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Monday, September 11, 2006

The Amazing Adventures of Horacio Pickles

First day of work following my week of vacation, which began with my visit to Toronto. This is my travelogue of the sad and less than exciting events that took place, before and after.

So, the trouble began before the trip, as I try to schedule all the comings and goings. First off, I'm given bad information as to what tickets I can use for my traveling; I usually take a morning bus on friday so that I'm in town for around 6 pm, when my lovely host, The Kate, is out of work, leaving on sunday night... but alas, that was not to be. The geniuses behind the even decided to host it during labor day weekend... which is a blackout period on transportation, What that means is that from the 1rst of sept (friday) till the 4rth (monday) the only tickets valid are the full-priced ones. Thats double the price, for those who dont know. As I refuse to pay 200$ (possibly twice, since my girl is coming back with me) I have to work around that schedule. It means that I have to leave on thursday and return on the following tueaday. That doesnt quite mesh with The Kate's schedule. So I need to impose on my girl for shelter.

Then, second problem: I have fishes that require feeding. I try to get in touch all week with my bassist (who is both friend and neighbor), and failing that, with my sister. My bassist happens to be out of town, and when I talk to my sister, it turns out she was just about to call me to ask to cat-sit. I need a solution fast, since i cant think of anybody else that can do it. Desperate times call for creative (and desperate) measures, so I decide to take my beta Horacio with me, leaving the gold fishes and the cleaner to fend for themselves. To carry Horacio, I makeshift a travelling bowl out of a pickle jar. I'm not happy, but I'm all set. He'll he staying with Narcissus, Tasha (my girl)'s beta and former inmate at the same pet shop.

I make the midnight bus on thursday, and we arrive in Scarborough a good 30 mins early. No big deal; my girl picks me up and we crash at her place (well, her parent's basement, but she's working on a cunning escape plan.) We are woken up at 11 am by her sister, telling us that we basically have 15 minutes to get our asses in gear if we want to make it to Toronto before sunset. We are understandably upset, not having been made aware beforehand of this timetable. We get dropped of downtown (better than we thought, since we thought we'd end up having to take the subway...), ironically, right next to the convention center... but way too early. We wander downtown all afternoon, me enjoying very much having to lug all my luggage around (insert heavy sarcasm here.) Enevtually, we get the green light from The Kate and make it to her place. That night we dine on cuban tapas and mojitos, the clubs suck ass and Tasha crashes at The Kate's with me. Yay for day one.

Saturday is convention day. we get there early (by our standards) and we discover that for some obscure reason, the hall where its held is at the very back of the center, a good ten minutes walk inside. Noone can direct us, none of the volunteers seem to know anything but the one task that they are given, so we end up scrapping plans for attending any of the side events, especially after we experience the Maze. It is packed with people moving at snail'd pace and we cant figure out where were going. Because The Kate and me are basically interested in the Festival of Fear portion, thats where we head. We later attempt to find anime stuff for Tasha, but its so messed up, its hard to find anything. I must say that I'm quite disappointed with not only the setup, but what's offered. There were a lot less independant artists and interesting craftsmen, probably due to the timing of the event. The guys that were cool the last two years dont seem to have as much variety as before and the tables even seemed smaller. I noticed a distinct lack of enthousiasm on the parts on many of the attendants and I dont really blame them. There were peeple with booths there that had very little business being there in the first place and my biggest disappointement definately had to be the reduced size of the Artists Alley. There were maybe half the quantity of last year, and barely any variety. Just how many amateur manga artists does one need? A distinct lack of web comics creator was very noticeable. Still, I made off with a few cool finds, like the mummified skull from Horrors Unlimited , a prop sledge hammer (a cool item that got lots of attention...) and I got a good stash of good horror flicks, so my cold winter nights shouldnt be boring. Besides that, Tasha returned home that night and The Kate and I return downtown to clubland, only to find it nearly as lame as the night previous, so we leave early... again, a rare event for us!

Sunday, The Kate is feeling under the weather and I return to the convention alone. I do a spot of shopping (really, I pick up stuff for the ladies) and I head back to The Kate's. She still feels like crap, so we take the evening off and relax at her place. We try out one of my purchased movies and watch The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Weird, kooky and certainly unique. We crash early.

Monday, we head back downtown, where we plan to meet with Tasha. After trying to direct her in traffic, we are finally reunited and coffee ensues. The Kate takes her leave, I get a duvet and we leave town after unsuccessfully looking for interesting clothes that fit us. We drive around looking for a decent place to eat; after a couple of hours, and a few disappointments (try and find something decent thats opened on labor day in small towns) we have fish and chips ( a massive plate I tell you...) and we arrive at her parent's, were we learn that we leave at 6 am.
So much for sleeping in. But we end up making it for the first bus in Scarborough, which is empty (probably cause the actual first one from Toronto is packed to the gills) so we get to sit as confortably as we can. We get back to Montreal in mid afternoon and we are glad to be back, cause that still a long bus ride.

So, a bit of a bust, since the con was not as good as the last few; I didnt get the cheese I wanted because of rotten timing and spent more time in Toronto than I'd have wnated; but I scored some good toys, got a bottle of bourbon and a nice duvet for 50$! Pretty sweet.

Oh, and Horacio? He did fantastically.

Francois called me a couple of hours before I left and fed him (and the others) while I was away.

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