This morning, I went for lunch at Ottawa City Hall.
Which is a bit of a pity, as the only lunch option available involved standing at the end of very long lines to sample the latest in street food.
True, long lines at lunchtime are not unusual. But this was my first time in days experiencing natural light for any length of time. (Tell me about it! —Snorri) The bulk of my week has been spent in bed nursing a case of tuberculosis. No, not tuberculosis. What’s the word? Influenza. That’s what Jimmie Rodgers had, right?
I probably should still be in bed, but when offered an opportunity to share with a roomful of Councillors, reporters and musicians the experience of being put on hold by the City’s 311 phone service, well, one can only resist so much temptation.
And to those in attendance at the Mayor’s Boardroom event today, I’m pretty sure I am no longer contagious.
It was worth it, though. To see Mayor Jim Watson dial the City of Ottawa’s information number and be put on hold — you can’t bottle that sort of excitement. Besides, as acknowledged during the speeches, I had some involvement with the selection of the 20 lucky local artists, a snippet of whose music you will hear over the coming months when you call the city. And at the risk of seeming biased, I have to say the 20 excerpts display an impressive range of genres and performers. Don’t believe me? Call 311 now. If you’re lucky, you might be on hold long enough to hear all 20. Perhaps twice.
So that was worth getting out of bed for.
Plus, I got to lounge for a few minutes in the Mayor’s lounge, just outside the Mayor’s Boardroom. And I had time to go through a charming book of letters and cards sent to Mayor Watson in appreciation of his service to the community. Strangely, the book begins with several letters from schoolkids thanking the mayor for a tour of his office and expressing regrets that they did not get to meet the man in person.
That also was worth getting out of bed for: to discover that there are people in Ottawa who have not yet met Jim Watson.
As was Friday’s meet-and-greet with Wil Wheaton at Comic Con. I hadn’t planned to go to Comic Con. Ever. But — and I’m not sure if there’s a pattern here — I reckoned it was worth getting out of bed to sample a Clocktower brew created by Mr. Wheaton himself. And let me tell you, the man knows his beer. His recipe proved to be delightfully fruity and hoppy, as a summer beer should be. Here’s hoping summer returns here soon. Sadly, it seems Wil Wheaton‘s beer will not. Pity.
As for Comic Con itself, it did not disappoint. Costume after costume. Brownie after brownie. Geeks in their element; me (a geek of another kind) out of mine. Indeed, I had been concerned that I may not be allowed into the Hall wearing my wedding ring.
And so forth.
I am, however, proud to have given a pep-talk to two young men with a microphone reluctant to interrupt Mr. Wheaton to ask him a few questions. “We don’t want to seem pushy,” one said as he gestured toward the lineup waiting for invited press to finish getting that perfect pic or quote and get out of the way. Noticing that each of these timid gentleman was sporting a ‘Media’ pass, I offered a quick primer on the responsibility that comes with that badge — a responsibility to push aside the rabble and force your way into any photo op. I mean, come on! Do you think I’m here for the comics?
When I left, they were asking their hero questions about no-doubt-geeky things. For several minutes. With increasing confidence. I don’t believe they tried the beer.
But I like to think they rode their bikes away from Comic Con just a tiny bit jaded. And prepped for the next time.
Meanwhile, I walked away from Comic Con wondering why people do no attend record conventions dressed as their favourite rock stars. Or bus-drivers’ conventions dressed as Ralph Kramden. (They do? Oh yes, I suppose they do.)
Of course, I have missed the past few local record conventions, in part due to scheduling conflicts and in part due to the fact that the last time I did attend, I walked away with not one but two Kix albums purchased for a toonie. No need to return, as it’s not going to get better than that. Moreover, one was a promo copy. Imagine what Mad Platters would have charged for that baby! Fifty bucks, easy.
They never would have got it, of course. But always worth a try.
(Whatever happened to Mad Platters, anyway?)
Hmm… call me a geek, but I think it’s about time I made another visit to our happenin’ local record convention. Next time, I think I’ll dress as Overend Watts. Or maybe Shaun Frater, drummer for the first gig by Fairport Convention. (He’d been replaced by the time of the second gig. And if you know your Fairport history, you’ll appreciate the value of being able to call yourself the folk-rocking legends’ first ex-member.)
Not sure when the next record fair is, though. Do you think if I called 311 someone could tell me?
Nah, they’d probably just put me on hold.