Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Conclusion to Le Blog de Montreal

I know I'm quite late in finishing my Montreal recap. I could chalk it up to being busy, but that would just be a downright lie. So let's attribute it to total laziness and put it all behind us, shall we?

Now when we last left off, I was becoming quite acquainted with "Le Restroom" on "Le Cruise", since I felt like "Le Crap."

"I have a question, Dan," you state in an inquisitively perturbed fashion.
"Did you beat the lame French puns into the ground all week?"

The next night, we went to a French-ish restaurant with my Mom and her two colleagues. Her one co-worker, Cristina, swore up and down that I needed to try Poutine, which consists of French Fries smothered in gravy. Since I had eaten pretty healthy throughout the week (and likely burned off three days worth of calories with the amount of walking I had done), I was game for some French artery-clogging goodness.

I had hardly eaten at all that day, so gravy fries (tm) didn't sound appetizing as a strictly stand-alone mealsnackfood(tm). As I perused the menu, however, I noticed that standard American fare (grilled cheese, hot dogs, burgers, etc) were more than $20 apiece. I also noticed that each said item had the words "foie gras" in front of it. Initially, I had hoped "foie gras" was French for "freaking good", because the thought of eating "Freaking Good Grilled Cheese" not only sounded appetizing, but like a genius Franco-American marketing slogan.

But no.

For those not up on their French or bird innards, allow me to share the definition of "foie gras:"

foie gras

n : a pate made from goose liver (marinated in cognac) and truffles [syn: pate de foie gras]

If you just felt a little bit of vomit in the back of your throat, you are officially feeling my pain. Now apparently, goose liver is quite a delicacy, to which I asked my dinnermates..."If it's such a delicacy, why is it on every menu item?" So I ended up sticking with the aforementioned gravy fries. Plus, $5.25 for Poutine was a wee tad more reasonable than paying $25 for eating food topped with Donald Duck's internal organs.

So of course, this meant that my Poutine was covered with Donald Duck's internal organs.

Apparently, you must specify that you don't want your fries topped with food that visually resembles Alpo. Luckily, I was able to scrape the alleged delicacy off my gravy fries, which were quite delicious as a standalone dish. However, imagine my shock when, despite the fact the foie gras never came within a three-foot radius of my mouth, the bill jumped from $5.25 to $24.00. Fortunately for me, I didn't pay the bill. Unfortunately for my Mom, she committed to this being my "birthday dinner." And just so you don't think I'm heartless, I did offer to reimburse her, but she politely declined.

The next day, it was time for my return to the good ol' U.S. of A Place With No Foie Gras (I'm sure it's served somewhere, but the cheap joke only works if I assume it's only a French-only thing). Unfortunately, my return wouldn't be a smooth one, as I was the lucky recipient of the "random check" at the Security Checkpoint in Montreal. And oh boy, was that fun. If you're ever in the mood to be publicly violated in front of several people, I highly recommend it (though since it's "random", I guess you wouldn't get much say in the matter). In all fairness, the officer was very friendly throughout the process. However, my main problem was that the officer was very "friendly" throughout the process. I'm just going to end it there, because the flashbacks of a gloved hand getting ever-so-close to my guys is just a bit much to bear. Though I guess I can say I now know what it's like to be a guest at the Neverland Ra...

Alright seriously. I'll stop now.

Before I sign off (and crumble to the floor in a fetal position), here are a few pictures from the trip...

I should have known it was a mistake to wear a Flyers sweatshirt in Canadien Country, as I ended up getting mocked by a 70-year-old man over it.

I'm not sure what had me more sadly excited...the fact that a stop sign was in both French and English or the fact that I was almost as tall as it.

I need to start buying more cereal.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

We Interrupt Dan's Montreal Recap For This News of Doom and Gloom


Note: Conclusion of Montreal Recap still forthcoming

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Update from the Great White North

Yesterday was the first full day of actual sessions. Yes, believe it or not, I actually attended most of them. I'm not going to sit here and say I got anything out of them, but going is 9/10 of the law (Source: Dan's Law).

After a long day of learning nothing, we went to a light show at the Notre Dame Basilica, followed by a dinner cruise. Now anyone who knows me knows that while I'm a strong believer in God, I'm not big on the whole "going to Church" thing. However, the Basilica was absolutely, breathtakingly amazing. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it in my entire life. The "light show" inside the church to demonstrate its history was a tad on the cheesy side, but the building itself was just beyond words.

