Okay! So. It looks like we’ve all survived the supposed typhoon that was bearing down on us. Honestly, aside from the power going out on the first night, it basically amounted to just a heck of a lot of rain. After that first night (which was probably the worst), Tim and I opted to stay out in the RV again instead of escaping into the house and from then on everything was fine, with mostly just the rattle of rain on the roof as constant percussion. I’m rather glad the power didn’t keep going out. I had an awful lot of work to do on the job hunting/job application progression (there are so many steps to get in with the government!) and getting things ready for when I run out of material on Prophecy of the Circle. I’ll have a news post to put up over there soon to explain a bit of my plan to keep content rolling while I’m still without my paints, but I do have the first installment ready! Exciting!
Anyway, as I was saying in an earlier post, Tim and I recently took a trip over to the mainland for a bit. I might as well tell a bit of the tale. 🙂
The whole point of the trip was to go see Conjure One in concert, and that, to me at least, was a Very Big Deal. You see, the main creative force behind Conjure One is Rhys Fulber, and he’s also one of two musicians behind my absolute favorite band of ever, Delerium. Ever since my brother first brought home the Semantic Spaces album when I was in high school, I’ve been enamoured with their music, especially Semantic Spaces, Karma, and Poem. All three of those CDs provided a ton of inspiration for all of my stories. The more instrumental the songs, the better, and so I was usually drawn to their older work.
I dreamed up the Temple of Teyka’s Faithful (and a few scenes from much, much further along in the story) to the tune of this one. They’re well worth looking up.
As you can imagine, I was super excited at the prospect of seeing even part of that duo perform live (and Conjure One’s new album, Holoscenic, is amazing). I got Tim hooked on their music about a year ago, so the tickets for the show were kind of an early birthday present for him, too.
Getting There: BOAT
I mentioned before that I’m not used to the idea of boats. I really feel a little bit like a kid when I get onto the water. I’m trusting of those around me and not really worried because I don’t know much and I haven’t had any scary experiences, unlike getting on a plane (which is just naturally scary because 40,000 feet!) or riding in a car in crazy weather.
I know that as I get experience with boats out here, it’s going to change one way or another. I’m going to try my best to avoid the same progression that occurred with my fear of flying and see if I can’t gain confidence through understanding instead. For now, I’m most likely to just ride ferries anyway, and those are just so big that I barely even register that I’m on a boat. When we set out to sea the first time I could definitely feel the boat moving, but after a while it stopped feeling so strange and started to feel soothing and then it disappeared. Quite a different experience from last year when I got to hop into a canoe for the first time and did a lot of shouting: “I’m in a canooooeeeee! This is weeeeiiiiird!”
I’m glad to have such an understanding boyfriend who considers the kinds of things that, as a prairie girl, I wouldn’t be used to. He led me all around the ship, including outside and put up with my shouting “Ahhh! This is cool!” over and over again. Fantastic fun times!
Getting There Number Two: Downtown
Finally, we got to Vancouver proper and I acquired one of the mythical Compass cards that I’ve heard so much about (they’re neat!), and then the transit adventure began! I got a lot of hands-on learning with Google Maps’ transit searches (I was used to Edmonton, which has its own app, and St. Albert, which works through the NextBus app, so I’d never really put Google Maps to use before), and eventually we found our way downtown. There wasn’t really much time to drop off our things, so instead we went to the Vancouver Convention Centre to hang out until closer to showtime.
It’s funny. I’ve been coming to Vancouver every year since I was a wee tiny kidlet, but there is so much that I never really stopped to look at. Hanging out in the passenger seat of my mom’s rental car is a lot different than trying to navigate by bus and on foot (and on the magical Skytrain!). All of the buildings are suddenly so very big and looming, and I found that there were so many major locations that I didn’t even know. Admittedly, my mom and I would mostly hang around in Richmond, and if we went out, we did our best to go around downtown rather than through, but still…
The convention centre is kind of a special place for me, too. Tim’s not just a cosplayer, but a photographer (the photographer behind probably 99% of the shots on this blog, even) and videographer, and Anime Revolution is one of the biggest conventions he goes to regularly. I’ve seen the place over and over again in his videos, so visiting the spots I’d seen on my screen was something like a celebrity experience. He got a lot of good laughs from watching me flail with glee everytime he pointed out a spot that he’d taken a video at.
