportunity to try out the Digital Zoom on my camera.


Is it cold in here or...? (<-- hilarious nipple joke)


I bet that statue had been covered up for the last 8 years.

This dude, and 3 of his brothers, were standing around guarding the topless girl.


I guess I'm allowed to do this? No one shot me anyways.


This particular dude was missing his rifle, which is supposed to be under his hands there you see. This provided the opportunity for me to do this:


LOL Pancakes


We eventually made our way all the way over to Lincoln's house. That dude is huge!


Abe's House; open design.



Penny Face Guy


He didn't move much but I'm pretty sure he blinked, but that might of been a hallucination caused from the overwhelming pain in my feet from walking so much.

One disapointment was the reflecting pool at the national mall which had NO WATER in it.


Reflecting slew.



Yes, PLEASE keep out of the pool area.


We then left Lincoln and headed East to see the other famous stuff. Nearby was the Korean War Memorial which had these spooky ghostly army-guy statues:









There was some tour guide there explaining what it was. Actually there were tours everywhere, but given that we were three guys, we really didn't pay attention to any of that, or even know what we were looking at half the time. I gotta say, when you don't read signs or have any knowledge of the place you are in, it makes things more exciting! And also, faster. Often we would say "What's this thing? Another columny domey building."

Saw this on part of the grass there:


Hawkee! Say it!


The amount of Hockey in this town surprised me, what with it being the capital of USA and all.

You may of heard of this structure:


Me + Soda + Structure


It's called the Clinton Memorial and is a life-size representation of his wang. But seriously, there I am drinking a Sprite "Soda" in front of the Washington Monument, which is really really big by the way. I'm talking Clinton's Wang big!

After some more torturous walking, we made it to the Smithsonian.


Nice!


The Smithsonian is actually several different buildings: American History Museum, Natural History, Air + Space, Black History, Some Galleries, History of James Cromwell Movie Appearances (two buildings)...
Almost all of them close at 5:30pm however, and we arrived at 4:00pm. So, we had to pick one. We went for the American History Museum, which had just recently reopened.

Before heading there we checked out the gift shop and saw this amazing book:


...oh no.



Isn't this disrespectful somehow?


You can dress Obama in any number of outfits! I didn't check if the book had a military uniform from the South during the Civil War. Hilarity!


A big building


Inside the museum we learned about all the many wars, including the War of 1812, which they assured us they decided to end because it wasn't "gelling with their key demographic", or something like that.

It was a pretty cool exhibit anyways. I found out that Abraham Lincoln's handwriting is very hard to read, and he uses the word "Negroes" a lot. Also he had a big hat. I'm talking Clinton's Wang big!

At the end of that exhibit they had a 9/11 exhibit which was weird.


What most people don't know is this phone was destroyed BEFORE the crash after the passenger found out how expensive it was to call someone on an airphone. </toosoon>



Srsly, HAVE YOU SEEN HIM??


Sadly that was basically all the time we had, so we missed about 98% of what the Smithsonian has to offer.

So, we decided to continue our journey east which would eventually end with the Capitol Building. I saw this on the way:


Columns columns columns.


I forget what it is. I figure it's actually very famous and I'm an idiot for not knowing, but after awhile all these buildings look the same.

Eventually we finally made it!


As seen in the film Independence Day.


It's really big and impressive looking. Plus this pool actually had water in it. I wanted to go inside the building but I'm pretty sure you have to be a senator or a lobbyist or some shit.



Looking west, Trevor takes a picture of some annoying people obscuring the Washington Monument.



So, that was the end of our site-seeing. Sight seeing? Site seeing? Anyways, we took the Metro back to the Hotel and didn't do much else other than have some decent food at a Seafood place. I walked around DC that night, and bought a few CDs because the record store didn't have much for vinyl.

Wow this is long! I'm talking Clinton's Wang long!

The next day was a blast! We had to fly home! Things were going well on our first flight to Chicago, until they told us "oh ya, BTW we can't land. Gotta head to Indianapolis to refuel so we don't fall out of the sky. Sorry.".

So we went to Indianapolis and sat on the plane for like an hour and a half. That was boring. I watched some TV shows on my iPod though. Glad I loaded it full of a zillion TV shows!

