Booche reacted to canphan in Phish NYE Run
Well, last nights show was a real rocker. (https://we.tl/QRCinCixj4) Didn't think much of Friday. Thursday showed promise and some great new tone from Trey, although he seemed to be struggling with his new rig thus far. I managed to have non stop music via set openers on FB from Phish -> SCI -> Phish -> SCI -> UM
Happy New Years all.
Booche reacted to Jay Funk Dawg in Horrible news for our community: RIP BradM
Very sad to hear about BradM's passing.
As many of you, I know BradM through the music scene. I've been fortunate to get to know tapers from all over the country, and consider myself a amateur taper, mostly recording the shows I produced for my own use. It's a rare breed of people who dedicate themselves to this craft and I think it's such an admirable and selfless job. The taping scene in Canada is so small and those few who do it really help preserve and document our Canadian culture - and above all so many memories.
He mailed me copies of the shows he taped but were not authorized to be uploaded to the archive. I remember once that he wanted to check with one of the bands he taped first before burning me a copy, in spite of the fact that I was the promoter.
Outside of his admiral dedication to taping, BradM was a sweet guy. I spent more than a few set breaks with him outside and really enjoyed his different point of views and quirky sense of humour. I'll always remember him enjoying a pint, standing next to his microphones at a show enjoying himself.
Much love BradM, I hope you are out there taping the great big gig in the sky.
Booche reacted to Velvet in Horrible news for our community: RIP BradM
Aloha - Remembering Bradm
An evening to commemorate the life of our good friend Brad McFarlane featuring some of his favourite Ottawa musicians:
Paulie and Stu from The Dusty Drifters
Super Awesome Club
Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
Booche reacted to Pablo Sanchez in Some nice people made me a video
So, I'm going to try and check in here more and participate. I always enjoyed the site but just kinda lost track of it. With Brad's absence, I'm sure there would have to be a lot of new/old people posting to keep the pages turning.
I've been plugging away at a solo album for a long time. Never quite sure where to draw the line and put something out. I made this song after a phase of listening to a lot of "synthwave" or just retro 80's music. The first half is very that. Then it veers off in some progressive directions. I used guitar and manipulating it in different ways for most of the sounds really. I made all the sounds on this, played them all, arranged it and of course recorded it. These nice folks at Synthwave Music Channel made me this vid. It is pretty fun.
Booche reacted to Velvet in Chinalog (in honour of Bradm)
Well, that didn’t work! Once again I laid there not sleeping, but not until 5am or anything. It makes me realize how blessed I am with the ability to fall asleep in no time at all; I can generally fall asleep in ninety seconds or less. Regardless, at least I got more sleep than Heather did; she doesn’t snore, I do. I got up around 10am, Heather was already up.
They drive on the left in Hong Kong, a change that can be quite dangerous to the right-driving tourist. I would normally have to constantly be telling myself to look right! Look right! but with all the one way streets running this way and that the city has gone to the effort of writing directly on the road itself at each and every intersection the phrases: <—Look Left and Look Right—>. It’s unspeakably helpful, and I’m sure the idea has saved countless lives and injuries. Maybe it’s financed by the insurance companies.
Our first stop was the Museum of History, just across the street from our hotel and free of charge. We made short work of the flora/fauna, ancient rocks and cavemen exhibits, cruised through the dynasties pretty quickly and started to linger at the opium war.
It’s amazing to think that China ceded Hong Kong to the English just to get the Brits to stop bringing opium into the country. After the changeover the race with less than five percent of the city’s population ran the place. That must have been frustrating. Then there was the Japanese occupation during WWII. These guys haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about over the years.
Leaving the museum, we ducked into the Starbucks and looked around for a place to eat. Again my appetite was in flux…was I hungry or full? I just could not decide. Logic told me that I must be hungry so I joined Heather at a Chinese diner. I didn’t feel too adventurous (or hungry) so I ordered a small chicken pie and a pork bun. I used to eat pork buns a lot in Taiwan and I figured I was safe. Nope.
Both the pie and the bun were very sweet, and as a Westerner I am picky when it comes to mixing sugar and meat. I had one, single bite of the chicken pie and managed to get through almost half of my pork bun.
At this point my body convinced me that I wasn’t hungry anymore anyway.
Next we aimed for Kowloon Park, which we had passed several times before. Walking up the stairs we soon found that the park was pretty extensive and quite impressive. We started along comic alley, featuring larger-than-life statues of anime characters neither of us had ever heard of. We walked by a pond full of sunning turtles and found the bird sanctuary - more of a small zoo really - with cockatoos, parrots, a couple of crazy looking critters called rhinoceros hornbills, and a bunch more.
