Sunday, July 30, 2006

TODAY IN CPNY

My DAD is trying to get my brother to become a "Staff Analyst Trainee" at "the Transit." This after CMike took a wage job at the UVA Hospital.

I thought they had given up on this practice after trying to force me to become a "Bus Maintenance Intern" six years ago. Preferred majors included "Customer Service," and the depot was on Long Island and a good 5 miles from the nearest inaccessible commuter rail line. Still, I got the usual "WHEA TRYIN TA HELP YOU!" and "YA FUCKIN LAZY!"

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This post fulfills the compulsory "post from LimoLiner" requirement"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

jittery

still weird after the car crash. will try to post more travel photos. still going to write about bbq trip.

industrial security

In January, I was illegally detained by four Boston police officers in nearby Everett for taking a picture of a ship near a power plant. Because taking pictures of stuff anyone can see equals threat to national security.

I'm proud to announce that a random Google ad has alerted me to this poster of all current and proposed natural gas storage facilities in North America. If you're looking for stuff to blow up, you can start by looking at your bedroom wall.

As for me, I'm just going to keep taking pictures.

Friday, July 21, 2006

"Dakota Fanning, 12, raped in her next film"

Definitely one of the strangest and most inaccurate CNN.com headlines ever. Like a sucker, I clicked on the video link. What played was a short commercial for Dakota Fanning, child supergenius. Of particular laughability was the bottom-screen title

WILL RAPE = OSCAR?

juxtaposed with pictures of pretty Dakota smiling on the red carpet.

The whole thing sounded like an ad to me. Meanwhile, two links down on the homepage, was a story about a guy on Long Island trying to rape internet 13-year-olds in graveyards.

Global Urban Filth Update

From the nascent photo sector of this site:

Global Urban Flith Five


Abbey reports that Teo's, pictured above, no longer offers its trademark tiny weenies because they've gone out of production. I'm not excited about finding out what may have replaced them.

New NYC Garbage Plan

At long last, the city has come up with a solution to the idiotic problem of trucking every piece of municipal waste away (thanks, Giuliani). Read about it here.

Not surprisingly, the rich bastards who live by the 91st St. transfer station in Manhattan are protesting its re-opening. Who should deal with their trash? Minority neighborhoods, of course. Remember, NY is 2/3 "minority."

The city is going to need a lot more tugboats (again) to move all that garbage around. So there will be even more deckhand positions opening up...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

???

why do i keep watching limp bizkit videos on youtube?

I <3 online savings.

It's like free, FDIC-insured money. You fill out a form, and they pay you.

CapitalOne is offering a 5% APY, minimum deposit of $1. ING can't keep up with 4.35%.

By comparison, Bank of America offers a .6% APY; Wachovia clocks in as the most pathetic with .4%.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

At the Clinton, NC flea market, you can buy an old $20 tape deck for $45

Or you can take these pictures instead. July 8, 2006.



The tiny Clinton Terminal Railroad sleeps through the weekend.



Sunday, July 8, 2006. Clinton, NC. These venerable engines are CF7s, which the Santa Fe built in the 70s using the scrapped parts of locomotives from the 50s.

The "break room" in back of Jimmy's Bar-B-Que in Lexington, NC


July 8, 2006.

Two instances of musical culture outside of Ayden, NC

Both shot two weekends ago.


Keep on commercializing that "public" space...

OfficeMax and Canadian Tire are just two of the chains now offering free coffee and wireless internet in their stores. But I like tea.

sometimes you realize

that there are around 20 toy pieces of construction equipment on the mantel in your bedroom, all spray painted black. you were going to make something with them but you haven't yet.

you need scrap pieces of electronics to get this done. remote controls, vcrs, printers, toasters, computers, anything.

please send me your dead electronics.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

goodish news

my arm is not fractured, but it sure does hurt.

Monday, July 17, 2006

canned obituary for mickey spillane

nourish and protect

THE BRAIN

"How much?"

