Can’t make this sh*t up, folks

I’m sure everyone has heard the sayings ‘you can’t make up shit like this’, ‘fact is stranger than fiction’ or some other phrase that shares the same sentiment.

Well, this week I am presenting a ‘you can’t make up shit like this’ story for your entertainment.

It started out innocently enough. Flew out to Toronto last Friday to catch the Game of Thrones live concert experience, featuring the show’s music composer, Ramin Djawadi. The show was held Saturday at Air Canada Centre. Great show, by the way. I went to see the concert because first and foremost, I love Djawadi’s compositions. The Game of Thrones angle? An afterthought, for me. Should he ever decide to do this again, perhaps after the series ends, I will see him again. Maybe by then, I’ll have watched the entire series. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

I’ve admitted before that I have not seen one episode of Game of Thrones. It still holds true. I still haven’t gotten around to seeing the series. There are too many quality TV programs and great films to watch. There’s too much reading I need to do. Then, there’s life that keeps moving along whether or not you want it to. It’s a heck of a juggling act.

The show weaved the music with some of the show’s most talked-about scenes and spotlighted some of their most compelling and enigmatic characters. I gotta say I’m definitely intrigued by the show. My soft spot for dragons has been strengthened and I may have developed a bit of bloodlust while experiencing the show. There were some powerful moments during the concert — potent enough for me to get a little teary-eyed at least three times. That is the power of marrying images and music together.

The audience — maybe 99.9% were hardcore fans — was into the whole experience. Cheers, screams, unsolicited advice for the poor bastard who dies in the next clip, could be heard quite heartily throughout the arena. It was pretty funny. Even the dude selling popcorn got into it before the show started. He spoke as if he were from the fictional world of Westeros. Gotta use what’s at your disposal to sell popcorn, right?

I snagged a couple of t-shirts at one of the merchandise tables. Fingers crossed that they don’t shrink after being washed. But I’m pretty careful with my clothes so I think they’ll be okay.

So, the evening was a visual feast and I left feeling good about the whole live concert experience. Up to that point, nothing about the evening was ever in contention to own the phrase ‘you can’t make up shit like this.’

So, let me tell you my first ever ‘you can’t make up shit like this’ story. I’m kind of channelling Ben Mendelsohn because that man has a great delivery and has the best burst-out-laugh ever.

It started with me arriving back to the hotel (which shall remain unnamed) after the concert. It was after 11 pm on a Saturday night. I had skipped a full dinner because I was having tummy troubles. I did manage to eat a protein bar before the concert started.

Of course, by the time I got back in the hotel room, I decided I needed something to eat. Hey, there’s a Tim Horton’s not far from the hotel. So, I wandered back out, grabbed a chicken salad croissant sandwich and headed back to the hotel. The lobby was full of guests just arriving from God-knows-where. Mainly families with small children. Most of them had made their way up to their appointed rooms and the last family just took the last elevator by the time I got back into the lobby.

So, I waited for the next elevator which arrived about 10 seconds later. To be honest, I like having the elevator to myself. More room in an enclosed space. The next time the elevator doors slid open was at the second floor. I wasn’t paying attention and almost bumped into a guy entering the elevator. Didn’t bump into him because I realized it wasn’t my floor. Stopped myself just in time and backed up a couple of steps. We acknowledged each other. He was shirtless. Okay, I thought, he just came from the fitness centre. Peripherally, I noticed he was barefoot. Seen that before. The carpets were pretty clean so his feet probably weren’t all that dirty. Short trip from the second floor to whatever floor his room was located.

He walked into the elevator and I realized the guy was naked as a newborn baby. Seeing a bare-naked ass less than three feet away from you in an elevator is one of those things you don’t count on finding. Well, I found it. The guy had a towel draped over his forearm which concealed the family jewels. I had assumed he was wearing shorts. Silly me. The dude had a nice ass, though. I’ll admit it. He had a shaved head, trimmed facial hair, no discernible tattoos that I were visible to me. He was fit.

I’m impressed that he was pretty casual about his nakedness. Good thing he didn’t take the elevator with the family in it. That would have been awkward. I opted to not gawk at him because that would be plain rude. Kept my eyes on the elevator doors, looked at the croissant sandwich I was holding with my left hand and kept my right hand in my coat pocket.

Keeping it casual after 11 pm on a Saturday night in an elevator.

His floor was above mine if you were wondering which floor he was staying on. Or… maybe he was visiting someone on the floor above and his room is actually on the second floor. So many ways this could go. The imagination will run rampant if you let it.

I’m positive there wasn’t a sauna listed as a hotel feature for guests. There is a fitness centre and a boardroom located on the second floor. I’m just a little baffled as to why he would be going about his business in his birthday suit.