Next was the bird pond, which was full of flamingos. Our final two stops in the park were a bit of a letdown, the maze was stupidly easy (and only waist-high…what’s up with that?) and the sculpture park was pretty lame (and I do like me a sculpture park), but whattya want for free?
On our way to the Star Ferry I stopped into one of the many, many McDonald’s outlets where I spent about fifteen confused minutes and zero dollars because I walked out without a clue as to how I was supposed to get the Big Mac I had ordered on their panel screen. I stormed out of there convinced of one thing at least: I was hungry.
We took the ferry over to the island side of the city and found a bus that would take us to Stanley, a small town on the other side of the mountains. It was a double-decker and we scored the front seats up top. It was a really fun drive, first through the bustling city, then the long tunnel that runs under the mountain, and then winding up and down the mountain itself, the bus whacking against branches and slowing down for oncoming traffic on the narrow pass the whole way.
As we were exiting the city the bus passed a string of car dealerships. Mercedes, Lexus, Ferrari, Maserati. I mentioned to Heather how 80% of the cars on the road were luxury vehicles and from our perch in the front of the bus I tested my theory. I counted cars for about ten minutes and found out I was a bit low in my estimate. Seems the only cars on the road besides upscale luxury models are minivans (of which there are many), and Toyotas. The expendable money in Hong Kong must be tremendous.
We arrived in Stanley and stopped for a drink. I was famished so I ordered a quesadilla with cheese and tomato chutney. Turns out ‘tomato chutney’ was a euphemism for ‘ketchup’. Bleah. Next up was a slow stroll through the many, many shops and stalls that were set up selling every imaginable piece of junk you could imagine but would never want.
Okay, that’s not entirely true, I wanted to buy a few of their Rubik’s cube variations, of which there were many. They love the cube over here, no question about that.
We didn’t buy a thing through, so we strolled the town. There was a jazz band set up in the square and we heard their last two songs as we walked to the pier where we watched locals fishing by hand (without poles). They were catching fish after fish, and none of them more than three inches long. It seemed like that’s what they were fishing for though, it’s not like any got thrown back in for being too small.
We had a beer at a waterfront pub and then went to another for more beer and some dinner. It was tourist-pricey but pretty good food. Finally we headed back to the bus depot where we caught our ride just as it was pulling out. Upstairs we found the best seats gone but no matter, it was another great ride back into the city.
We got off one stop early and strolled to the wine and dine fest that we had realized too late last night that we possessed free tickets for. We waited in line with our free passes and were granted entry, four tokens each and a couple of coupon booklets.
The fest was quite extensive, huge even. We dropped three tokens on a four-pack of beers, another one on two glasses of sparkling wine and then Heather insisted (with my help) that we use the remaining tokens getting me two shots of high-end tequila that was poured through a giant block of ice. Never mind that I had to suck on a tube that had been sucked on by thousands before me, it’s tequila, and tequila kills germs (right?).
The coupons were for free things at different booths, each of which had long lines that went unbelievably fast. I mean some lines were fifty feet long and you’d be through in less than two minutes. We got free cookies, shrimp chips, nuts, cheese, and ice cream. The whole thing was run astoundingly well and we were both super-impressed with the entire setup. The only downside was that we didn’t see the Jack Daniels booth until we were on our way out the door, tokenless.
And there went our day! We left the wine and dine just before it shut down for the night at 11:30 and took the ferry back over to Kowloon. We were both pretty beat so the walk back to the hotel was long and slow. Again I was tempted to stop for a reflexology session but again I passed in favour of the bliss of laying down on my own hotel bed (which was little more than a thin mattress on a hard wooden slab).
We had spent 14+ hours away from the room today and we were tired. For the first time this on trip I fell asleep fast. Luckily Heather did too.
Booche reacted to phorbesie in Chinalog (in honour of Bradm)
i'll put up a permanent link to some pics once i sort through them, but in the meantime, here's a few.
HK skyline and light show as seen from Kowloon
An old church (St. Johns?) among the skyscrapers in HK
Views from Victoria Peak
Skyterrace and restaurant building at the peak
HSBC building inside and out
Booche reacted to Velvet in Chinalog (in honour of Bradm)
Kind of lost a day there due to time change. Hong Kong is twelve hours ahead of Ottawa. Makes me wonder: if I brought my cat with me on the plane would he still be nocturnal?
