The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What actually did happen at Fatburger?

“Dude, we can totally do it. Fly in, gamble all night and fly out first thing in the morning.”

“I don’t know. Vegas for 14 hours? Our travel time there and back will be another 14! That is, in Vegas verbiage, not very good odds.”

“Since we’ll be staying up all night, we can spend our hotel money at the poker tables!”

It was 7 years ago and my friend Eduardo (Yes, this Eduardo) was trying to talk me into flying to Las Vegas for the weekend. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to fly there and then only get to stay a few hours before we had to head back. Thus, his solution of just flying in and staying up all night seemed like a perfect solution.

From a gambling perspective it was our first excursion to Sin City. Immaturity was our game - whenever I would place money on red (or black) win on roulette on the table, my friend would immediately place money to win on black (or red) to win. After running through all my allotted chips for the trip in about 20 minutes, we had to decide what to do for the rest of the night. I don’t exactly recall but right about then I was probably thinking, Maybe flying in and out within a few hours was probably not a bad idea. Now, with all my budget gone I had to wander around for the next 13 hours before my flight out.

While I don’t remember much of the rest of the actual weekend, one single orgasmic trail of culinary delight has stayed with both of us to this day: Fatburger.

Knowing we had an all-nighter planned meant we had to stop for some sugar boosts here and there. RockStar or Red Bull and Vodka had yet to come to North America, so we had to draw on our years of experience of pulling all-nighters the old-fashioned way – with Coca Cola. More specifically, Coca Cola direct from The World of Coca Cola around 1am. Yes, such a place of glory did exist on the Vegas strip back then. But irregardless of the amount of caffeine we tried to ingest, it wasn’t enough to keep us going. Around 3:30am we found ourselves wandering around the strip when we stumbled across a McDonalds. Although open for 24 hours they closed between 3 and 4am for cleaning. Already on our freefall from our previous sugar intake we were beginning to get desperate for something to keep us going until our 8am flight out, and the well known sugar rush of a Big Mac was calling… but it wasn’t available for at least another 30 minutes.

After standing there for a few more minutes our sleepy gaze took us to another restaurant that was on the strip.

“What about that?”


”That. Fatburger. It looks like it’s so bad for us, it will be so good for us. It looks like McDonalds on an anti-health kick.”

“Whatever. With a name like that, I’m so in.”

I don’t remember what we ordered, nor even how the food tasted. For all I know it could have been horrible. It was more a symbolic locale which helped us cross the Rubicon of a night out on the town with no sleep. But for some reason, since then there has always been a holding of Fatburger in awe. We hype it to our friends, reliving the glory days of our all-nighter in Vegas. We hype it to our acquaintances, telling them they must visit during their trip. One of my friends even ordered me a Fatburger shirt one birthday.

Fastforwad to today: This week a new Fatburger opened up in Vancouver. Emails went flying to both Eduardo and I, with statements such as “but I 'll be sure to check it out to ensure it meets your high standards before you arrive.” It was then I realized we were our own worst enemy.

It’s like we have talked it up so much in the past 7 years, people are bound to be disappointed when they first try it. And you know what – they are going to blame me and Eduardo if they don’t like it.

So, from now on I have a rule: What happens in Fatburger, stays in Fatburger

With Eduardo scheduled to be coming to town next month, it's going to be a hard rule to follow. Hopefully someone else will break it and post their reviews for me so we know if we should go, or leave the memories as they are: Sublime at worst, Foodgasmic at best.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

An Expensive Bathroom

"You can't be serious" he snapped.

"I am sir. That's the price, even with the manager's discount."

"It better have a nice view for that fee."

"It does sir. Best in the city in fact. Taking up most of the top floor of our hotel the Prime Minister Suite will offer spectacular views for you and your guests."

I was in Vancouver this week and while downtown all day drinking Coke slurpees I suddenly found I had to go to the bathroom. Not wanting to chance the public bathrooms in the downtown core I did what any normal person would do. I looked for the most luxurious and expensive bathroom to use. And for those readers that know downtown Vancouver, you also know what a crap shoot finding a clean bathroom in the downtown core can be.

As I was in the downtown core this gave me plenty of options, but I wanted the best of the best. This would be no day for a trip to the loo at a Starbucks or Chapters. I was going all out. I was going into the Fairmont Hotel. Soaring, floor-to-ceiling dark wood walls; marble counter tops with a plethora of complementary toiletries to use; luxurious fluffy white linen hand towels... It could be written up in Architectural Digest and come off sounding like a retreat in the middle of the city. Suffice to say that the bathroom at the Fairmont Vancouver is, in some ways, nicer than my house.

After a serious case of bathroom jealousy had set in I headed out, but paused by the front desk to tie my shoe. An older man was arguing with the front desk clerk about the price of the room he wanted to book for the next nine days. He was more Philip Stuckey than he was Edward Lewis.

"And how much is it again?"

"Twelve hundred a night sir, which brings the total, with taxes, to just over $13,000 for your stay."

"And you say that is with the discount?"

