Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, May 18, 2015

Long Weekend Panic

I don't know what's come over me.  Driving into the city in the past few months has been so...anxiety-inducing.  My car could use some new tires, so that worries me.  I have a laundry list of things that I've been told need to be fixed on my car, but I don't know if they're genuine problems, or just the standard up-selling that happens when you get your oil changed.  And let's not forget the growing popularity of traffic cams.  Every time I speed up to get through a yellow light, I spend the next day in the fetal position wondering if a ticket's going to come through the mail.  Yesterday, I saw the bright flash of a photo radar cam.  Was it for me?  It was a 60 zone and I was doing about 63...is that enough to set them off?

And don't get me started when winter comes, and you add snow-covered streets to the mix.  I used to be more calm about all this but something switched in my brain, and now I'm not. 

But with all that in mind, the long weekend is here, and I always felt that a long weekend is wasted if I don't get out and do something.  And I'm pretty sure I haven't been all the way down to my beloved West Edmonton Mall since February.  Suck it up, soldier, we're going to the Mall.

I was also reluctant to head into the Mall because, well, I work in radio, and for the civilians out there, you don't make a lot of money in radio.  Finances have been tight as of late, and when you don't have much money, malls make you feel really, really bad.  So much you want, but so little you can afford.  However, in the past, I've been able to justify a financial cheat day if I buy at least one thing I genuinely need.  And I was in need of a new vacuum cleaner filter.

With filter in hand, I started browsing the other sections of Wal-Mart.  I found myself in the bathroom accessories section.  On her last couple of visits, my mother found my bathroom to be somewhat cluttered.  You can purchase these special shelving units that are designed to fit over top of the toilet to clean up such clutter.  And Wal-Mart finally had them, and on sale.  So, of course I got one.

From there, it was traversing the city streets to West Edmonton Mall.  I felt like I needed to go to West Edmonton Mall to see something for myself.  West Edmonton Mall has finally brought their whale statue out of storage.

The brief history:  a popular landmark in West Edmonton Mall was a fountain that featured a life-sized statue of a Right Whale.  Well, it's head is life-sized, and made to look like it's surfacing.  And you could go inside and check it out.  It used to be in front of Victoria's Secret, but when when Victoria's Secret came to the mall 5 years ago, they wanted the space to construct a waiting area for bored husbands and boyfriends.  So the statue was yanked out, the fountain filled in, and some comfy sofas went in.

At the time, West Edmonton Mall said it would be brought back once a new location in the Mall could be found.  I wondered what was taking so long, and a couple of years ago, I even wrote an e-mail to the Mall's management asking.  Wrote a blog entry about it, which a colleague of mine at an Edmonton radio station shared on the air, and it was my most-read blog entry for a while.   About a month ago, West Edmonton Mall finally brought the whale out of storage and unceremoniously dumped it in its new location:  in front of Sears.  They say it's going to be the centerpiece of a new interactive exhibit.  As long as it's in a fountain again, I'll be happy.  That was always my fondest memory of the whale:  looking down on it from the second level, and you could see all the coins littering the bottom.  My Dad once remarked that, to collect them all, it would probably be easier to drain the fountain then sweep them all up.

A photo posted by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

After that, did a little more browsing.  Of course I had to head to HMV.  Always feel kind of sad when I leave HMV but I do NOT have any new Blu-Rays or DVDs.  Granted, there are always a couple of classics I see that I'd like to add to my collection, but since I know that's my greatest addiction, and with tight finances, I start asking myself questions about how much I genuinely need another movie for my collection.  More new movies definitely get moved to the bottom of the list.

But then, over browsing in Chapters, I did succumb to temptation and pick up a new graphic novel.  Always loved Disney's movie version of The Rocketeer, but I've never read the original Dave Stevens comics.  Skimming the graphic novels section, I noticed that the Dave Stevens originals were just released in a shiny new trade paperback.  I figured the $20 would be more than worth it. 

And you know the formula to these blog entries by now.  No trip to West Edmonton Mall is complete without going to see a movie.  I figured I would go see Mad Max: Fury Road.  Mad Max is one of those embarrassing gaps in my personal film history.  Besides fuzzy memories of watching Beyond Thunderdome on TV when I was a kid, I haven't seen any of them.  But with phenomenally good reviews and some insane-looking trailers, I figured it would be worth checking out.

Our hero Max is captured by a gang to essentially be used as an unwilling blood donor.  This gang is led by Immortan Joe, who has fashioned a cult around himself.  When one of Immortan Joe's top drivers, the Imperator Furiosa, goes rogue and tries to smuggle Immortan Joe's harem of unwilling wives to safety, Max soon gets swept up in the battle and helps Furiousa and the women on their race to safety.  And what results is an insane car chase across the desert. 

I found this movie to be really, really, good.  From what I gather, Mad Max has always been a man of few words, and Tom Hardy does pretty good doing just that.  Charlize Theron is easily Max's equal as Furiosa, a woman who's done terrible things and hopes this one act will offer some form of redemption.  And the car chases are thrilling, and exciting and just very, very good.  My main quibble is that there's so many car chases, that it wears you down after a bit. 

I give it 3 out of 4 nibs.  The complete review is on my website. 

And with that, my day in the city was at an end.  I decided to take the long way home, and make a side trip to Spruce Grove for supper at Carls Jr.  Yeah, it's been around for about a year now, but it still has the novelty of being new.  Not a lot of Carls Jrs in this part of Canada yet, and taking the long way out to Spruce Grove just gets me out of the city quicker.  I decided to sample their El Diablo Burger.  Deep friend jalapenos on a burger.  That was...interesting. 

I started heading for home, my favourite podcasts playing on my car stereo.  Something has been done for the long weekend, so I can spend the rest of it curled up in the fetal position, waiting for traffic tickets to arrive.  To date, none have, but who knows?  This may be the first.

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