Apocalyptica Now!

Apocoliptica 08-2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Friday, about 5 PM, I got a hurried phone request from my daughter. She and the grandson, and his fiancée, had been out, doing family stuff.  While on their way home on a bus, the fiancée had received a phone call from her mother.  A rock (?) group they all like, was making a live appearance nearby, and tickets were still available.  Would I drive them 15 miles, and return later to pick them up? Sure!

In case you haven’t guessed from the title, the group they wanted to see was Apocalyptica. For the sake of other fogeys like me, this is a quartet from Finland who render a lot of other groups’ work, including thrash and trash, death metal bands, into a more classical, three cellos and drums.  Since the fiancée is studying cello, they all were interested.

Ah, if only I was smart enough to run a smart phone. Others stood in line for hours to get tickets.  The grandson whipped out the Apple of his eye, and had tickets waiting at the box office when they arrived 15 minutes before the doors opened.

With her crutch, the daughter was allowed to sit right in front of the stage, while the youngsters weren’t that far back. The venue is an ex-movie house, holding perhaps 300 people.  The grandson wore one of the Jethro Tull concert shirts I gave him, but they both later changed for Apocalyptica tees – only $30/ea.  The wily fiancée scored not only a program signed by all four performers, but got a hug from her favorite Finnish cellist, and a photo of it.

More used to the industrial/commercial areas around the outside of the town, I haven’t been downtown for years. Smart grandson and his Smartphone come complete with maps and GPS, although, one, just-after-the nick-of time instruction, from the back seat had me going past and coming back at the venue from the other side.

Since they didn’t know how long the concert would last, I drove back home for my usual late supper. The grandson had given me $30 for my time, and gasoline.  It was well he had.  The son, who usually gasses the car up, was just finishing three weeks of vacation, and no-one had been watching the tank level.  Just as I let them out, a chime sounded, and the Fill-Me light on the dash lit up.

Canada produces more petroleum than the US. One might think that domestic gas prices would be low.  Stations in Kitchener were hovering around $1.34/liter ($5.55/US gal), as we left.  I found a Shell station at the edge of Guelph, selling for $1.22/liter ($5.07/US gal).  Still outrageous, but a $3 saving on the $30.

The opening act, which they thought was almost as good as the stars, played for an hour and a half, half an hour to dismantle the stage and reassemble it for Apocalyptica, and they played for over an hour and a half.  Throw in some schmoozing time, and the daughter called me at 12:18 AM, to be picked up.  She told me that they had hobbled up the main street, and were resting in peace, in front of a funeral home, at the intersection of XXXX Street.

Being in a different county, the City of Guelph is not laid out as strangely as Kitchener/Waterloo, still….. The referred “intersection” would seem to indicate two streets, meeting at 90 degrees.  The highway, which becomes the main street, runs due north and south.  Two blocks from city center, the four-lane street continues in a straight line – but takes a new name.  The old-named street veers off to the left at a 45 degree angle.

Since I’d missed a turn coming in, I’d also missed this peculiarity. I thought I’d reached the right spot, but, even with my driving glasses on, I didn’t spot my passengers in the dark, so I jagged to the left.  A block down, I had spotted a big old brick century-house with a large sign out front, which I thought might be the funeral home. When I pulled in, the sign told me that the place was an artisan restaurant and craft brewery.

I pulled back out, and continued down to the street behind the theater. I went into a parking lot, and turned around to go back, when I discovered two things.  First, I was now going the wrong way on a one-way street, (Who cares?  I’m the only car in sight.), secondly, the grandson, gasping for breath, and tapping on the roof of the car.

The ladies were indeed, waiting patiently(?), back at the funny intersection. The two handicapped women were a bit achy, and everyone was tired.  The grandson is used to rising at 4:45 AM, for his welding apprenticeship.  This was a BIG day for him, but a good time had been had by all.

I have published some tales of remembrance of the things I’ve been able to do over the years.  I am so happy to have been able to provide the kids the chance to make some of their own memories.    😆

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Strangers In A Strange Land

With all due apologies to Robert Heinlein.

