My parents stayed for a week and now they’re gone.

There’s always that moment when I’m leaving them or they’re leaving me when Mom starts crying. That always gets me right in the gut. They left really early on Saturday morning and I went back to bad with a lump in my throat. I dreaded them being here too long and being overly parental, but I was damn sorry to see them go. Dad even got a little choked up, too.

I won’t see them or the rest of my friends and family until Christmas… 5 months away. I want to freeze everyone’s life back home and make sure things don’t change, but I know that they already have. A bit depressing, but it always makes for some good surprises.

We had a fun time. We watched some movies and toured the city a bit. I sat down and watched American History X with my Dad, actually. I hadn’t seen it before and neither had he. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend that you do. It’s shocking and brutal, but very well made. Dad said he liked it, but I could tell that he didn’t feel comfortable with it.

Actually, he summed up something that had been bugging me for some time. I’ve tried showing my parents “deep and meaningful” movies before and they’ve always fallen flat on their face. No response, an “I don’t get it” or a “That’s awful. Why are we watching this?” I never understood why, until now. Dad and I were talking about the movie and my Mom was totally unimpressed because there was so much swearing in it. Like skinheads were supposed to say “poop” and “frig”, or something. But then Dad nailed it down:

“I watch movies to be entertained, not to learn things.”

I can’t fault them for that. That’s the general public’s view of movies and it explains why Mission Impossible 2 makes almost 200 million while Iron Giant makes 12 or Fight Club makes 40. There’s nothing wrong with mindless entertainment, either. It’s just that I set my sights so high and I want so much to be affected by movies, that I forget that most people are just paying their 8 bucks to sit and stare for 2 hours. They want to watch pretty fireworks and go home. If I was a mechanic, I’d probably nit pick other people’s cars to death. But I’m a movie and art guy, so that’s what I obsess over…

Otherwise, visiting with my parents was cool. Shopping, eating out and exploring. It made me appreciate what I have out here a lot more. Though they’re gone, Mom and Dad definitely left their mark. My house is stupidly clean, my clothes are insanely organized and my fridge is full. These things are evidence of a parental experience 🙂

Next up… Calgary Stampede. The Stampede started on Friday… God, I hate it. Some cities have things to be proud of.. long standing traditions that show culture and depth. Who wants to be proud of a bunch of crap stained cowboys, cruelty to animals, yeehaw red necks drinking like idiots and country music? A quarter of a million people showed up for the Stampede Opening Parade… it’s no wonder everyone thinks this place is Cowtown.

If you came to Calgary any other week, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone wearing a cowboy hat. This week, the whole town looks like a bunch of idiot yokels. If you’re a REAL cowboy, I’m cool with that. Real cowboys don’t pay $700 for a hat or $400 for a shirt. It’s moronic.

Worst of all, I learned something about the Rodeo. Do you know why the bulls and horses go bucking out into the auditorium, freaking and kicking? They haven’t been trained that way, I assure you. Maybe I’m stupid, but I thought they just hit them with spurs and besides, and that they were pissy animals to begin with.

I was wrong. They tie a leather strap around the animal’s testicles and reef on it before they let them out of the gate.

Read that again and then continue with the Newsletter…

What the heck is that?! How can they do that?! I’m no animal activist… I eat TONS of meat and really don’t give it much thought. I’ve never signed petitions against cruelty to pandas, whales or whatever not… but, come on… they nail these animals in the nuts! Who came up with this demented sport?! What were they thinking?! Why are they still doing this, bigger every year?!

That is yet another reason why Stampede is insane and I will have no part of it. For one week, this city goes berserk and I’m won’t be there. I can’t wait until it’s over.

The only positive part is that there’s no classes this week at the school. I get to take it easy and get caught up on marking assignments, writing curriculum and drawing. I can deal with that. It’ll help me get through Stampede a lot easier.

I’ve typed out quite the little story here, so I guess I should end it here. I hope everyone’s doing well. Look for my post-Stampede story next week 🙂

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