Bound for the Sound

Finally.

We’ve been saying this for so long. For years, even. We’ve exclaimed it with unfettered excitement, we’ve shouted it with glee. We’ve clinked our glasses and chugged our tallboys after many a heartfelt expression of it. That wonderful little rhyming phrase that carries so much promise, Bound for the Sound!

It feels like we’ve been saying it every time that we’ve gotten together with our chums Shan-Wow and Hoben since they moved to Owen Sound a couple of years ago. Every time. We talk about how drunk we’ll get. We talk about the laughs we’ll have. We delight at the thought of the memories we’ll make, the shenanigans that will ensue. Bound for the Sound is all about going nuts, enjoying a classically debauched night much like those of our misspent youth. It’s all about recapturing that young and dumb magic. But we’ve never made good on it. Not once, not ever. Until now.

Hoben is one of my best drinking buddies from long ago. He coined my colourful nickname. He started the proud tradition of deckers. He introduced me to D and forever changed my life. He’s good people. And Shan-Wow is his equally awesome lady-love. She’s hilarious and amazing and you can’t not love her to bits. Hell, she’s a founding member of the Top-Secret-Euchre-Club and a Dumb & Dumber Enthusiast. So you can trust me when I tell you that these two know how to party.

shanny and hobs

Owen Sound is a good long boot northwest of Toronto, a two and a half hour drive on a “making great time” kinda run. So D and I had to rent a car to drive our asses up there. We splurged and signed up for the “Intermediate” level car, which is usually something nice and hefty, with lots of trunk space in case we need to transport a body on sudden notice. Which happens to us more than you’d think… What we wound up with was a mint 2014 Dodge Charger with only 60km on it. It was black and shiny, it looked like the fucking Batmobile for Christsakes. D was excited about it until he realized it was front-wheel drive. That made for some interesting moments tearing through the snowstorm that was pounding down on the city just as we got going.

It was a long drive, getting there. Our nice spacious 4-lane highways quickly petered out into 1-lane rural roads. We saw a spectacular amount of farms, barns, crumbled barns, horses, cows, and snow-covered hay bales whizz by our windows. And wind turbines too. There’s a shit-ton of those all over the place. It was pretty cool, actually. It felt like we were driving through some secret alien place. An abduction zone, or something like that.

wind turbines

We also drove through a town called Flesherton. I shit you not, reader. If I ever find out that there isn’t a spooky group of ritualistic killing machines who feast on human flesh living in that town then I am going to be majorly disappointed. It would be such a waste of that town name not to have a few resident cannibals at least. We drove through Flesherton super fast and with intensity so it felt like we were escaping it. It was great fun!

Also great fun was stopping at the Six ‘n’ Ten Minimart for our booze. Look at that fucking place. It’s incredible!

six n ten

Booze sales in Ontario are government regulated, so you can’t just buy it anywhere. It typically has to be from an L.C.B.O. store (which stands for Liquor Control Board of Ontario) or at a store that is aptly named The Beer Store. But there are exceptions. There are Agency stores in small towns like Owen Sound that are able to sell liquor. Which, to us, seemed kind of like an urban legend because we’ve never actually seen any before. It was an exciting novelty.

We got stuck behind some over-cautious and tediously slow geezers, and then a snow-plow for a while too. I thought D was going to road rage us right into a ditch with all of his impatience. But we made it eventually, taking about an hour longer than expected. And when we finally did get there, it was time to fuckin’ draaaaannk.

Hobs and Shan had tickets to the OHL game that night, and not to keep sounding so ridiculously Canadian here, but that stands for Ontario Hockey League and is a Junior hockey league for kids ages 15-20. Lots of the kids in the league aspire to NHL greatness, so they always play their asses off. Small-town hockey and cheap drinks on a Saturday night. Man alive, my inner hoser was busting at the seams.

me n cubby

We mixed up a bunch of rye ‘n’ gingers in some ginger-ale bottles for stealthy drinking out in the parking lot during intermissions, and pounded beers during the game when we were inside the stadium. We got right fuckin’ tuned.