Was I offended by his casual nakedness? Nope. My mother would have been if she was there. Not me. I’m just surprised that I get to tell a story like this because it actually happened to me. This is hilarious. You hear strange stories from friends and acquaintances, and depending how strange the story is, you either wished it had happened to you or wished it would never ever happen to you.

I’m thinking I’m the only one out of my friends who has shared an elevator with a naked man. And I am now part of the ‘strange, but true’ club. If I ever need to break the ice at a party, I’ll just pull this ditty out of my pocket and share.

Call me strange but I consider sharing an elevator with a naked man one of life’s interesting highlights.

In need of bewitching

Today is Thanksgiving here in the Great White North, aka Canada. Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks!

All I can say is I’m thankful for being a Canadian after listening to the second American presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump last night. Gong show. That’s all I’m going to say.

What am I doing today for Thanksgiving? The usual. Dinner with family. I’m making two dishes and the other family members are taking care of the rest. Does that make it potluck? I don’t know. I’ll be making marinated pork back ribs (sorry, no turkey) and a yam and apple casserole done in the slow cooker. Mmm, mmm, good.

After listening to the presidential debate, I had to clear my brain. I would have loved to have watched some Game of Thrones to clear the ole noggin. But considering I don’t subscribe to HBO (something I may have to consider eventually), the next best thing I could do was listen to the Season 6 soundtrack from the show. Nothing like re-arranging my brain synapses back to where they were after trying to process surrealism.

Ramin Djawadi’s work as a composer is brilliant. If I could be in the same room with him and watch his process, it would be absolutely eye-opening for me. I would revel in it and pick his brain.

Watching creative people do their thing is intoxicating. Engaging with creative people is intoxicating. Creativity is intoxicating, beguiling and bewitching. Quite frankly, it is a huge turn-on for me, and I’m not necessarily referring to it in a sexual way. When you’re inspired, you want to aspire to be more than what you are. When you get to engage with someone who inspires you, there is no need artificial stimulants. The whole thing is a beautiful high. I can probably count the number of times I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing that pleasure on one hand. However, I can’t recall anything off the top of my head. That doesn’t bode well. But I remember the emotions and energy associated with that creative engagement. That means I’m way overdue for some creative intoxication.

Anyway, I better get going and start cooking part of that Thanksgiving dinner for this evening.

On vacation

Watching TV is companionable: you share an experience, you can comment on the action here and there for a bit of conversation… it’s a way of showing someone that you want his or her company and engaging in a low-key, pleasant, undemanding way — Gretchen Rubin

Back at the beginning of July, I put my cable TV service on vacation mode until November. Why? Because I wanted to see what it would be like to go without TV. Also, I was tired of flipping through the guide listing to find nothing worth viewing despite the cornucopia of channels to choose from.

So far, it hasn’t been painful to go without.

I don’t miss it even though the Olympics are on. Honestly, I can catch the highlights or the live stream online. But I haven’t found the need to because eventually, I’ll hear the latest results either at work, online or on the radio.

With the TV service on vacation mode, I thought I would be able to put a dent in my list of movies and shows I wanted to see on Netflix. It’s a pretty long list. But I haven’t been as diligent as I had hoped. The list is still long even though there are fewer titles.

I think I can watch a couple of movies today without too much interruption from life, but we’ll see. Again, with a long of list of movies I could watch, it’s always a bugger trying to decide which one to watch. Am I in the mood for an emotional story? Am I in the mood for a little action and adventure? Am I in the mood for something that makes me think? Of course, when I can’t decide, I either default to mindlessly watching an animation film or forget the whole thing and go back to listening to music and reading a book. A ton of fun, I am.

Anyway, it looks like my plans to do some adventurous field research is gaining traction. Travel plans have been made and I have a place to stay. It also looks like I’ll be doing my field research solo. My best bud has a commitment that will keep her from joining me on the trip. Oh well, what are ya gonna do? It’s research I need to do, with or without a partner-in-crime.

Then I discovered last week that Ramin Djawadi, the man behind the music score for Game of Thrones and Person of Interest, is going to tour with an orchestra for the Game of Thrones: Live Concert Experience. Hell ya!

So what if I haven’t watched a single episode of GoT. I realize this may be ass backwards but I don’t care. I love his work. Can’t say enough about that man and his skills and talent as a music composer. As I’ve said before, I’m more likely to watch GoT than Breaking Bad.

But of course, I have no plans in the immediate future to start binge-watching GoT. Pretty sure, I still will not have watched one single episode by the time I attend the concert. But I may be deeply inspired to start watching GoT after the concert.

Some interesting things are looming on the horizon. So looking forward to it.