Rather than write something new, here's something I was sketching on my work PC the last time I took the train to NY in early June.

Also, I may have a fractured bone in my forearm.


---
How much?

A few months ago, some neurons in my head did something and I ran a blog headline that said, "THE COMMODIFICATION OF DEBT-->THE PRO-LIFE PROFIT MOTIVE."

I didn't write anything else. You were supposed to think, oh, how interesting. How much is a human life worth to money-removing corporate entities? How much does it cost to feed and clothe a human? To buy it lifetime life insurance? If it subscribes to typical American standards, how much does it spend on auto leasing, gas, repairs, and collision insurance between ages 18 and 80? Housing? Textbooks? Vacations? Music? Tuition? How much money does the Average American spend at McDonald's in a lifetime (figure adjusted for inflation)?

We're worth a lot to those who seek our worth. What amazes me is how many new ways our economy assigns value and then removes that value from our pockets. Today's Globe features an article on forced advertising on school buses. A company called Bus Radio will pay your kid's school district to install its satellite radios. The bus then force feeds your kid "age appropriate" corporate pop culture mixed with ten minutes of commercials per hour.

If you watch television, you can probably tell what a big market kids are. But I seem to only watch "Seinfeld" reruns, so this comes as an even bigger jolt to me.

At any rate, I'm glad my only school commute involved spending 2 1/2 hours on New York City buses and subways. I saw more interesting things in those four years than it's possible for the current big box generation to see in a lifetime. Now that so much public space has been both privatized and commercialized--malls, stip malls, supermarkets, bigger boxes--it's as if we're living in a frigid casino with endless cheap booze. Anesthized by flatscreen smiles, the latest [blank], kids are transported from big box to big box in gigantic suburban deathmobiles, never having to worry about a thing except for where to spend money next.

are kids good for the economy?
where does money come from?
crumbs, crumbs, crumbs [reference to Sherman McCoy in THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, who describes bond trading to his daughter as the practice of sweeping billions of cake crumbs off the floor]
---

bad

car wreck this weekend. upside down, then backwards. still alive, abbey too. still getting erroneous bills from harvard vanguard medical associates.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Back in the Can't-Do City

The Big Dig killed a motorist yesterday. Several tons of "debris" fell on her head.

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Don't worry, a full summary of the North Carolina trip is forthcoming.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Greenville, NC

The NC phase of SUPERVACATION has commenced. I feel back in my photographic element--mountains are pretty, but roadisde cultural decay is more photogenic. Great bbq already has been had. Professional transience continues.

this is the best

sitting in dan's air-conditioned studio in queens, eating $24 of domino's industrial food at 2am on a "work night," trying to escape writing about my awful upbringing by writing about my awful upbringing, watching "dazed and confused" for the first time. off to NC in...a few hours. back to abbey on monday. this is fun! if only i had a musical instrument with me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

brain just went on vacation, finally -- expect no more for the next few hours

From the Dan:

Create and destroy! Write! Photo! Blog! Make something that will last until after the nuclear destruction of the world. The internet will live on long after we are dust and gravel! Google me forever! After I die I will still get web hits! Sponsor my mind! The internet has no physical base, its out there, long after you or I. Like a gravestone in the ether, it will mark your passing.

Meanwhile, Back in the States: Money continues to serve as compensation for lost loved ones and stress

About a month ago, a Brooklyn girl was run over by a school bus driven by an 8-year-old classmate who broke into it. Now the family is SUING EVERYONE! Double word score for them, because they're trying to increase their profits by saying their son saw the accident and should be paid off for his emotional distress.

Can I sue my all-boys school for never getting laid before I graduated?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Today's Vancouver Harbor Traffic, July 3, 2006






My new camera is the shit. I've been doing this since I was 11, and now it's starting to look like it.

I haven't checked my work email in ten days,

and I have not been this happy in the last two to four years.

