Calgary Chronicals, Day 1

5am EST (Eastern Standard Time)
I’m up! Hump day, my ass…no humping for the wicked this morning.

Horses to be fed. Doberman to be walked. Packing to be completed. Showers to have. Online booking to complete.

Typical, it is snowing though it is above freezing temps…unless one includes wind chill.

7am EST
John Oakley, on AM 640 Toronto is chirping about how it is a “great day for talk radio.” Talking union shit, so off to the sports station.

I hate unions.

In the truck and cruising through Newmarket. Snow and wind are significant enough that there will be no blogging and driving today. I will have plenty of time at airports later.

I did just realize that I forgot my plug in charger for my Blackberry. I do have my car charger, but may have time a bit later to see how expensive another will be. I did bring my work lap top and am hoping the plane might have WiFi in which case all the Twitter folk will be following me across the country.

Work wise, I have three client visits with a colleague today. Two this morning in the north end of Toronto and one over towards the airport in Mississauga.

Little known fact, Pearson International Airport…Canada’s largest airport is not in Toronto. It is in Mississauga (pronounced Mrs. Saw Ga).

Sports station, the Fan 590 Toronto, is discussing basketball and why the Toronto Rapters. Flip to hard rock as I would rather watch paint dry than basketball…or baseball, for that matter and the fucking Blue Jays are now in spring training *yawn*.

Mind you, rock station recently replaced their morning guy, Iron Mike Benson, and put him back on afternoons. Bad enough that the new morning guys, Biggs and Barr are pathetic, but they are discussing how happy they are Charlie Sheen exploded at least once more before he dies…O_o. Okay, one Van Halen tune and then I am switching to Jazz FM. PANAMA!

Jazz station is too sleey for me this morning, though. Back to Oakley until rush hour is over, and then likely the truck CD player for the rest of the day.

Damn, I also did not shave this morning… I need a coffee. My kingdom for a Tim Hortons!

Hey…there be blue skies up there.

7:53am EST
Change in plans.

Gunmetal gray clouds loom overhead with a few breaks of blue. Snow has stopped, but the wind has not.

I am now sitting in a Toyota dealership parking lot in Thornhill…basically a Toronto suburb on the north end.

My colleague is having car issues this morning, so I will be picking him up here. May have to cancel our afternoon stop *crosses fingers* if he cannot get his car back in time. As it is, that appointment was tentative as I was to check in this morning to see if my designer contact was in.

We will go see the two this morning that are close to here but, due to my want to get over to the airport later, he was going to drive himself to the last one.

Emergency service on a vehicle sends shivers up my spine. I could not afford it if my hybrid decided it needed to see the doctor.

Colleague just pulled in and will update around lunchtime when I am on my own again.

It is snowing again. Time for some Simon Collins on the CD player.

11:30am EST
On my own again…just can’t wait to be on my own again…

Just dropped my colleague back at Toyota. His horror car story is now going to cost him $2k unexpectedly. Aren’t cars wonderful?

So, a couple more customer visits for me and them I am off to drop my truck at my parent’s place in Mississauga. My brother will be picking me up to take me to the airport from there.

Now it is sunny and clear just like Los Angeles…with less palm trees, more patches of snow on the ground, more women in sexy parkas than frumpy bikinis, more arctic winds, more people speaking French (well…Quebecois, so French-ish) than Spanish, and speed limit signs in metric…otherwise exactly like L.A.

Being I was 7 when I was last in Beverly Hills, I imagine it has change somewhat, too, so perhaps they are wearing less bikinis these days.

One thing that just occurred to me last night is that this could very well be my last day working for the company I do. If I took a job in Calgary this week with a company my current boss sees as a competitor, I could be shown the door immediately. Unlikely, but it is possible.

Truth is I lay odds at about 1% that I come back with a new employer. I say 25% that this trip leads to a new employer further in the future. This trip, more than anything, is the closest thing I have had to a vacation since spending the Labour Day weekend in Chicago a few years back.

This all being said, I have one interview locally scheduled for Monday morning next week here…well, in Mississauga…near the airport. I wonder if I should move to Calgary and commute back here to work everyday. Probably not worth it, though.

17:20pm EST
Another change in plans…

Edmonton is off today’s agenda as I was able to switch to a direct flight…that leaves half an hour earlier. As such, I will be arriving in Calgary about three hours earlier than originally planned…and it didn’t cost me a cent! Yay, me!

So for three and a half hours I will be in executive class on Air Canada, parking of all the freebies I can muster.

