Toilets and concerts have lots in common...mainly the paperwork.

Monday, April 24, 2006


When shows from other countries come into Canada and they have pyrotechnics, there are two ways the licensing can be handled: the show can apply for a visitor's operating license or they can hire a Canadian pyrotechnician to oversee the show. The second option is usually chosen as it takes longer to get the visitor's license from the government (pyro is federally regulated in Canada instead of state-by-state as in the U.S.) and then obtain a show permit than it does to hire a local pyrotechnician who is already licensed and knows the proper contacts in the local fire department.

This is why your humble servant found himself in the Pacific Coliseum as the "local license" for 50 Cent's Vancouver concert last December.

I thought I would walk you through the steps that I had to take in order to get show approval from the Vancouver Fire Department's Special Events official.


1) Faxed my pyro license to the Van. Fire Dept. to get approval for the show permit.

2) VFD called and said the fax was too blurry and I'd have to resend.

3) I'd prepared for just such an eventuality and had scanned my card; I e-mailed a copy to VFD and all was well.

4) VFD Special Events took forever to realize that my cell phone isn't a fax machine, even after I'd called them twice to verify the number.

5) They finally got it right.

6) It didn't matter because, for some reason, the fax machine could send but not receive.

7) I had them send the permit (which I had to sign and fax back) to a different fax machine.

8) Said alternate fax machine was in our main building, about 15 minutes away.

9) By the time I got there, the paperwork was waiting for me.

10) It was the wrong paperwork (um, not only am I not working on X-Men 3 but this permit is for last August?).

11) Called VFD, got them to send the right paperwork.

12) Question: Is it a problem that the permit says it's valid from midnight on the 3rd to midnight on the 3rd? Answer: Well, DUH.

13) Got approval to manually change the end date and time on my copy, initial the changes, sign and fax back to VPD.

14) Success! I now had my show permit for Saturday.

15) Somehow, the VFD approved the permit without having written permission from the manager of the Pacific Coliseum.

16) That's someone else's problem.

And that, gentle readers, is the story of what I went through to get the show permit. Granted this is somewhat of an extreme situation - but imagine having to work with Ottawa to get a visitor's license before you even get to the point where you're dealing with the local authorities?

I shall leave you with three final items to consider:

17) The show went off without a hitch and while the tour pyro operator was shocked that the VFD didn't perform a physical check of the venue, I know it's because they know us local guys and our safety record speaks for itself.

18) I can attest that Captain Brian Harvey of the VFD's Special Events dept. is a cool guy with a great sense of humour.

19) 50 Cent's music is pretty good...if you've got a great set of earplugs.



Slip sliding away...

Sunday, April 16, 2006


I know it's been a while since I've written a new entry, but sometimes it takes time for the muse to inspire a person - however, I'm happy to report that thanks to the exploits of a friend of mine I now have something to tell you about.

My friend's name is Corby; he came over to visit recently and while we were in my shop he happened to notice something on the shelf.

"J-Lube? he asked, looking at the bottle he was holding. "Is there some reason you're keeping vet lube down here?"

(For those who are unfamiliar with the stuff, J-Lube is a powdered lubricant concentrate used by vets when they need to stick their hands in places that vet hands must occasionally be stuck.)

"I use it for slime," I told him. "It's concentrated so one bottle makes about 8 gallons - I mix it with water in different ratios depending on how thick I need it."

Corby got a look in his eyes - now, normally Corby's looks worry me a little, but since I know he's straight I wasn't too concerned...for me.

"Can I have some?" he asked.

It took me a while to answer, not because I was worried he'd do something terribly bad with the stuff (Corby may be a prankster, but he does have limits), but because I wasn't 100% sure if I wanted to know what he was going to use it for. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I told him that as long as he promised to let me know the results of his "experimentation," he could borrow a bottle.

We talked about things for another hour or two before he left, and I forgot about it until a few weeks later when I received an e-mail from him:


"B -

Remember the J-Lube I borrowed from you? Well, as promised, here's my report on how I used it with names changed to protect the guilty. I promise that I won't get too graphic! ;-)

"I've been seeing this girl (call her M) for a while now; she's really great and is definitely open to trying new things, so I thought it might be fun to have our own private little party where we get naked and slip around covered in lube.

"I discussed it with her and she was receptive to the idea. First, I needed to figure out exactly where I was going to throw this little shindig - maybe you're willing to make a mess all over your bed, but I wasn't and neither was she.

"We decided that putting a drop cloth over the bed should make it easy enough to contain the "fallout," and a trip to Home Depot took care of that. We took some additional precautions (towels on the floor from the bedroom to the bathroom so we wouldn't slip, salt on the bathroom counter -

(Ed. Note: the instructions for J-Lube say to use salt to remove the stuff from your hands)

"- And we were ready to go!

" First off, I should have asked you how to mix the stuff; I Googled some info online but most sites recommended using a blender, which I didn't have, so I mixed it by hand. Remember how you taught me to mix plaster? Well, I tried that method only to find out that while most of the powder mixes in with the water, there will be little pieces that don't dissolve. That being done, and deciding that it was too late to turn back now, I took the bowl into the bedroom where M was waiting atop the drop cloth-covered mattress.

"I suppose I should have mixed the stuff a bit thinner, because she had enough time to watch me sloooooowly pour the lube onto her stomach - and even though I'd used warm water to mix it, she shrieked a little bit when it finally touched her skin. Anyway, once it was on her I started rubbing it all over her body (that was fun!) and when she was fairly well covered with the stuff, I climbed onto the bed with her (yes, we were both naked at the time).

"Damn, that stuff is seriously slick! As we moved around together, we started sliding back and forth to the point where we were almost hitting our heads and feet on the ends of the bed - think of squeezing a tomato seed between your fingers and you'll get the idea.

"While the physical contact was fun (being naked with M is always fun), it quickly became clear that the situation was too funny to do anything more than just slide around while hanging on for dear life - which was tricky because, hello, bodies covered in lube do not hang onto each other very well - so we played around a little, laughed a lot, and eventually decided to clean up when the lube started becoming sticky (I guess the water was evaporating, or something).

"This brings me to problem number 2; remember how the bottle says you can use salt as a "powdered hand soap" to get the stuff off of your hands? Well, I can tell you from personal experience that the more surface area is involved, the more salt you need - we spent I can't remember how long in the shower trying to clean the crap off (and the water from the shower "re-energized" the lube so it got slicker) and we used almost an entire box of salt to clean off.

"Eventually we finished de-slicking ourselves and dried off, only to find that those little bits of unmixed J-Lube from the bowl had stuck themselves to our bodies - mostly my body hair. Oh well, at least it gave M something to do for the rest of the evening, and I was a good boy (for once) and didn't make any comments about primates and social grooming.

"Even though the evening didn't turn out quite the way either of us thought it would, I promised you a report so that's what you get. In summary, let me state the following:

" 1) Maybe I'm too "vanilla" but unless you're in the perfect mindset, being covered in lube and sliding around with a hot naked chick isn't as erotic as you'd think it would be;

"2) If you're gonna try something like this, you need a partner who doesn't take life too seriously because being covered in slippery goo is Just. Plain. Funny;

"3) Mix your lube properly or be prepared to face the wrath of the LUBE GOOBER - those things can hurt when they're yanked off of body hair!

"See you soon...C"


Thus ended Corby's narrative of his adventures with J-Lube; while it may not have been everything he and his girl thought it would be, I think he's learned a few things from the experience. I know I have...I now have a new term to use:

"Lube Goober."

Come on; say it out loud with me:





Isn't that fun?