Unfortunately, the subsequent dinner cruise didn't invoke the same feelings of awe and amazement as much as it invoked feelings of nausea and, well, more nausea. I estimate that I ate roughly $8 worth of the paid-in-advance $75 meal, a price which, once again, did not include sodas. I don't know what evil demonic illness possessed me, but I do feel better today. My only guess is that it was divine punishment for saying "damn" in church when I tried to take a picture of the crucifix and the flash didn't go off.

I have two sessions left for the day (or one, depending on my level of apathy). We may be going to Casino de Montreal tonight, which should be a shock to absolutely no one who has known me longer than four minutes. I'll be home early tomorrow night, after which I hope to post some pictureage of the trip.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Montreal So Far: The (Somewhat) Quick and Dirty

Shocker of shockers, my laptop isn't working properly. Don't worry...this isn't like my last trip to Canada where my motherboard went to the big Best Buy in the sky. I'm just not picking up a wired or wireless connection in my hotel room. However, my mom (who is also at the conference) does have a signal with hers. Go fig.

So since it's rather late and my brain isn't functioning at full capacity right now, I'll just give a bulleted recap of the events thus far:
  • You always hear that, for an international flight, you should arrive at the airport at least two hours early. I did just that, and I still had an hour-and-55 minutes to kill after the security checkpoint. Thank God for my Nintendo DS.
  • It was quite the opposite when I arrived in Canada and went through Customs, which had a Disney-like queue line (albeit one that moved relatively quickly). All this to prove that I wasn't smuggling M-80s or bananas.
  • Once I arrived in Canada, I bore witness to one of the most confounding acts of wasted productivity I've ever seen. I paid for a round-trip shuttle to and from my hotel, Le Saint Sulpice (a name I have butchered at least five times already). Now follow me on this one. First, the bus driver (who we'll call FiFi) spoke absolutely zero English, so I had absolutely zero clue if I was approaching my stop or not. As it turns out, it was all a moot point, as the "shuttle" only took as to a bus terminal, where we had to get ANOTHER bus to the actual hotel. This is where we reach high levels of screwed-uptitude. FiFi pulled into parking spot #19. She told us (through a translator) that we needed to wait by spot #17 for our new bus. The Feefster then proceeded to pull out of spot 19, pull INTO spot 17, and pick up passengers who were GOING to the airport. Bear in mind that spot 19 and spot 17 were roughly 50 feet from one another. Finally, our new driver (who we won't call FiFi) pulls into spot 19 to take us to our destination. If you have a headache after reading that, all I can say...feel my pain.
  • As I alluded to earlier, I seemingly overestimated the amount of English spoken in Montreal (i.e., there hardly is any). That may be a slight exaggeration, though I quickly learned that everyone automatically assumes you speak French (especially considering I'm much more frequently greeted with "bon jour" than "what up.")
  • In case you were wondering (and I know you weren't), there are no such things as free refills in Canada. I keep forgetting about this fact until I get my restaurant bill and utter the words "Monsseur Fuck-air" under my breath. Oh, and there's no such thing as "complimentary bread"'s a damn appetizer.
  • About 60% of the television channels in my hotel room are in French. You have not lived until you've seen South Park dubbed in another language. Not even Telemundo provided such quality entertainment.
  • Despite the fact I've been to Canada once before, I'm still not used to the fact that my room's thermostat only goes up to 30. Seriously Canada...Celsius? C'mon now.
  • Number of people I've seen that look like Gerard Depardieu: 3.
  • Two days in Canada, and I have yet to hear one single person say "aboot." I guess it goes back to the whole "hardly anyone here speaks English" thing.

Well, that's it for now. Despite my usual pessmistic-sounding ranting, I'm actually having a fantastic time and, truth be told, it is an absolutely beautiful city. I'll hopefully be able to provide another update before I return to the States on Friday.

And, more importantly, hopefully I'll hear at least ONE person say "aboot."

Until next time...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm (Legally) Crossing the Border

Tomorrow, I'm headed to Montreal for a week-long Conference of Unfunnery (tm). Since I'll have my laptop with me this time, I hope to provide semi-regular updates of a blogged nature while I'm there (mainly to avoid my Britannica-like length of last year's recap from the Seattle conference).