We arrived in Hong Kong at 10:30 last night. By 11pm we were standing in line at the lost luggage service, by midnight we were on the express train into the city. The train was super-modern and extremely efficient/easy to use. So was the subway system we transferred to - easy-peasy.
Walked to our hotel (an easy task given that we were both without luggage), again fairly easy to find and checked in. I walked to the nearest 7-11 for some beers and snacks. Okay, I actually went to buy a bottle of water but when I saw all that beer in the fridge I forgot to buy the water so I had to go back. When I went back I bought more beer (for Heather this time) and darn-near forgot to buy the water again. We didn’t get to sleep until about 3:30am, which is a little strange after a twenty-six-hour travel day. I was shocked when we woke up and checked the clock; it was 1:30pm. I know to me that’s 1:30am, but I haven’t slept that late in a long time.
We got up, retrieved our luggage that had been dropped off at the front desk, and got out of there for a walkabout and to look for a place to eat. Heather was starved, I wasn’t hungry at all. After looking at about a thousand menus (restaurants are absolutely everywhere in our area) we settled on a semi-fancy place. Heather got dumplings and noodles with pork while i got the vermicelli with shredded spicy beef. For some reason my appetite left me shortly after I ordered but I ate probably half my meal. The highlight of lunch was when Heather bit into her first dumpling and hot liquid squirted out of it and shot straight up her nose.
After lunch we went for coffees around the corner and killed time until it was time to go to the waterfront. We aimed for the Avenue Of Stars, the Asian version of Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame but were shut out as the area is being renovated. No biggie, but I was looking forward to seeing the Bruce Lee statue. Regardless, we found ourselves in the right place for the nightly laser show.
Every night at 8pm Honk Kong hosts the world’s largest (or was it Asia’s largest?) permanent sound and light show at the harbour. We found a good spot and stared in quiet awe at the astounding skyline while we waited for the show to start.
Aside from the stunning architecture of the countless buildings lining both sides of the harbour, at night many of the structures become canvases for giant light shows. I had only seen this once before, at a hotel we stayed at in Miami, but this was redonkulous. At least a dozen buildings were constantly flashing and pulsating, and it looked just awesome. So awesome, in fact, that the laser/light show itself was decidedly underwhelming in comparison. Aside from the sheer logistics of co-ordinating the lasers and the individual building lights to sync up (perfectly) with the music it was really not so impressive. They need to get CK5 out here for a week or two to design some serious visuals but hey, it was better than nothing.
The show ended at 8:30 and we idled up Nathan Road past Jordon Road to the night market (after stopping at 7-11 for a couple of traveller beers - drinking in the street is so civilized; I’m surprised I never see anyone but me doing it). The night market was about as interesting as the light show; that is, better than not going but really, it was just a bunch of Made In China crap.
(I got a kick out of the Star Wars Lego knock-offs though: Star Wart and Star Plan.)
By then my appetite was back to jumping up and down so we searched for a restaurant and ultimately settled on a Thai place where I devoured an order of garlic bread and got halfway through a plate of chicken Pad Thai before mysteriously losing my appetite once again.
After dinner we decided to call it a day and went back to the hotel and went to bed, though neither of us could sleep. I haven’t laid awake trying to fall asleep in years but I was awake until at least 5:30am.
It’s hard to fight jet lag.
Booche reacted to Velvet in Chinalog (in honour of Bradm)
I was half awake when I heard Heather puttering around. I cracked open an eye and saw she was dressed and ready to head out the door.
“Where you going?” I moaned sleepily.
“To get us coffees,” she said, like an angel.
“Do you remember the Starbucks we saw last night near the 7-11?” I asked.
“Yep,” she replied, and off she went.
It was 11am and I could have easily laid in bed for several more hours but I felt it prudent to get up and about and try to get in step with time on this side of the planet. I was showered, dressed, and smiling by the time she got back with her cups of brown goodness.
We left the hotel around 12:30 and walked to the Star Ferry terminal. For just fifty cents each we rode the ferry across the picturesque harbour, once again marvelling at the astounding array of skyscrapers on both sides of the water.
On the other side we traversed the labyrinth of raised walkways until we finally found the HSBC Building, one of the stars of last night’s light show. When the HSBC Building was built it was the most expensive ever, construction costs for the architectural wonder soared to a billion dollars. We went inside and rode the angled escalators up the the first level. Underneath us was all glass, above us air. For such an expensive project they sure sacrificed a lot of floor space to make way for their extremely open concept. Much of the building is basically hollow.