I stood up and looked over at the man, thinking, So let me get this straight. You're about to drop $13,000 on a hotel room for nine days and you are complaining about not getting a discount? For the price of the TAX on your hotel room, you could stay in a very nice suite in the same hotel.

As I walked out of the hotel into the spring rain I thought about the old man and shook my head. He was so wrapped in his world of wanting the best, but still felt the need to bargain for the penthouse suite at a five star hotel. Perception. For some people they find humour and tragedy in a situation relative to where they are in life. To him he wasn't getting a deal at $1200 a night. To me I was happy I got to use some fluffy white towels in the bathroom while travelling for a few days.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Junk in your Trunk

“After trying to get it over my ass, do you know what she said? She said I had too much junk in my trunk!” he exclaimed. “As if I didn’t already known that but to be told by a teenager a quarter my age… well, that was just the funniest thing.”

“So what did you do next?”

“I lifted my ass up so she could get the splint under me.”

“A splint?”

“Yeah, it was my turn to be the victim and I had to lay there and pretend I had a broken leg. At least she didn’t have to do CPR on me, or me on her. Now that would have turned the junk in my trunk into a dump in my trunk.”

When I originally had asked my father-in-law how his First Aid course had gone, in the back of my mind I somewhat expected to be told a story about his ass – particularly the junk part of his ass. What I really didn’t expect was my four year old, Little LP, to pickup up on the conversation and start to giggle so quickly.

“Grandpa has junk in his trunk! Tee-hee-hee!” he snickered to his younger sister. After a few minutes he had gotten bolder and was yelling across the house “GRANDPA HAS JUNK IN HIS TRUNK!” as he ran from room to room. All I could think was Thank goodness the conversation didn’t have anything to do about hemorrhoids.

But, with a four year old now aware of the existence of the phrase “junk in your trunk”, you all know that’s not the end of this story.

The very next day I headed outside with Little LP to fix a flat tire on my mothers car. After explaining to him what we needed to do, he was very excited to see the car jacked up, so he went running out behind me yelling “I’ll get my boots and be right out to help you do the jack!”

It wasn’t until I popped the trunk that I realized this job was going to be tougher than I thought. Being the requisite “Grandma mobile” the trunk was packed full of, well, junk.

To even begin to give you a sampling of what I unearthed I will have to break things down by categories. There was the sports equipment – old tennis racquets, inflated beach balls, and warped plastic frisbees; there was the remnants of “Grandma Gone Wild” with the Grandkids – empty candy wrappers (the kind my kids happen to like), rocks from the beach and empty slurpee cups; there was safety equipment – road side medical bag and a set of jumper cables – but in the emergency kit it looked like the candy bars had been removed - probably by my kids; there was the extra rain/sleet/sun/snow clothes for the “just in case we’re at the park with the kids and the weather changes”. On top of that was packed a stroller and a full size blanket. It was like the go-go-gadget trunk for MacGyver - whatever the emergency or child disaster, this car was set.

After about 10 minutes of unpacking I had almost reached the spare tire, but apparently I was taking too long for my sidekick. “Daadddd,” he whined, “when are we going to take the tire off? You’re spending too much time in the trunk.”

“Well,” I explained, “Because I need to get all this junk out before I can get the extra tire out.”

A slow smile spread across his face as he said “Hey Dad. Grandma has JUNK IN HER TRUNK!”

All I can say is Grandma didn’t sound too happy when he told her that later in the day.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Deep Thoughts by Logical Philosopher

Don't you hate it when you're making Jambalaya and need some tomatoes, but don't have any, even though you thought you did. Then you remember you ate salad last night with the rest of the tomatoes in it, and you break into a cold "Hells Kitchen" like sweat. To make matters worse you then realize you've started cooking and chopping enough of the other ingredients to back out of cooking the Jambalaya.

So then you're sitting there, trying to think of how to explain to your wife how you managed to make tomato based Jambalaya without any tomatoes. I'm sure you've all been there - you know what I'm talking about.

Then, on a feeling in a gut only a seasoned chef would know, you feel some tomatoes calling out to you. Looking at the very very very back of the fridge you find some from a few shopping trips ago - but no so long ago that they aren't soft & squishy and mouldy.

I love that.

If Col. John "Hannibal" Smith of the A-team were here, he'd be
saying "I love it when a plan comes together" right about now.

Gotta run, the Jambalaya is almost ready.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Free drinks!

The public transit blogging material is so much richer in the larger metropolitan cities. Now I know why all struggling professional writers live in large cities and take public transit – a wealth of inspiration! Either that or the trips make one feel better about their own self-esteem.

Overheard on the subway in Vancouver: “I have friends that are strippers, and you know when you have friends that are strippers, everyone wants to be your friend. And they work really hard too, you know. They ask me to come and see their shows and I’m ok with that because I get free drinks.”
I don’t know any strippers, or friends of strippers, but that conversation makes me want to befriend one so I can test out the “stripper’s friends get free drinks” theory.

Sorry the posts have slowed down - I’ve been working on another Logical Philosopher project, which I’ll post about soon, hopefully by the end of the week. Check back because it’s going to be very exciting – and a chance to win a cool Logical Philosopher prize. All the bibliophiles will be particularly excited. I know I am…