I bought a razor and shaved…and did break down and bought a new phone charger. At least I have everything I need. Printed off a bunch of resumes on my parents’ computer before my brother arrived…so I am ready.

I am, however, currently looking at an empty gangway from the terminal. It doesn’t look like my plane. It looks like air. There is a dude standing out in the middle where the plane should be. I wonder if he will sprout wings.

Wait! I see it. The dude is giving an Air Canada jumbo jet that “come hither” look with his glow in the dark batons. I did not realize the BDSM symbolism of all this until seeing it happen now. This must be my plane! My chariot! The one that will take me back to my beloved Rocky Mountains, even if it is only for a few days.

It…it…oh my…it is beautiful.

It’s long, cylindrical white body…red lettering and blue tail fin with a red maple leaf tattooed on it’s ass…so typical of what happens on a Sudbury Saturday night (google the phrase if you don’t know it). It’s long luscious metallic wings and those cute little wheels. That tail fin gives it a shark-like attitude…hubba, hubba.

This beast seems too good to carry me. I am not worthy. I wonder if I should go out and polish the nose in appreciation. Would it like that?

There is a couple across from me with their three little children. Two twin girls, I think, in matching pink sweaters and jeans…a little boy with a yellow tee over a gray hoodie and jeans…this family is not worthy to be carried by such a magnificent beast.

With my luck, they’re flying executive class.

A group of tough young people, trying to mimic the Friends cast if they were bikers just walked in. Here they are with their backpacks and beautiful smiles…and me in my business casual who likely has more tattoos than they do combined.

Behind them is a brunette goddess…purple sweater, black slacks, and those succulent FMBs…she is worthy, more than I. What are the odds she is sitting beside me? With my luck, she’s probably sitting beside the little boy in the yellow tee thus making her off limits as he will annoy me and probably put her off any thoughts of joining the mile high club.

Now an Asian stewardess…whoops, flight attendant just sat close. Her Navy sweater and skirt, with the light blue shirt beneath and red scarf…typical Air Canada uniform…gorgeous. A threesome, perhaps???

Oh, wait a sec. We’re Canadian…no sex, please.

Assuming my battery holds, I will next update from 30,000+ feet…likely over Winnipeg. Hope y’all have your woolies on.

18:35pm EST
Quick note before take off…

Due to the late boarding and take off, we will be a half hour late…still 150 minutes earlier than I initially planned.

I’m in the front row window of executive class. The flight is so full that I still have my coat in my lap. They will probably take it from me once all the rest of the masses are on board.

The guy beside me watched me get on like I was ‘new money’ or something. I sensed an eye roll. I doubt we will be sharing any details of life during this flight.

Not that I am complaining…my eldest daughter gave me her obsolete iPod shuffle for this trip. I loaded it with eleven hours of Genesis, Gabriel, Sting et al…

Hehe…dude beside me just got socked in the head by the bag over the shoulder of the father of the kid in the yellow tee and hoodie.

I am looking forward to the security lecture. I am debating if I should ask for a clarification about the seat belt buckle just out of reverence for George Carlin.

Then again, I have to sit with these people for three hours. Probably best not to piss them off.

Oooohhh…lights just got turned down. Mood lighting? Maybe this mile high idea will work yet.

19:32pm EST
Dinner time!

I have no idea what route we are taking. Looking out the window, I would guess we are almost to Thunder Bay, Ontario…or somewhere over Wisconsin. Sometimes these flights cross over US airspace…but the US wants to charge Canadians extra just for flying over. What a crock.

Getting my first introduction to Hawaii Five-Oh on the in flight screens. I find it funny how I am enjoying this. Might have to pick up the dvd when the first season is over.

Our cabin steward thinks he’s a comedian. Actually, by Air Canada’s normal starchy standards, he’s not bad. Only complaint is that I would have preferred one of the gorgeous goddesses they have working in the rest of the plane. Oh well, could be worse, I suppose…still could be sitting in Toronto.

Will have a Heineken…and when the can arrives, I shall confirm the spelling. Thankfully, this is included with my ticket as Air Canada only accepts payment with credit cards on planes. Being I do not carry credit cards anymore…for almost a year now…as such, minor disappointment in this trip that I cannot even rent a car. At least Calgary has a very good transit system.

I am still waiting for someone to say “Book ’em, Danno!”….which they just did before the first episode ended. They have three for me to watch. I am sensing a need to download the main title music though…was always one of the coolest music bits in my opinion. It would be cool if there is a proper extended version.