We searched for an antique poster shop Heather had read about, discovered it had moved to online-only and decided to make for Victoria Peak, the pinnacle of the mountain that lines the west side of Hong Kong. We rode the funicular up (the oldest funicular in Asia, it started in 1888), which was a gravity-defying G-force blast and spent the afternoon enjoying the astounding (yet unbelievably smoggy) view.
We explored the complex up there (we had paid extra for the Sky Terrace 428, which gave us access to the open-air top floor of the angular concrete complex, the highest elevation 360 degree views of the city, which wasn’t really worth it) and after some humming and hawing decided on eating dinner at BubbaGumps, just one floor below the rooftop terrace. It was my first time experiencing the franchise, which I’ll rate just a millistep above the Hard Rock Cafe for food, which isn’t a great compliment, but man, the view from our window seat was delicious.
We lingered over an extra beer until it got dark so we could enjoy the night view as well and then we got in the prodigious line to ride the funicular back down. I’m sure it would have been quicker to walk down the mountain like several people do but I’m glad we didn’t - my legs and feet were already feeling the pressures of the day.
We arrived back down at the bottom just as the nightly laser/light show was going off. It’s so not a thing that we almost didn’t notice that it was even happening, although to be fair that’s mainly because the lit-up buildings are so impressive on their own. The lasers add but a smidgen to the already sense-exploding skyline.
Mostly ignoring the lasers we meandered in the direction of the ferry and stopped by a wine-tasting expo on the waterfront. Turns out there was an admission charge so we didn’t go in, which is too bad: when we got back to the room later I noticed that the flyers we had been given when we purchased our tickets for the funicular were in fact free passes to the wine fest with four free drinks included. Oops. Instead I merely posed with a giant great white shark statue and we moved on, boarding the ferry to take us back across the harbour.
Finally we completed the slow plod back to our hotel and gave our gams a much-needed rest. Along the way I toyed with the idea of a foot massage/reflexology session but was too tired to even stop for one. It’s not like I didn’t have the opportunity; there are probably more foot massage places than restaurants in our area, and there are a lot of restaurants. Regardless, it wasn’t yet 10pm when we made it back to the room and flopped into our rock-hard beds for the night.
All in the name of beating the jet lag.
Booche reacted to Velvet in Chinalog (in honour of Bradm)
Actually, it was only one drink (each), and an order of fries (again, each).
The flight to Beijing went fairly well (for a thirteen-hour flight). Heather and I had booked the aisle and window seats, leaving the middle seat hopefully empty. No such luck this time, and we didn’t end up asking the lady to switch because she was watching movies and Heather’s headset movie machine was not working.
I had a beer and a pretty lousy chicken meal (not as bad as Heather’s Chinese fatty-pork), watched Wonder Woman and the new Spiderman movie (both not too bad), and curled up for got some fitful sleep. I was finally fully asleep when the lights in the cabin illuminated and the loudspeaker came on*. After a loud, aggressive bout of Chinese came the English translation, which went something like this:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are three hours from Beijing. We hope you have been getting a good rest, and we wish you the best of luck getting back to sleep after this announcement. Please enjoy the rest of your painfully long flight.”
I just don’t get it.
I did, however, manage to get back to sleep just in time for the forty-minute pre-landing wakeup warning.
We landed in Beijing around 5pm local time. Looking out the window as we approached the airport I noticed how very foggy it was outside. When we actually landed I couldn’t see any fog outside at all. Turns out it was not fog, it was pollution. A crazy, crazy amount of pollution.
We got off our tardy plane with less than 45 minutes to catch our connection to Hong Kong. We jogged through the airport until we came to a sign that pointed one way for domestic flights and another way for international flights.
Which stopped these two airport-runners dead in our tracks.
Now, if you’re in Beijing and you are heading to Hong Kong, would you consider it a domestic flight or an international flight?
Of course Hong Kong was a British territory for a long, long time but we all know it went back to China about twenty years ago. So, domestic right? But wait a minute, I’m carrying Chinese currency and Hong Kong currency; if it has it’s own money it must be international, right?
(God only knows what country Macau is in!)
The lack of any additional signage whatsoever really added to the mystery.
So we lined up for a domestic transfer and were waiting to go through customs when a helpful stranger suggested we were in the wrong line. We booked it over to the international line which was moving very slow and kept getting cut by airline employees pushing older folks in wheelchairs. We eventually tried to stop one of the wheelchair-pushing line-butters. He showed us a boarding pass that said 8pm. We showed him ours that said we boarded at 6pm, which at this point was less than ten minutes away.
