Lake Louise in Banff National Parl

Exploring Calgary during Terminus Festival

Terminus Festival: Velocity brought Steve and I to beautiful Alberta and, in our typical power-adventure-duo fashion, we set off exploring the peripheries and hunting choice meats.

Calgary and its vicinity retain a pioneer enthusiasm lost in my home, Toronto. It’s among the western frontiers of urban development, wrapped in some of the most sublime wild vistas Canada has to offer.

Banff National Park

Full disclosure: I’ve never travelled outside central Canada.

Notwithstanding club debaucheries in Montreal and forest adventures throughout Ontario, I’m utterly ignorant of the breadth and beauty of this country.

We landed Thursday morning at YYC and snagged a rental car for the first leg of our adventure: The Rockies.

Rockies from Banff panorama
Rockies from Banff panorama

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Terminus: Velocity, Calgary dark electronic music festival

Terminus: Velocity – Calgary’s dark electronic music festival

We dubbed it Industrial Summer Camp, and it was glorious.

Terminus : Velocity was the third incarnation of Calgary’s exclusive dark electronic music festival. With no less than twenty-four amazing acts, it was a superb opportunity to delight in long time favourites and discover new ones.

I use “dark electronic music” as a hypernym for a whole slew of synthesizer accompanied genres: from the retro stylings of synthwave bands, to stomping noise vibes, Terminus encompassed the full gamut of epic.

I don’t use that word thoughtlessly: Terminus was indeed EPIC!

Here’s the lineup for 2015:

Digital Winter, Animal Bodies, Everything Goes Cold, High-Functioning Flesh, Iris, Ivardensphere, Velvet Acid Christ, Dive, Hello Moth, Glass Apple Bonzai, Statiqbloom, The Body, Perturbator, Ayria, Cocksure, This Morn Omina, Apollyon's Visage, Volt 9000, Seeming, Azar Swan, Decree, V>LH>LL, Aesthetic Perfection, Grendel
Terminus 2015 Lineup

This was my first time attending and I had the pleasure to travel with Glass Apple Bonzai. Amongst the dozens of bands, we also met local artists Spawn of the Dead & Twizted Eye Candy. The good folk of Storming the Base were in attendance with enough wicked pressed tunes to bankrupt me into the next year.

Here is the tale of the three days of Terminus that will leave you saying: What the dickens?

What the Dickens?

Dickens Pub in Calgary has been the gracious host of Terminus for three years running. A huge thank you to Chris, Ambor and all the other staff for their tremendous hospitality, from booking hotels and transport to keeping the whole show on point for the weekend.

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Walk your city: Toronto Ireland Park

I discovered Ireland Park incidentally on one of my barefoot strolls along the lakeshore.

I will never forget that warm summer night I stumbled upon this location. To recreate the surreal experience I had, skip this post and just go there, preferably after dark.

A history of pain

In case you’ve forgotten your grade 7 history, here’s a little refresher: the Great Famine displaced almost 2 million people and killed another million.

Well, this is turning out to be a cheery post.

Toronto saw an influx of Irish immigrants in 1847 which constituted one of the young city’s first major civic crises. In the summer of that year almost 40,000 migrants landed on Toronto’s shores. To put that in perspective, the city’s population that year was about 20,000.

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Guadalajara, Mexico

Guadalajara travel guide

When I was planning my trip to Guadalajara, I found very little information was available. There’s a handy wikitravel article, but that’s about it.

Guadalajara

So I put together a Guadalajara travel guide: an account of my experience as an unassuming tourist, stumbling around town scarfing down tacos and 40 cent frappuccinos, getting utterly lost, and making really strange friends.

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The post-modem city – a photo tour of Toronto latrinalia

I’m not the first to marvel at bathroom graffiti and certainly not the last.

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Java House – Queen St & Augusta Avenue

My fascination with these writings is hardly academic. Take it from someone who has a fruity liberal arts diploma, there is no shortage of literature on the matter. There are thousands of doctoral theses on gendered studies of bathroom graffiti, structural analyses of urban stall culture, the “dialogic nature of washroom tags” and so forth.

They even have a formal name for the subject: latrinalia – which proves nothing other than the fact that there is literally no bottom to the pit of scholarly mental masturbation. It amuses me to no end that universities fund research that essentially involves sitting on the can and philosophizing.

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Must’ve been the pad thai – Java House – Queen St & Augusta Ave

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Falling in love with The City

I walk a lot.

glasstower

Any conscientious tourist will tell you the only “real” way to experience a city is to stroll through it and absorb all the sensory experiences it has to provide.

 

I walk my own city with a dedication that borders on obsessive. In fact, when weather permits I walk barefoot, and cherish the subsequent blisters, scrapes and bruises like merit badges for the  Toronto Urban Scouts. It’s not sadism, I’m some different breed of weirdo – one that likes the notion of my skin cells being scattered in the oddest corners of the city.
I like to make my mark on things and I’ll even admit to a few acts of vandalism involving my wiggly toes and the wet concrete foundations of new condo towers.

 

I’m a part of this city and it’s a part of me.

A couple days ago was the 26th anniversary of my hatching day and I woke up with the mother, father and Holy Ghost of a hangover after the mind-blowing Grendel concert the night prior. You know, that kind of full-bodied physical not toxic hangover from dancing until your toes go numb and cheering until you’re hoarse. Every inch of my body felt like it had been worked over with a meat tenderizer and the brain booted slower than yo momma’s XP machine (HA!)

 

With half a day to kill before the dinner party I figured I should work up an appetite, so I applied the regulatory dose of caffeine and started walking.
Why yes, I will subscribe to that

 

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