Toronto, New Year's Eve 2001

I convinced my room mate Quang to drive with me to Toronto for New Year's Eve. We were looking forward to seeing the first public performance in years by Captain Matt's Armada featuring Axel, but a bit worried since Jealousy had uttered the dreaded phrase "I'd like to see a little snow". The last time he said this around New Year's Eve, Toronto got all of it's allotted snow for the year in 3 days, and they had to call out the army to clear it away. This time, Buffalo was hard hit (6 feet or so) and we were worried about getting through to Toronto. The adventure begins...

Sat Dec 29

I was all set for a 7am departure, but Quang knocked on my door the night before and said that he was setting his alarm for 7 and we'd leave a bit later. I woke up at 6:30 anyway, had breakfast and did some last minute packing, then sat around as he did the same. We stuffed everything in the back of the Celica GT hatchback and headed into the west. We jumped onto I90, managed to navigate around Albany without leaving the thruway (though we actually left I90) and stopped for gas around Syracuse. Q applied a coat of nail polish each time we stopped, and was done by the time we hit Toronto. In the Syracuse rest stop, we were enduring the holiday tunes when suddenly we realised that the version of Frosty the Snowman that was currently wafting through Roy Rogers was sung by the Cocteau Twins. It made my very dry fish burger a tiny bit more palatable. At Syracuse and the turn off to go around the eastern end of Lake Ontario (to avoid Buffalo at the western end), we realised that there was no snow in sight and decided to push on towards Buffalo. It wasn't until we were really close to the border that the height of the snow banks jumped considerably. We stopped for gas one last time before leaving the States and bypassed Buffalo on I190 and I290, hitting the border at Lewiston. They were very perturbed by the fact that we only had one tshirt to declare (a birthday present I was bringing for our hostess) - they really wanted us to have alcohol or cigarettes in the car, so they had us pull over, and they searched the car and ran our passports. This time when I offered mine, the immigration woman waved it away saying that it was okay, I was Canadian. Q's was inspected closely but eventually passed muster. At this point a few flakes of snow were drifting down, and as we hit Hamilton the snowstorm hit hard, but only for about half an hour. Granted, we didn't see Hamilton at all, but by the time we hit Burlington it was gone. The sun was heading down at this point though, as it was about 5pm.

We pulled off of the Gardiner and banged on the door at Etienne's place, but there was no answer. I dragged Q to the convenience store on the corner, and found that the pay phone I remembered being there was missing, but luckily the clerk let me use her phone. No answer at Etienne's, just a wierd buzzing, but I got a hold of Lindsey at Siobhan's and she reassured us that people were in fact at Etienne's, so we trekked back and banged on the windows and harder on the door and eventually had an irate Frenchman open the door and let us in. He and Vinnie were playing Devil May Cry but soon progressed to Grand Theft Auto III on the PS2. Martin and Steph, Siobhan, Axel and Jason arrived to fill out the party eventually, and we danced around and splashed through the rising swamp. I popped out to the convenience store to get a drink of something non alcoholic and non carbonated (because I am picky and Etienne has a leanly stocked fridge) and ordered a pizza from Amato to share. Eventually, Q and I kidnapped Siobhan and went back to her place to drop off our stuff and change before meeting people at the Wheat Sheaf for 10pm or so. The temp was dropping, so I opted for warmth over stylishness, my hooded sweatshirt was my friend this weekend. Q got a bit more gussied up, and we eventually hit a bank machine and flagged down a cab to King and Bathurst. We were a bit late, but Trevor, Ray and Liz, Adam, Darcy, and Jo had a bit of table space for us. Louise and Matthew arrived later on, along with the crowd from Etienne's but we had to expand to another table at that point. My half pint of cider wasn't tasting quite right, so I didn't finish it before we trooped over to Savage Garden. It was crowded by the time we arrived but I found a corner to huddle in. Caught up a bit with Paul and Dylan, but recognised very few faces in general. Sue and I had a bit of a natter, but she disappaered when her friend wanted her to leave. She made me promise to say hello to DJ Hellraver in Boston since he was the old booking agent for Rhea's. We stayed until closing, and Q managed to find a little bit of space to dance in. The main group headed back to Axel's to drink a bit more, but Q and I caught a cab back to Sio's since the drive had worn us out a fair amount (though he drove the whole way, I was still getting over bronchitis). By the time I fell into bed at 3:30, I'd been up for 21 hours and conked right out.

