Saturday, September 16, 2006

Part I

Whoever said that driving to Vancouver at 11 30 at night during a rainstorm in a car you've never driven before was a bad idea has obviously never done it. There are a few things that can be learned from taking on such a task:

* coffee is excellent
* bringing a lot of CD's is the best idea one will EVER have in their entire life
* buying an apple from a sketchy gas station in a city known for its accessability of methamphetamines is a bad idea
* 5 speed standards are fun to drive
* Sleep depravation is incredibly entertaining

The reason I learned these things is because Josh and I took a little trip this week. The trip commenced for one reason and one reason alone: To see the Mars Volta.

The plan: leave early thursday morning to get to Vancouver. Catch a sky train to see the concert, and then be amazed. But, as a wise man once said, "a plan is just a list of things that don't happen."

I showed up at Josh's house at around 10:30 Wednesday night. After sitting around for a bit and listening to a shoddy recording of our first performance, we, on a whim, decided to start off our trip about 7 hours early. Josh woke up his mom at 11:00 to tell her we were setting off. She seemed less than pleased, but being super cool rebels we went anyway. We packed up enough CD's to last us about 8 trips to Vancouver and back, bought ourselves some coffee, and began our epic journey.

It was great travelling with a friend. I was so worried I'd wind up winging it to Vancouver solo, in my sketchy VW rabbit, and get lost somewhere and be killed. Or fall asleep and careen off the road. Or go the wrong direction. Or all three. Many things could have gone wrong I suppose, but Josh and I took turns with the driving duties and kept eachother awake with our whacky antics.

We stopped for food in Cache Creek at some weird psuedo diner that was adjacent to a gas station convenience store. Josh ordered some man's man breakfast with eggs and whatever it is tough guys eat, and I got pancakes. I was hungry, but not super hungry, so I just ate one. Somehow this infuriated Josh and he spent the rest of the trip treating me like I was some anorexic fiend on the brink of dying if I didn't eat more food. Crazy eastern Europeans. Gotta love 'em.

I handled driving from Cache Creek to Hope, and Josh attempted in vain to sleep through it. He kept insisting that if I was tired to pull over and rest. I wasn't, and he was confused. My ability to function on a high level with minimal sleep and food made no sense to him, but he seemed to tired to really worry about it.

We arrived in Hope and Josh decided we had to get food. I wasn't hungry, he was, so this meant I had to eat. We bought two apples and a muffin from this gas station food store place. Bad idea. I took one bite into the apple and fought really hard to not cringe. I can take a shot of tequila better than I took that bite of apple. We then stood outside and Josh started ranting nuerotically while smoking a ciggerette, and it was quite possibly the most entertaining thing I'd ever seen. I'd never seen anyone look so adorably sketchy in my entire life.

We continued on and I slowly nursed as much of that apple as I could, and then got frustrated and tossed it out the window. I don't think Josh understood how hard it was for me to eat that apple til he finally tasted his. It pretty quickly found it's way out the window too.

So on top of being sleep deprived and full of rancid apple, we also were clever enough to hit morning rush hour traffic in Vancouver, so it took us sooo long to get to Mike's appartment. When we did make it, Josh couldn't remember his apartment number, which didn't matter anyway considering Mike wasn't at home, but at a job interview. We found this out by calling him, and then wound up having to kill several hours by aimlessly wandering around the Lougheed Mall, sitting on park benches behind a Wal Mart, and just generally fighting waves of tiredness. We also spent a long time just wandering around Mike's neighbourhood getting passed by sketchy looking thugs. It seemed likely they were going to try and jump us, but then they saw how tough me and Josh look, and figured we'd fuck them up if they tried to start anything, so we managed to avoid any confrontations.

See, there's something about sleep depravation you should all know. It's a lot like running for a long distance. You go through weird waves of extreme fatigue and hyper alertness ranging from wanting to just lay down wherever you happen to be at any given time and sleep, to being REALLY awake and full of pep. This generally happened in 1-2 hours cycles, and the tiredness and awakeness would hit at random, sometimes suddenly, sometimes gradually. But, both being troopers Josh and I both just worked through it.

We finally found Mike, played Fifa (a soccor game for xbox...yeah we're cool. So very cool.) listened to some At the Drive-In, and got food at a resteraunt with a server who resembled Dane Cook a bit too much. Josh also documented a lot of this with his camera. He wound up taking a picture of this huge neon sign in the resteraunt, that was right over the kitchen. It said "I eat, therefore I am" or something ridiculous like that, and I guess in his tired enduced drunkedness, he figured he had to take a picture of it so everyone else could be aware of this stupid slogan's existance.