So until my first update, I bid adieu.

Until next time...

Friday, May 19, 2006

I Really Tried to Avoid "Oops, I Did It Again" For My Title, But It's Friday and My Brain is Fried

Is it wrong that I have now officially put Britney's baby on my Dead Pool?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What Dan Learned Last Week

Time for the tried-and-true reflection of Dan's cerebral consumption of the ridiculous and inane...
  • The vision of a 200-pound drunk woman dancing quite whitely at a concert will haunt my dreams forever...
  • I cannot wrap presents to save my life. Unfortunately, it took me an entire roll of wrapping paper to figure that out...
  • If Wikipedia is correct (and there's no reason to believe it isn't *cough*), Jackoff the Clown will make his feature film debut in the summer (Credit to Mike:
  • I still cannot get used to Chick-Fil-A being on the bottom floor of Granite Run Mall. It's just unnatural...
  • Though I'm about 18 years too late to come to this conclusion, The Adventures of Link is the HARDEST VIDEO GAME EVER...
  • I'm relatively sure that the Bloomin' Onion I ate eight days ago is still swimming around in my system somewhere...
  • As I mentioned in a previous post, today is the day I was supposed to be born, so Happy Supposed-To-Be-My-Birthday to me. Presents are welcome, encouraged, and dare I say, expected...
That is all.

Until next time...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Seriously, WTF?


After bragging that a Google search of "Jackoff the Clown" yielded only one result (leading to my blog), there magically is now a SECOND result that pops up...that isn't mine!

My spirit is crushed.

Getting Medieval on Saturday Knight

On Saturday, Mike, Shana, and Mike's friend Tara ventured to Lyndhurst, NJ to check out Medieval Times, a family-themed dinner-theatreesque show full of violence and bad acting. The show ended up becoming the meat of our travel sandwich, as we used Lyndhurst's central location to (re)visit Red Bank and (rerere)visit New York City.

So I wisheth thou art ready for a recapeth of our day...


Red Bank

The first stop on our mystical journey was Red Bank, NJ. As you probably do not recall, we visited Red Bank back in February. If you need a refresher, feel free to check out first. Just skip the part about White Castle, since I don't wish sympathy pains upon you for reading about my lower intestine's battle with the Sliders.

Ok, done? Sweet, onward we move.

Now we returned to the town to show Shana and Tara the Secret Stash and the Quik-Stop. Yes, we once again traveled an hour-and-a-half to show off a comic book shop and a convenience store, both because of their relationship to Kevin Smith. But this time, Mike and I had an ulterior motive. We wanted to introduce our guests to New Jersey's favorite son...

That's right. Jackoff the Clown, in all his masturbatory glory.

Since last time's visit with Jack came out of nowhere...

Ok, really poor choice of words.

Since last time's visit with Jack was our first encounter with said clown, we were only able to get a drive-by picture. This time, we designated this as an official stop on our trip. So being the only human beings alive wanting to get our picture taken with a 20-foot self-gratifying clown, our picture taken with a 20-foot self-gratifying clown.
The "God Shot" (a/k/a, my COMMS degree finally getting put to use after four years)

Mike, doing his best impersonation of JTC

My Photoshopped prototype of a JTC action figure.

On a side note, complete boredom not only led me to Photoshopping fake toys. I also Googled "Jackoff the Clown" to discover that yes, I am the only documented person to have come up with the name "Jackoff the Clown." However, that wasn't the funny (sad) part. I urge you to also Google our circus freak friend, if only to see the site's "Did you mean..." suggestion. I laughed for a good five minutes straight, but that's likely tied into my complete and total lack of maturity.

Alright, let's move forward before the last remaining shreds of my dignity are shattered. That's for later in the blog.

Medieval Times

After our quite-brief Red Bank excursion, we made our way to our "official" destination, Medieval Times. Now despite the fact the show starts at 4:00 PM, the tickets curiously told us to arrive by 2:30. Well, because we spent an inordinate amount of time with a cardboard clown and buying expired fried rice at the Quik-Stop, we were running a bit late. Fortunately, a quick phone call to the restaurant let us know that our impending tardy arrival was "no problem." We only ended up arriving about 15 minutes late, as we officially arrived at...

*Trumpets Blaring*

Glorious, isn't it?