A 'new york' 'hipster' in Vancouver: My Wasted Retelling of Hipster Subversion that Includes Several Homo-"Phobic" and Misogynist Adjectives/Nouns

That Are Only Somewhat Socially Accepted at This Point And Were Acquired Through Upbringing in the Actual City of New York: Read at Your Own Risk

This from last night around 3am.


Hooooo! So blasted, can only use one eye to type. After a day of watching meatheads, their meathead bear-dogs, and their Amazonian, meathead sluts with fake double d silicone installations at the transit-accessible Kits Beach, we settled into our beloved Cambie for a night of pitcher-slammin' madness. It did not go well. Every male in the bar was in hot, meatheaded competition for the same three Quebecois fucksluts, scantily clad and sitting by happenstance at the opposite end of our mammoth table. Some superqueer "hipster" "from" "new york" inserted himself into the dead conversation that was taking place next to us. Nobody around here travels alone, so I immediately suspected a problem. He literally sat down next to us and said out loud, "Where are you from I'M FROM NEW YORK!" Of course, this this assholic transplant had just sat down next to two guys from Queens.

Said fag was wearing a communist Cuban revolutionary cap, thick-rimmed hipster glasses, and a $80 t-shirt under an unnecessarily cool flannel shirt. Not to mention the necessary stubble. If I were still living in New York, I would never have looked at this person. But I innocently (!) asked where the "new yorker" was from. Manorville, Suffolk, LI. Over an hour from the Actual City. Said "new yorker" went on and on about his career in advertising, how he Knew what the Client Wanted, how he Advocated for His Artists, and how his Blackberry Connected Him to the Protestant Work World. He also mentioned that Work lets him come in late if he "fuck[s] a hot blonde or something." This guy was even worse than me. Worser still, he repeatedly claimed to be Awesome because he was "from" "new york," which deeply outweighed his years in filthy San Francisco and his decades on Long Island. He continued to try to hit on the Quebecois fucksluts, pissing off all the head-shaved meatheads at the table, and he repeatedly told everyone he was "from" "new york," expecting them to drop to their knees and suck his dick at the mere mention of the place. We shared a pitcher of Kokanee with him (three-way split, how can you say no?), but the final straw came when Dan took a piss and this fakeass suburban hipster scum had the balls to tell me that not only was he from the same island as me (bullshit!) but that he was absolutely for sure going to stay in this hostel tonight (as in, with me) because his travel buddies at the YWCA had abandoned him (surprise!) and he was going to lie and charm his way into our double.

The second he left to take a piss, I followed him to the restroom/trough. The second Dan emerged from said restroom, I rushed him upstairs, to triple-locked safety and immunity from Vice-magazine-reading, giant-plastic-rim wearing, overpriced-t-shirt-buying, advertising-working hipster scum. Amen.

If this is what "new yorkers" are like now, I'm still glad I left. Where to next?

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P.S. DAMAGE HOMOPHOBIA, MISOGYNY, AND RACISM BY NEUTRALIZING NEGATIVE LANGUAGE! I'M FUCKING SERIOUS!

Monday, July 03, 2006

In praise of Waves Coffee, and of Vancouver

We've made it to Vancouver, returned the car, spent a day at the beach. Three and a half more days here. I've just put up no less than thirty new posts at Waves Coffee, a new chain of two TWENTY-FOUR HOUR COFFEE SHOPS WITH FREE WIRELESS.

It's got that "pan-Asian" flair that you can't point your finger at. Something about the tiling and the fountains. It also has great chai.

If they had places like this in Boston, I'd like living there more.

If the hundreds of thousands of Asians in Queens would open up a place like this, I'd move back.

For now, I'll consider this coffee shop in Vancouver my only option.

