Thursday, January 15, 2004

Go Out With a Bang? More Like a BOMB!

Long time, no blog... Yeah. Actually, long time no anything. At least nothing computer / Internet-related. Funny how the holidays tend to soak up all your time and even more of your money! Well, the mountains of discarded wrapping paper have been dealt with, the tree is down (just), and the Christmas lights on the house... Well, I guess they can stay up another year. So, on with the show!

I'm officially 15 days into the New Year and I can't say it's been too spectacular. Why? Well, just sit back with your hot cup of coffee and I'll tell you why!

I suppose the fact that New Year's Eve was a bust should have been something of an omen. You see, my girlfriend and I, along with her sister, my brother, and my brother's girlfriend all got tickets to this awesome "gala", put on by one of our local radio stations, JACK FM. Normally, the thought of a "gala" wouldn't have appealed much to me, but seeing as Tom Cochrane and Red Rider were to be the live entertainment for the night, I was in. Besides, the tickets said "Wear what you Dare", so at least I wouldn't have to wear a tie!

Thankfully, my "daringness" only extended to black jeans, dress shoes, and a nice shirt (the pattern is called "Bamboo" and it's really cool... You should come over and see it sometime). I say this because all 1500+ ticketholders were forced to line up outside the building for an excruciating 45 minutes in the lovely -20 Celsius (that would be -4 F for all you Yankees out there) weather we were treated to that night. You can imagine that some people were very dressed up for the occasion, and I can't believe that nylons were doing much to keep the women warm! It was about this time that the first few shouts of, "JACK sucks!" could be heard...

Yes, eventually we did get inside, around 8:15. And, since we had all paid the extra 20 bucks, we received our meal ticket and hand-stamp to "Dine Around the World". Doesn't that sound awesome? What an exotic way to feast on the final night of 2003! Well, that was what I was thinking before we got inside... Turned out that "Dine Around the World" referred to about 8 small buffet tables with food from Italy (yep, spaghetti), China (yes indeed, ginger beef), the U.S.A (you can only imagine how long it had been since I had meat and potatoes), and Africa (which, I must say, actually was somewhat exotic). To be fair, despite the rather mundane "variety", the food was delicious, so I can't complain too much. HOWEVER... Picture this: There had to be at least 300 to 400 people who had opted for the buffet. And there was seating for (and this is not an exaggeration) approximately 60 to 70. On top of that, there were small, pub-style tables to stand at for another 50 or so, and that was it! Ever try to cut roast beef with one hand while balancing your plate on the other? Yeah, me neither... Now there were a few more, "JACK sucks!" to be heard.

Now, since this was a New Year's party, I know what you're thinking... "If you haven't got a table, and you're eating standing up, where do you put your drink?!?" Ah... Not a problem, my friend. JACK took care of that. In the entire building, there were 3 "bars" (the quotes indicating that I'm using the term loosely. In fact, they weren't much more than glorified lemonade stands). And, since these "bars" were staffed by only one or two people each, there were lines of people by the HUNDREDS snaking their way this way and that. Average wait-time in line: 30-45 minutes. As you can imagine, as each person got to the "bar", they ordered as much as they could carry. Naturally, the beer-drinkers had an easier time of it, not only because a stack of cans is easier to carry than a bunch of hi-balls, but also because the "bars" were about as well stocked as my first liquor cupboard in college (I could make you anything as long as it contained rum, rye, vodka, and/or Coke). The, "JACK sucks!" trend grew...

And so, the bulk of the evening consisted of: Get in line. Wait. Wait some more. Wait too long. Finally get beer. Chug beer. Get back in line. Try not to lose your buzz while waiting for next acquisition of beer.

Now, I know what you're thinking again... "But at least you had Tom Cochrane and Red Rider to liven up the party!" Well, think again, amigo! Sometime around 8:30 (by which time we were already beginning to regret the $75 each that we had paid), the hosts from JACK FM, a couple of minimal-talent Morning Show guys by the names of Matt and Eric, came on stage to welcome everyone and announce that Tom and the boys would be starting at 11:00 to help us ring in the New Year! Disappointing, yes, but we figured that they'd just have a DJ spinning some cool dance tracks until then. No different than the big clubs, right? Wrong. No DJ. No dance music. Instead, 2 and a half hours of uninterrupted JACK FM format. That's right, just about every 80's and early 90's Rock song you'd ever what to hear! It was like going to huge house party and listening to the radio all night! And the chanting of "JACK sucks!" got into full-swing...

Sometime around 9:30, one of the Morning Dudes got back up on stage to remind everyone we were in a Non-Smoking building, and this included the pot they could smell. Not surprisingly, this was met with a volley of "JACK sucks!", to which he had the balls to respond with, "Yeah, but at least we're here, so suck it up!" Now, you just don't see corporate professionalism like that anymore these days...

And now for the Saving Grace of the evening. Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. They came on at 11:00, as promised, and they were brilliant. Plain and simple. Despite the absolute Gong Show that JACK FM had tried to pass off as a New Year's Gala (and believe me, Tom knew how bad it was, too), those guys put on one hell of a performance! The place came alive in time to greet 2004, which we toasted with our complimentary one ounce of Champaign.

They played until about 1:00, when the party started to wind down and people started for the door (singular). Not wanting to get crushed by everyone rushing out to start frozen vehicles, we decided to kick around for a bit until things died down a little. And you'll never guess what happened... Go on! Guess! No, we didn't meet Tom Cochrane. But, as soon as Red Rider's equipment was off the stage, out came a DJ who began spinning club tracks! And he was good! Definitely not one of the JACK FM guys, no way! Why he wasn't out earlier in the night, we'll never know... So we stayed until about 2:00 and then decided to leave. Did I forget to mention that the Coat Check was located in a tent outside the building? Well, it was. You can just make up you own little diatribe about that one... I'm too tired to.

And, if you managed to make it this far, I'm willing to bet that you're pretty tired too. So, I'll take pity on you and recount the Further Woes of 2004 another time. Now get out of here and grab another cup o' Joe...

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