Once we arrived, we went to the front entrance to turn in our medieval tickets (that were printed off the internet). A buxom wench greeted us at the front door, who was obviously very much into her character:

"Welcome my lords and ladies to Medieval Times, where..."
*Another employee mentions something to her*
"Put her wherever, I don't give a shit! (turns attention to us) Now if you..."
*Blank stares from us*
"Uh, sorry. Now if my lords and ladies would go to the front desk, they will take your tickets."

You're probably wondering how we responded. Believe it or not, we were actually very well-composed...

Until we entered the next room. Then we laughed our asses off.

Before the show started, we discovered why the tickets recommended that we arrive an hour-and-a-half early...that gives you 90 full minutes to waste your money on medieval merchandise, including medieval cups with medieval spinny lights that cost 10 medieval dollars. Unfortunately, they did not have the life-sized catapult I wanted. Maybe it was on backorder.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention ye olde restroom, which featured the most awkwardly placed urinal in modern (or medieval) history. So of course, I had to get my picture taken with it...
I don't know about you, but I tend to get "stage fright" when I'm peeing right next to someone washing his hands.

I guess I forgot to mention that we were each given Burger King-like crowns when we entered the place. Now each crown corresponded to the "knight" we were Pavlovianly (it's a word now, ok) supposed to cheer. Apparently, the coordinators never saw a Crayola box with more than four crayons, as the colors of the six knights were: red, yellow, blue, black, red-yellow, and black-white. Cute. Color ambiguity aside, we proudly wore the crowns throughout the day, mainly so we could capture more stupid pictures like this...

Tall guy in short throne + Short guy in tall throne = comedy

What can I say? We're tourons (tourist + moron) at heart.

Once we finally entered the "arena", we sat at our dinner table to discover that the rumors we heard were quite true...there were no medieval utensils in sight. Ever try to drink vegetable soup out of a bowl without a spoon? Ok, me too, but that was in the privacy of my home. Anyway, that was the first course. The waiters/servants/buxom wenches then brought out our main course, which consisted of a spare rib, a potato, and a chicken that could be best described as "freaking huge." Seriously, I want to know what growth hormone this clucker was on. Hmmm, maybe ingesting some HGH-riddled chicken gave me a sudden growth spurt.

*Runs to the mirror*


The show itself was pretty damned entertaining, especially because of the King who randomly slipped between a British and an American accent. And our ambiguously colored knight pretended to do well for awhile, but got his ass fake kicked by the black-white knight. I can say the word "fake" with 100% certainty, considering half the knights went straight for the bar after the show (still in costume, mind you). It was at the bar where Shana tried to politely make small talk with the Red Knight, who let us know that he's doing this to work through college. He also let us know in no uncertain terms that he gets paid jack to pretend to get stabbed by a sword. I didn't want to ask, but I think it's a safe bet that he's a COMMS major. I just didn't want to be the one to tell him that he's reached his career peak.

After the Medievalness, we hopped into our chariot (a/k/a, Mike's Neon) and made our way to New York City. Fortunately, we had plenty of time for our nuclear chickens to settle, as we went smack dab into Lincoln Tunnel traffic. Of course, anyone who knows anything about NYC traffic knows that assholes are going to cut you off left and right. And of course, anyone who knows anything about me knows that I have no qualms about flipping off the culprit and taking a picture of it...

I'm a classy gent, I tell ya.

After making it through the endless tunnel of suck, we eventually found a parking lot where we were told in no uncertain terms that we better be back by midnight, or else. Well, the attendant didn't say, "Or else." His English wasn't THAT good.

Shana suggested that we go see the David Blaine "exhibit" at Lincoln Center. Considering I'm always eager to see grown human beings drown themselves for seven days, I was game. Now with my psychology background (i.e., I took a Psychology class in college), I'm guessing Blaine didn't get a lot of attention as a kid, so he consistently feels the need to "act out." Normally, I'm guessing the right course of action would be to ignore the child (or, in this case, grown man) and hope that he learns to find more rational ways to garner attention. Or you can do what we did and stand in line for 20 minutes for the opportunity to take pictures for five whole seconds...

Now as I type this, Blaine is about 60 minutes away from attempting to hold his breath for nine minutes while escaping the bubble, wrapped in chains. If he survives, here's to hoping that he can find himself a not immersing yourself in a water-filled bubble for a week. Or Chess.