I had this video in mind for most of my trip. It’s his most recent, from this summer. Bonus: it’s got some of my favorite shots of his award-winning Borderlands 2 Zer0 cosplay at around 0:50 and his Jacind cosplay at 6:05. So good! So cool. I’m not biased, I swear.
I can’t wait until I can actually join him at a convention. We’re aiming to do a sort of practice run in November, where I’ll hopefully be wandering around Fan Expo for a day helping him take more shots for a video. Hopefully! Hopefully, hopefully. We still need to get tickets, even. But if we do, I’ve had a little practice being a photography assistant, and now I get to help out with the video part.
And I get to learn how to not die in a huge crowd. For an introvert like me, that’s going to be…. challenging. Looking forward to it!
Anyway! Back to the tale of our Vancouver trip.
It was finally time to make our way to the concert, and that turned out to be a touch more of an adventure than I expected. I probably should have twigged on to the possibility of it being an interesting part of town when I saw that the address was on East Hastings buuuuut… somehow that didn’t occur. Not until we got there and I was standing outside thinking that you know, it reminded me of some of the weirder, tinier concerts I’d been to. The tinier, more amateur, dingy sort of concerts. And then I’d look around the neighborhood and think “…. maybe a bit dingier than that, even.” It was quiet enough right be the theatre, at least, and when they opened the doors, the main entrance was nice. Further in it was kind of… dank. But we got a seat, and I was smart enough to buy a t-shirt (which fit Tim better than me and has turned out to be an unfortunately fabulous cat hair magnet) before the show.
And that’s when the evening started being slightly facepalm-worthy. I dunno. I’ve been to concerts many times before, but I’ve never seen one quite as awkwardly handled as that. Mostly it was the gigantic pauses between entertainment. Ages long. Close to an hour, both from doors to opening act and then another nearly-an-hour from opening act to actual Conjure One performance. When Rhys Fulber finally got on stage, I was fidgeting and struggling with growing frustration and Tim had already been suggesting we up and leave, much to my despair. I’d been trying to see something of Delerium for real for years, but they’d never come to my neck of the woods. I was going to have a really bad night if after all the effort even trying to go to them was a bust.
But lo! Just at the edge of our patience, he finally appeared! And then, I’ve gotta say, it was a quality performance (except for one final glitch from the venue where his set-up got completely unplugged in the first song). The venue might have been “ehn” at best, but I’m glad we stayed long enough because Rhys did such a great job and it was so much fun to watch him grooving to his own tunes. The visuals were great, the songs were a nice mix of old and new, from Holoscenic all the way back to the first album (including both Tears from the Moon and Center of the Sun, two of my favorites), and he even brought out Kristy Thirsk, another Delerium regular, to do vocals for one of the songs. That was a treat! I was ecstatic by the time we ducked out, missing the encore unfortunately, in favour of catching a bus.