While none of us actively seek to do so, each member of our family often manages to be the odd man out.  The last place the son worked, he said he was the weirdest guy in the room.  He’s actually happy at the new plant, where, he says, he’s just the opening act.  There’s nothing that will hold a mirror up to your normalcy, or lack of it, like a road-trip, to see how others do it.  Jeff Foxworthy says it’s like goin’ to the local fair.  “Why, we’s dang near royalty!”  With that in mind, the son and I spent a weekend in the Detroit area.

He hasn’t been able to make the trip for almost ten years.  He had seen the photos of the big wind-turbines we passed last October, but nothing gives the scale like driving right under them.  I’ll include pictures, and maybe a video, in a later post.  He was impressed by their size, and proximity to the highway.  He was less impressed by the two fields of solar panels, which we didn’t get a picture of.  They just looked like someone had pulled a black shroud over a couple of acres of dead farmland, which, in effect, they had.

I think we passed the home of the lady who objected when the turbines were going up.  She complained that they already had enough wind in the area.  They didn’t need these big fans making more.  She could have been Liz’s sister.  D’oh!!

We crossed the Ambassador Bridge and stopped at a Security booth manned by a 30-ish male.  As I’ve said, we never mention knife shows.  As I do when the wife and I go down, I told him we were going to do some shopping.  I should have told him that the wife had sent along a list of stuff we can’t get in Canada.  We got Searched!  He looked in the car and saw two males claiming to be going shopping, and said, “Pop the trunk.  I want to take a look.”

I wasn’t worried.  He saw a shopping basket with five bottles of Pepsi, a large orange juice bottle, filled with iced tea, a smaller bottle with two days worth of orange juice, two newspapers and two crossword puzzles.  I’m surprised he wasn’t so bored he dozed off and fell into the trunk, but, back he came.  “Thanks guys.  Have a nice time.”  Them boys is too bland to be smugglers or terrorists.

We were supposed to have phoned the wife, our designated worrier, when we crossed the border in each direction, but we got distracted by all the big-city lights, and forgot till we were on the wrong side of the river.  The son tried to place a billed-to-the-room call when we got to the motel, but the phone system malfunctioned.  Finally on Saturday he placed a collect call.  She said that no police officer had showed up by 11 PM to report an accident, so she assumed we were safe.

After we booked in, we both lay down for a nap.  Mine was only an hour and a half.  Since the son had been up since 7 PM the previous day, I let him sleep four hours.  While he was still out, I took a walk, circling the Big Boy restaurant in front of the motel.  In the James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever, Bond apologizes to a rat for having a gay assassin’s cheap cologne spilled on him.  He says, “One of us smells like a tart’s handkerchief.  Sorry old man, I think it’s me.”  Around on the unused side of the restaurant, two guys were doing something near two vehicles.  I assume they were the gay assassins, because, from 10 feet away, I could hardly breathe from the tart’s handkerchief smell.  I left quickly, lest I be invited to join the party.

We went out to check a couple of possible places to get good fish and chips.  I passed a place I had found on-line, on the way to another spot.  We decided to go back to it, because it looked more reputable than the one recommended by the on-call ambulance team I had met.  We walked in just ahead of two young men, just before 7 PM.  A sign out front threatened “Live Entertainment”, and they were it.

The fish was good.  The chips were the milk-powder coated variety for crispness, the kind the lactose-intolerant wife can’t eat.  Without the spoilsport chaperone wife along, I had a cup of decent bean soup, a bowl of crisp, well-dressed coleslaw, and  a 20 ounce glass of well-chilled, Australian-type, 8.5 percent, craft-brewed ale from Wisconsin.

The two musicians (?) played a keyboard and a guitar, and one of them sang – I think, although the noun caterwauling came to mind.  Without any help from the studio audience, I managed to identify every song they played, even if they couldn’t.  Is it cynical to note that those few of the audience who clapped, did so when these guys stopped playing?

We stopped at my favorite Meijer store on the way back to the motel, and got everything on the wife’s list except flavored coffee creamers.  Oh, the excitement, it was like electricity in the air.  We were asleep again by midnight.  Tomorrow we attend the knife show.  Stop in to the site, I hope to post pictures.