Sun Dec 30

I finally answered the phone at around 12:30 when it kept ringing w/o Lindsey picking it up, and found that it was Siobhan trying to wake us up. We agreed to meet her at Sneaky Dee's for the traditional Sunday brunch. I called and checked that Nine of Cups was open, found out it closed at the time we were supposed to meet Tim and Olimpia there, found out yet again that I don't have a valid number for Olimpia, but called Tim and asked him to send her email with the new meeting time of 5pm. I left a message for Dorothy letting her know I was in town and what my immediate plans were. Q and I walked over to Sneaky's and were the first to arrive and snagged a non smoking table for 8, which expanded as people arrived. I'm sure I'll forget people but Siobhan, Axel, Stephanie, Martin, Jason, Etienne, Vinnie, Rachel, Liz, Darcy, Jo all eventually showed up. I was boring and had the same thing I always have (poached eggs in tortilla shells, with rice and beans and salad) along with some tea strong enough to give me the shakes. As the meal wound down, a group of us decided to wander through the computer stores on College St. and down through Chinatown, instead of goin to the AGO. Liz got her CDRs but not the computer parts she was after, Martin got his stretchy gloves, we almost lost Etienne to a phone booth, and we looked at swords. We ran into Adam from Montreal now from Vermont and I gave him my email so he could get in touch with me when he comes down for Aresia. It was starting to snow just a bit at this point and we tried to keep moving so as not to freeze to death. We popped into Siren briefly and then Q and I caught the street car out to Landsdown and Queen to go to Nine of Cups. The waitress was tres ditzy, the kitchen was closed, but the jasmine tea and my chocolate-coconut square were good. Tim showed up and we had a good natter, but Olimpia was missing in action. Tim gave us a ride back to Siobhan's at 6 when they kicked us out and we took some down time to warm up and read. I sewed the button back onto my skirt that I wanted to wear out that night, and found out that a DJ that spins every Wednesday night at Man Ray in Boston was spinning at Velvet Underground that night. *sigh* Anyway, we changed into our dancing togs and went with Siobhan and Axel to Etienne's for a pre outing viewing of Night of the Living Dead and consumption of pizza (though I limited myself to a slice of bruschetta). Bob and Joy phoned to say that Steph and Martin were missing from their house, and were given diretions to join us in Parkdale. The swamp was mostly mopped up at this point at least. S&M showed up to give Bob the key, and Q & I headed out to Velvet by cab. We were there at 10:30 or so and snagged a table and a couch up on the raised portion, Tim didn't make it out, but Etienne and Vinnie, and Bob and Joy joined us after a while. I managed to dance a little before the floor got too crowded, but my lungs were not what they were. Q & I stayed a bit later than the rest of them, and grabbed a cab back to Sio's around 2:30am or so. Showered and crawled into bed.

Mon Dec 31

I woke from zombie filled dreams and verified that I hadn't killed anyone in my sleep. Siobhan had to work today, so we were on our own, with a day of shopping planned. We tried to meet up with Bob and Joy but they didn't make it out. I was really hungry, or at least that's what I attributed a tummy ache to. We took the TTC over to Yonge St. and had brunch at the Pickle Barrel - far too greasy to start the day, but I had a craving for the thick challa bread french toast, but the huge milk shake was good despite missing the cherry on top. We popped into Sam the Record Man's going out of business sale but didn't have the patience to negotiate the check out line. We made our way up to Northbound leather where Q got a lovely mandarin collar trench coat and I bypassed the strapped and corsetted ball gown for a top in a similar style, somewhat pleased by the fact that I fit into a small now (probably due to not eating for four days while I was sick last week). We stopped in at 1,000,000 Comics, and I took ruthless advantage of the exchange rate coupled with a 30% off sale on the graphic novels (got Preacher, Transmetropolitan, Death Time of Your Life, and another one). We made a run on Bakka's stock (I'm looking forward to reading the Blind Assassin, though the back jacket blurb didn't sound like the last review that I read), and then hopped back onto the TTC to head down to Queen St, getting off the short turn street car at McCaul. It was around 5pm now and things were closing up (we missed getting into Penguin and Active Surplus), but we were able to pop into Fashion Crimes and Heretic and KatHouse, though House of Ill Repute was already closed. We stopped in at Brava (found the cat sitting in the basket) and found a nice north Vietnamese dress that I couldn't afford. We went back up Spadina on the street car to College and across to Ossington and home. We played show and tell for a bit and got ready to head out for sushi.