Assuming the show has done well enough…how long before Tom Selleck makes a cameo appearance with Zeus and Apollo? Being Grace Park is in this…maybe Apollo will bring Adama along with her.

I even recognize some of the sites on Waikiki from when I was there…I was 15 at the time.

21:24pm EST
I understand Danno.

Apparently, we just passed north of lovely, downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota….so we are on the US air space route. When one looks at a map of Canada, this makes complete sense.

Toronto is almost as far south as Rome. Were Toronto on North America’s west coast, it would be close to Northern California. This is always a shocker until one actually looks at a globe…Windsor, Ontario is even further south.

Sop our flight went north west, across southwestern Ontario…northern Wisconsin and Minnesota….we will pass just south of Regina, Saskatchewan…and yes, there is also the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

A goddess once asked me if Saskatoon actually existed. Currently, thanks to the oil sands, Saskatoon is likely Canada’s fastest booming city. That’s pure guess as I have no facts to back that up. It is a few hours drive northwest of Regina…for the record, I have little doubt that it is a very flat drive. So flat that were you to look far enough you would see the back of your own head.

I have, however, had three beer and a red wine. Thus endeth tonight’s drinking binge, however. I have had more than I usually do tonight. In fact, due to a bad experience once, I have rarely drunk anything on flights.

“A gentleman will walk but never run…”

Now that I have completed the Hawaii Five-0 trilogy of episodes, I have the shuffle plugging tunes into my ears. Sting’s Englishman in New York is the first tune.

Odd thought occurred to me…and remember, I’m four drinks in, so do not take this as gospel here as this will not be happening, but what if I did not get on the flight home? What if I just kept going? What if I needed a fresh start so much that I just said “fuck it” and stayed? What if?

Going to close my eyes for a stint.

I am still concerned that my Twitter folk will all be gone when I log back on in two hours.

Sleep sweet.

22:56pm EST
We have begun our descent…or is it decent? We are now falling from the sky.

Map says we are just north of Lethbridge, Alberta and closing in on Calgary, shortly. In fact, I can see the lights by twisting my head to look out the front.

There will be no mountains tonight…but when I wake up…

…”It’s not in the way that you hold me
It’s not in the way that you say you care… – Toto, Hold the Line

From our trajectory, looks like we are either coming in from the south end of the city…say up McLeod Trail….wait…I am wrong, we have gone into a deep turn north.

Based on my own trajectory, I may very well be the first person off their jet. *shrug*

23:23pm EST…whoops…21:23pm MST (Mountain Standard Time)
I’m home.

22:10pm MST
Back in time…

Getting a shuttle bus to the closest hotel to my cousin. I am not certain how far I will have to walk, but I can probably get a cab if I need to. Estimated at $60 were I to just get a cab straight from here. Bus should be here in about ten mins.

Just coming into the airport is a reminder of the small town-ish mentality here. When I first left in the summer of 1980, the population was about 600,000. It has almost doubled now and yet everything gets rolled up at night. I would estimate they expect a handful of flights yet, but nothing more happening here tonight.

My alarm just popped up. Had I stayed on my original schedule, I would just be boarding my plane in Edmonton.

Odds are not good that I could pull this trick coming home as well. I am likely stuck on my Edmonton connection that way, but we’ll see on Saturday. Even if I have to hang out here for an extra hour or two it would be worth it.

Have only just ducked outside briefly when I went to check cab rates…it is cold. Dumb cold, as my grandfather used to say. It did not occur to me until we were taking off, but I have no hat nor gloves with me.

22:45pm MST
On Deerfoot Trail southbound.

Only two passengers in the shuttle, myself and a young woman heading to Greyhound.

In eleven hours my first job interview is set to begin…hard to believe, but eleven hours ago I was dropping a colleague off at a Toyota dealership in the north end of Toronto.

We are about to make the turn west on to Memorial Dr. Just caught my first glimpse of the Calgary Tower with my own eyes. For those who do not remember, the top of the tower was part of the Olympic flame in February of 1988.

There are the Petro Canada towers, as well…you have all seen them as they were used for a scene in one of the Christopher Reeves Superman films…cannot say as I recall which, but I believe all four did some filming here. Could be wrong.

I will not see the Stampede grounds and the Sadledome (where mt beloved Flames play) until tomorrow.

With this, I will end today’s chapter. May even have some photos to share tomorrow, but they likely will not get posted until I am back on my PC in farm country on Sunday morning.



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