IMG_2457

me n shanny

the group

Pretty much everyone in town comes to the Saturday night games. It’s a small ass town and there ain’t that much to do, so it makes for some good times. We hung back a bit after the game was over to let the overcrowded parking lot clear out. We’d gotten there about 10 minutes after the puck drop, so we parked at the end of a very long row of cars. By the time we left the game and came out into the parking lot, our park job wound up being incredibly inconvenient for everybody else trying to leave the rink. It was hilarious.

our car

Yep, that’s our ride. It’s doing a damn fine job making all those other cars go around it to get out. This is not the Charger by the way. Shannon drove her car because the Charger would have been absolutely worthless in an unplowed lot like this with its fucking crazy front-wheel drive. We polished off a few more drinks in the car, then left it there for the night. It could be picked up in the cold, sober light of dawn. We walked to a bar to continue the fun. D had a little bit too much fun at the game though, and wound up spending most of his time at the bar puking it up in the bathroom. But I guess that’s bound to happen when you skip over dinner in favour of rye.

I fared much better because I enjoyed a bunch of delicious arena snacks with my drinks. It was the smart play.

my snacks

I was going to share my pretzel with D, so it could help soak up some of the booze rolling around in his belly, but he fucked off and I couldn’t find him. I waited so long that the pretzel got cold, and as a result, really goddamned hard. A would-be-delicious treat turned inedible by the passage of time. But the popcorn was still quite tasty, as arena popcorn tends to be. Turns out D was standing around chirping some local dudes in their mid-40’s because they were drinking Bacardi Breezers. Time well spent, indeed.

We had to leave pretty early the next morning to make sure we’d get the rental car returned on time. Hungover and exhausted from a night of raucous drinking, we were daunted by another long trip in the car. But with mile-wide Canadian grins spread across our glowing hearts we did alright. We saw thee rise. We made good time and we enjoyed the quiet ride home.

It was a great fucking weekend. Once in a while I need to go all hoser berserker on life. It just feels good. Based on the smashing success of our inaugural journey, I can safely say that we will return. We will be Bound for the Sound yet again.

We Be Ballin’

Spring is here now in the city. It’s here for reals this time. No more glorious sunny day fake outs followed by five days of shit. It’s not testing its toes anymore, its long since cannonballed off the deep end. And it brought with it long weekends, baseball games, birthday parties, barbecues, weddings; all kinds of social engagements to occupy my time. Because Spring knows how to party. It’s fantastic!

The only downside is that it keeps me so busy that I barely have time to blog. And I’ve had many a drunken adventure since my last post…

We road-tripped it north to my dad’s on the Saturday of the long weekend. We spent the whole day outside. And it was an immaculate day! Sunny, blue skies, nary a cloud in sight. We basked in the sun, played bocce ball and threw some horseshoes. We caught up, we laughed. We even ate dinner out on the dining hall sized picnic table my dad built a few summers ago. It easily fits 10-12 people comfortably. We feasted like kings too! On perfectly grilled T-bone steaks, creamy mashed potatoes, and asparagus picked fresh from the garden that day, just to name a few of the highlights.

My favourite part of the day though, was playing with this little cutie:

Bogie the dog

Bogie the dog

Sunday morning we got up early. It was a special day. We had an internet date with Joce and Harry! I’d been looking forward to it all week. It’s been a couple of months since they left, and we’ve missed them terribly. It was so great to see their smiling faces and chat again, like we used to. It was early for us, but they were rocking some beers, ready to have a good time. They’re having an absolute blast and I couldn’t be more excited for them. No matter how far away they are or how zany their adventures are, I’m grateful we have the ability to stay connected. Because let’s face it, I’m greedy; I need as much of their huge smiles and good vibes as I can get.

We also reunited with some old friends. From my wilder days. And yes, I assure you, there were much wilder days. These days, I’m a lazy, old, domesticated house cat by comparison.

A large group of us got together for the Toronto Blue Jays game on the long weekend Monday. It was fucking awesome!

We love our Jays!

I love going to the ball games. It’s just the place for me. You’re encouraged to get drunk and scream until you’ve lost all vocal capability. Baseball games were made for me. Much like that girl with Tourette’s that Deuce Bigalow took out to the ball game, I fit right in. I’m loud and I curse like an old-timey dock worker. Baby, I’m home.