"JAPANESE WOOD CARVINGS" IN PACIFIC RIM NAT'L PARK

THE PARKSVILLE, BC CANADA DAY PARADE IN WHICH DAN ALMOST ENTERED US

YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE: NANAIMO GRAFFITI

SPIDER IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

DEAD BIRDS

We killed the first one out on the Albertan wheat plains. It tried to jog across the road quite lazily. As the white, blood-spattered momivan barreled down at about 120 kph, the bird did absolutely nothing nothing to get out of the way. Its New York cousins would not even have tried to cross. Only when it was too late did the bird attempt to take off. It was promptly sucked under the minivan. The rear view mirror showed it rolling and bouncing down the road, trailed by a cloud of black feathers and what looked like its own head. The Jetta behind us ran it over, too. My First Roadkill.

The second death came outside of Port Alberni, on the Island of Vancouver. A tiny, sparrowlike creature made the ill-timed decision to fly across the road just as we passed by. The thing scared the shit out of me by appearing about a foot in front of my face, made it three-fourths the width of the car, then appeared to get sucked noiselessly into the airfoil and was swept over the right edge of the windshield.

The cruel splatter of translucent guts on the glass eliminated any fantasy of a happy ending. On with the windshield wipers.

BACK TO SHANGHAI FROM THE ROBERTS POINT SUPERPORT IN TSAWWASSEN, BC

THE GREAT FLAG OF BRITISH COLUMBIA FLYING ON THE FERRY QUEEN OF ALBERNI

THE LOVELY CAMBIE HOSTEL IN NANAIMO WHERE WE ATTEMPTED TO SLEEP


The one in Vancouver is much, much nicer.

PILOTIN' THE FERRY

WAITIN' FOR THE FERRY

COPYRIGHT HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA

It says that on our national park maps. What the F does that mean? We're going to find out.

COMMERCIALIZATION OF NATURE COMPLETE!!

HUBCAPS IN GRINDROD, BC


Nanaimo, the Island, and the Rainforest

Friday, we drove. And drove and drove and drove. Again, pathetic speed limits and even more pathetic drivers hampered our efforts to get to Vancouver Island. On the island, there are two tiny cities. Victoria is the capital of BC and is supposed to be a totally British tourist trap. We had no interest. Nanaimo is an even tinier city with a history of depression and drug use. Plus, it has a Cambie hostel. So we tried to get there.

We arrived at the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen at about 4, but had to wait two hours for a boat. The terminal proved its own posh little world. A mall sold upscale, overpriced treats. Two actors, one in a cow suit, provided a live action infomercial for the Daisy Dairy Co. to all the toddlers in the terminal. Children were invited to sing, over and over:

Moo-moo-moo-moo!
Moo-moo-moo!
Daisy makes it good for you!

It was fucking annoying, and it's still stuck in my head. Who could possibly feel comfortable taking in part in producing an infomercial for kids? From the jingle writer to the singer to the performers. I want to join the alliance for an ad-free childhood, or whatever it's called.

Fed up with Daisy, I used my new 300mm lens to check out the action at the nearby port. A Chinese containership left (great shots), an Israeli one was still unloading, and a huge bulk ship was taking on probably 100,000 tons of Canadian coal for whatever developing nation bid the highest.

Once the ferry got underway, true relaxation commenced. People read on the ferry, just like they read on the train. The ferry even has its own bookstore! Dan caught up on blog posts, and I read some more Thomas (not Tom) Wolfe.

Once we got onto Vancouver Island, I was a little surprised. It looked more like Atlantic Canada, with lumber mills everywhere. Nanaimo's run-down downtown boasted a scary casino in a strip mall. We checked right into the Cambie there, where the bar actually was the front desk. Our room was a dark, windowless piece of shit with a giant bunk bed made from rough cut lumber. The walls were painted garish non-colors, almost orange and almost cream. It could have been 1966 in there. Immediately we went downstairs and drank. Almost three pitchers of Kokanee, in fact, with some burgers to wash it down. The nightly entertainment, for which we escaped paying the cover charge, consisted of Mouth Full of Bees, a seemingly straightedge band with an anorexic male violin/guitar player and a chubby kid singer who dedicated songs to his son, and Autopilot, a friendly trio all the way from Saskatoon, SK. The were like a baby Nirvana, with a longhaired weirdo playing strat and singing, an anorexic waif playing incredibly nimble pick-bass, and a really outgoing lefty drummer who looked exactly like my brother.