Finally we made it to Chicago's O'Hare Airport, 3 hours late! Luckily for us, our connecting flight was also delayed, and we had about 40 minutes to make it! Also, EVERYONE ELSES flights were delayed, making this one very busy airport indeed! We basically ran throught the airport to get to our gate. Our gate was located at the bottom of a escalator, and had what seemed like a few hundred people crammed into a not very big room. Fun! It was basically a disaster. We found our flight was delayed even further, so we ran back to McDonalds to get some food, which was a good idea since I hadn't eaten anything but a milkshake all day.

We then found out our gate got moved, which was good, because it was getting pretty uncomfortable in that room.

So, tedious story short, we finally got on our plane and made our way home, about 3 and a half hours late!


Planes are great, because the weather is always nice above the clouds. Ever notice that? So weird!


I'm not sure what city this was, but it was huge:


Neato.


Then we got home, and guess what, the roads in Calgary sucked. Also they lost Josh's luggage (he got it back a few days later). We had Wendy's and drove home and I was really tired.

Most photos from this post by me, the couple good ones by Josh!

More photos here:
My Flickr
Josh Flickr
Trevor Flickr

Clinton's Wang.
Anonymous's picture

(no title)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcJn5XlbSFk

This is for those three or four people out there who still have a shred of respect for Fox News.
"Light-hearted" "news show" or not...

Current Mood: aggravated

Anonymous's picture

Bonnie Prince Billy Live at Mac Hall Ballroom

On Tuesday I was in Calgary to see the one and the only Bonnie Prince Billy perform at the Mac Hall Ballroom! F-yeah!
Mac Hall was curiously setup with tables, something I have never seen before. It also had a few drink stations where you could buy overpriced beer and other liquor. When I arrived all the tables were full, but I was at a Bonnie Prince Billy show, so why the fuck would I want to sit down? Pansy ass pansies. If you want to sit, go home.
Anyways, the opening band Pillars and Tongues were composed of a drummer/singer, violin, and a cello... right? I think. Anyways, the guy had a great voice and was a great drummer as well. It was droning music, something you'd zone out too. I wouldn't mind hearing some of their recorded work. Not exactly an exciting live band, but if you are there to "chill" they would be the perfect soundtrack.

Anyways, I sat on the floor for that band, since EVERYONE was sitting, other than those in the back. After the band was done, I promptly moved to front and center of the stage. A few other people joined me as well. By the time Oldham hit the stage, there was a good sized crowd and the sitters I assumed had to stand or cry into their laps.


Actual photo.


I was literally a metre away from Will O. himself. I used this proximity to confirm that indeed he does own the same electric guitar as me, only in black. You may recall my CSI analysis of Sam "Iron & Wine" Beam's guitar awhile back. Basically, two rad musicians have my guitar, making my guitar totally awesome and with so much indie street cred it has it's own beard. I don't know what that means.



The band was comprised of Will Oldham on guitar (for most songs), a woman who's name I forget on violin and very pretty vocals, a dude on up-right bass, another dude on lead guitar, and a big-haired professor-looking dude on drums (***UPDATE: Er, it's Jim White, who is the drummer for Dirty Three, a band of which I own albums... I didn't know!). Will Oldham goes through band members like Taco Bell goes through digestive systems; I don't think any of these musicians were on the just released album, I guess he keeps things fresh this way.








Speaking of fresh, Will Oldham rarely if ever performs a song the same way twice. If he does manage to play a classic, it will sound almost nothing like the original. This is awesome and sort of frustrating at the same time. But I guess it keeps him from getting bored, and he always seems to be having a good time. Also, that dude can sing! When he did his holler, it was like the best sound ever!



So, he played a pretty long set, with a good sized encore. He played my maybe #2 or #3 favourite song of his, "Gulf Shores", which was a treat. The frustrating thing with him is, his catalogue is so extensive, you'll never hear everything you want, even if it's from the album he just released a week ago.



I attempted to record the show on my camera, which didn't work so well. First of all, I guess i somehow hit "stop" about 10 seconds after hitting "record", and thus it didn't record the entire first act. I did record most of the encore, but it sort of sounds like ass, and not a good, well toned ass either. Too loud for the microphone I guess. Worth a shot.

Anyways, check out the setlist! Awesome!



My only complaint is that I wish he would of played for 3 more hours. Other than that, great show!!