East Hastings and Home for the Night
It’s probably a good thing that I was so enthusiastic and happy on the way out the door, because suddenly it became very clear that the street we were on was not the nicest part of town. There we both were, hanging out by the bus stop, surreptitiously checking Google Maps on our phones and whispering encouragement to the impending bus to maybe travel a little faster, while some of the street’s infamous rabble milled about a few feet away. Sometimes they’d wander a little close and then both Tim and I would begin faint little “eep”s like the rookie wusses that we are. Not that any of them ever noticed. I think we were probably just pathetic little background extras to them. Occasionally I’d be peeking around Tim’s shoulder and mentally taking notes, because I swear, somehow every person on that sidewalk was some variety of caricature. There was no one without an exaggeration to their very being, either in their walk or their way of speaking or both and all of the above and beyond. Looking back, I know I shouldn’t have been gawking like I was at the zoo, but it was just so far out of my zone. It’s the kind of scene that only great big Cities with a capital C produce, and Edmonton is not one of those. My favorite character to appear on the street that night was probably at the very end, just before we got on the bus, when a fellow in a billowing green coat rode by on a very, very shiny red bicycle and in the most gravelly voice I have ever heard said “Hey, anyone wanna buy a bike?” complete with villainous “heh-heh-heh”. Seriously. That voice had more gravel in it than the road I grew up on. I didn’t know a voice could possess so much gravel.
I appreciated that all so much better later on. In the moment, not so much. Cue increased eeping from both of us and then we piled onto the bus as quickly as we could and awaaaaaaay.
Adventures for the absolutely admittedly 100% faint-hearted! Oh yes.
We spent the night at Tim’s aunt’s apartment. Talk about a dramatic shift in locale. From dark streets to a place that’s just purely comforting. It’s an old apartment, with 50’s decor, including a bright green sink and bathtub, but between the bookshelves packed with treasures and the plants covering whole corners, floor to ceiling, I think my whole being became a sigh of relief once we got in the door. His aunt is a sweet person, so easy to talk to, and best of all, she has a tea cupboard! I can appreciate anyone with a cupboard full of tea. It’s something I can’t wait to one day rebuild in my own home.
I slept like a rock at the bottom of a lake.
Day Two was all about visiting. I have a lot of family and family friends in Vancouver (hence the frequent visits as a kid), but now there’s also another reason to hang around: my former roommate,friend of over a decade, and once-upon-a-time university classmate Danielle Klassen lives there, too. She moved the exact same day I did back in September, and now she’s living in Surrey. I hadn’t seen her since she left for the Edmonton Airport, and that had to be remedied.
We met her at Waterfront Station and proceeded to take a wander back through the convention centre for the second time and then to Gastown (which is cool, and full of neat sights, but man does it reinforce that I’m best suited for smaller cities and not big metro areas). It was great to see her and talk about everything that’d been happening in our respective cities. It also gave me a weird sense of normal amidst all of chaos of new. I lived with Danielle for three years, and she’s just about family to me. It’s too bad it had to be such a short visit.
Next up we did something I was so hoping we’d have time for. The relative I’ve always gone to see is my mom’s mom, my Baba Vera. She’s getting up there in years, already well into her 90’s, and I love to take any opportunity that I can to go and say hello. We successfully Skytrain hopped our way to Richmond after saying goodbye to Danielle, and made our way to the retirement home she stays in. Suddenly I got to make the excited noises about knowing where I was again.
Tim: “What’s that?”
Me: “The mall! Baba’s thattaway!”
A short time later on the bus:
Me: “PINK AND GREEN BUILDING. (referring to a familiar skyscraper) I KNOW WHERE I AM.”
And Tim laaaauuughs.
We eventually made it there and I got the utter pleasure of knocking on Baba’s door and surprising her completely. The look on her face was so worth it. Again, the visit we had was short, but it was sweet and fun and I got to properly introduce her to Tim (I was overjoyed when she wanted a hug from him, too) and generally make her day and mine before we had to get up and go again to catch the Skytrain and head towards the ferry and home again.
I left feeling very happy about the trip. I’d come for the concert, but honestly, there was so much that we did in that 24 hour span that it felt like such a small component, and not even the best part. One of many notables.
We lingered when we got back home to Victoria. I ended up becoming utterly fascinated by how they anchor the boat and by the time we looked up from our curiosity, we were some of the last people on board.
So out we dashed to wait for a pick-up from Tim’s parents. All in all, that was a good trip. I can’t wait for the next one. 🙂