As the bands played, basic cable broadcast sports news and then a pretty hard-core porn show called "Sin Cities." It was distracting. Nothing is censored in order to Save The Children in Canada, not even classic rock radio. Signs, signs, everywhere a sign, fuckin' up the scenery, breakin' my mind. It's embarrassing to finally hear the real versions of songs you've heard your whole life, or at least since you turned 13.

We really wanted to see the old-growth rainforest in Pacific Rim Nat'l Park, so we tried to get up at 6 and race over in time to return our rented car. Neither of us set our cell phones, and there was no window, so there was no sunlight. We got up at 830, and emerged from the Cambie looking destroyed. Surprisingly, a group of four girls from Quebec had also just emerged, looking overprimped, shiny, and ready for a day at the mall. We had no idea how they could have looked so together after spending a night there.

We called the car rental place, and they had already authorized an additional day of rental. So we lumbered across the island to the Pacific Rim. Dan took a bad turn end ended us up in a Canada Day parade detour in the town of Parksville. By the time we got to the park, it was noon. We were glad to hear that the big, bad government of Canada had decided to make all national park admission free in honor of the country's 139th birthday.

If you've never been to a rainforest, go to one! Even at the chilly, northern reaches of the Pacific Rim, the diversity and abundance of life is utterly amazing. Overwhelming, in fact. Monkeylike bird caws resound from the spruce canopy. Big yellow banana slugs eat holes through whatever leaves they can find (or whatever ones they actually eat). New trees grow out of nutrient rich fallen trunks, and when the trunks are finally decomposed after a few hundred years or so, trees are left standing several feet above the ground. The gentle wooden path built generously by Parks Canada never fails you.

We hear that 2/3 of the Vancouver Island rainforests have been logged, and after seeing all the woodchip barges and log tows (hundreds of logs dragged behind a tug) crossing the Strait of Georgia, it's not hard to imagine how or why.

We also stopped for a long while at Wickaninnish Beach. Shrouds of gray mist covered the spotty crowds of Canada Day revelers, surfers, and sandcastle builders there. More foreboding than the icy water were the heavily eroded dead trees that marked the sand line. There were also many signs telling you that sudden surges will trap you in floating logs and kill you.

An additional hour behind schedule, we high-tailed it back over the winding mountains and 'ululating' scenery, stopping at our first McDonald's of the trip. (The food on this one has been particularly bad--we've already had two feet of Subway each, and I had one lunch that consisted of a vanilla milkshake and a slurpee). We were glad to find that the McD's had little packets of white vinegar and summarily doused our fries with them.

We made the 6:20 ferry from Departure Bay on the Island to Horseshoe Bay on the mainland. The 90-minute ride allowed me to catch up on this writing, the first time I've ever caught up on a big vacation. I still have unfinished posts from my 2004 trip, and I'm pretty sure I gave up on last year's.

We're now arriving at the mainland. We have to check into the Cambie here, ditch the car, and take a cab back downtown for Canada Day revelry. We have five nights downtown--now is the time for the vacation from our vacation! I hope to bike, to continue to learn real photography, and to kick-start some fiction. Five nights and almost five days of Vancouver. I have to make it work.

THE FERRY

In the first ninth of You Can't Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe ponders whether all Americans feel purposeful only when in transit, and most homeless only when at home. It's easy for me to understand that, though I think he may be casting his descriptive net way too wide.