Lindsey came with us and we trekked over to Axel's to pick up people. We found Mac and Joy ready to go, but Axel and the band were tied to the house for a while longer. We were early for our 7:30 reservation at Sushi on Bloor so we popped into the Tap for a drink first after we spotted Jason across the street. I went back over at 7:30 and found Steph and Martin and Greg and Sheryl waiting for a table to be free. Eventaully we were all seated and ordered and everyone else got to dig in as I waited and waited for my sushi. I introduced Q to the delights of sushi pizza and that tided me over as I quaffed my green tea and waited for my platter. By the time it arrived I really wasn't feeling hungry, but managed to eat most of it. Since mine was soo late (most everyone had finished eating by the time it arrived) we all got free ice cream. I realised that Quang has me trained too well, since I wondered at everyone's outraged teasing when he asked for a bite of my ice cream and I uncomplainingly spooned it over. :) At about this point my stomach started complaining forcefully and I got a bit quiet as I dealt with the pain. We walked back to Axel's, picking up a local Adam on the way, and I handed off the food preparation to Sheryl since all I wanted to do was sit and clutch my tummy for a while. By the time Capt'n Matt's Armada Featuring Axel went on, I was feeling a bit better and was able to squeeze into the kitchen to witness the earthshaking event. I wasn't quite up to screaming and throwing underwear though. I settled back in the living room and sat out the second set and the turning of the year by myself. Q volunteered to walk me home at around 1 since he was tired as well. I felt a bit bad that he didn't get a chance to hit the Fetish Masq. but Hellraver was spinning there as well so he wasn't too too upset. :) We sat up and talked a bit with Lindsey, who came home instead of going to the party and I had some mint tea and filled up a hot water bottle to get me through the night. I ended up sleeping fairly well, but it didn't feel like a particularly celebratory new year's to me.

Tues Jan 1

I dragged myself out of bed at 1pm or so, since people were coming over for brunch at 2pm. Steph was supposed to help me cook the food that Sio had bought, but she was a bit late. I made apple pancakes for the early arrivals and Lindsey produced bacon and sausages. Moses and Sarah, Etienne and Vinnie, Jason and Steph and Martin all eventually showed up. I had a cup of tea spiked with some Bailey's and was happy. :) Q and I took turns packing up our stuff and eventually got the car loaded up and we hit the road an hour later than planned, at 4pm. No hassle at the border, we bought alcohol at the duty free and it seemed to work to allay suspicions. :) A few flakes of snow came down around Rochester, but it was otherwise crystal clear. The moon rose with an orange tint and got whiter as it ascended into the sky. It played peek-a-boo with the clouds all the way east, at one point sporting a vertical streak of light coming out of the top and bottom. The mountains around Albany were gorgeous, and we ended up saving a little bit of cash by getting off the thruway. Q and I made tentative plans to go fabric shopping and to hit C8 together as well. We stopped for gas once in Mass. and made it home at 1am wth the odo reading 1100 miles for the round trip. I was dozing off a bit during the last hour, but managed to keep my eyes open until we got home. I basically fell into bed, since I had to be up for work the next day. Caught up on all the email about the Boston New Year's party and have almost certainly decided to stay here for it next year.
Back to my diary page.