After that little excursion, we walked around Times Square, which of course means an automatic visit to the Toys R Us. Right outside the store, Mike and I became uberexcited when we saw Spiderman on the sidewalk, so much so that Mike practically bowled down half of Manhattan to get a picture with him. Granted, this Spiderman was about 5'6 and had a gut, but's still freaking Spiderman. Unfortunately, our uberexcitedness turned to uberdisappointment when he informed us that a picture with him would cost 2 bucks. If his Spideysenses were tingling at this point, it was probably because I was sending telepathic messages that he could go screw himself.

After hitting Toys R Us (and wishing bad things upon shriveled-up magicians and homeless superheroes), we continued our walk through NYC, bouncing from subway to subway to justify our $7 all-day pass. Of course, Mike + Dan + Subway = Mike and Dan balancing bottle caps on their heads (much to the chagrin of Shana, who witnessed our patheticism on our last NYC trip). Now rather than give you a blow-by-blow recap of "Capsize", I'll just give the Cliff Notes version:


Not the winner

Tara eventually joined the fray as well, though I'm not sure if she'd want that picture plastered on the internet (and I sure as hell wouldn't blame her). As for me and we look like two guys who give a shit?

Didn't think so.

Until next time...

Postscript:Though it's not up yet, be sure to check out Mike's inevitable recap at He'll likely fill in the details that I'm less likely to admit.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is Dan the Catalyst For the Apocalypse?

Every year, on June 6, yours truly celebrates the anniversary of my birthday (because when you think about it, you only really get one "birthday"). Obviously, as one gets older, birthday anniversaries become less of, "Woohoo! It's my (anniversary of my) birthday!" and more like "Sigh. It's my (anniversary of my) birthday."

This year's anniversary doesn't quite instill the same sense of apathy as previous years. The more operative word for the big 2-6 would be "fear." You see, since I was about 15, I figured out that this day was coming. And ever since, I have developed an overarching sense of deep concern for not only myself, but for the rest of humankind.

"Dan?", you ask.
"Yeah?", I reply.
"What has you so concerned?", you follow-up.

Well besides my gramatically deplorable use of commas, I have one TINY little bigass worry. The date of my (anniversary of my) birthday this year?


Um, dammit?

Truth be told, I started becoming slightly less insanely concerned as the date rapidly approaches. I mean, it's just a date, right? Well, that's what I thought until I was driving on Conchester Highway yesterday and saw a billboard that simply said:

"06.06.06: The Signs Are All Around You."

For the brief few seconds that I was still in traffic, I quickly began to analyze the sign, looking for the tiny fine print or the clear indication that this was some movie advertisement. Not only was there no other text to be found, but I quickly come to another conclusion...this is the same billboard that always has some Christian "Jesus is coming" propaganda plastered on it.


Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit.

So before you begin peltering me with comments, blaming me for the world's imminent demise, please remember...I was supposed to be born on May 16. Blame my mom instead.

Until next time *gulp*...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Say It Ain't So...

On Friday, Randy and I went to Atlantic City. Please, hold your exasperation until the end.

We both made decent accountings of ourselves at the poker tables, pocketing a little bit of extra cash. But my poker victory didn't taste quite as sweet as it should have, as I discovered that I lost a dear friend of mine. For years, I've written about this friend. We had our ups and downs, sure. But deep down, I really would like to think that this friend gave just as much to me as I did to said amigo.

So imagine my shock as I ventured to the nickel slot area of Bally's to meet up with a friend I had not connected with in several months, only to find that he wasn't there. I thought maybe he decided to play a trick on me by hiding in a different location than our normal meeting place.

But as I continued to look in every nook and cranny of this smoke-filled den of sin, reality sank in more and more. My friend wasn't hiding...he was gone for good. I didn't want to believe it. I truly, deeply did not want to believe it.

Unfortunately, it's all too real.

Unfortunately, it's all too true.

Unfortunately, it's all too soon.

So with a heavy heart, I say goodbye. Goodbye to a friend. my bitch.


I would blog more, but I'm just too upset. It's just a cold hard lesson that sometimes, in the Big Wheel of Life, you only get one chance to spin it all the way around...

Because if you don't, you just may not get to spin again.

Until next time...