Kelowna

Kelowna, supposedly the fastest growing city in BC, suffers tremendously from the sprawl culture that has damned and engulfed all its sister cities. In fact, the only identifiable element of the place is the drawbridge on its south end. But in the few downtown blocks north of the bridge, Kelowna offers sleaze for every biker and of-age teen slut within 1,000 kilometers. There's the lovely SameSun hostel, where we stayed for $69, and the awfully-old-smelling Willow Inn, which caters to the old biker crowd. We thought it weird that the check-in lady at the latter was also the bartender, but that would be proven normal within a few nights.

We had a great Chinese dinner of ginger beef and special-order salt and pepper pork. The waitress ended all conversations with the word "puffect."

Next, we checked out one of the bars. The service was horrible, but the waiter tried to make it up to us by drawing us a little map of downtown. It featured two strip clubs, the "18-19" club, the "20-23" club, and the "23 and older" club. On the street, everything looked the same. With names like GOTCHA, LEVVEL, and LIQUID ZOO, you couldn't tell one decrepit palace of degeneracy from another. We went to a boring bar, argued with the bartender about our licenses, and left at last call (1), only to find things just getting started on the street.

Hot dog vendors were just setting up their carts outside the clubs (what do they do all day?). They sold both hot dogs and "smokies," which supposedly taste differently. Drunk males vowed to "scope out" each club. A clique of totally obliterated college-age girls walked by in tiny skirts, one of them metronomically hiccuping. Teetering on the brink of immediate vomit and/or unconsciousness, she kept the cotillion in time.

OFFICIAL KELOWNA MANHOLE COVER

OFFICIAL CALGARY MANHOLE COVER


Forgot to get this shot in Edmonton. Forgot to put this one up with the Calgary-trashing post.

Golden, BC

We drove through that night, coming to rest in the town of Golden. I did the motel shopping. The Battle of the Proprietors: skeptical, unfriendly southeast asian guy at the Golden Motel ($75, no internet) or very courteous, professional Indian dude at the Golden Rim ($98, free wireless). The Rim won. Since we didn't know we had switched provinces but not time zones, we were surprised to find that the restaurant there had closed. We hit up a Subway in the nearby truckstop-plex. The scary white trash people inside were scared of us.

Golden provided a much needed respite. We stayed on till almost noon, eating a big breakfast and catching up on picture posting. The pool boy/railing painter reminded us that B.C. is for best chronic and that we needed to get to Vancouver Island, where the female-male ratio is 4-1, bro.

We drove all day, observing many surprisingly slow speed limits. Glacier Nat'l Park was a bust; we hiked a short trail and the glaciers looked pretty unmajestic from the road. In the mountains, you see streams and waterfalls of every blue, green, and white imaginable, but there's nowhere to pull off and snap a shot. We had a nice find in the town of Grindrod, where we stopped at one of those used hubcap barns completely covered in hubcaps. There was a permanent yard sale set up next door, but no one was around, so we took our pictures and got out. We headed south to Kelowna. Everyone we met and everything we read assured us that it was a den of sin.

CHRONIC-LOVIN' HANDIMAN

ANGRY PLASTIC BEAR, GOLDEN, BC

Banff

Bikers lined the highway west to Banff, and maybe one of them picked up the USA cap Dan lost out the van window. Banff is a resort town, a baby Aspen nestled up in the mountains. For some reason, thousands of Japanese visit every year. Probably a quarter to a third of all business are Japanese owned, and almost all stores have bilingual signage. It's pretty weird, considering it's in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.

We visited Sulphur Mountain, which had both a tram and a trail to the top, but Dan made us climb the whole thing. I can hardly breathe mountain air and I never did understand extended physical exercise. Every sun-reflecting tram that passed overhead taunted me for taking the hard way. It took three hours and god knows how much blood sacrificed to the mosquitoes to get to the peak. Once at the lovely observation deck/gift shop/restaurant/tram terminal, I ordered chili fries and two local ales and made fun of everyone there. Japanese people ran the restaurant at the summit, and almost everyone on the observation deck was Japanese. I wondered what it would be like to scale a mountain that didn't have a gift shop at its peak.