He was impressed, but he still butted in front of us.
When we finally got through that line we ran downstairs and found a long queue to get through security (which was pretty redundant as we had just gotten off an international flight and had not left any secure section of the airport). We showed the guard our boarding passes and without a flicker of a change of expression - the dude acted like a human robot - he indicated we were to follow him and he delivered us to the front of the line. Security still took a while; I had to stand on a stool and hold my arms straight out for a full two-minute pat down. When we got out of there we ran as fast as we could though we were pretty confident we were going to miss our connection (which would make us eat tonight’s hotel reservation and would they cancel the rest of our reservation if we don’t check in tonight and do we even have a phone number to call and will they speak English even if we do and…?).
I got ahead of Heather, yelling over my shoulder that I’d hold the plane for her. When I finally saw gate E17 from a distance I could see that it was empty save the one, single check-in girl. She spotted me and started waving her arms. I couldn’t believe it, but it looked like were going to make it! I got to the gate and I breathlessly pushed my boarding pass into to her extended hand. Pointing back down the hallway I tried my best to speak. “Hea…ther…(pant, pant, pant)…still…come…(pant, pant)…ing.”
We made it onto the plane at the last minute and - dripping sweat - we took our seats in the last row, this time with nobody between us. Mercy. We lifted off and plunged through the smog bubble and up into the sky, and now here I sit with just about three hours between me and Hong Kong.
The second plane only has those pop-down screens where we all watch the same movie**, which in this case is a Chinese film conveniently supplemented with Chinese subtitles. Ah well, here comes the drink cart.
And it’s 5am somewhere.
*I always fly wearing earplugs and an eye mask (I call it ‘flying Tommy-style’) but I had accidentally left everything in my carry on and I just could not find the gumption to get up and dig them out, though I kept telling myself that I should. And of course that sort of internal argument can do nothing but keep you mostly awake. Like debating whether or not to get up and go to the bathroom when you’re sleeping in a tent.
**Though I’m an unabashed lover of the vast entertainment selection generally available on airplanes I gotta say I miss the old days when a screen would drop down at the front of the cabin and everyone on the plane was forced to watch (or try to ignore) the same movie together. Whether we liked it or not, the cabin would inevitably laugh and gasp together at the funny and surprising parts. Sure we all imagined having our own customized entertainment system built right in to the seatback in front of us, but we knew that was only a crazy dream future times and until then, hey at least we had Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy.
And though the fulfillment of our collective dreams may have gained us freewill we have suffered a tragic and irreversible loss. We have lost community.
Booche reacted to Velvet in Chinalog (in honour of Bradm)
I haven't posted my travel logs in a long time. In honour of our good friend Bradm (who enjoyed my travel logs and loved it when this board was more active) I'm going to start posting them again. Though I don't have anything solid on the horizon right now I did just get back from China, so here goes:
I think this might be my record for most miles travelled versus least time prepping. Getting randomly yanked off the street and thrown into an airplane would have been the only way I could have been any less prepared as I was when we left Ottawa for China this morning. When I woke up at 7am I hadn’t even started packing yet, and our curfew for leaving the house to take the cat to the sitters was 9:30. (Heather’s mom again; she seems to be getting slightly less annoyed by the chore every time).
Frankly I hadn’t given the trip hardly a thought. Leading up to today I had been busy getting a proposal together for a new book idea which completely distracted me from any thoughts of vacation. After plugging away for the last week or so I had finished my rough draft at midnight last night and gone straight to bed.
(This all completely falls in with the fact that I booked the trip to China with hardly a thought as well. A while back I saw a post on facebook advertising an Air China seat sale to Hong Kong priced at just $501 per person, return from Montreal. I told Heather about it, we shrugged and booked it. How could we not? Imagine how I felt when a few weeks later I saw another post advertising the same flights at just $400, these ones time departing from Ottawa! Can’t win them all.)
Of course I got it together and packed with time to spare. We dropped the cat off and made sure he was happy before circling the car around to the bus station where I left Heather and all of our luggage to stand in line for the Montreal bus. I drove home, pounded a quick tall-boy and power-walked back to the Greyhound station, joining Heather in the Montreal line in thirty minutes flat.
And here we are sitting on the bus. I’ve gone over the book proposal for a quick proof-read and will send it in from the airport. Then maybe I can start to relax and think about Honk Kong.
Though I suspect I’ll just head straight to the nearest airport lounge and think about ordering a few drinks.