So he snapped a picture, and then we hear a yell from the kitchen. One of the cooks spotted him, and called him over. All I could think was "oh shit, Josh is going to get in trouble." It's hard enough to understand Josh talking normally, but when he hasn't slept in like 30 hours, he gets ever so slightly more incoherent. Turns out the cook just wanted to talk to him, and offored to let him take pictures of the kitchen. He continued to explain the great benifets of the food industry, which in reality are none, but in this guys mind were seemingly boundless.

I'm guessing most of the people who read this blog probably know Josh, but it should still be stated that when Josh hasn't slept in over a day he becomes a genius.

After dinner Josh was insistant that we purchase some sort of alcoholic beverages and get drunk as fast as we can before going to the show. I was a bit hesitant but then realised I'd never seen Josh drunk so this may be a rare and endlessly entertaining occurance, so I decided to encourage it. Somehow it was decided that rum and coke would be the drink of choice, and we purchased the goods and retreated to Mike's house.

Mike mixed the drinks, we all toasted and commenced with drinking. But poor Josh, poor poor Josh. He took one sip and made the most disguted unhappy angry face I've ever seen on him. He had a weird pattern to his drinking. He would take a few deep breaths, down a small amount, cringe, regain his composure, and then glare at his glass for about three minutes, and then repeat that process. The problem with it was we were on a time restraint. We wanted to get to the venue by 6:00, so we had to leave at 5:30. The clock was ticking, my drink was downed, Mike was comfortably getting into his second serving, and Josh was still not even halfway done. When it came down to the last 20 seconds before 5:30 he bit the bullet and downed the last third of his glass in one fell swoop. It was epic, and Josh looked not too good afterward.

In all fairness, I'd eaten a WAY bigger meal than Josh had (though I'd only eaten all of it so he wouldn't spend the rest of the night getting worried) and it should also be noted that a great deal of my experience as a drinker is spent in the company of Tess ('nuff said) but it still doesn't detract from the comical value of the given situation.

So to ease his trouble stomach, we bought a box of ritz crackers that would later be abandoned at the doors of the show, because of the douchebaggery of the security there (more on that later). We somehow managed to drunkedly navigate the skytrain system and arrive at the show slightly early.

Now, I'd really wanted to meet the band before the show, but I didn't want to seem like a weird fanboy so I didn't really explain that to Josh before hand. So we got to the venue and I ran into my friend Derek whom I'd never actually met in person, but knew from myspace, and has also met the Mars Volta before (refer to link). We greeted eachother gleefully and I asked him if he'd met the band yet. He said he had, and showed me his autographed copy of "Amputechture" signed by all members of the band, except for their new drummer Blake Flemming. I was slightly dissapointed to have missed my chance to meet them in person, but then decided it was probably for the better because I would undoubtably have made an epic ass of myself. Josh then felt bad because he somehow seemed to think he'd robbed me of some once in a lifetime oppourtunity. I was sad, but it didn't matter that much. Until Derek mentioned he knew which bus was their's and we decided to craftily sneak over and see if anyone was there.

By craftily sneak, I mean we walked with leisure across a street and stood beside the bus. I had last minute inklings that it was a bad idea and refused to move. I chose to just stand awkwardly clutching my purse and a postcard I wanted to give to the band. So Derek took the initiative and knocked on the door. There was a long pause. Painfully long. I was about ready to just give up and walk away. But then I saw the bus shimmy slightly, and the handle creaked.

The door slowly began to swing open, and from behind it peered a face. It was a face I knew all too well. It was ISIAH "IKEY" FUCKING OWENS. I'd never been so happy to see a sketchy cracked out black man in my entire life!! He seemed a little bit confused, and seeing an awkward pale sleep deprived kid clutching a post card with a Salvador Dali painting probably didn't help much.

I began talking to him, and was, in retrospect, probably made an ass of myself. I addressed him constantly as "sir" and "excused" myself for bothering him. It was all very sad haha. I gave him a handshake though, and introduced myself. I also complimented his work on the new album, as the keyboard is a lot more apparenty in many sections. He thanked me and said it was a nice change. I then asked him if he'd mind giving something to the rest of the band, and agreed. I quickly jotted a nerdy message to the band on my post card telling them I was grateful for all of their music, and if they ever needed a cellist I was up for the task, and put my number and e mail address at the bottom. I'm expecting a call any day now.

So having met one of the band, we stood in line for a while, took some nerdy pictures, and conversed with our fellow liners. We got frisked, and unfortunetly Josh's box of ritz crackers were confiscated. At that we were finally unleashed into GM place, about to meet our destiny....

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