A gorgeous day. The sun rocked us through the open dome. The fans were rowdy and excited. And the best part? We kicked the Rays asses!

Gotta support the team

Gotta support the team

I’d missed my friends. It felt so great to catch up with them. All this time had passed, it had literally been years since we’d seen each other, and frankly its shameful that we allowed it to go on that long! After the game, we hit the bar to keep the good times rolling. Truly excellent.

It was our first game of the season and it was invigorating. I gushed to my boss about it the next day at work. How much fun we had and how great our city’s team is. How it was the perfect way to cap off the long weekend. Which I guess stuck with him a little. Because when he was given plum seats for the game that night and couldn’t find anyone else to go with he offered them to me and D. What a rad freaking boss I have! I couldn’t believe our luck, so I jumped on the tickets. D raced home to get our jerseys because you’ve gotta be prepared. You’ve gotta show the team all the love that you’ve got.

We were so close, I could have whispered my hatred for Escobar and he would have heard it. More importantly, I got to tell our boy Bautista how much we love him!

I'd know that stance anywhere...

I’d know that stance anywhere…

What a rush! We were right in the middle of all the action. You could smell their sweat, sticky and stinky underneath us in the dugout. Stinking like champions. Foul balls were flying over our heads all night. Encarnacion’s bat even went sailing through the air right over us, landing a few rows behind our seats. It felt like we were in the game. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and I can’t say enough how thankful I am to my boss.

here come our Jays

here comes Lawrie!

Bautista, Rasmus, Cabrera

Bautista, Rasmus, Cabrera

Normally, I’m a cheap seats kind of girl. I dig the atmosphere up in the nosebleeds, and buying cheaper tickets saves me more cash money for beers. But I get why people would shell out for the good seats. It’s a completely different way to watch the game. I strongly encourage any fans out there to do it at least once if possible. Fly yourself close to the sun, just shy of getting burnt. There’s no way you will ever regret it. Even though we lost this game, I left feeling like a winner.

We were invited to the game the following night as well, but we were bloody exhausted. It hurt us to take a pass on it, we were heavily invested in that series already. But for the sake of our health, we had to turn it down.

Another work week comes and goes. And what do you know? Friday night it’s time to party! And we’re ready, we’ve sufficiently recovered from the weekend before.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ODONES!!!!

birthday girl

birthday girl

I friggen’ love you man!

What a terrifically drunken night of celebrations. We went to Berber Social down on Front Street. It was to die for! The food was incredible. All these great sharable dishes. We had beef keftas, inverted fish tacos, arancini, fingerling potato chips, and so much more! If you love to eat as much as I do, this place is worth your time.

the party crew

the party crew

my lovey

my lovey

looking good buddy

looking good buddy

We drank, we laughed, we talked for hours. Then we wound up down the street at the Firkin to catch up with some more people. Where the partying continued!

Jagerbombs!

Jagerbombs!

peas in a pod

peas in a pod

bromance is in the air

bromance is in the air

The following morning was a little rough, I’m not gonna lie. It took an unfathomable amount of effort to keep those Jagerbombs down. But eventually I was feeling good enough to scrub the shit out of my apartment. I really needed to clean it, and I wasn’t going to let some little hangover get in the way of that. I went nuts on the bathroom, scrubbing every exposed surface within my sight. Then I tackled the kitchen. Ran the dishwasher, hand washed some delicate shit, sorted out the fridge, and detailed the microwave. I also vacuumed and dusted. Brushed all of the little Harvey furs off the couches.

It was exhausting, but it felt amazing when I was done. It’s some sort of high. One that I’ll always enjoy. That of an utterly tidy home. I warned D that if he fucked any of this shit up, I would have his head for it.

We reunited with more friends that night, having them over. We stayed in, keeping it casual. Although, that didn’t stop one of my Tequila and Pom juice shots from making my buddy Clark puke! The wild days live on indeed.

It’s been totally awesome these last few weeks. There’s always something to do, someone to see, something to celebrate. I live for these hectic and heady Spring days. And as great as it is to stop momentarily and remember it all, I’ve gotta get back out there. There are a bunch more party times to come. They’re all desperately counting on their dose of Smash to spice up the night.

