Going Up Norde, eh?

We drove to Montreal, Quebec (Canada), for the UFC 97 fight card.  We were excited about seeing UFC superstar Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell during his pivotal fight (win = come back, loss = retirement) and the wife’s favorite, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva.  We soon found out, after crossing into Canada, that our high school French was beyond rusty.  It didn’t take long for us to figure out basic French like that ‘Norde‘ meant ‘North’ after driving back toward the U.S. border.

Shortly after getting back on track, we started passing cars left and right following the speed limit (Max. 100, Min. 60) before the light bulb went off.

“Ah, yes,” I realized.  “The metric system.”

I rarely speak in full sentences anymore since I am mostly only required to do such in 140 characters or less. The idea of a maximum and minimum speed limit was great, but I’d much rather it be mph rather than km due to time constraints.

Once we finally arrived at the hotel where parking was not included, our New Jersey tagged Honda pulled into a makeshift parking lot with only a French-speaking attendant.  After finally finding someone to translate, we paid $32 CAD in USD—overpayed.  We immediately found a currency exchange station.

We went to the Centre Bell for the UFC 97 Q&A with George St. Pierre and without a doubt I became a huge fan of GSP right then and there.  By the way ladies, he wears a size 11.5 shoe (just saying).

The Weigh-ins gave us a closer look (since we were in the 4th row) at the fighters and a sense of their personalities.  Not to mention, it was fascinating to see my wife–the most unaffected by celebrity person out there and the one person that just ‘doesn’t get’ celebrity gossip–starstruck by Dana White.  In some self-satisfying way, I wanted his autograph for myself to hang above my Life & Style collection in the bathroom (the same collection she rolls her eyes at my purchasing).

By the time we made it back to our glorified hotel room (pretty convinced it was really a hostel in disguise), we thought our experience couldn’t be topped until we watched The Simpson’s in French and could actually watch Music Videos 24/7 on Much Music.

Last but certainly not least (part II posted manana), in a true Twilight Zone moment we watched Ashton Kutcher and P Diddy on Larry King Live talking about Twitter. Ashton should win an Emmy for his acting as someone who has nothing to gain from the success of Twitter (I’m convinced he sat in too many Twitter board meetings and will see an investment on his return–his use of ‘content collaboration’ sounded all too familiar like I was in one of my MTV meetings).  I only have followers to gain–so follow me @alisaben05.

Merci Beaucoup, Canada!

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Family versus Family

 

About eight years ago I moved to New York from my native land, Oklahoma.  I had spent a good twenty-three years surrounded by my family and their incessant wonderment of my future.

 

“Got any boyfriends,” Uncle Thed would badger me.

 

“No.”
 

 

“Well, got any girlfriends then,” He just wanted an answer.

 

“I got nothing.”

 

“You going to use your college degree or be a hippie forever,” Aunt Glenda joined.

 

“If it all works out, both,” I knew this wasn’t the end of it.

 

“Do you really think that little band of yours will amount to anything,” My grandmother worried.

 

“Yep, otherwise I wouldn’t be going to New York, Granny.”

 

Within minutes the conversation jumped into the latest gossip about some poor soul in our two-hundred folk town.  I know most people long to be known like the theme song to Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name,” but all I wanted to was to be somewhere that not one single soul knew my damn name.  I needed to breathe for a minute and figure out who I was without everyone else projecting it onto me or reminding me where I came from. 

 

Fast-forward eight years and in taking on a new last name, I also inherited an additional family that is ten times larger than my own immediate family.  Theoretically, my wife and I could have plans every single day of the week if each one of her siblings decided to have a dinner.  The only difference between this is that the back-catalogue of my greatest hits and the infinite collection of tear-in-my-beer songs aren’t carried in the in-law format so excuses like “I have to write because an agent wants my manuscript” are just irrelevant eight-track excuses. 

 

I could write books-upon-books (pun intended) on Alisa Ben, but Alisa Olander really is the forever hippie weaving in and out of responsibilities that amount to a whole lot.

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