Following the climb, we snuck onto the tram down (8 min ride) without paying, and checked out the "hot springs" next door. That's where you pay 7.50 to sit in a big, warm outdoor pool that smells like sulphur and is full of old people in neck braces. There were a lot of young, Japanese people there, too.

After a quick peek at downtown--lined with all sorts of pretentious galleries, overpriced retailers, Japanese gifutu shoppus, and old Japanese people, we hit the highway.

"DO YOU BOYS WORK FOR THE OIL COMPANY?"

No, we don't. But maybe they just don't get Edmonton humor in Calgary. We wore our half-off "YOU'RE IN OIL COUNTRY" t-shirts--half-off because the Oilers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup race--to breakfast at a Smitty's in Calgary. This is what the waitress asked us.

Tuesday, 6.27.06

We capped off Tuesday afternoon with a stop in the Canadian Badlands of Drumheller, an area whose landscape is just a little less dramatic than the badlands of South Dakota that I described here two years ago. We paid a visit to the Royal Tyrrell museum, which boasts some of the coolest reassembled dinosaurs in the world. We also made a compulsory tourist stop at the Hoo Doos, strange-lookin', partially eroded towers of sandstone that look almost anthropomorphic. Denser rock on top of the column fails to erode as the pillar of support wears thinner and thinner.

We also stopped at the World's Largest Dinosaur, a 150-foot replica of the ferocious Albertosaurus. But it was after 5 and the observation deck in the mouth had closed.

Then, onto what will surely prove the biggest disappointment of our trip: Calgary. This city of almost 900,000 is universally praised as a center of commerce and education, 21st century urban planning, arts, humanities, and livability.

It is a fucking shithole. The Trans-Canada "Highway," at the city limit, cuts across farmland (bad sign). Almost immediately thereafter, it's a stoplighted sprawl strip, with nothing but Home Depots and Denny's as far as the eye can see. You can't really see downtown, but it's there. There are a few tall buildings. One says Husky on it (oil co.); one says HP.

After we were rudely and unprofessionally checked into our room at the U of Calgary, we set out to explore. After walking 15 minutes to the "C-Train" (not trolley, light rail, subway, or just train), we each paid $2.25 for tickets that were not collected. We hopped off the train at downtown death alley, a street where trolleys are the only vehicles allowed, and shaggy, homeless, and crazy people are the only ones around. We walked and walked, starving, hoping for dinner. We checked out an entire district that was supposedly cool at one time, yet found only yuppie furniture stores and a bar full of teenage girls. We then hopped a train that went exactly 80 feet to the end of the downtown street trackage and promptly went out of service. We hopped out onto a narrow operator's platform that had no stairs or exit, just a way for the operator to get from one end of the train to the other. The train operator ignored us and made no eye contact whatsoever. Crazy, long haired meth people seethed and hissed among the shuttered storefronts, begging for loonies.

Then we crossed a bridge into what was supposedly another hip supertrendy eating and dining area. Only one restaurant had its lights on at 11:30, but its doors were locked. We took a cab back to the U of C. The cab passed a fried chicken shack, but we opted to eat the bag of bad bbq potato chips stashed in the momivan. We vowed never to return to Calgary again. In the morning we wasted an hour driving around, only to find out that it was actually as bad as it seemed. Insta-suburbs radiated out from downtown, blocks from downtown, and continued forever. In an hour's driving, we spotted maybe two bars. We ate a huge breakfast at a Smitty's, where we were asked if we worked for "the oil company" (see mini-post on this).

HOO DOOS


Read all the text to find out what a hoo doo is.

WORLD'S LARGEST FAKE DINOSAUR, DRUMHELLER, AB

O FLOWERING CACTUS!

THE CANADIAN BADLANDS


FORMER INSECTS

KENT'S FRENCH SERVICE CHINESE BUFFET, STETTLER, AB