Hmmm. Maybe I’m still a rambunctious tomcat after all…

This is Living

It’s dark and dingy. The only lights in the place focused ominously on the stage. Creating ambiance. Hinting of things to come. We wait, our hearts heavy with the burden of expectation.

That last group really sucked. They assaulted our ears with their shitty timing and even shittier stage presence. They did care though. They seemed to love being up there, if the twenty-minute encore was any indication. At least someone was feeling it. We sure as hell weren’t. The silence following their departure from the stage a sweet reprieve.

Then it starts. A hulking, bearded mass of a man takes the mic. A thunderous clash of drums and guitars commands our attention. And our attention is rapt the instant the set begins. Fists clenched and face contorted with feeling, the singer wracked the crowd with the primal screams erupting from the molten-metal core of his being.

This is it. This is what we came for. A kick-ass metal show.

As I stood there swaying with the music, watching our friend Jim own the stage, I thought about how amazing it felt to be there supporting him. How vastly his band had exceeded our expectations. How impressive they were. Every note an indication of how much passion these guys have for their music and the time they’ve spent perfecting it. I was astonished, we all were.

Jim’s band, Sinthetik, was astounding. They melted our faces and blew our minds with their badass sound. They were raw and unforgiving. They were melodic and mesmerizing. Their shit was tight.

It made me feel alive. It made me feel invincible. And it made me want to live my life with the same ferocity of the music. So I did.

After the show, we heaped our praises on Jim, and made our way to the bar up the street. The Magpie. My friend The Magpie’s namesake. It was dim and inviting.

I laughed with my friends, tossed back my drinks, and danced with abandon.

at the magpie

enjoying some drinks

drinks

Magpie and I

It was an amazing night. The metal show the perfect catalyst for my weekend of living it up.

The next day brought with it another flurry of activity. D and I had tickets to the Toronto Auto Show, and we were planning on watching the hockey game at Joce’s place. We picked ourselves up and shook of the grime of the night before. We made our way down to the auto show.

We came into direct contact with approximately a billion people at the show. It was insanely crowded. But through the throngs of auto-crazed maniacs, I was able to snap a few pics.

ferrari

McLaren

mercedes

My personal favourite is the massive Mercedes van. Seriously, if you’re going to drive around looking like a sex offender, you may as well do it in style.

We powered through the exhibits. Although it was fun, we were relieved when it was over. We probably should have gone during a weekday.

Our next priority was making it over to Maple Leaf Square by 4:00pm so we could score some free tickets to the hockey game that night. Neill texted us about it earlier in the day, the ticket giveaway, and since we were going to be in the area anyways, we figured we may as well try. Also, since we were planning on watching the game at Joce’s, wouldn’t it be awesome if instead we showed up with tickets and told them we were going to the game instead? Hells yeah, that would be so awesome!

Carlton, the Toronto Maple Leafs mascot, was going to be at Maple Leaf Square at 4:00pm. And if you could find him, you could have tickets to the game. Not to worry, we found Carlton.

Carlton

We also ran into Batman while we were there. So that was awesome too!

toronto batman

He’s really into hockey.

I should also point out that the game was actually held in Ottawa. But since Ottawa is a bunch of dicks and tried to ban Leafs fans from their games, Toronto decided to show their fans some love. Admission to the game was free, and you got to watch it on the jumbo-tron. And every person at the game got a free 24 ounce fountain pop, a slice of pizza or hot dog, a bag of popcorn, and a candy bar. So screw you Ottawa! We’re gonna make it on our own.

at the game

And we had an awesome time. It felt great to be a part of something like this. To stick it to the man. Leafs fans or not, you simply cannot segregate or banish willing fans from the games. What were you even thinking Ottawa? What a boneheaded thing to do.

The Leafs did lose though. And it was an embarrassing loss. I’m not even a Leafs fan, but I am a fan of a good time. Going to the games is fun, and people should not be denied admittance to them based on their fandom. That’s so ridiculous.

It started with the casual acceptance of an invitation, and became one of the most outrageous weekends of my life. When adventure beckons, I come running.

I love my friends, I love my city, and I love living.